Eternity is a word without a real meaning. If we look it up, the closest definition would be something like this: “…a state to which time has no application; timelessness.” The simple words would be “forever and forever” which is definitely difficult to understand.
Almost all religions have a belief in an eternity. Some think that they have to work for it. Others believe that it is a gift of God, through His Son Jesus Christ. Another faith thinks that life just begins again and they hope that they will return as a more elevated human and not one of the lowly animals or insects. The whole concept is so broad and “endless” that the mind cannot comprehend. The question then is whether we should even be concerned about something in which we do not have a real answer? I think so. We plan ahead for many things: Our wedding day, our place of residence, our finances, our grave-site…but why not think about the eternal? Somehow I think it should be thoughts of joy instead of foreboding…especially when we have had loved ones who have gone before us.
We know we were born. We also know that we will all die eventually. Our love for each other draws a great well of desire to want to see each other again in eternity. Do we have the perfect answer to eternity…no…not in ourselves, but yes, in the Holy Scriptures we have promises. We are told, “...to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (2nd Corinthians 5:8) That verse alone should give us great hope. We are promised a resurrection of the body, just as Christ was resurrected. When I decided on cremation after death, my thought was to wonder how all of those dust pieces were going to be put back together. How juvenile a thought was that! If He can sling the stars into orbit and match up molecules, He will have no trouble with the resurrection!
As a Christian, I believe in eternity. It may be hard for an atheist who thinks when one dies it is the end of everything, but I have always felt that if there could possibly be any truth in this belief, I would have lived a happier life because of my own joy in believing in God and the comfort it has given me. How sad and morbid to believe that there is no one who will enjoy eternity with the Maker of our most glorious universe. Those who have had a near-death experience recall a wonderful feeling of love. They speak of seeing someone that appears to be God waiting for them in a bright light. According to some records, surprisingly, 75% of those thinking they were dying as atheists have told of this same experience.
Recently, I saw a special on the amazing new parts of the universe that have only been identified by the most powerful telescope sent into space. The most familiar and powerful so far has been the Hubble Space Telescope. Nevertheless, there is “a new kid” in the making.
The newest and most powerful telescope is the James Webb Space Telescope. It is to be the successor to the Hubble telescope and will be launched in 2021. Here are a few facts concerning the future launching:
The James Webb Space Telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch vehicle is part of the European contribution to the mission. The Ariane 5 is one of the world’s most reliable launch vehicles capable of delivering Webb to its destination in space. The European Space Agency (ESA) has agreed to provide an Ariane 5 launcher and associated launch services to NASA for Webb. (Nasa)
Why do I digress from writing about eternity to telescopes? It is with delight that I think those who are experiencing their eternity are having a perfect understanding of the formation of the universe and all there is on other planets. If there is life on other worlds, our loved ones would have the joy of knowing this. (Forget about the Hollywood version of the “little green man with a pointed head.”)
Thinking of the possibilities makes “eternity” seen a little shorter than “forever”…mainly because it would take forever to know all there is to know, which is impossible without the mind of God. Could it be that He will provide His mind for us to know and understand all these glories, that we have only slightly seen through the telescope, and be able to experience the glories for eternity?
(A side-thought: I can’t imagine that we will be going from planet to planet as on some fast-moving whirlwind because the Scriptures also says that there will be a place of peace. He promises that the lion will lay down with the lamb. Could that mean that at the Savior’s return to earth that He will also bring those with Him who have died and bring absolute peace onto a new earth? )
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 (NASB)
Jesus also prayed a prayer to his Father in Heaven, who made the universe that He wanted us to know the glories of the universe: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24)
Regardless of what eternity may mean, we will draw our last breath and then we will know it all. TO GOD BE THE GLORY
VIDEO (Turn on sound)
When we are in Virginia, we receive an email telling us when the Space Station will be flying over our home and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because we have no street lights, it is quite clear and the Station can be seen moving on the path above our heads.
