Biblical Astronomy

July 1998

Editor - Robert Scott Wadsworth <> P.O. Box 5772, Oregon City, OR 97045-8272

Phone (503) 655-7430 <> e-mail - <> website -



As mentioned in the June newsletter, Comet SOHO 1998J1 was discovered in early May. SOHO stands for Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. SOHO is an orbital observatory that is (or was) used to observe solar activity and sun grazing comets. The observatory discovered at least 50 comets, two of which were observed plunging into the sun on June 1 and June 2. For some unknown reason, contact was lost with the orbital observatory on June 25, and the chances of recovering it are considered very slim. It is now a 1.25 billion dollar piece of space junk. Nevertheless, at least one of the comets that it discovered, 1998J1, proves to have some very interesting orbital elements and certain correlations to the Comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp.

Chart 63 shows the path of 1998J1 from April 15, 1998 to May 15, 1998. The comet passed through Pisces (standard for Israel), Aries (Rev. 19:6-20:3), and Taurus (Messiah, the coming Judge of all the earth). The comet should have been visible at a third magnitude in brightness from Jerusalem from May 13 to May 18, when it was 7 degrees above the horizon about twenty minutes after sunset. On May 14 (Gregorian date for modern Israel's 50th anniversary), the comet was very close to the bright star Aldebaran (the leader or governor) in the constellation Taurus.

Comet 1998J1 reached perihelion (closest approach to the sun) around 2:30 p.m on May 8 Jerusalem Standard Time. The comet was in conjunction with the spot that the paths of comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp crossed on April 10, 1996 and 1997, at around 1:00 a.m. on May 8. The sun was in conjunction with this spot at around 4:00 p.m. on May 8. There is about a 1 in 365 chance that the comet and the sun would be in conjunction with this spot on the same day that the comet reached perihelion. Chart 64 shows the positions of the sun and 1998J1 at 11:45 a.m. on May 8, 1998.

Chart 65 shows the actual paths of comets Hale-Bopp (1997) and 1998J1 (1998) as they passed through Orion. The path shown for 1998J1 on Chart 62 of the June newsletter is a bit off. 1998J1 passed very close to, almost occulting, the star Alnitak (the wounded One) in the constellation Orion on May 23. Notice that Chart 65 displays Alnitak on the left side of the belt (actually Orion's right) and the star Mintaka (dividing, as a sacrifice) on the right. In the pictures of Orion displayed in E.W. Bullinger's The Witness of the Stars; Joseph Seiss' The Gospel in the Stars; and A Voice Crying in the Heavens, the opposite is shown. These are all in error. The pictures for all three of the above mentioned works come from the same artist. All other astronomy books that I have seen with pictures by different artists display Alnitak and Mintaka in the same positions as seen in Chart 65. This was pointed out to me by Eric Smart. Also, Richard Hinkley Allen in his book Star Names and Their Meanings, 1899, pg. 314, places Alnitak as the lowest star on the belt of Orion. At any rate, Alnitak (the wounded One) is located on the side of Orion. It was Jesus Christ whose side was pierced with a spear upon completion of paying the atonement for the sins of the world (John 19:34), and He is coming back to judge all of the earth.

Chart 66 shows both the comets 1998J1 and Hale-Bopp (1995O1) entering the constellation Puppis which is part of the ancient constellation Argo (the Ark of Noah) on June 14, 1998. Both 1998J1 and Hale-Bopp are the brightest comets out of a total of 13 that are visible telescopically at this time. 1998J1 is about magnitude 8 in brightness, and Hale-Bopp at magnitude 10. This is another amazing coincidence that both comets should enter Argo on the same day.

Chart 67 displays the paths of 1998J1 and Hale-Bopp (199501) from June 10, 1998 to August 26, 1998. The constellations Puppis, Vela and Carina are all part of the ancient constellation Argo. See E.W. Bullinger's The Witness of the Stars, pp. 157-161 for further insights and blessings concerning Argo. Comet 1998J1 exits Argo on August 26 and Hale-Bopp exits Argo on October 6, 1998 (first day of the Feast of Tabernacles - Sacred Calendar).

Chart 68 shows the path of 1998J1 from August 26, 1998 to October 8, 1998. The comet enters the constellation Crux (The cross endured) also known as the Southern Cross on September 14. 1998J1 intersects the cross near the bottom on September 26 (the One whose heal was wounded will crush the head of the serpent) and exits the Cross on October 8 (third day of Tabernacles). The comet will be in the Cross on the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement (how appropriate). The following is from E.W. Bullinger's The Witness of the Stars.

"The Southern Cross was just visible in the latitudes of Jerusalem at the time of the first coming of our Lord to die. Since then, through the gradual recession of the Polar Star, it has not been seen in the northern latitudes. It gradually disappeared and became invisible at Jerusalem when the Real Sacrifice was offered there; and tradition, which preserved its memory, assured travellers that if they could go far enough south it would again be seen. Dante sang of "the four stars never beheld but by the early race of men." It was not until the sixteenth century had dawned that missionaries and voyagers, doubling the Cape for the first time, and visiting the tropics and southern seas, brought back the news of "a wonderful cross more glorious than all the constellations of the heavens"...

Long before the Christian Era this sign of the Cross had lost its true meaning, and had been perverted in Babylon and Egypt as it has since been desecrated by Rome. The Persians and Egyptians worshipped it. The cakes made and eaten in honor of the Queen of Heaven were marked with it. This heathen custom Rome has adopted and adapted in her Good Friday cakes, which are thus stamped. But all are alike ignorant of what it means, viz, "IT IS FINISHED."

In Egypt, and in the earliest times, it was the sign and symbol of life. To-day, Romanists use it as the symbol of death! But it means Life! Natural life given up, and eternal life procured. Atonement, finished, perfect, and complete; never to be repeated, or added to. All who partake of its benefits in Christ now, in grace, by faith "ARE made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph 2:13), and of them Jesus says, "He that heareth my voice, and believeth on Him that sent me HATH everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement; but IS PASSED from death unto life" (John 5:24). So perfect and complete is the work which Jesus finished on the Cross that we cannot seek to add even our repentance, faith, tears, or prayers, without practically asserting that the work of Christ is not finished, and is not sufficient!

The Hebrew names for this constellation -- Adom and Tau -- rebuke our Pharisaic spirit, which is the relic and essence of all false religions, and points to the blessed fact that the Sacrifice was offered "once and for all," and the atoning work of Redemption completely finished at Calvary.

"Tis finished! the Messiah dies!

Cut off for sins, but not His own;

Accomplished is the sacrifice,

The great redeeming work is done."

In the ancient Egyptian Zodiac of Denderah this first Decan of Libra is represented as a lion with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, as if in thirst, and a female figure holding a cup out to him. Under his fore feet is the hieroglyphic symbol of running water. What is all this but "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" brought down "into the dust of death," and saying "I am poured out like water . . . my strength is dried up" (Psalm 22:13-18): "I thirst" (John 19:28): "and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink" (Psalm 69:21)?

The Egyptian name of this Lion, however, points to his ultimate triumph, for it is called Sera, that is, victory! "