Since I will be traveling to the east coast to visit family and friends through mid-October, I am doing this issue of Biblical Astronomy as a 2-month issue. I planned on getting this out at the beginning of September, but it did not work out that way. Now, due to the tragic events that have unfolded in the United States this past week, I am writing with a heavy heart.
If this is the year that is to begin the tribulation period written of in the Holy Scriptures, I don’t know. The current situation on the planet is most certainly grave and the signs in the heavens and in the earth have been plenteous over at least the past 5 years in congruence to the revelation of prophecies concerning the tribulation. There are many possible scenarios that we can speculate on as to where this war on terrorists will end up taking us, but we will just have to wait, most likely not long, and see what actual reality unfolds.
It is a time to strengthen our faith even further, and to remain steadfast in prayer, and to remember that the Messiah already has the victory.
I am a Christian first, but also an American. My prayers are with the leaders, lawmakers, and military of the United States of America, as well as with the American people, as we go into this war. Yahweh’s love, grace, wisdom, and mercy be with you all through His son Yahshuah HaMashiach, Jesus Christ.
NEW MOON REPORT
Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem, Israel compiled the following New Moon Report for the 6th Hebrew month of the year (month of Elul).
“On Monday, August 20, 2001 the New Moon was sighted by Devorah Gordon and Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem. The moon was first sighted by Devorah at 19:31 and then by Nehemia a few seconds later also at 19:31. The moon was also sighted by Bruce Brill and Hen-El Bruce from elsewhere in Jerusalem. Magdi Shamuel sighted the New Moon at 19:07 from Mt. Hizkiyahu (near Eilat).
The next New Moon will most likely be visible from Jerusalem near sunset on September 18 when the moon will be 2% illuminated and 11 degrees above the horizon at 5 minutes after sunset. This will be the beginning of the seventh Hebrew month Ethanum (Tishri). Tishri 1 will be from sunset September 18 to sunset September 19. The position of the moon in the constellation Virgo at 30 minutes after sunset as seen from Jerusalem is shown on Chart 226. The following is a list of the Fall Feast dates. The Gregorian dates are from sunset to sunset.
September 18/19 – Feast of Trumpets Tishri 1
September 27/28 – Day of Atonement Tishri 10
October 2/3 - 8/9 – Feast of Tabernacles Tishri 15-
October 9/10 - Last Great Day Tishri 22
OCCULTATION OF SATURN
On September 10, 2001 the moon occulted, passed over, the planet Saturn (Satan). This was similar to the occultation of Venus on July 17 (see the August 2001 issue of Biblical Astronomy). Chart 225 shows the positions of the Moon and Saturn in the constellation Taurus during the occultation. The labels on the chart for the Moon and Saturn are overlaid. This occultation happened very close to the same position in Taurus that the Moon and Venus (the Bright and Morning Star) were in during the July 17 occultation.
Though this occultation was visible from the United States, it was not visible from Israel.
The planet Mercury (Gabriel) and the star Spica (Al
Zimach – the branch) in the constellation
Bethulah (Virgo) will come into close conjunction on September 20. Chart 227 shows the position of Mercury during the conjunction as it will be seen from Jerusalem at about 30 minutes after sunset. The star Spica is the dot just to the left of the top left corner of the M in the label for Mercury. Mercury on this chart is directly left of the M. The moon at this time is under the feet of the woman. The sun, not seen here, is near the woman’s head. This brings to mind Revelation 12:1. Sunset September 20 is the beginning of Tishri 3 on the Hebrew calendar.
In the early morning sky before sunrise above the eastern horizon on September 21 (Tishri 3), Venus (the Bright and Morning Star) will be seen in a very close conjunction to the star Regulus (treading under foot). Chart 228 shows the close conjunction of the two celestial bodies as seen from Jerusalem about 30 min before sunrise. Venus is the larger dot, and Regulus (which is not labeled here) is the smaller dot just to the right of and touching Venus. Venus and Regulus will be within ½ of a degree from one another during the conjunction.
Regulus is also known as the King star and the constellation Leo represents the Tribe of Judah, the lion. So here we have the bright and morning star in very close conjunction to the King of the Tribe of Judah. Furthermore, the Lion is rising out of the east.
The Mercury/Spica conjunction the evening before may be interpreted as Gabriel announcing the coming of The Branch.
