Biblical Astronomy

November 1998

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

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



There is a very strong possibility that the recent signing of the treaty between Israel and the PLO on October 23, 1998, was indeed the confirming or strengthening of the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27. Before a covenant can be confirmed or strengthened, there needs to be a covenant to begin with, and that covenant was made on September 13, 1993. The treaty signed on October 23 was not a new treaty, but as plainly stated in news reports, it was to get the original treaty back on track with assurances of more commitment from both parties to achieving its goals.

There is also the possibility that October 22, 1998, could be considered as the beginning date of the strengthening of the covenant since verbal agreements were made on that date. There were astronomical signs which occurred on both dates.

Shortly after sunset on October 21, the first crescent light of the new moon should have been visible from Jerusalem. At this time the sun was in Virgo (the Woman) and the moon was below her feet (Chart 83). The moon was 1% illuminated and 9 degrees above the horizon five minutes after sunset. If the crescent light of the moon was visible, then this would have been the beginning of Heshvan 1 on the Hebrew calendar. Heshvan 1 would have ended at sunset on October 22. If the first crescent light of the new moon was not visible shortly after sunset on October 21, it would surely have been visible after sunset on October 22 when the moon was 4% illuminated and 16 degrees above the horizon, five minutes after sunset as viewed from Jerusalem. In that case, Heshvan 1 would have ended at sunset on October 23. Shortly after sunset on October 23, the moon was in the constellation Libra, and far below the Woman's feet.

Chart 6 displays the picture of the sign Virgo and the positions of the sun and moon shortly after sunset on October 21, 1998. I drew in the constellation lines as shown on Chart 83 for better clarification.

The figure of speech used in the scriptures to describe the beginning of Jacob's Trouble is "a woman in travail with child." A few examples are:

Jeremiah 30:6-7 - Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned unto paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

I Thessalonians 5:3-4 - For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethern, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

The sign given in heaven which portrays the figure of speech used in the above verses is given in Revelation 12:1-2.

And there appeared a great wonder (sign) in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

This sign appears in the heavens once every two to three years. The timing of its appearance this year is eye opening when considering the other events that were happening at that time.

Another very interesting celestial event occurred on October 23, 1998. Saturn (Satan) reached opposition, which is its closest approach to the earth for the year, at 8:34 p.m., Jerusalem Standard Time or 2:34 in the afternoon, Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Saturn was in the sign Pisces (the nation of Israel) at that time, and it was in conjunction with the constellation Cetus (the beast from the sea). At 2:36 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) the first report from the Associated Press with the headlines "Mideast Peace Accord Reached" was released to the world. The first release with this headline contained three sentences. The last sentence reads "It's a go," a U.S official said." The second release with the same headline was released 5 minutes later at 2:41 EDT. Three more sentences were added. The first of the added sentences stated that "President Clinton gave reporters the thumbs-up as he hurriedly boarded his helicopter for the trip back to Washington, suggesting that the snag with Israel would not prevent Netanyahu and Arafat from finalizing the accord." This is astronomical timing at its best. The actual signing of the accord occurred around 5:30 p.m. EDT. I have not yet found the exact time for the signing, but the agreement was reached and the talks were closed very close to or at 2:34 p.m. which was the exact time that Saturn reached opposition. The actual signing occurred shortly before the beginning of the Sabbath, Washington time, but during the Sabbath, shortly before midnight, Jerusalem time.

One important factor that I will mention here is that from October 22 or 23 (using western reckoning or Jewish inclusive reckoning) to the Day of Atonement in 2005 (Sacred Calendar) is 2,520 days, or exactly two 1,260 day periods. There are 1,260 days from October 22, or 23, 1998, to April 4, or 5, 2002, which are Nisan 20 or 21 and the sixth and seventh days of unleavened bread. From the mid-way point to the Day of Atonement (September 6) in 2005 is another 1,260 day period, to the day. From the mid-way point in 2002 to the first day of Channakah in 2005 is 1,335 days (Daniel 12:12). The Jewish Talmudic Calendar has October 13 as the Day of Atonement in 2005. Going by the first visibility of the crescent moon that month, the Day of Atonement would actually fall on October 15 if using October 6 for Tishri 1 instead of September 6. There are 1,290 days (Daniel 12:11) from the midpoint in 2002 to October 15, 2005. The numbers work out very well either way you want to go with this.

