March 2000


Editor – Robert Scott Wadsworth <> P.O. Box 2272, Oregon City, OR 97045

Phone (503) 655-7430 <> e-mail – <> Website –





            Venus and Mercury will come into conjunction in the constellation Aquarius on March 14.  This will be visible in the morning sky over the eastern horizon starting about 22 minutes before sunrise as seen from Jerusalem.  In the United States, this will only be visible in the lower latitudes (Atlanta, Georgia and south, Texas and Southern California etc.).  This is the first planetary conjunction since August 27, 1999.  The dry spell is over.  The “monsoon season” will begin later this month.

                Charts 129 and 130 show the positions of Venus (the Bright and Morning Star) and Mercury (Gabriel) in Aquarius as they come into conjunction on March 14.  Aquarius represents the pouring forth of God’s blessings, such as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.   See the April 1998 issue of Biblical Astronomy.





            Charts 130 and 131 show the massing of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in the constellation Aries on March 25.  This is the first time that these particular planets have massed in this area of the heavens in over 1,800 years.  The massing of these three planets in any constellation is a fairly rare event, since it can be up to a century between massings.  But for these planets – Jupiter (the Lord our Righteousness), Mars (Michael the Warrior Angel), and Saturn (Satan) – to be in massed in Aries is of particular interest since it is the sign Aries along with its decan constellations which portray the events of Revelation 19:6 – 20:3 (see A Voice Crying in the Heavens, 2nd Edition, pp. 140-142). 

                On the Celestial Timeline Template (see the November 1999 issue of Biblical Astronomy), March 25, 2000 is 1,260 days from when the beginning of the Great Tribulation was portrayed and corresponds to the date of the gathering of the two witnesses, the 144,000, and the faithful in Christ who are on the planet towards the end of the Great Tribulation. 

                Charts 131 and 132 show the positions of  Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in Aries on March 25, as would be seen looking from Jerusalem toward the western horizon at 6:40 p.m.  Cetus (the beast from the sea) appears to be on the Mediterranean Sea, with Pisces (the nation of Israel) to its right.  A little south of the eastern horizon, not shown here, Hydra (the Serpent), is seen  rising out of the Dead Sea (Rev. 13:1).  This is similar to the constellations’ movements in the morning sky during the Fall Feasts.  During the Passover/Unleavened Bread season, this is seen in the evening sky.  Though in the Fall morning sky, Draco (the Dragon), which is above the northern horizon, is seen descending to the earth; while in the Spring evening sky, Draco is seen ascending into heaven (See the September 1996 and February/March 1998 issues of Biblical Astronomy)

                Charts 131 and 132 also include two comets.  One is Comet 76P (West/Kahoutek/Ikemura) which is in the neck of Cetus on March 25.  There was a recent report by none other than the Millennium Group that this comet will pass closer than 30,000 miles to Mars and potentially strike the planet on May 28 or 29 of this year.  The fact is that the comet will miss Mars by at least 2 million miles and will not strike the planet or its moons at its closest approach on June 4.  Both Mars and the comet will be between the horns of Taurus on that date.

                The other comet of interest is 1999S4.  This is located in Pisces in the mouth of the fish.  This comet has the potential to become a naked eye object of 3rd magnitude in late July (see the October 1999 issue of Biblical Astronomy).  Through the next few months the comet will be close to the area that it is now in.  Then it will move on to Perseus and then to Ursa Major.  There will be more on this comet in upcoming newsletters.





            Due to cloud cover the first crescent light of the new moon was not seen from Israel on February 6.  However, it was spotted on that date by observers in Iran, Syria, Yemen, Kenya, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago.  It most likely would have been visible from Israel had it not been for the clouds. 

                The next crescent light of the new moon is expected to be seen near sunset on March 7.  This will be the beginning of Adar II on the Hebrew Calendar.

                On March 8, the moon will pass 5 degrees south of Mars.  On March 9, the moon will pass 4 degrees south of Jupiter.  On March 10, the moon will pass 3 degrees south of Saturn.  What a lineup! 


                The Vernal Equinox (first day of Spring) will occur at 2:35 a.m. EST on March 20.  A bit earlier this year than normal, since it will be towards the end of March 19 on the West Coast. 





