It is evident at this time that the “Great Tribulation” has not yet begun. The abomination of desolation did not occur and the “woman” did not take flight to the wilderness. Well, it’s not back to square one, but about square 6. I am convinced that the celestial events that have occurred over the last four years are signs pointing to the soon return or reappearance of the Messiah. It may be that God has given us an extra season of grace. If so, may you use it well. How long this season may last; one month, six months, one year, or forty years, only the Father knows.
NEW MOON REPORT
On April 5, 2000, the sky over Jerusalem and Israel was full of haze. So much so, that the first crescent of the new moon was not seen. If it were not for the haze, the crescent light would most likely have been seen.
During the Temple Period, if the crescent light of the new moon was not seen at the end of the 29th day of the month (because of cloud cover or other reasons), then an extra day would be added to the month, and the beginning of the following month would begin on the next evening. There would never be more than 30 days on the Hebrew calendar.
The end of the 29th day of Adar Bet was at sunset on April 5. Since the new moon was not seen on that evening from Jerusalem, or the rest of Israel, it was the beginning of the 30th day of Adar Bet. Abib 1 started at sunset on April 6.
There was a barley field located between Jerusalem and Jericho found in its abib stage on April 4. The barley fields in the Judean hills were nowhere near abib. The barley needs to be abib in order to be used as a wave offering such as was done in the
Temple Period during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. If the barley was not in its abib stage at the end of the 12th month, then an extra month was added to allow the barley to reach abib for the wave offering. The barley crops in the lower plains and Jordan Valley reach the abib stage up to one month earlier than crops planted in the upper Judean hills. It is the firstfruit of the land of Israel (not Jerusalem) that is to be used for the wave offering (Lev. 23:10-14). Jerusalem is located at the highest elevation in Judea. There are many areas at much lower elevations less than ten miles from Jerusalem, in which the crops would become abib much sooner than the crops in the immediate vicinity of the city. The people of the land of Israel were not allowed to eat of the fruit of the harvest until the firstfruit wave offering was accomplished. It only makes sense if the firstfruits of the first crops to ripen in the land of Israel were used for the wave offering. Thus Abib 1 started at sunset on April 6, 2000.
The barley crops in the Judean hills last year did not reach the abib stage until late April. Thus, there were some that added the extra month Adar Bet to the calendar at that time. I did not get any confirmation of observations of the barley fields in the lower elevations at that time, and as yet have received no confirmation. As far as I know, this is the first year that observations have been made in the lower elevations of Israel since the Temple Period.
The next first crescent light of the new moon is expected to be seen from Jerusalem near sunset on May 5, when the moon will be 3% illuminated and 16 degrees above the horizon at five minutes after sunset. If there is no cloud cover or other atmospheric conditions blocking the observation, then the beginning of the second month will begin at sunset on May 5. Otherwise, it will be at sunset on May 6. Both of these dates coincide with the much talked about the fairly close gathering of the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and the Sun and Moon.
CELESTIAL EVENTS OF MAY 2000
The month of May is loaded with celestial events. To start, there is the much-talked about gathering of the five bright planets along with the Sun and Moon from May 4-6. Following are six planetary conjunctions including the 20-year reunion of Jupiter and Saturn, and a close triangular massing of Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. The following are the celestial highlights for the month.
May 4 – 6 - Close gathering of the five bright
planets, Sun and Moon in Aries and
May 05 - First crescent of New Moon visible
from Jerusalem near sunset?
May 08 - Jupiter/Mercury conjunction in Aries
May 09 - Mercury/Saturn conjunction in Aries
May 17 - Jupiter/Venus conjunction (very close)
May 18 - Venus/Saturn conjunction in Aries
May 19 - Mars/Mercury conjunction in Taurus
Jupiter/Venus/Saturn mass in Aries
May 31 - Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in Taurus
Though there are many celestial events occurring in May, most of them will not be visible to the naked eye because the planets will be too close to the sun and very low on the horizon near sunrise and sunset. Of the above planets, only Mars will be visible through the entire month. Through most of May, the other planets will not be visible. The only conjunctions that will be visible are the Mars/Mercury conjunction on May 19, and the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction on May 31.
There is a unique celestial event that will be visible (where clear skies abide) in the early evening of May 5, and that is the grouping of Mars, the star Aldebaran ( the leader or governor), with the first crescent of the New Moon in Taurus. Mars is red and Aldebaran is a red star and is the right eye of Taurus (Messiah, the coming judge of all the earth). Rev. 1:14 – “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;”
The main theme of the sign Taurus is Messiah coming in judgement and God’s wrath being poured forth on his enemies.
The May 5 event of the grouping of the Sun, Moon and five planets is a somewhat rare event, but has been hyped up way beyond proportion. The alignment will not cause harmful physical effects on Earth, such as a sudden change in the earth’s poles, or toppling of its axis. See the June 1997 issue of Biblical Astronomy for further information.
