A Sign in the Texan Sky? — What Herb Thinks

As I write, that horrible scene of the space shuttle Columbia hurtling to earth is being repeatedly shown around the world.

It’s believed the craft’s failure may have begun over California. Its fiery breakup scattered debris all across the state of Texas and as far as Louisiana.

This was the second shuttle to be lost from America’s fleet of five. In a televised message from the White House, President George W. Bush said it was a national tragedy, and he ordered all flags flown at half-mast.

Some see this disaster as a sign of the end for American’s aging shuttle space program. After the loss of the the Challenger back in 1986, it was over two and a half years before the shuttles began flying again.

Others, however, see it as a different kind of sign. When MSNBC’s Brian Williams asked former presidential adviser and political consultant David Gergen what he thought the shuttle disaster could do to the president’s efforts to gain support for a war in Iraq, Gergen said, “Some people think it is an omen of things to come.”

Could Gergen’s friends be right? Could that scene of the Columbia falling to earth be some kind of omen or sign? I don’t know. But, if it is, I’m afraid to think what it may mean.

You see, the Bible tells us in the end days, just before the second coming of the Lord, there will be signs in the sky and on the earth. Quoting from the Old Testament book of Joel, the Apostle Peter said:

And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come (Acts 1:19-20 New American Standard Bible).

So, could this be a sign? And, if so, what would it mean? Let’s take a closer look.

Not only is the shuttle the ultimate symbol of America’s prestige and power, so too is the name Columbia. Derived from the name Christopher Columbus, many of the early settlers felt the proper name for America should have been Columbia. In fact, poets of that era often referred to America as Columbia. And painters made the name into a symbol for America by depicting Columbia as a robed woman carrying an American flag. In other words, the name Columbia points directly to American’s patriotic soul and spirit.

The fall of Columbia occurred mostly over the state of Texas — the president’s home state.

On board the Columbia were seven brave astronauts. Six represented America, and one represented — for the first time in history — the modern state of Israel.

Like I said before, even the unbelieving secular world understands that this tragic event the world has just witnessed is filled with possible meaning. With America’s great military build-up for a war in the Middle East nearing completion, and another American build-up on the Korean Peninsula under consideration (Read about it here), the entire world is nervously wanting to see what it all will mean.

And, now we have that terrible sight in the sky — the fall of Columbia.

Was it a sign in the Texan sky?

— Herb Peters
2/3/03