            The following is a series of articles leading up to the agreement, the agreement, and reactions to the agreement.

Israel Wire, Feb 15 – Arafat to sign agreement with Pope – P.A. Chairman Yassir Arafat is scheduled to meet with the Pope in the Vatican today where the two will sign an agreement by which the PA commits to normalized relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Jerusalem.  PA officials quickly interjected that the agreement is representative of the Church’s recognition of the PA’s rights in Jerusalem and its continued struggle for independence.

                Arafat, who on Monday was speaking to a forum in Morocco, called upon the international community to take action against Israeli’s “continued Judaization” of eastern Jerusalem.  The PA is working to obtain eastern Jerusalem as its capital and has recently stated it would declare statehood no later than September 13, 2000, with or without Israel’s blessing.


Reuters, Feb 15 – Vatican and PLO demand Jerusalem guarantees – The Vatican and the PLO on Tuesday signed a basic agreement on their relations and cautioned Israel that any unilateral decisions affecting Jerusalem would be “morally and legally unacceptable.”  The wide-ranging agreement was signed ahead of a visit by Pope John Paul next month to Holy Land sites controlled by Israel and the Palestinians.  Palestinian officials recently expressed concern about new housing in and around the eastern half of Jerusalem, the Holy City captured by the Israelis in the 1967 Middle East War.

                Palestinian President Yassir Arafat discussed the Middle East at a private audience with the Pontiff while their delegations signed the agreement, made up of a preamble and 12 articles.  The “Basic Agreement Between the Holy See and the Palestinian Liberation Organization” deals with matters such as freedom of religion, human rights, freedom of church institutions and their legal, economic and fiscal status in Palestinian-ruled areas.  It was the most significant development in PLO-Vatican relations since official ties were established in 1994.

                While the agreement’s 12 articles dealt with day-to-day affairs in the religious minefield of the Middle East, its preamble packed a political punch.  Nearly a third of the 37-line preamble was dedicated to Jerusalem.  The agreement said “an equitable solution for the issue of Jerusalem, based on the international resolutions, is fundamental for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”


Israel Wire, Feb 16 – Vatican rejects Israel’s position on agreement with PA – The Vatican on Wednesday issued a statement rejecting Israel’s criticism of its recently signed agreement with the PA.  Israel condemned the agreement signed on Tuesday between Pope John Paul II and PA Chairman Yassir Arafat, explaining that the Vatican was interfering in the ongoing Oslo process.  The agreement, among other things, stated that any unilateral changes in the status of Jerusalem were “morally and legally unacceptable.”  The agreement also called for a special international status for the city as the Vatican pointed out the city serves as the home of three faiths.

                Israeli officials pointed out that the final decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem are not to be decided upon during the final status talks and not by the Vatican.  “The agreement…has nothing to do with the (Middle East) peace process as such, but regulates the presence of the activities of the Catholic Church on Palestinian Authority territory,” chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a statement.

                My note: I guess the Vatican already considers Jerusalem as being Palestinian Authority territory.  Another deal with the Devil.


Jordan Times, Feb 17 – Jordan welcomes PA-Vatican accord, postpones Israel trip – King Abdullah on Wednesday hailed as a “positive step” a landmark agreement between the Palestinian National Authority and the Vatican on a legal framework for the Catholic Church and the PNA-ruled areas.  He said it was a step forward towards “achieving justice and equality and laying the foundations for a just and comprehensive peace in the region.” The secretary-general of Arafat’s cabinet, Ahmad Abdul Rahman, said “the agreement supports our efforts to declare a state.”  Meanwhile, King Abdullah urged the Israeli government “to deal with the Palestinians like full partners in the negotiating process” and renewed his support for their quest to achieve their “legitimate rights on their soil.”

                The King also reiterated Jordan’s support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.  “It is not possible to achieve peace in the region without a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause,” King Abdullah said.  Prime Minister Abdur Ra’uf S. Rawabdeh also praised the Palestinian-Vatican agreement.  “The agreement signed at the Vatican reinforces the importance of Jerusalem and the right of our Palestinian brothers with Jerusalem as its capital, “the premier said.

