Roll Call in the Heavens

Monday, June 2, 2014

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture explains how the Almighty Creator calls His universe to order!

As NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe was exiting our solar system in 1990, technicians turned its camera around to take a most stunning snapshot, “Pale Blue Dot” (search the internet for the image). From a distance of 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers)—roughly 40 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun—Voyager 1 captured a photograph of a literal blue speck suspended in a vast field of blackness. It was truly “Earth viewed against the grand scheme of things!”

As Earth rotates on its axis, sunlight disappears, night falls, and God “bringeth out their host by number” (today’s Scripture). We “lift up [our] eyes on high,” and see a few thousand dots of light—stars, spheres of bright gas—but we are viewing the heavens through a ridiculously-small window. One estimate of the number of stars in our universe is a number that exceeds the sum of the sand grains on all of Earth’s beaches!

Today’s Scripture provides a most striking illustration. JEHOVAH, the Lord Jesus Christ, “calls roll” regarding the quadrillions upon quadrillions of stars appearing in the celestial sphere at night; as less sunlight is seen, more stars shine. They appear as He calls them individually. “He telleth [or, counts] the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4). Yes, the God of the Bible has a name for every single star!

The context of today’s Scripture is the Prophet Isaiah’s discourse about JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, versus pagan idols that Israel foolishly worships (chapters 40-48). JEHOVAH asks in the verse prior to today’s Scripture, “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (verse 25). It is a rhetorical question in light of today’s Scripture. The answer is, “Only JEHOVAH can call roll in the heavens!” 🙂

Unfathomable Distances, Unsearchable Speeds #2

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3:20,21 KJV).

The vastness of space is mindboggling; today’s Scripture is equally mind-blowing….

God will use us, the Body of Christ (who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour), in eternity future to rule the heavens, just as He will use Israel to rule the earth. In order to function in the heavens, we need glorified bodies like Jesus Christ’s (today’s Scripture).

On resurrection Sunday around sunrise, Mary Magdalene goes to Jesus’ empty tomb. After seeing two angels, Jesus Himself appears. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). Jesus must travel to the third heaven to present Himself to the Father, so sinful human hands must not taint Him.

“Then the same day at evening” He reappears, showing Himself to His other disciples (Thomas absent): “after eight days,” He again appears to His disciples, and when Thomas doubts, Jesus instructs Thomas to touch Him (verses 18-29). So, in as little as 12 hours (but no more than eight days), Jesus left earth, crossed a vast portion of the universe and exited it, went to His Father in the third heaven, re-entered and traveled across the universe, and landed right back on earth! We can fathom neither the distance nor the speed Jesus Christ’s resurrected body traveled.

The Apostle Paul described our heavenly glorification in today’s Scripture. At the rapture, we Christians will receive glorified bodies like Jesus Christ’s. We cannot enter heaven with these current, sinful bodies: “for this corruption [deceased Christians’ bodies] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [Christians whose bodies are not yet dead] must put on immorality” (1 Corinthians 15:49-55).

Those new bodies will enable us to travel through outer space….

Unfathomable Distances, Unsearchable Speeds #1

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3:20,21 KJV).

The vastness of space is mindboggling; today’s Scripture is equally mind-blowing….

We who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, are members of the Church the Body of Christ. Paul’s epistles are very clear that, in eternity future, God will use us in the heavenly places just as He will use the nation Israel on the earth.

“And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him [Jesus Christ] to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20). Verses 16 and 17 already identified these “things:” “For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” The “things” are offices of government!

Through the blood of Jesus Christ shed at Calvary’s cross, the governments of heaven and earth (currently occupied by Satan and his minions) will one day be restored, and their new occupants—redeemed Israel on earth and us the Church the Body of Christ in the heavenly places—will bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ (after all, they were “created by him and for him”).

Distances in outer space are so enormous that scientists often utilize the astronomical unit (Earth’s distance from the sun, roughly 93 million miles / 150 million kilometers) and the light-year (the distance light travels in one year, about 6 trillion miles / 9.6 trillion kilometers). Actually, some objects in the universe are hundreds of light-years apart! In order to function in the vastness of outer space, we will need glorified bodies capable of doing amazing feats….

Unfathomable Distances, Unsearchable Greatness

Monday, June 3, 2013

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3 KJV).

Let us consider the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ from the perspective of astronomy….