The video I’m sharing with my readers today shows a working relationship between the U.S., Russia and Japanese astronauts. It is a good thing that they are professionals and want to do their work and experiments without political interruption. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
The tour of the Space Station is given by Sunita Pandya Williams, an American astronaut and U.S. Navy officer of Indo-Slovenian descent. She formerly held the records for total spacewalks by a woman (seven) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes). Sunita was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expeditions 14 and 15. In 2012, she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33. (Wikipedia)
Thank you, Sunita Williams, for your great tour. As we watch from the ground, we know better what the crews in the Space Station are experiencing amid the stars. Long live international cooperation!
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
Living in Florida has its advantages…especially if you are a Space Geek. I can walk out my door…onto the driveway in front of my house and have a view of the most incredible launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. (Kennedy Space Center) Of course, it isn’t exactly like actually being there when everyone can feel the tremendous roar and vibrations of the massive engines. Nevertheless, on February 6, 2018, the most powerful operational rocket in the world made a successful test flight. The cheers of the thousands who came to Florida to view it in person give us a sense of the excitement of people from around the world, as well as Americans. The prospects of space flight and new space ventures are beyond imagination. Thanks to the fine engineers and employees at SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk, the future looks bright. We all want to know more about places like Mars and beyond! Your Grandchildren and their children may very well know the mysteries in space or even visit the glories of God’s great universe.
SPACEX released these words and a video after the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket:
“Following its first test launch, Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.”
The side boosters were seen coming back to earth and safely landing upright, which makes them reusable rather than landing somewhere in the ocean. A great looking red Tesler Roadster also took the ride. Clever!
In case you were working at 1:30 Eastern Standard Time or asleep on the other side of the world…and missed it. Here is a video of the excitement about Falcon Heavy.
UPDATE: THE ECLIPSE CAME AND WENT. BELOW IS HOW WE IN THE USA PREPARED FOR IT. THE VIDEO HERE IS HOW ONE TOWN IN NORTH CAROLINA HAD FUN WITH IT. ENJOY!
You may be saying to yourself, “Yes, the total eclipse is an exciting event…but what’s all the commotion about it?”
Well, I thought the same thing until I read an article by space.com. The practical side of the event was something I had not thought of…so here goes to all my readers who may be faithfully waiting or those who may be caught unawares at the exact moment on August 21st. If you live in the US and miss this event, you’ll have to wait 7 more years, until April 8, 2024, to see a total solar eclipse from a location in the contiguous United States.
If you are lucky to live between Oregon and South Carolina this year, you will be viewing the eclipse in the most narrow path of the totality. Others in the U.S and outside the U.S will still have a view, but only a partial eclipse.
Here are some things that I learned from the article mentioned:
- There will be big traffic jams heading toward the most direct path in the U.S.A…perhaps millions of visitors from all over the world. We know what a minor accident on an interstate can do to your wait time. Should you be out in traffic (not advised… if possible stay put) at the moment of the eclipse, you may need the following because of traffic: FULL tank of gas, snacks, something to entertain children (and don’t forget they need eye protection when watching) etc. etc.
- You need SPECIAL, APPROVED GLASSES to view the eclipse. ..or you may cause great damage or blindness to your eyes. Not all glasses will help you…certainly not regular sun glasses. They must meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.
- If you are looking for the approved standard and not a fake, “Purchase a pair from one of the manufacturers or vendors that have been approved by the American Astronomical Society.” They must be rated 14 or higher. This includes any sales online. (Click here to see the vendors) (We plan to buy ours from Lowe’s Hardware since Lowes is practically my husband’s second home.)
