Category Archives: astronomy

Passover, Good Friday and the First Blood Moon

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red moon
((Reuters file photo))

“I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all. … I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (Ex. 12:12-13).

“Then Moses said … ‘Go … slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. … When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down’” (vv. 21-23).

“Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7).

“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31).

What could Passover, Good Friday and the first lunar eclipse of 2014 have in common? Think about it with me.

Passover began at sundown Monday. It is a time set aside by God’s people to remember their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Other than creation and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there has never been a more dramatic demonstration of God’s power than the event we refer to as the Exodus.

Passover remembers the time when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. When Pharaoh defied God’s command to let His people go, his mind had to be changed. So God sent to Egypt a series of plagues one at a time, each giving Pharaoh opportunity to repent of his defiance: the water turned to blood; then frogs, gnats, and flies covered the land, followed by the death of the livestock, boils on men and animals, hail, locusts, and darkness. When Pharaoh hardened his heart against God and refused to let God’s people go, the final plague was sent. And it was the worst.

At midnight, God executed His final judgment on Egypt. The angel of death went throughout the land and struck down all the firstborn. From Pharaoh on his throne to the prisoner in the dungeon to the livestock in the barn, the firstborn died. The only ones saved from His judgment were those who placed the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes and remained inside, Israelite and Egyptian alike. As a result, Pharaoh repented of his resistance and let God’s people go.

But Passover is not only a remembrance of the power of God to save His people from judgment and to set them free from bondage. It is also a beautiful prophetic picture of another event that will be celebrated this week.

Good Friday is a sacred, holy day that commemorates an event that took place 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was not just crucified but was sacrificed as God’s Lamb on the actual day of Passover. When you and I apply by faith the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to our own hearts and lives, then the judgment of God for our sin passes over us, and we are not only saved from the penalty of sin but saved from the power of sin. We are set free from spiritual bondage.

On this year’s Passover, in a unique way, God seems to be putting a sign of His blood on the doorposts of the heavens. Because on that very day, the moon was to turn to “blood” as it entered into a total lunar eclipse. Could God be warning Planet Earth that judgment is coming and giving us opportunity to repent before it does? Could God be reminding you and me that the only salvation from His judgment is to take refuge under the blood of the Lamb?

I can’t answer those questions, but I do know one thing. I want to make sure that I have been to the cross, repented of my sin and rebellion against God, and claimed the blood of Jesus as my covering. I want to make sure I am safe—saved from God’s judgment whenever it does come, whether it comes this year on earth or at death, when I step into eternity and face a holy God.

This Good Friday, would you thank God for the blood of Jesus by making sure you have applied it to the doorposts of your heart and life?

Anne Graham Lotz, founder of AnGeL ministries, has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 30 years. Her newest book, Wounded by God’s People, is available at AnneGrahamLotz.com.

The Supermoon

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The largest full moon of 2013, a so-called “supermoon,” will light up the night sky this weekend, but there’s more to this lunar delight than meets the eye.

On Sunday, June 23, at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT), the moon will arrive at perigee — the point in its orbit bringing it closest to Earth), a distance of 221,824 miles (356,991 kilometers). Now the moon typically reaches perigee once each month (and on some occasions twice), with their respective distances to Earth varying by 3 percent.

But Sunday’s lunar perigee will be the moon’s closest to Earth of 2013. And 32 minutes later, the moon will officially turn full. The close timing of the moon’s perigee and its full phase are what will bring about the biggest full moon of the year, a celestial event popularly defined by some as a “supermoon.”

The term “supermoon” is notastronomical, but originated in modern astrology.[1] The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing

The Supermoon

The Supermoon

The March 19, 2011 supermoon was 221,566 miles (356,577 kilometers) away from Earth. The last time the full moon approached so close to Earth was in 1993. It was about 20 percent brighter and 15 percent bigger than a regular full moon.

The Supermoon

The Supermoon

Supermoon over MünsterGermany, 19 March 2011.

supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the moon’s disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is theperigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The term “supermoon” is notastronomical, but originated in modern astrology.[1] The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing.

The next occurrence will be on 23 June 2013. This full moon will not be only the closest and largest full moon of the year. It also presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013. The moon will not be so close again until August 10, 2014.

 

Usually the variation of the moon’s distance is not readily apparent to observers viewing the moon directly.

Or is it?

When the perigee moon lies close to the horizon it can appear absolutely enormous. That is when the famous “moon illusion” combines with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging moon looks incredibly large when hovering near to trees, buildings and other foreground objects. The fact that the moon will be much closer than usual this weekend will only serve to amplify this strange effect.

So a perigee moon, either rising in the east at sunset or dropping down in the west at sunrise might seem to make the moon appear so close that it almost appears that you could touch it. You can check this out for yourself by first noting the times for moonrise and moonset for your area by going to this website of moonrise times by the U.S. Navy Oceanography Portal.

Happy moon-gazing!  The Supermoon

Editor’s note: If you snap an amazing photo of the Sunday Supermoon and you’d like to share it for a possible story or image gallery on SPACE.com, please send images and comments, including equipment used, to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmer’s Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.