Charts 141 and 142 show the positions of the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and the Sun and Moon at 7:40 p.m. Jerusalem local time on May 4, 2000. There is actually a closer alignment of the planets with the Earth, Sun and Moon on May 3-4 than there is on May 5 or 6. The moon reaches conjunction with the sun in the early morning hours of May 4. At that time the moon will be in the head of Cetus (the beast from the sea). On May 5, the moon will move into position between Mars and Aldebaran.
There will be a rare close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in the constellation Aries on May 17. Unfortunately, this will most likely not be visible from Earth since the planets are so close to the sun. At the closest point of conjunction, which will occur at 12:30 p.m. Jerusalem Standard Time, the planets will be only 20 arc-seconds apart. This is almost as close as these two planets came, as viewed from Earth, in the well-noted conjunction of June 17, 2 B.C. Jupiter and Venus come this close together in conjunction about every 100 to 250 years.
Charts 143 and 144 display a very rare event that will take place on May 19. It is again unfortunate that part of this event will not be visible. On May 19 there will be a close triangular massing of Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the early morning sky. It is doubtful that this will be visible. In the evening sky on the same date, there will be a Mercury/Mars conjunction, which will be visible. On Chart 143, only the sun, planets and brighter stars are shown. This is for clarity. There is a unique order seen here with the triangular massing of Jupiter, Venus and Saturn on the west side of the sun; the sun in conjunction with the Pleiades (the congregation of the judge or ruler) and its bright star Alcyone (the centre); and Mercury and Mars near conjunction with Aldebaran (the leader). I have searched and have not yet found any other time where there was a close triangular massing of three of the bright planets on one side of the sun, while there was at the same time a direct conjunction of the other two bright planets on the other side of the sun. Seen here also is Comet 76P, which is also close to direct conjunction to Mercury, Mars and Aldebaran. This comet is closing in on Mars and will fly by the planet at a distance of two million miles on June 4. This comet may appear as a fairly bright object in the Martian skies.
Jupiter and Saturn will come into conjunction on May 31 and June 1. These two planets come into conjunction about every 20 years. Charts 145 and 146 show the position of the planets during the conjunction just within the border of the constellation Taurus, about 30 minutes before sunrise in Jerusalem on May 31. The sun will be nearing conjunction with Aldebaran at this time, and the moon will be in the head of Cetus (the beast from the sea) for its second time in May. In the early morning sky of June 1, the waning crescent moon will be seen in conjunction with Jupiter and Saturn. There will be more on this event in the June 2000 issue of Biblical Astronomy.
COMET 1999 S4 UPDATE
The following is an update on Comet 1999S4 released by the Comet Observation Homepage on March 20, 2000.
Brightness of C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) – “IAU Circular 7383 (March 17, 2000) provides an updated ephemeris for this comet and words of warning from Daniel Green. Apparently, C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) may be making its first trip through the inner solar system…this is not good news. Comets coming in for the first time often have failed to meet their brightness predictions. The most recent notable example of this was C/1989 X1 (Austin), which was predicted to reach ml~0 or brighter, but only became a very faint naked-eye object.
We should know in May, when it is picked up after solar conjunction, how well C/1999 S4 (LINEAR) is following the brightness predictions. However, as pointed out by Alan Hale and demonstrated by the observations on this page, the comet hasn’t brightened at all since January. Are we facing another dud?”
See the October 1999 issue of Biblical Astronomy for previous information on this comet. The comet will reach its closest approach to the earth on July 23 at a distance of about 35 million miles. The orbital period for the comet is about 21 million years according to recent data.
IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN
The July 1999-June 2000 Biblical Astronomy subscription year ends in June. Each year I start a new mail list in July. If you wish to subscribe to Biblical Astronomy for the July 2000-June 2001 year without interruptions in delivery, please send a check or money order for $20.00 ($25.00 Canada, $30.00 other countries) to:
P.O. Box 2272
Oregon City, OR 97045
INTERNET USERS - The paid subscriptions for the postal version of Biblical Astronomy has decreased from 350 subscribers in 1996 to 70 subscribers in 2000. This is mostly due to more subscribers getting the newsletter from the Biblical Astronomy Website. The Biblical Astronomy Website gets about 3,000 hits per month. This past year I purchased a new computer to facilitate updated astronomy software to enhance the newsletter and allow an easier method to place the star charts on the website. My old computer was a 486 DX with a 28.8 k modem. After purchasing the new computer and software, along with internet fees, mailing and printing costs, etc., Biblical Astronomy went about $700.00 in the red this past year. If you are blessed with the information you receive from the newsletters and you wish to send a donation, it is most welcomed. Just a $5.00 donation per year from one-third of those who frequently visit the site would go a long way towards keeping Biblical Astronomy’s head above water. Thank you for your prayers and your support.
APRIL 28 – SEMINAR
New Hope Church in Vancouver, Washington will be sponsoring a speaking engagement by Bob Wadsworth on Recent and Forthcoming Celestial Events in Relation to Biblical Prophecy. The three hour (maybe four) talk will be held at the Minnehaha Grange on St. Johns Blvd in Vancouver, WA starting at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2000. I know that this is short notice, but this was a very recent development. For more information, call Bob Wadsworth at (503) 655-7430.
May the grace of the Messiah fall abundantly upon you.