This is a list of times that you can see the total eclipse in its duration on August 21…that is if you live in these cities in the U.S.A. (for 100 cities across the USA)
|Location||Partial Eclipse Begins||Sun Completely Obscured|
|Salem, OR||09:05 am PDT||10:18 am PDT|
|Idaho Falls, ID||10:15 am MDT||11:33 am MDT|
|Casper, WY||10:22 am MDT||11:43 am MDT|
|Lincoln, NE||11:37 am CDT||1:03 pm CDT|
|Sabetha, KS||11:38 am CDT||1:05 pm CDT|
|Jefferson City, MO||11:46 am CDT||1:14 pm CDT|
|Carbondale, IL||11:52 am CDT||1:21 pm CDT|
|Hopkinsville, KY||11:56 am CDT||1:25 pm CDT|
|Nashville, TN||11:58 am CDT||1:28 pm CDT|
|Talulah Falls, GA||1:07 pm EDT||2:37 pm EDT|
|Columbia, SC||1:13 pm EDT||2:43 pm EDT|
|Charleston, SC||1:16 pm EDT||2:47 pm EDT|
You may want to gather your children or grandchildren around your computer and explain exactly what is happening when a total eclipse occurs. Throughout the centuries the ignorance and lack of understanding science caused many fears and tales of dome and hysteria. A blogger acquaintance of mine in England has written an interesting blog on this subject. ( See Stephen Liddell’s blog )
HAPPY VIEWING to ALL from Boyer Writes
Video showing pattern world wide..click the lower arrow if doesn’t start.
It was three in the morning. As I looked out the window onto a dark mountain whose tiny night lights shined in the valley, I saw something spectacular. It was the heavens above…not the earth below. There are no street lights in the mountains to interfere with the glory of the heavens that a cold night reveals….millions of stars and planets. It certainly puts one into a more realistic perspective. Problems seem to disappear…and one has to truly wonder with the writers of the Scriptures, “What is man that You are mindful of him.” If God is big enough to make all this and still see the sparrow when it falls, then He can take care of me. I think of my Mother who passed away at 93 and wonder what she is experiencing in this great universe. Truly the Heavens declare the Glory of God.
One may ask, “How do I know there is a real God and how can I know that He knows and loves me?” This video may help you with that answer. Produced by outstanding scientific minds who know faith, this is truly a beautiful view of our world and universe.
Turn on sound
God’s plan for creation is more than the mind can handle. That is because we do not have the mind of God. Only the Holy Scriptures explains it for us…at least to some degree. We were wonderfully made…every tiny part….as is the universe in its vastness.
Notice that the words below says that after the creation of man and woman, “He blessed them.” We really have no idea how much we are blessed and how grateful we should be. As we leave this life and depart to the great beyond there will more than enough to be shown to us for eternity.
If you have had someone you love pass away, as I have, it is comforting to think of them being shown by God the Father and the Son the secrets of the universe. How wonderful and exciting that must be. ( See video at the end for the full meaning of this blog.)
The Holy Scriptures Genesis 1:3 -31
- Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
- God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
- God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
- Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
- God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
- God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
- Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
- God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
- Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
- The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
- There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
- Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
- and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
- God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
- God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
- and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
- There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
- Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
- God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
- God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
- There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
- Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
- God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
- Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
- God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
- God blessed them; and God said to them, “ Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
- Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
- and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
- God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
VIEW VIDEO and be AMAZED (turn sound low and click off of any advertisements that pop up on video. Unfortunate that you will see them.)
From July until August 23, 2016 the heavens will show the Glory of God. Don’t miss it. (Pictures of the meteor showers of 2013 are shown here.)
- It may be time to direct our thoughts and eyes toward the heavens and away from our phones and televisions. August 12, 2016 should be the best date when most meteors are visible. You are advised that sometime between 11pm and midnight is the best time and give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust. Look toward the northeast. Meteor Shower..How to See.
- The glories of the heavens are beyond description. The music of Haydn’s The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God gives us two joys….sight and sound!
The world’s largest cave is in Vietnam. It was explored first in 2009 and has been a source of fascination to those who have actually seen it. This particular cave is located in the caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang. Hang is part of the underground system connected to more than 150 different activities in Vietnam, located near the border with Laos.
