As many of you may know, the USA experienced a total eclipse of the sun on August 21. It was a BIG event. Hundreds of thousands of people drove to places like Carbondale, Illinois to view the eclipse in what is referred to as "totality." Totality is a place where the sun is fully covered by the moon because the alignment of the bodies is perfect. When "totality" happens, seeing the eclipse is an awesome sight to behold that goes far beyond a picture in a book or on this website. For some it is a deep and meaningful spiritual experience that changes people's lives. Observers realize there is something literally "out of this world" going on in the heavens....and they are right. Some people travel around the world to view these total eclipses and a few even get married during them. Total eclipses are a miracle of the Lord. They shouldn't happen, but they do. But the most amazing part of any total eclipse is the fact that it is a picture of the Lord's love for this world.
Now what is absolutely incredible with this last total eclipse in the USA is the fact that it ONLY happened in the USA. No other location on earth saw it in totality. According to Parade Magazine this rare eclipse in America was something that will never be seen again until January 25, 2316. Regarding the uniqueness of the eclipse the magazine wrote,
To find a total solar eclipse that compares with our Great American Eclipse, you have to go all the way back to July 29, 436—1,581 years ago—when the Moon's shadow swept across what would eventually become the U.S. mainland.
For whatever reason the Lord has allowed a sign to come to America and the world that is almost unheard of in the history of astronomy. Does it mean something? Is the Lord trying to get our attention? What is going to happen in the future? These are but a few of the questions that are being asked right now. Sadly, most people believe that any attempt to interpret such signs is just a deeper sign of people who are "crazy." Apparently, only the scientists can make sense of astronomy and Christians who believe that the Lord uses such things can't be taken seriously, right?
Now what is incredible is the fact that eclipses occur at all. For a total eclipse to occur, the sun has to be totally and perfectly blocked and covered by the moon. Nowhere else in the solar system does that happen. Other planets like Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all have moons, but none of them perfectly block the sun from their planet...none! The earth is the only place where that happens. You see, the sun is 390 times bigger than the moon, but 390 times farther away from the earth. As a result, we see this wonder of the Creation before our eyes.
Most scientists neglect to read the Bible and the Creation Story where the Lord tells the world that He created the sun and the moon as signs to the world in Genesis 1:14. These signs are designed to tell us things about our lives such as the seasons of the world. Sadly, if you believe in evolution, the sun, moon and total eclipses are just magnificent "coincidences." And yet, if you were to ask many of the recent eclipse watchers they might tell you that they didn't really believe the event they saw was an accident or there by chance. For many people these signs in the heavens and celestial events point to the existence of God.
According to the Bible, all of these eclipses are new moons. A new moon cycle begins when the moon covers the sun and begins its monthly cycle of circling the earth. The moon circles the earth each month and reflects the sun's light back to us. The Bible first describes the moon as a picture of God's people Israel as seen in a dream from the patriarch Joseph in Genesis 37:9. So from the beginning the Bible teaches that God's people reflect the light of the Lord to the world at night, when the world needs to see God in the darkness. The sun and the moon teach some simple lessons of the Lord and how every believer is a reflection of the Lord to others in the world.
Now the most famous new moon season in the Bible is called Rosh Hashanah, which means the "head of the year" and is found in Leviticus 23:23-25. This special new moon marks the Jewish New Year and is being celebrated by Jews around the world starting today, so Happy New Year! For the Jewish people, this Rosh Hashanah is the New Year of 5778. The Jewish Community believes that 5778 years ago the Lord created the world in Genesis 1. So, a Jewish New Year is about the very beginning of life itself. A Jewish New Year is not celebrated in New York City watching a ball drop in Time Square that simply honors longer days and a new cycle of time. Somewhere along the way, we have lost the Bible's perspective on life and ended up in New York City cleaning up confetti on January 1st.
For the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, all of the above is about a love story of the Lord for us that is missed by astronomers and most of the Jewish and Christian communities. You see Rosh Hashanah is often referred to by Christians as "The Feast of Trumpets." So, for some Christians today, these eclipses, news moons and Jewish holidays are really all about Jesus. Our Lord is the Creator and so it shouldn't surprise us that all things were created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). Once we begin to realize that everything in the created order is a witness to the Creator and His love for us, we begin to make some sense of our lives and why we are here.
If an eclipse, a new moon, and a new year are all related, they are telling us God's story of love, grace and redemption. All of these events are wonderfully tied to the Feast of Trumpets, when the Lord's people begin to celebrate what the trumpet means and what it announces. You see all trumpets in the Bible come out of the ram's horn or the shofar, the first trumpet. It was the ram's horn, caught in the thicket that spared Isaac's life in Genesis 22:13-14. As a result, the ram and his horn became an eternal symbol of the substitute sacrifice that was made for us by an innocent lamb without spot or blemish. The ram's horn or shofar becomes the Bible's symbol of love and redemption for all of us today and forever.
So, when the shofar sounds during this special new moon on the Feast of Trumpets, we celebrate a joyful New Year. For all of us that believe Jesus is the Savior and Messiah of Israel and the world, we hear a joyous sound ringing forth that reminds us of our Lord's sacrifical love, our resurrection, His future appearing and our life with Him (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). In that Day, the sun and the moon, as a picture of the Lord and His people will look at each other "face to face" (I Corinthians 13:12) and the world will have forever changed because nothing can eclipse the beauty of that relationship.
As that glorious Day approaches, may all of us long to hear the sound of the trumpet announcing new life with our wonderful Lord and the glories of His saving grace and substitutionary love on the Cross. Happy New Year to all in the Lord Jesus!!! L'shana tova.