                Jordan, which controlled the West Bank between 1950 and 1967, has repeatedly said it will continue as custodian of the Islamic holy sites in east Jerusalem until the PA can exercise sovereignty over these sites.  An agreement initialed between Jordan and Israel in July 1994, three months before they signed a peace treaty, recognized Jordan’s “special role” in caring for holy sites.

                Meanwhile, a Jordanian official confirmed that the King’s expected visit to Israel “has been postponed till further notice.”  The official made no comment about the postponement, but political circles attributed it to the stalemate on the Palestinian track and the “Israeli aggression in Lebanon.”





            The Pope is scheduled to visit Israel from March 21 to March 26.  While Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are massing in the heavens, the Pope will deliver a mass in Nazareth and visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  I believe that this is the first time in history that a Pope has visited Jerusalem.


Israel Wire, Feb 17 – Papal mass in the Galilee expected to draw 100,000 – When Pope John Paul II delivers his mass in Nazareth in March, officials expect some 100,000 persons to be in attendance.  About one-half of the expected worshippers will be Christians that are visiting the Holy Land at the same time as the Pope to take part in the historic visit.  The mass will be held at Korazim, opposite Vered Hagalil.


Israel Wire, Feb 23 – Israel pressuring Vatican to cancel official welcome by PA officials – Israel is applying pressure on the Vatican to cancel the planned official welcoming ceremony for Pope John Paul II in the PA on the Temple Mount.  Officials in Jerusalem are concerned that the residents of the PA as well as PA leadership will take advantage of the situation to display signs of sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem in an attempt to embarrass Israel in the international community.

                Israel has already been requested by the Vatican not to provide security agents for the pontiff while he tours eastern Jerusalem and officials in Jerusalem fear the PA will take advantage of this ‘opening’ and surround the Pope with PA security agents.


Ha’aretz, Feb 24 – PA to make use of papal visit to Jerusalem – The PA is liable to take advantage of the Pope’s impending visit to Israel and the PA to make demonstrative moves in Jerusalem which will stress its aspirations for sovereignty in the city – the defense establishment has warned.   Pope John Paul II is scheduled to arrive in Israel on March 21.  Ahead of his visit, Arafat has appointed a five-man reception committee.  Israel believes that the inclusion of ministers Faisal Husseini and Ziad Abu Ziad on the committee reflects a Palestinian intention to highlight diplomatic issues during the Papal visit to Jerusalem.

                The PA is likely to take special advantage of a Waqf reception for the Pope at the Temple Mount to make diplomatic gains, for example by having a large presence of its own representatives at the ceremony.  The Pope’s visit to the Temple Mount is set to draw international attention and Israel will be hard pressed to intervene and appear as disrupting the Papal visit.  In addition, the Palestinian Authority wishes to take advantage of the visit in order to raise other political issues besides Jerusalem.  It is likely to stress signs of its independence, mainly during the Pope’s visit to Bethlehem, as well as the refugee problem during his visit of the Deheishe refugee camp.  A senior PA official said yesterday that “Arafat is staging a big show in the Dehaishe, to which refugees from all over the West Bank will be invited.



Ha’aretz, Feb 29 – First the pope, then the Palestinians – The visit by Pope John Paul II, who is expected to land at Ben-Gurion International Airport on March 21, {Purim} is designated as a private pilgrimage by the head of the Catholic Church to the Holy Land.  The air will be filled with speeches about tolerance and interfaith understanding.  The peace process will remain out of bounds for the time being because the “deputy of Christ on earth” does not dirty his hands with politics.  But it is difficult to imagine a more political event than this visit.  After all, Pope John Paul II will be visiting Jerusalem, the most sensitive spot in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at the height of the dispute over the final status settlement and the future of the city.

            Minister Haim Ramon, who has been placed in charge of organizing the visit, says it is the most important visit in the history of the state.  Israel and the PA will do whatever it takes to win his blessing for their respective national aspirations.  The enormous media coverage of the visit will guarantee that each side will do its best to show the billions of television viewers worldwide who is really in charge of the city’s holy sites and to demonstrate its ability to defend the safety and freedom of access and worship at those sites.

            Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat considers the visit by the Pope a major station on the road to Palestinian independence, and he is planning a huge celebration in Bethlehem.  There are those in Israel who fear Palestinian provocations in Jerusalem, especially that the Palestinians will turn the Pope’s pilgrimage to the Temple Mount into a demonstration of Palestinian control over the holy site.  The Foreign Ministry has conducted sensitive negotiations with the Vatican for months in an attempt to limit the boundaries of the visit.  Israel will turn a blind eye to other symbols of Palestinian sovereignty.  It will not be able to prevent the hoisting of Palestinian Flags in the environs of the Al Aqsa Mosque, nor will it try to do so.

                On March 26, the Pope will fly back to Rome leaving the Israelis and Palestinians behind to continue sparring.  Israeli defense experts expect that the Pope’s departure will bring the interval of Arafat’s good behavior to an end.  He wants to demonstrate that he can be responsible and can guarantee security for an event of this magnitude.  But the incident last Saturday in which rocks were hurled at French PM Jospin at Bir Zeit University tarnished that image a bit.

                Barak has publicly adhered to the program that he has outlined for the peace process with the Palestinians: first a framework agreement, then an agreement on a third withdrawal, followed by a final status settlement to be signed in September.  But he has read the military intelligence estimates that say there is no way to overcome the fundamental difference of opinion because the opening position of the Palestinians is maximalist in scope.  Intelligence experts say declaration of an independent Palestinian state as a matter of time, and are of the opinion that Arafat will not be able to postpone it for a second time if no agreement is reached.  The gaps between the sides are too wide, especially on the issue of borders and the division of the West Bank, and that no agreement will be possible.

                Barak is being advised to change the Israeli approach: Instead of opposing the declaration of a Palestinian state and seeing it as a  threat, he should make the best of it.  Israel should recognize the new state and immediately launch negotiations with it over the border between the two countries.  Bill Clinton can get his long-awaited Nobel Prize as the reviver of Palestinian independence and will therefore support the process.





Washington Post, Feb 23 – U.S. hardliners believe rising China poses great risks – While working as an aide to Representative Christopher Cox, Republican of California, Richard Fisher collected dozens of photographs and sketches of China’s latest weaponry: the Russian built Sovremenny destroyer, advanced ballistic missiles, pilotless drones and Su-27 fighters.  Mr. Fisher is grimly confident that someday these weapons could be aimed at Americans.

                “This is shaping up to be a major military disaster for the United States,” he said.  Mr. Fisher, who moved last month to a Washington research organization, describes himself as a member of the “Blue Team” – a loose alliance of members of Congress, congressional staff members, research organization fellows, Republican political operatives, conservative journalists, lobbyists for Taiwan, former intelligence officers and a handful of academics, all united in the view that a rising China poses great risks to America’s vital interests.  These hard-liners on China advance the view that China’s steady military buildup will soon put it in a position to threaten the United States, most obviously by bullying Taiwan.

                The Blue team and its sympathizers think the United States should recognize that conflict with China is probable if not inevitable.  “Where the U.S.-China relationship is going is, frankly, toward conflict,” said Frank Gaffney, a former congressional aide and Defense Department official in the Reagan administration who now runs a research organization called the Center for Security Police.  Mr. Gaffney compared America’s current China policy to its relations with Japan and Germany before World War II.  “In many ways,” Mr. Gaffney said, “this is a time not dissimilar to the 1930s.”


London Times, Feb 25 – U.S. aircraft carrier deployed near Taiwan Strait – The deployment of an American aircraft carrier yesterday to the East China Sea has been taken as a gesture of support in Taiwan but an act of aggression by China after a week-long war of words that has pushed cross-strait relations to a new low.  The USS Kitty Hawk, stationed in Japan, has been sent on a “training mission,” according to US officials.  But the deployment had not been previously announced and officials acknowledged that the carrier would be monitoring the situation in the Taiwan Straight. 