The Huffington Post published this about the cave:
The Hang Son Doong Cave is over 5.5 miles long; has a jungle and river and could fit a 40 story skyscraper within its walls…The newly discovered cave has been touted as the largest in the world, although other caves vie for the title of longest (Mammoth Cave in Brownsville, Kentucky nabs that title with about 400 miles of passageways) and the deepest is Krubera Cave in the nation (not the state) of Georgia. A local man discovered the cave entrance in 1991, but British cavers were the first to explore it in 2009.
Mark Jenkins wrote for National Geographic some history of the cave: Two decades ago, the leaders of this expedition, Howard Limbert and his wife, Deb, became the first cavers to visit Vietnam since the 1970s. Back then, the country’s caves were legendary but unexplored. In 1941 Ho Chi Minh had planned his revolution against the Japanese and French in Pac Bo Cave north of Hanoi, and during the Vietnam War thousands of Vietnamese hid from American bombing raids inside caves. The Limberts, experienced cavers from the Yorkshire dales of northern England, made contact with the University of Science in Hanoi and, after obtaining sheaves of permits, mounted an expedition in 1990. They’ve made 13 trips since, not only discovering one of the longest river caves in the world-12-mile Hang Khe Ry, not far from Son Doong-but also helping the Vietnamese create 330-square-mile Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which now attracts a quarter million Vietnamese and foreign visitors a year
One amazing thing is that deep in this cave, there is a rain forest. It appears that part of the roof of the cave has collapsed and because the light of the sun has been able to shine through….the beauty of life in plant form began to develop.
Our video #2 below explores just this aspect…light and growth… which leads us to once again to think about what was meant when God said, “Let there be light!”
Light is all important. It is the source physically and even spiritually. We consider evil in the world to be in darkness…and finding truth and salvation in Christ to be brought into the Light! How beautiful is this analogy. Truth is always so simple and clear. We are to bring “light” into this world, which turns into something wonderful. Let’s take a look at Hang Son Doong Cave and marvel.
Video 1 Exploration of the Hang Son Doong Cave in Vietnam
Video 2 The Hang Son Doong Cave grows a rainforest
IS THERE A HELL? Everyone would like to know…but most do not want to approach the subject or even speak of it….unless it is in a profane way. Nevertheless, it is a subject…unlike heaven…that brings up fears and distrust. One could rationalize that if there is no hell….why would there be a heaven? Who wants to be forever in eternity with the most evil in this world. Would it then cease to be heaven? I am so glad that God is in charge for we most likely will not have a definite answer until we breathe our last. The closest we have come to knowing what happens after life is the “near death” experiences of those who returned to life as they had known it and spoke of the great peace; the bright light…and not wanting to return. Surely if they were headed toward hell there would have been fear not peace.
When recently I watched the slowly moving lava of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii on various programs, this question of hell was not in my mind. Then I saw the amazing pictures taken by the U.S. Geological Survey and immediately the thought raced through my mind “That looks hotter than hell!” But who knows what hell is like…or how hot it really may be…or if it is literal or a terrible state of mind? Looking at these pictures certainly makes one shiver at the idea that being thrown into such a pit could possibly be a reality. Such is the cause of nightmares! As I write, this just happens to be All Hallows Eve which traditionally was to honor all saints and martyrs in the Christian faith …more commonly known today as Halloween here in the United States…but that is another subject.
Many religions speak of hell and look at the subject in different ways. Although we are not trying to cover every religious belief in this writing, below are some words from those who speak for their faith.
CHRISTIANITY The Holy Scriptures of the Christian faith has many verses concerning hell. The art of the early Christian painters was often painted to interpret the Scriptures as many in the masses did not read. The agony…the torture…the gruesome scenes would be enough to scare anyone! The love of God is what leads us to salvation…not fear…we are told. Yet, in both the old and new testaments of the Holy Scripture, hell is spoken of. (See a few listed at the end of this writing.)