One of the most difficult scientific concepts to grasp is the scale of the universe, but using a familiar unit, we can better appreciate its size. Consider these mathematical calculations from my personal notes.

Assuming a nonstop driving speed of 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour), it would take:

  • 68 years to travel from the sun to Mercury.
  • 127 years to travel from the sun to Venus.
  • 176 years to travel from Earth to the sun.
  • 269 years to travel from the sun to Mars.
  • 918 years to travel from the sun to Jupiter.
  • 1,683 years to travel from the sun to Saturn.
  • 3,384 years to travel from the sun to Uranus.
  • 5,304 years to travel from the sun to Neptune.
  • 6,960 years to travel from the sun to Pluto (our solar system’s “edge”).

Another way to comprehend the vastness of the solar system is (using the same speed of 60 miles per hour):

  • Mercury is “108 years” away from us.
  • Venus is “49 years” away from us.
  • Mars is “93 years” away from us.
  • Jupiter is “742 years” away from us.
  • Saturn is “1,507 years” away from us.
  • Uranus is “3,208 years” away from us.
  • Neptune is “5,304 years” away from us.
  • Pluto is “6,784 years” away from us.

Now, think of this… the solar system (above) is merely a speck in the Milky Way Galaxy, which itself is but a speck in the Local Group, which itself is merely a speck in the universe! In fact, traveling at the previous speed of 60 miles per hour, it would take you 580,000,000,000,000,000 years to traverse the known universe from “end” to “end!”

What is most amazing? “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6). God spoke it all into being—from nothing!

A Bright Creator and His Luminous Creations

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:4,5 KJV).

Take a glimpse into God’s mind by permitting today’s Scripture to sink into yours!

Stars are large, gaseous spheres, mainly composed of hydrogen and helium, and they are arranged in clusters throughout the heavens. Some stars are 1,500 times larger than the sun, which itself is more than 100 times larger than planet earth; by comparison, the “smallest” known stars are “only” 25 times larger than earth!

There are perhaps 100 sextillion—that is 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!!!—stars in our universe. Our telescopes cannot see very far into outer space, so there are countless more stars that have yet to be observed. Moreover, from earth, we can only observe thousands of those stars at night.

Regardless of the actual number of stars, today’s Scripture is mind-boggling. Not only does God “tell [count] the number of the stars,” He also “calls them all by their names!” God has a name for every last star—all 100 sextillion-plus! No wonder the Bible says, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” God’s mind is limitless: He understands everything. He devised everything from nothing and then created it all from nothing. Great is our Lord!” But there is more….

In 1 Corinthians 15:41, we read: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (Interestingly, while scientists often refer to the sun as a “star,” the Bible does not. God, especially in this verse, treats the sun and the stars as separate bodies). According to Scripture, not only is each and every star is accounted for and has its own name, but it also has its own glorious properties that God Himself arranged (scientists actually agree with Scripture here). Over 100 sextillion stars, and each and every one is upheld by God’s spoken word.

Reflect on such diversity, such masterful artistry, such luminous bodies… directly from the (bright) mind of the Creator God Himself!

A Miracle of Astronomical Proportions

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon” (Joshua 10:12 KJV).

“For the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Signs, miracles, and wonders are Israel’s national heritage. From their beginning (Abraham) until the early Acts period, Israel witnessed God’s miraculous demonstrations. In today’s Scripture, Israel literally saw “a miracle of astronomical proportions.”

When Israel under Joshua’s leadership came into the Promised Land, the Amorites (Gentiles) inhabited the area. In today’s Scripture, Joshua and Israel’s armies are engaged in warfare with the Amorites. Joshua, wanting to demonstrate God’s power to the Amorites, and to remind Israel of her God’s supremacy, commands the Sun and the Moon to stand still. What happens?

“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:13,14).

The scientific and even religious communities deny these verses. How could the Sun and Moon remain motionless, without altering the delicate balance of the solar system (and universe)? We cannot comprehend such a concept of stationary celestial bodies, but we confess, “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).

If God could speak the heaven and the earth into existence, from nothing, and establish natural laws to govern their movements, He could certainly manipulate those laws to produce extraordinary events. Joshua 10:13,14 does not need scientific confirmation. By faith, we understand it happened just as Scripture declares. We rejoice in the power of the great God whom we serve!