The following is from the Astronomy magazine website concerning the opposition of Saturn on October 23, 1998.

"To the east of Jupiter, standing above the eastern horizon by nightfall, is the planet Saturn. Saturn reaches opposition on October 23 and remains visible all night. The bright planet can be spotted easily among the stars of Pisces the Fish. A yellowish glow at magnitude 0 is the brightest the planet has become in years. This is due, in large part, to the opening view of the southern face of the ring system. The widening of the rings will continue until 2002."

This article prompted me to do more research on the cycles of the widening of Saturn's ring system, especially since the apparent widening of the rings is going to reach its furthest extent in the year 2002. If this is the last 7 years mentioned in Daniel, then the mid-way point will be in 2002 which could very well be the beginning of the "Great Tribulation" or the last half of the 7 year period.

It takes about 30 years for Saturn to make one complete circuit through the constellations or to complete one orbit around the sun. Its actual Sidereal Period is 29.458 years. The angle at which Saturn is observed from Earth slowly changes throughout that period. The northern hemisphere of Saturn is observed from Earth for approximately 17 years, and the southern hemisphere for approximately 13 years during its 30 year orbital period. When the southern hemisphere is tilted toward the earth, a greater area of the band of Saturn's rings is exposed than is exposed when the northern hemisphere is tilted toward Earth. This produces greater reflectivity and Saturn is at its brightest every 29 to 30 years when the fullest extent of the band of rings is exposed and when Saturn is at opposition near the time of fullest exposure of the rings. What is of interest in this study is the 13 year cycle of the exposure of the southern hemisphere of Saturn.

Chart 84 displays Saturn over a twelve year period from 1995 to 2007. All of the pictures of Saturn are on the dates it is at opposition. These were taken from the Dance of the Planets program and cut out from 12 different charts and taped to this chart. This is how Saturn appears from Earth at 512X magnification on the dates listed below the pictures. Saturn reaches opposition about 13 or 14 days later each year than it does in the previous year.

On September 14, 1995, the rings of Saturn are seen edge-on. For practical purposes I will refer to this as the beginning of the 13 year cycle of southern exposure. Notice that each year following, more of the ring band is exposed. Each successive year Saturn will appear brighter until it reaches its peak brightness on or near December 17, 2002, when it is at opposition that year. Saturn reaches its greatest brightness at opposition and at the peak of the southern exposure about every 30 years. The greatest exposure of the rings will be visible from mid May to early July in 2002. Saturn will not be as bright at that time since it will be at a greater distance from the earth. Saturn will then slowly decrease in brightness at opposition in the years following. The rings of Saturn will appear edge-on again in 2009 at which time it begins its northern exposure cycle. There is correlation with major historical events in this century as well as the period of time when the Lord first appeared when Saturn was going through the first 7 to 10 years of its southern exposure cycle. Around the time of the birth of Jesus Christ, Saturn began the 13 year cycle on September 14, 7 B.C., and reached its peak brightness on December 6, 1 B.C. Around the time of the crucifixion of the Lord, Saturn began the 13 year cycle on September 21, 24 A.D., and reached its peak brightness on December 14, 30 A.D. The first time that Saturn began its 13 year cycle this century was September 18, 1907 and reached its peak brightness on December 21, 1914 or around the beginning of World War I. Saturn was in the 12th year of the cycle when World War I ended. The next cycle started on September 12, 1936 and peaked on December 16, 1943, at the peak of World War II. The third cycle this century started on September 19, 1966 and peaked on December 23, 1973. Both the 1967, 6 day war and the 1973 Yom Kippur war occurred during this time period, as well as the Vietnam War.

