Pastor's Corner

16 Aug
eclipse

Mid-Week Challenge

As you are well aware the first total solar eclipse in the United States since 1979 is this Monday!  A 70 mile wide stretch will encompass our area in the full shadow of the moon for around 2 minutes.  The last time this happened in our area was 1918! Viewing parties are planned, the kids will be treated to special scientific events at their schools and the hotels in our area are at capacity.  I have enjoyed reading articles on the history and science behind this once in a life time event.  Even animals are known to respond to the changes.  Some scientists have noted we might hear the increase of bird calls and insects that you usually associate with nightfall.  Even farmers have mentioned that the cows lay down on the field or the chickens go back into the coop.

Even religion is getting in on the astronomical event.  There has been an increase in questions and comments about the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus.  Preachers are warning that this is the sign of the return of Jesus so now is the time to repent!  Other pastors have warned that a solar eclipse is a direct sign from God, a warning to a specific nation or nations depending on its path. A Jewish rabbi pointed to an ancient prophesy that predicts the eclipse to mark the end of North Korea.  

Wow!  How do they know all of this??  I saw an old clip of Tom Brokaw this morning as he reported on the 1979 eclipse in the North West.  He said, “If you did not get to see this one you will have to wait until August 2017!”  How did he know way back in 1979?? 

Astrophysics is awesome, but it is not that hard.  Come again, you might say! Yes, it’s not that hard, if you know where and how to look.  Thanks to the detailed design of our Universe by our Creator, once an astrophysicist has the pattern a heavenly body tracks he or she can predict where that object will be at any given future or past time.  What is not so easy to predict is the return of Christ.  It has always troubled me to hear preachers using an event like the eclipse to make absolute statements about signs from God, especially when referring to the Second Coming.  This has always been an issue, so much so that Jesus specifically warns us against drifting into this very arena.   

Matthew 16:2-3 But He replied to them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' "And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the s. "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.

"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… "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:4-5 & 36) 

Because the Lord has created such great order in the universe and our ability to predict certain outcomes it is tempting to point to something as rare as a total solar eclipse as a sign of the Lord’s return.  The reality is that there are signs all around us every day.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this generation will be the one that “gets it right.” Instead be as ready as previous generations have been. Always looking, always being ready by having your heart right with the Lord.  

I like how Gary Ray put it when asked about signs, he said, “The Bible says a number of times that there’s going to be signs in the heavens before Jesus Christ returns to Earth. We see this as possibly one of those. My number one encouragement to people would be to just trust God. More importantly, to trust the right God. If people want to be ready, the one thing you can do is accept what He has offered, which is the gift of grace and forgiveness. That’s all we have to do to be ready.”

Be ready! Have your solar eclipse glasses ready and be a part of history.  Better yet, give your life to Christ and be ready for all eternity.  Seeing our Lord face to face for eternity will be so much better than being in the path of totality for two minutes! 

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Luke 12:40 

Serving the Savior 

Bro. Jonathan

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