NEW MOON FOR 8TH MONTH
The New Moon which begins the 8th month on the Hebrew calendar will be visible from Jerusalem on either October 17 (near sunset) when the moon will be 1% illuminated and 7 degrees above the horizon at 5 min after sunset, or on October 18 (near sunset) when the moon will be 4% illuminated and 14 degrees above the horizon at 5 minutes after sunset. Chart 229 shows the position of the moon as seen from Jerusalem shortly after sunset on October 17 and Chart 230 shows the position of the moon as seen from Jerusalem shortly after sunset on October 18.
Venus and Mercury will come into a close conjunction in the constellation Virgo (Bethulah – the branch, The Promised Seed of the woman) on October 30, 2001. Charts 231 and 232 show the positions of the two planets in the Bethulah as seen above the eastern horizon in the early morning sky above Jerusalem on October 30. For those interested in numbers, this is day 40 from the conjunctions of Mercury/Spica and Venus/Regulus on September 20/21.
NEW COMET ON ITS WAY
The following short article is a Comet Homepage news release.
New Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) may become a binocular object (or brighter) in 2004 – IAU Circular 7711 (September 10, 2001) announced that a comet discovered by the NEAT automated search program at Palomar on August 24, may become an easy binocular (or perhaps even a naked-eye) object in May-June 2004. This is based on an improved orbit that places the perihelion distance at 1.0 AU in the last part of May 2004. It should be noted that the date of perihelion is still uncertain by several weeks. The comet is currently about 10 AU from the Sun and m1~17th magnitude. More on this as details become available.
The following articles are from the Jerusalem Post dated September 14, 2001.
17:45) Palestinians rally for bin Laden
Hundreds of Palestinian members of Hamas demonstrated
today in Gaza City, in Ramallah, and the Nuseirat refugee camp in Jericho,
Israel Radio reported.
At the rallies in Gaza and Ramallah, demonstrators waved pictures of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Palestinian policemen seized videotapes of the event taken by cameramen working for foreign networks and ordered them not to film any further.
War-style anti-terror coalition to include Israel
By Gil Hoffman
JERUSALEM (September 14) - The difference between the international anti-terror
coalition that US President George W. Bush is building and the alliance his
father, former president George Bush, formed during the Gulf War is that this
time, Israel will be a full partner, a senior Western diplomat told The
Jerusalem Post yesterday.
President Bush said the cooperation of an international coalition would allow him to "rout out and whip" the terrorists. He warned that regimes that harbor terrorists would be held accountable for their actions.
The president received the backing of NATO countries when the alliance yesterday invoked its mutual defense principle for the first time in history. The UN Security Council's unprecedented condemnation of terror will also give Bush's coalition a free hand.
The diplomat said that Bush would face the same organizational issues in forming the coalition that his father was up against in 1990. It took the former president two months to assemble his coalition against Iraq, which left out Israel in order to avoid offending Arab sensibilities.
The source said the emerging picture is that Israel's inclusion in a coalition against terror may allow it to participate in attacks against Iraq, as well as Iran and Afghanistan, but Israel will be subject to limitations.
Less certain to join the coalition is Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of the man Bush holds responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington, DC, arch-terrorist Osama bin-Laden. The US is unlikely to go out of its way to include the Saudis, who the US believes have not decided whether they support or oppose terror.
The same goes for Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres warned Arafat Wednesday that he would face the wrath of the world if he does not renounce terrorism.
Arafat yesterday called for Arab states to declare their readiness to join the international anti-terror coalition. He made his proposal during a telephone conversation with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa.
"The president has discussed with Mr. Moussa ways to work in order to build up a united Arab position that confirms that all Arab countries are ready to take part in an international coalition against terrorism," Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi told Reuters. She did not elaborate.
The Americans see Arafat's scheduled meeting with Peres on Sunday as an opportunity to judge whether he is ready to stop terror. The United States hopes that the meeting will provide a forum for Arafat to initiate an end to the violence.
The US was also concerned about the timing of Israel's invasion of Jericho Wednesday night. The diplomat echoed Palestinian fears in saying that Israel cannot act as if it has a blank check to target the Palestinians while the world is focused on New York.
As for the US, actions that have been ruled out for decades - such as political assassinations - may be up for review, Western officials said.