It appears that certain times in history when Saturn exposes its southern hemisphere and greatest area of ring exposure (rears up its horns so to speak), the Devil puts forth his malignant powers. He tried to cut off the Promised Seed of God around the time of the birth of the Lord by sending forth his armies to kill all the children from 2 years old and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. He again tried to cut off the Messiah by killing him, but then wished he hadn't when God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and set him at His right hand on the heavenly throne. Through Hitler, he tried to kill off all of Jews so that the prophecies of the end times would not come to pass, since there would be no chance for Israel to exist. This back-fired and the Jews got Israel again for a homeland as a result. In 1967 he sent forth forces to drive the Jews from Israel, but this again back-fired and as a result the Jews gained more land, including Jerusalem. This was again tried in 1973 with Israel gaining even more land including the Golan Heights. I believe the next time the Devil attacks Israel will be the last time and will result with Israel getting all of the land that God promised to Abraham, which includes an area between the Nile and Euphrates rivers. The Promised Seed will reappear and defeat the Devil at Armageddon. I do not believe that this is very far in the future.


The long anticipated Leonids meteor storm will soon be upon us. Whether it will put on a good show remains to be seen. If it will cause major damage to some satellites also remains to be seen. The radiant of the meteor storm is in the head of the Lion of Judah (Leo). The following is an excerpt from an article by Donald K. Yeomans of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. I consider Donald Yeomans as one of the foremost experts in the field of celestial mechanics.

"Each November when the Earth runs into the dusty debris from periodic comet 55P/Temple-Tuttle, some Leonid meteor shower activity is noted. These annual displays of meteors, or shooting stars, seem to originate in the constellation Leo so they are termed Leonid meteors. Normally, the observed rate of the Leonid meteors is about 15 per hour under ideal observing conditions. However, every 33 years or so when the parent comet Tempel-Tuttle returns to the Earth's neighborhood, there is a possibility that the Leonid meteors rates can get substantially higher. In some years such as 1799, 1833, and 1966, when the Earth passed particularly close to the tube of debris following in the comet's wake, there were Leonid meteor "storms" noted of up to 150,000 meteors per hour. Periodic comet Temple-Tuttle passed closest to the sun (reached perihelion) most recently on Feb. 28, 1998 and a month later on March 5, the comet passed through the plane of the Earth's orbit about the sun.

Another way of saying the same thing is to note that the comet passed through the ecliptic plane from north to south or it passed through its descending node. We can expect the maximum Leonid meteor shower activity when the Earth arrives close to this nodal crossing point on November 17, 1998 at 19 hours 43 minutes Universal Time (UT). The peak Leonid meteor shower activity takes place within one hour but some activity can be observed for a few hours on either side of this peak. Unfortunately for observers located in the United States, the Nov. 1998 shower maximum will occur during daylight hours (2:43 pm local time on the east coast and 11:43 am on the west coast). While some enhanced 1998 Leonid activity may be visible just before dawn for U.S. observers, the Leonid shower maximum should be best observed by those located near the regions of Japan and eastern Asia. In November 1999, the Leonid shower will be best observed from the regions near Europe and North Africa.

...The geometric circumstances between the comet's orbit and that of the Earth for 1998 and 1999 are most similar to those circumstances during the Leonid showers in 1866-67 and 1931-32. Since the observed Leonid meteor rates in 1866-67 and 1931-32 were approximately 5,000 and 200 per hour respectively, we might anticipate a zenith hourly rate in 1998 and 1999 bounded by the rates witnessed in the earlier events - between 200 and 5,000 meteors per hour.

...Peter Brown, a respected researcher of the Leonid meteor phenomena, has suggested a more optimistic prediction of between 1,000 and 9,000 meteors per hour in 1998 (zenith hourly rate). In any case, it is well worth the effort to observe the upcoming Leonid meteors since it will be another century after the 1998-1999 events before significant Leonid meteor displays are once again likely."


Over the last year, I have been working with Michael Rood on getting the Hebrew calendar back on track. In order to do this properly, there needs to be witnesses in Jerusalem to observe the first crescent light of the new moon each month, and observance of the barley crops. Michael recently went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and this is a quote from a letter he sent me in early October before he left for Jerusalem.

"We should have our two witnesses in place by Heshvan 1, and hopefully the web site up by that date as well."

I now find the date of Heshvan 1 (October 22 or 23) to be of great interest. There will be more on the witnesses and the Sacred calendar in the December newsletter, Lord willing.