JUDISM The Jewish faith also acknowledges hell…but a different type of hell as expressed by Rabbi Aaron Moss:
“The Jewish mystics described a spiritual place called “Gehinnom.” This is usually translated as “Hell,” but a better translation would be “the Supernal Washing Machine.” Because that’s exactly how it works. The way our soul is cleansed in Gehinnom is similar to the way our clothes are cleansed in a washing machine. Put yourself in your socks’ shoes, so to speak. If you were to be thrown into boiling hot water and flung around for half an hour, you might start to feel that someone doesn’t like you. However, the fact is that it is only after going through a wash cycle that the socks can be worn again. We don’t put our socks in the washing machine to punish them. We put them through what seems like a rough and painful procedure only to make them clean and wearable again…. So too with the soul. Every act we do in our lifetime leaves an imprint on our soul. The good we do brightens and elevates our soul, and every wrongdoing leaves a stain that needs to be cleansed. If, at the end of our life, we leave this world without fixing the wrongs we have done, our soul is unable to reach its place of rest on high. We must go through a cycle of deep cleansing. Our soul is flung around at an intense spiritual heat to rid it of any residue it may have gathered, and to prepare it for entry into Heaven. Of course, this whole process can be avoided. If we truly regret the wrong we have done and make amends with the people we have hurt, we can leave this world with “clean socks.” That’s why our Sages said, “Repent one day before you die.” And what should you do if you don’t know which day that will be? Repent today.”
HINDUISM The Hindu believes in various levels of hell. “Naraka is the Hindu equivalent of hell where sinners are tormented after death.[ It is also the abode of Yama ,the god of Death. It is described as located in the south of the universe and beneath the earth. The number and names of hells, as well as the type of sinners sent to a particular hell, varies from text to text; however, many scriptures describe 28 hells. After death, messengers of Yama bring all beings to the court of Yama, where he/she weighs the virtues and the vices of the being and passes a judgement, sending the virtuous to Svarga (heaven) and the sinners to one of the hells. The stay in Svarga or Naraka is generally described as temporary. After the quantum of punishment is over, the souls are reborn as lower or higher beings as per their merit. In a few texts, a hell is described as a bottomless pit of darkness where souls are trapped for eternity and deprived of rebirth. “
ISLAM According to islamreligion.com, there are different levels of both paradise and hell. “Hell is an infernal place of punishment for unbelievers and purification for sinful believers. Torture and punishment for the body and the soul, burning by fire, boiling water to drink, scalding food to eat, chains, and choking columns of fire. Unbelievers will be eternally damned to it, whereas sinful believers will eventually be taken out of Hell and enter Paradise. Paradise is for those who worshiped God alone, believed and followed their prophet, and lived moral lives according to the teachings of scripture. Hell will be the final dwelling place of those who denied God, worshiped other beings besides God, rejected the call of the prophets, and lead sinful, unrepentant lives.”
BUDDHISM: In only a few words, this is the basic belief of the buddhist: “There is a hell realm where sinful beings are born, and suffer, and the heaven realm where meritable beings are born. Buddhists believe in reincarnation. This means you will keep going through the cycle of life over and over again until you reach enlightenment (a state of mind where you are completely peaceful and in harmony with the world around you). Depending on how you lived your previous life, you will be reincarnated to a life suiting how you treated others before. When you reach Enlightenment you will go to Nirvana. Nirvana could be called the equivalent of the Christian idea of Heaven. Buddhism is in actuality a Way of Life, in strict accord with the Laws of Nature. Life in Buddhism denotes a unit of mind, which is a unit of dynamically fluctuating energy. Buddhism acknowledges several planes of life, animal, humans, form and formless existences; heavenly realms and hell realms. They exist in the form of energy. However, whether in heavenly or hell realm, form or formless existences, these beings must finally escape from Samsara into Nirvana (enlightenment). Buddhism is about mind culture and only with development of mental development can craving be eradicated and production of kamma be halted.”
