On April 21, 1991, Alitalia pilot Achille Zaghetti was flying a passenger plane from Milan to London when he saw an object streak in front of his plane. “Look out! Look out!” he exclaimed to his copilot. He then asked the control center that was monitoring his flight whether their radar had picked up anything, and they reported seeing a strange object ten nautical miles behind Zaghetti’s plane. An investigation ruled out a missile. No satisfactory answer was ever found.
This is one of many reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) that the British Ministry of Defense has made available to the public from its secret files. Most reports were easily explained, but some, including Zaghetti’s, are still a mystery.
For years, individuals in different parts of the world have reported seeing strange objects in the sky. One of the more notable incidents in the United States happened over Nevada and Arizona on March 13, 1997. Thousands of people reported seeing lights in the sky traveling southeast for some 300 miles, including over the city of Phoenix. The lights were reported to be in the shape of a triangle, like a boomerang or a carpenter’s square. Among those claiming to have seen them was then governor of Arizona Fife Symington.
Many people took photographs of the phenomenon, making it difficult to claim that the images were the result of the digital manipulation of photographs. Analysis of the photographs suggests that if it truly was a UFO, it was one to two miles long! The United States Air Force identified the lights that passed over Phoenix as flares dropped by aircraft that were on a training mission. UFO fans were quick to claim that the event confirms that extraterrestrials do visit our planet.
At about this same time, the comet Hale-Bopp showed up in the sky, and some people claimed that a UFO was following it. Marshall Applewhite, the leader of a cult called Heaven’s Gate, persuaded 39 members of his group to commit mass suicide between March 24 and 26, 1997, in the mistaken belief that following their death, they would shed their earthly bodies and join the “aliens” on the UFO!
A more fundamental question is whether intelligent life exists outside of our planet. To UFO enthusiasts, the answer is Yes. If this is correct, and if UFOs are both real and operated by nonhumans, the next burning question is whether these aliens are hostile or friendly.
What the Bible says
Fortunately, the Bible provides us with a very positive answer to the question of whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe: it does. The most significant intelligent Being outside our planet is God Himself, who lives in a place we call heaven. And, according to the Bible, a race of beings called angels inhabit heaven with Him. The Bible also informs us that a conflict erupted in heaven thousands of years ago when some of these angels rebelled against God and His government, and the rebels were forced to live on our planet.
Revelation tells the story: “There was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:7–9).
Next question: are the nonhumans in our universe hostile or friendly? According to the passage just quoted from Revelation, the answer depends on which beings we’re talking about. Everyone assumes that God and the angels who are loyal to Him are friendly, while it’s probably safe to say that Satan and those loyal to him are hostile to our best interests.
The question of whether UFOs are real depends partly on the kind of evidence we use to prove the point. If we demand evidence provided by people who are qualified to make a scientific, unbiased (if that’s even possible) inquiry, the answer is No. To date no such evidence has appeared in the usual sources of reliable information, such as reputable books, magazines, and newspapers. However, if we’re satisfied to accept the witness of sane, mature individuals who may not have the proper “credentials” but who claim to have seen strange flying objects up close, then perhaps the answer is Yes.
What if it’s really true?
If the answer turns out someday that at least some of the reports of UFOs with nonhumans onboard are real, we will each be faced with a very important question: who’s operating these UFOs? Science fiction would have them operated by aliens from a distant galaxy who have evolved to a much higher level than we earthbound humans. And, according to conventional wisdom, any such alien invaders would probably be friendly, in spite of the fact that most science fiction, in order to create an interesting conflict, portrays them as very hostile.
I suggest, however, that if an invasion of earth by nonhumans should ever be documented to the satisfaction of even the most skeptical of skeptics, then the Bible—not conventional wisdom or science fiction or even science itself—is the best place to turn for information about who they are and whether they are hostile or friendly. And here’s what the Bible has to say about this subject.
First, there will be an invasion of planet Earth someday by nonhumans. Before He left this earth, Jesus promised to return and bring His angels—the nonhumans—with Him (Matthew 24:30, 31; John 14:1–3). And the question of whether Jesus and His angels will be hostile or friendly depends on who you are and whose side you’re on. The Bible says that God’s people will rejoice, while those who have rejected God will be so terrified that they’ll cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them (Luke 21:28; Revelation 6:15–17).
The Bible also says that when Jesus returns, the entire world will be shaken by a mighty earthquake (Revelation 6:12–17; 16:17–20), and the angels will lift God’s people into the sky to meet Jesus in the air (Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
Christ’s coming and UFOs
This description of Christ’s second coming is more relevant to the discussion of UFOs than may be apparent at first glance. For if UFOs are ever truly documented over our world, they will be operated by aliens who are loyal either to God or to Satan. And since God has already given us a detailed account of His next invasion of planet Earth, we should refuse to trust any alien invasion that does not match the description He gave.
Indeed, Jesus Himself gave us a warning that can help us to evaluate any future alien invasion of our planet other than His own. “False Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible,” He said. “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. . . . For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:24, 26, 27).
If UFOs that are confirmed by reliable authorities to be real ever do appear in the sky over our planet, those of us who believe the Bible should refuse to accept them as friendly. To the contrary, we should be very suspicious that they are operated, not by aliens from a distant galaxy, but by demons who have been inhabiting planet Earth and tormenting human beings ever since they (the demons) were cast out of heaven thousands of years ago.
In a 1996 motion picture titled Independence Day, when the “evidence” of a space invasion of planet Earth had become incontrovertible, fictional U.S. President Whitmore announced to the nation and to the world, “The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe has been answered.”
Fortunately, for those of us who believe the Bible, that question was answered thousands of years ago. Christ’s real second coming will be utterly earth shattering, literally. Revelation says there will be a global earthquake at His return (see Revelation 6:12; 16:18–20). Thus, there will be no mistaking it or counterfeiting it. Therefore, should UFOs ever truly show up on our planet, we can be sure that they are operated by demons. Any such alien invasion, particularly if its inhabitants claim to be Christ and/or His loyal angels, will be one of the surest signs that Jesus’ return is very near.
Jesus is serious about this issue. Right in the middle of His warning about false christs and false prophets, He said, “See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matthew 24:25). He really does want us to understand this!