While Bush has promised a "monumental struggle" against terror, he was not only referring to a military response. One diplomat suggested that restraint, economic sanctions, and technological means can also be used to fight terror.
Comment By Binyamin Netanyahu
(September 14) - In 1995, I wrote in my book, Fighting Terrorism:
"Extremist Islamic terrorist organizations nullify in large measure the
need to have air power or intercontinental missiles as delivery systems for an
Islamic nuclear payload. The terrorists themselves will be the delivery system.
In the worst of such scenarios, the consequences could be not a car bomb but a
nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.
"The rising tide of Islamic terrorism is qualitatively different from the terrorism which the West has had to face until now. The various strains of militant Islam see their ultimate destiny as leading to a final confrontation with the Great Satan, the United States.
"What this new terrorism portends for America and the world and what can be done about it has not yet been sufficiently understood. The growth of terrorism has been accompanied by a steady escalation in the means of violence, including those capable of bringing down entire buildings. The very real possibility that terrorist states and organizations may soon acquire horrific weapons of mass destruction and use them to escalate terrorism beyond our wildest nightmares has not yet been addressed properly by Western governments.
"It must be recognized that, barring firm and resolute action by the United States and the West, terrorism will expand dramatically."
Ultimately, the explosion and collapse of the World Trade Center was caused by 300 tons of jet fuel rather than by a nuclear device, and this means that the tragic horror we experienced this week was not the worst possible scenario. Down the line, a far worse catastrophe may be in the offing: terrorist regimes like Iran and Iraq wielding atomic weapons. No longer will individuals or buildings be the ones threatened by terror; entire cities may be destroyed, entire states may be held hostage. The world is on the verge of an abyss, and most political leaders have not properly gauged its depth.
The only way to fully understand this is to recall the effects of another hate-filled ideology, Nazism, which also started as a local movement, and which in just a few years became a world force. Nazism 60 years ago, like fundamentalist Islam today, was also initially directed only against Jews and other local minorities. It quickly became clear, however, that its passionate hatred was directed against our entire civilization.
Then as now, the democracies were late in appreciating the horrendous implications to our societies of a fanatic ideology bent on world domination and lacking any inhibition about destroying lives in the process.
Hitler was working to develop nuclear weapons. If he had, our civilization would have come to an end. Today, for the second time in the modern era, we are faced with the possibility that weapons of mass destruction will fall in the hands of a maniacal movement, whose leaders are blinded by their fanaticism to a sober calculation of deterrence.
We could face terror and destruction on a scale that would dwarf even the horrors of Manhattan. This is the greatest danger we have ever faced. Until recently, no one dealt with it. The democracies have wasted too much time. They are approaching the 12th hour. They cannot wait any longer.
The United States must lead the alliance of free nations to stamp out terrorism and uproot its safe havens. We must declare terrorism as a crime against humanity and the terrorist as enemies of mankind. We must destroy the terrorist organizations, punish and dismantle regimes that support or harbor them, and disarm their weapons of death
For the suicide bombers are only the tip of the iceberg. Their actions could not have been possible without a broad infrastructure of governments, organizations, and ideological movements that support terror, directly and indirectly. The battle lines are clear. Those who support barbaric terror are dancing in Gaza and Ramallah, Beirut and Baghdad. Those who support freedom and democracy are grieving in New York and London, Paris and Tel Aviv.
Terror cannot be defeated unless it is completely uprooted. America must lead the international war against terrorism, but Israel must do its share. Here, right next to us - and in large measure, with our encouragement - a terror-supporting regime par excellence, led by Arafat and the PLO, has developed. And its capabilities grow increasingly stronger. It, too, like the entire empire of terror, must be disarmed and demilitarized - before it is too late.
The free world must defeat terror. If it does not, terror will defeat us.
Today's tragedies can either be the harbingers of much greater calamities yet to come or the turning point in which free societies once again mobilize their resources, their ingenuity, and their will to wipe out this evil from our midst. Eradicating terrorism is not a "policy option" - it is a necessity for the survival of our democratic society and our freedoms.
I pray for Yahweh’s hand of protection upon and around you and your families during this time of trouble. Yahweh bless you and your family in His superabundance of grace, mercy and love through His son the Messiah, Jesus Christ.