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Romans 1:18-20 & Amos 8:9
Tomorrow morning at 10:16 PST, the Great American Eclipse of 2017 will first touch American soil near Oregon’s Depoe Bay. It will transverse the Lower Forty-eight states at roughly 1,678 miles per hour, exiting over Cape Island South Carolina 90 minutes later at 2:49 pm EST.
It is being called an unprecedented event because of the excitement it has generated and the tremendous number of expected solar eclipse tourists traveling to the path of totality. One writer says, “With so much land to cover, many anticipate that it will be the most widely shared event in human history.”
The solar eclipse may be the most widely shared event thus far in human history. But there is coming an event much larger. When Jesus returns and splits the eastern sky, every eye will behold him (Revelation 1:7).
The last coast-to-coast solar eclipse was in 1918 when the public mobility was lacking. People walked almost everywhere they went. There was only about one car for every fifty people in the country. There were no interstate highways. America was at war and people didn’t engage in weekend get-aways. The average family spent one-third of its income on groceries compared to only about fifteen percent today. Therefore, even if the family had access to a car they could not afford the extra gas to drive to an eclipse.
The last total eclipse to touch the United States was in 1978. The path of totality was very small in contrast to what we will see tomorrow. That is if tomorrow comes.
David Meade in his book, Planet X – The 2017 Arrival, asserts the planet Nibiru will crash into earth on September 23, 2017. He has now moved to date to coincide with the solar eclipse.
John Hague, using prophesies of the twelfth century rabbi, Judah Ben Samuel, has all but pronounced that the Rapture is coming in 2017. That’s nothing new for Brother John. He loves to make eschatological predictions frequently. After all, if one is a hammer everything looks like a nail.
Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz expressed a warning which is a bit more palatable even if it is more eisegesis than exegesis. She says:
In light of Ezekiel 33:1-6 that commands a watchman to be faithful to warn others of the danger coming against the land, I feel compelled to issue the warning once again. The warning is triggered by the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, nicknamed America’s Eclipse. For the first time in almost 100 years, a total solar eclipse will be seen from coast to coast in our nation. People are preparing to mark this significant event with viewing parties at exclusive prime sites. The celebratory nature regarding the eclipse brings to my mind the Babylonian King Belshazzar who threw a drunken feast the night the Medes and Persians crept under the city gate. While Belshazzar and his friends partied, they were oblivious to the impending danger. Belshazzar wound up dead the next day, and the Babylonian empire was destroyed.
Jewish rabbis have historically viewed solar eclipses as warnings from God to Gentile nations. Therefore, my perspective on the upcoming phenomenon is not celebratory. While no one can know for sure if judgment is coming on America, it does seem that God is signaling us about something. Time will tell what that something is.
Jesus is clear that events in the heavens will herald the end of the world. For example, in Matthew 24:29 we read, Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
While I am not predicting the end of the world tomorrow, we ought to take opportunity of the event to remember that God has repeatedly warned mankind of judgment by signs in the heavens.
Given present civil and political unrest in our country, one must wonder if darkness is about to fall on our nation. We must wonder if the sun of God’s blessing is about to be taken away.
Amos tells Israel in chapter 8 that heavenly signs portend judgment descending upon them. In verse 2, God says that the end has come for Israel. He will no longer pass over their idolatry and sin. Then in verse 9, And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord God, “That I will make the sun go down at noon, And I will darken the earth in broad daylight.
Archbishop Ussher, in his Annales Veteris Testamenti, says there were two remarkable eclipses of the sun in Amos’s time. They both happened at solemn festivals and struck the people with great trepidation.
God speaks of heavenly signs through other prophets as well.
Jeremiah speaks of Israel as if she were a widow deprived of her sons. He uses celestial references to describe her condition. He says, She languishes who has borne seven; She has breathed her last; Her sun has gone down While it was yet day; She has been ashamed and confounded. And the remnant of them I will deliver to the sword Before their enemies,” says the Lord.
Jeremiah’s Israel wastes away as one who has become deprived of great divine blessings. Her sun has gone down in the middle of her day. She has been made ashamed.
Again I ask you. Is the sun setting on America?
The event of tomorrow can remind us that God is still in control of His earth. He still speaks from the heavens. He warns His people of coming judgment. He calls for repentance.
I like a quote Aaron McLawhorn sent me on Friday. It says, “If everyone would prepare for the return of Christ the way they are for this solar eclipse, the world would be a better place.”
There is a lot of excitement about this so-called “natural phenomenon.” But it is not happening because of Nature. It is happening because of the God of nature who moves the stars in their course. God planned the timing of the coming solar eclipse before the beginning of the world. Just because we can predict it doesn’t mean God didn’t plan it.
Romans 1:18-19 makes it clear that God speaks to mankind from His heavens:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…
Psalms 19 tells us that the heavens bear witness of God. David says, The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.
However tomorrow, millions will view God’s handiwork and fail to give Him the Glory. They will praise science but neglect the God who created the laws of physics, astronomy, and astrophysics.
The moon and sun will obey the course set for them by God. The fact mankind has known the exact date and time of tomorrow’s eclipse for a long time attests to the marvelous, constant hand of God in the orderly operation of His creation.
Mankind has been able to predict eclipses for thousands of years. The Chinese king, Zhong Kang, supposedly beheaded two astronomers, Hsi and Ho, who failed to predict an eclipse 4,000 years ago.
The heavens obey the voice of God. But what about us? What about our nation?
The pervasive presence of immorality and vice are as sure predictor of coming judgment and calamities as mathematics are to predicting celestial events. It is true of nation, households, and individuals.
God has said through the prophet Jeremiah, Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD, (Jer. 8:7).
Has the Lord Jesus given you an omen is morning? Is it time for you to once again to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ calling to you? Hear Him say, “Take up your cross, daily, and follow me!
Preached at Trenton Baptist, August 20, 2017