None of the above may convince you that a loving God would hurl those souls into such a terrible place, but throughout history the wisest and smartest of men and women have studied the words they feel were given to man by God. If there is no hell, not to worry. The worrisome part is not truly knowing for the Holy Scriptures tell us a “a great gulf is fixed” between the living and the dead. No one from either place…heaven or hell…has returned to tell us the actualities.
As a Christian, I turn to the Holy Scriptures that gives us some insight to faith….for if we can believe God for His salvation, we must also believe Him for other matters. I only believe it will be a fearsome or delightful experience to look into the face of our maker…and have to give an account.
SCRIPTURES FROM THE HOLY BIBLE (Old and New Testaments):
Hebrew: sheol (or hell) Numbers 16:33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
Luke 16:24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
After reading all this, do you feel despondent, sad, discouraged….on this Halloween? If so, I have some good news as you turn to God for His answers to life and death. THE PROMISE OF GOD in Romans 8:37-39 “Nay in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present or things to come…nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. “
Nothing can improve on the beauty of the earth and the creatures God has made. Relax and enjoy on this Sunday morning.
Enlarge screen for this excellent video by National Geographic
My last blog was written on Sunday, October 21, when we saw an early morning meteor shower in progress. None of us were living when the really great meteor shower took place in 1833. It was so impressive that many found a new spiritual life or religious experience that night in their lives. Makes one think….does it take something this impressive to make people reach out for God?
The following is an interesting writing by a preacher who observed the 1833 event and an interview of a 100-year-old slave who tells about it in her own dialect:
First-hand account of 1833 Meteor Shower by Elder Samuel Rogers( Elder Samuel Rogers, an itinerant preacher and circuit rider from Antioch,
Virginia recorded this event in his autobiography.)
I at once sold my little farm in the neighborhood of Antioch, and, having disposed of what stock and stuff I could not take with me, on the 13th of November, 1833, I was ready to start upon the journey for our new home in the West. On the evening of the twelfth, many of our dear friends came into bid us adieu, and they remained until a very late hour, when, after a prayer, the most of them returned to their homes, a few remaining to see us off in the morning.
We had but little rest that night, for, before three o’clock in the morning, we were all aroused from our slumbers, making preparation for an early start. Some one, on looking out of the window, observed that it was almost broad daylight. “That can not be,” another answered, “For it is scarcely three o’clock.” “I can’t help what the clock says,” replied the first speaker, “my eyes can not deceive me; it is almost broad daylight –look for yourselves.”
After this little altercation, some one went to the door for the purpose of settling the question. Fortunately, there was not a cloud in the heavens; so by a glance, all was settled. I heard one of the children cry out, in a voice expressive of alarm: “Come to the door, father, the world is surely coming to an end.” Another exclaimed: “See! The whole heavens are on fire! All the stars are falling!” These cries brought us all into the open yard, to gaze upon the grandest and most beautiful scene my eyes have ever beheld. It did appear as if every star had left its moorings, and was drifting rapidly in a westerly direction, leaving behind a track of light which remained visible for several seconds.
Some of those wandering stars seemed as large as the full moon, or nearly so, and in some cases they appeared to dash at a rapid rate across the general course of the main body of meteors, leaving in their track a bluish light, which gathered into a thin cloud not unlike a puff of smoke from a tobacco-pipe. Some of the meteors were so bright that they were visible for some time after day had fairly dawned. Imagine large snowflakes drifting over your head, so near you that you can distinguish them, one from the other, and yet so thick in the air as to almost obscure the sky; then imagine each snowflake to be a meteor, leaving behind it a tail like a little comet; these meteors of all sizes, from that of a drop of water to that of a great star, having the size of the full moon in appearance: and you may then have some faint idea of this wonderful scene.