                A Chinese government spokesman blamed Washington for aggravating tensions.  “If the US is really concerned about peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, then it should stop interfering in China’s affairs,” he said.  “U.S. meddling has caused the current situation.”  The Kitty Hawk is part of the Seventh Fleet, which has long acted as a US counter-balance to Chinese power.  The 80,800-tonne vessel has about 70 aircraft on board, including FA18s, F14s and a whole range of helicopters.

                This week’s tension was described as reaching an “historically low point,” according to Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan’s Vice-President, and coincides with the Taiwanese presidential elections on March 18.  The US deployed two aircraft carriers in the East China Sea during the last elections in 1996, after China launched missiles into the strait during an exercise.


London Times, Feb 28 – U.S. Admiral to warn China that America is prepared to defend Taiwan – The commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet has traveled to Beijing to warn Chinese leader, after last week’s threats, that America is prepared to defend Taiwan.  Admiral Dennis Blair’s visit is seen as an attempt to regain the initiative after Washington was given no advance warning of Beijing’s threat last Monday to use force against the Island if Taiwan puts off unification talks indefinitely.  The admiral will meet military leaders and visit the headquarters of the Nanjing military region from where a Taiwan campaign would be conducted.  Last week the US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk left its Japanese base in a move seen as hostile by Beijing.

                With presidential elections in Taiwan a few weeks away, China’s renewed belligerence has turned out to be quite effective, fostering fears among voters that victory for a pro-independence candidate could lead to a Chinese attack.  A drop in Taiwanese stock indices has reminded voters that, if Beijing is upset by the poll result, more threats and financial setbacks could follow.


The Washington Times, Feb 29 – China threatens to fire long-range nuclear missiles at U.S. – China stepped up its war of words over Taiwan yesterday, bluntly threatening to fire long-range nuclear missiles at the United States if it defends the island.  The warning, published in the official People’s Liberation newspaper, comes as a U.S. aircraft carrier and two cruise-missile destroyers recently began exercises off Japan.  Defense officials said the warships could be sent to Taiwan Strait in a crisis.

                While China is a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, “on the other hand, it is a country that has certain abilities of launching strategic counterattack and the capacity of launching a long-distance strike,” the article said.  “The U.S. military will even be forced to make a complete withdrawal from the East Asian region, as they were forced to withdraw from southern Vietnam in those days,” the paper said.


Inside China Today, Feb 29 – China orders military on alert – Chinese President Jiang Zemin has issued an alert for People’s Liberation Army forces including on the coast along the Taiwan straight, a newspaper reported Monday.  Jiang, also head of the Central Military Commission, signed decrees ordering the military regions of Nanjing, Jinan, Beijing and other units including the East China Fleet to go on alert from February 23, Chinese-language daily The Sun said, citing unnamed “insiders” in Beijing.  The military alert order comes as Taiwan, which Beijing deems a renegade province, is to hold its presidential elections on March 18.


World Net Daily, March 2 – Chinese air force commander says military prepared to attack Taiwan – According to its commander, China’s air force will go on the offensive in a war over Taiwan.  “It is difficult to conduct the air force’s mission and tasks without striking capability in future air defense operations,” stated Lt. Gen. Liu Shunyao, to reporter Robert Wall in “Chinese War Plans Emphasize Air Force’s Offensive Role,” Aviation Week & Space Technology.

                Liu has been in charge of the Chinese air force since November 1996.  Under his direction, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force has adopted a more “active defense” for wartime operations.  Liu made it clear that he intended to counter directly U.S. stealth aircraft such as the B-2 and F-117 with lessons learned from the U.S. air war over Kosovo last year.

                “Air Power will become the main fighting force in local wars and have increasing influence on the progress and outcome of war,” said Liu.  The commander also made it clear that the Chinese air force’s role is to preserve “territorial integrity” – a thinly veiled reference to the current dispute between communist Beijing and democratic Taipei.


Reuters, March 4 – Taiwan candidates say can’t accept China timetable – Two of Taiwan’s most popular presidential candidates on Saturday rejected China’s military threat aimed at speeding up unification, saying the island would never accept a timetable for negotiations.


                Whether this will turn into a major conflict within the next two weeks remains to be seen.



The grace of Yahshuah HaMashiach be with you all.