Jun 29, 2022
JERUSALEM WEATHER
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As more celestial threats and astronomical near-misses threaten the Earth, the New Year enters with perhaps the greatest threat of the upcoming year. Some have attributed the asteroids to a dire prediction attributed to Nostradamus while a more Bible-oriented perspective reveals the Messianic implications.

Asteroids, asteroids, and more asteroids

Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) will make a “close approach” according to NASA‘s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) on January 18. Though 0.013 astronomical units, or 1.2 million miles—more than five times as far away from us as the moon, may not sound very close, 1994 PCI’s size makes it a cause for concern. The asteroid is estimated to be around 1 kilometer or 3,280 feet in diameter, or around 2.5 times the height of the Empire State Building. It will be close enough (and large enough) to observe easily with a small backyard telescope. 1994 PCI will be traveling at around 43,754 miles per hour when it whizzes past the Earth. 

As its numerical designation implies, the asteroid was discovered in 1994. After its discovery, astronomers used data and observations recorded previously to determine that the huge asteroid had been making close passes since at least September 1974. Normally, the asteroid passes near the Earth every 1.5 years but this pass will be the closest for this asteroid for at least the next 200 years for which astronomers have calculated its orbit. It will mark the beginning of a long respite as the next close visit by the asteroid is slated for 2105. 

But even before 1994 PCI’s visit, 2014 YE 15, a 42-foot space rock, will be making an appearance on January 6, passing within 4,600,000 miles. 

One day later, car-sized 2020 API will pass by at a distance of 1,080,000 miles. And on January 11, 2013YD48, a 340-foot rock, will pass within 3,480,000 miles of the Earth.

The new year begins in a manner similar to how 2021 ended; with three globe-threatening near-misses in one week. On December 24,  asteroid 2016 TR54, a space rock between 328 and 754 feet in diameter, flew past at 34,700 miles per hour, passing within around four million miles of our planet, or nearly 17 times the average distance between the Earth and the moon.  

On December 27, 2018 AH passed within 622,800 miles, or just over double the average distance between the Earth and the moon, at 28,400 miles per hour. 

Estimated at between 393 feet and 853 feet in diameter, 2017 AE3, the largest of the three, passed within 1.9 million miles at a speed of 42,600 miles per hour on December 28. 

Nostradamus? Not likely

Some media have attributed these asteroids to a prediction attributed to Nostradamus, a 16th-century French author of a book titled Les Propheties, a collection of 942 poetic quatrains (four-line semi-poetic sections) published in 1555, allegedly predicting future events. He devised a method of obscuring his meaning by using “Virgilianised” syntax, word games, and a mixture of other languages such as Greek, Italian, Latin, and Provençal, leading to much conjecture and conflict about the precise meaning of his predictions. As the new year begins, the media is full of conjecture concerning the relevance of these predictions to current events.

One such prediction has been interpreted to mean a possible asteroid impact: Nostradamus writes, “a moment of great violence will coincide with the appearance of a comet in the sky.”

“Like the sun the head shall sear the shining sea: 

The Black Sea’s living fish shall all but boil.

When Rhodes and Genoa

Half-starved shall be

The local folk to cut them up shall toil.”“The Moon in the full of night over the high mountain,

The new sage with a lone brain sees it:

By his disciples invited to be immortal,

Eyes to the south. Hands in bosoms, bodies in the fire.”

Balaam and the Messiah

This prediction conforms to a Jewish prophecy concerning the end-of-times. This astronomic prophecy is based on the Biblical account of Balaam, who describes a “Star of Jacob”.

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; there shall step forth a star out of Yakov, and a scepter shall rise out of Yisrael, and shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Seth. Numbers 24:17

The Zohar, the basis of Jewish mysticism, goes into great depth describing the appearance of this star.

Rabbi Berger, the Rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, emphasized the importance of prophecy but cautioned that what Nostradamus could not be considered prophetic.

“Prophecy is the basis of Judaism,” Rabbi Berger told Israel365 News. “The difference between Torah and philosophy, or conjecture by a scholar, is that Hashem revealed himself via the Torah. Philosophy, or predictions in the case of Nostradamus, are a mental achievement. Prophecy is more than a mental achievement. It is a natural product of a high level of connectedness to Hashem, and this can only come through a purity of action and thought.”

The rabbi noted that according to Jewish tradition, prophecy was taken away after the destruction of the First Temple, ending entirely in the first generation of the Second Temple Era. Rabbi Berger pointed out that Nostradamus could not be considered a prophet in any case. Even in the era of prophets, Jews were only permitted to pay heed to Jewish prophets who perform the Torah commandments.

Born Michel de Nostredame in 1503, his parents converted to Catholicism before he was born though he was very cognizant of his Jewish heritage. It is significant that in letters, Nostradamus referred to prophecy as an inherited Jewish gift: “My natural instinct bestowed upon me by my forebears…the inborn speech of mystical prognostication…much as seeing as if in a fiery mirror…as if by an obsessive vista.”

As a boy, Nostradamus studied Hebrew as well as Latin and Greek. As his grandfathers were court physicians, he learned about herbal medicine, Kabbalah, and alchemy.

Though Jewish prophets did bring their prophecies to non-Jews, as in the case of Jonah, the only non-Jewish prophet mentioned in the Bible was Balaam, a sorcerer who, according to Rabbinic tradition, had a very high level of prophecy.

And Hashem put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak and speak thus.” Numbers 23:5

“Balaam was a true prophet but what did he do with it? ” Rabbi Berger pointed out. “Did the people who heard him do tshuva (repent)? He attempted to curse the Jews; a very ungodly use for this God-given ability.”