It must be remembered that, in the Western States, at that day, there was not much knowledge among the masses upon the subject of meteorology. No tome in a thousand could give any rational account of this wonderful phenomenon; so it will not appear strange that there was widespread alarm at this “star-shooting,” so called. Some really thought that the Judgment Day was at hand, and they fell on their knees in penitence, confessing all the sins of their past lives, and calling upon God to have mercy. On our journey we heard little talked of but the “falling of the stars.” All sorts of conjectures were made by all sorts of people, excepting there were but few, if any, wise conjectures, and very few wise people to make them along the way we traveled. Not a few thought it an evidence of God’s displeasure, and believed that fearful calamities would probably speedily follow. There were those who believed the Judgment Day was near at hand, and undertook to prove out of the Scriptures that this was one of the signs of the coming of the Son of Man. One old lady was emphatic in the statement that it was certainly a “token of some sign.” Statements made even by good-meaning people were often quite erroneous. Some men declared that they saw great balls of fire fall into the water, and heard the sizzling noise, like that made when a red-hot iron is thrown into a slake-tub. Others thought they saw these great balls of fire bursting among the tree-tops.
We may learn of this that, when men are in a high state of excitement, their testimony must be taken with many grains of allowance. I heard of a few who professed religion under the influence of these lights. In that day, for the sinner under conviction to be able to say that he had seen a light, whether he had heard a voice or not, furnished a ready passport into almost any church in the land. I suppose the reformation produced by these meteors was like the appearance of the meteors themselves — of very short duration. I have no faith in any repentance grounded upon objects of sense. The gospel only is the power of God unto salvation. Love to God and hatred for sin, only can work a permanent change in the life of a man; and nothing short of this can be trusted as permanent in its effects.
Sarah Gudger, Age 121
(Written in the dialect of her day and remembering the tragic event after the meteor shower. This caused many to be quite superstitious. )”I ‘membahs de time when mah mammy wah alive, I wah a small chile, afoah dey tuck huh t’ Rims Crick. All us chillens wah playin’ in de ya’d one night. Jes’ arunnin’ an’ aplayin’ lak chillun will. All a sudden mammy cum to de do’ all a’sited. “Cum in heah dis minnit,” she say. “Jes look up at what is ahappenin’,” and bless yo’ life, honey, da sta’s wah fallin’ jes’ lak rain.* Mammy wah tebble skeered, but we chillen wa’nt afeard, no, we wa’nt afeard. But mammy she say evah time a sta’ fall, somebuddy gonna die. Look lak lotta folks gonna die f’om de looks ob dem sta’s. Ebbathin’ wah jes’ as bright as day. Yo’ cudda pick a pin up. Yo’ know de sta’s don’ shine as bright as dey did back den. I wondah wy dey don’. Dey jes’ don’ shine as bright. Wa’nt long afoah dey took mah mammy away, and I wah lef’ alone.”
The Southern States of the United States of America is known as the Bible Belt. One may assume that when this great event happened in 1833 that those who knew the Holy Scriptures felt that they were seeing the beginning of a great prophecy. What exactly does the Bible say that would make them believe this?
“29 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:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other..”
“13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Even those who did not profess Christianity made note of the event in their writings and history:
The Indians of the Great Plains recorded the passage of time in various ways. A notch on a stick or a painted symbol reminded them of a single event such as “the spring with many berries” or the “winter with no snow.” Among the Sioux, the winter of 1833-1834 was described as the winter that “the stars fell.” One Sioux known as “Brown Hat” recorded the winter as the”Storm of Stars” winter.
Whether we are believers in the Holy Scriptures and prophecies of the things to come or simply an observer in history, it would be good to remember that many things are not in our control. Should we ever see such an event as 1833 meteor shower, we may be passionately ready to bend our knees to the One who is controlling it. Perhaps we should not wait that long.