Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sign in the Sky

Prophecy tells us to watch for signs in the sky (Jeremiah 10:2; Daniel 6:27; Joel 2:10; Luke 21:11; Acts 2:19), and a special sign is now on the horizon! A comet that could be hailed as “Comet of the Century” flew around the sun on Thanksgiving Day, was given up for dead, but emerged and now may be best seen in all its glory on Christmas Day!

Signs in the sky will herald the second coming of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-27). He will appear in the heavens like lightning (Matthew 24:27,30) in His triumphant return to defeat the enemies of Israel at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), and ultimately conquering Satan, sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). All those who have placed their trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) will accompany Him in the armies of saints (Revelation 19:14).

Jesus said to look up when we see the signs of times (Luke 21:28), for our Redemption is near! At any moment, but at least seven years before the glorious second coming described above, the trump could sound, heard only by believers. We shall be changed in an instant (1 Corinthians 15:52), caught up to meet Christ in the air, to spend eternity with Him in our glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:49,54) that will never age or feel pain or sorrow.

To date, the most radiant and long-awaited sign in the sky was the Star of Bethlehem, illuminating the birth of Jesus, the Word Himself made flesh (John 1:14), and guiding the wise men who sought the promised Messiah (Matthew 2:2-9).

When will His second coming be? No man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36), but only God the Father Himself. Yet we are told to be vigilant and aware of the signs of the times (Matthew 24), which encourage us and strengthen our resolve to keep our hearts in Him (Matthew 6:21; John 15:5) and our lamps burning with the flame of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 26:1-13).

That is why I’m excited about recent news of a comet that made a hairpin loop around the sun on Thanksgiving Day, passing so close that some astronomers wondered if it would survive the encounter. I began writing this blog post the day before Thanksgiving, and I must admit that my heart sank when reports on Thanksgiving night proclaimed that the comet was destroyed, as it was no longer visible.

But on Black Friday morning, the headlines read: Hold the obituary! The comet has emerged from behind the sun and has begun to brighten. According to the initial predictions, it would reach its peak brilliance in December, even though its brightness to the observer already increased 25 times between November 13- 21! It may be ranked as one of the brightest comets of the past 50 years, and at its peak, it may even be visible in broad daylight!

For best night-time viewing, astronomers advise seeking rural areas, free from the light pollution of cities. The comet is most radiant against a backdrop of total darkness, seen without distraction from manmade lights. However, they strongly warned that only experienced observers should attempt to view the comet as it whipped around the sun. Although there is no danger in observing the comet itself, staring directly at the sun can result in blindness as infrared rays painlessly burn the retina of the eye.

As the comet approached the sun, the scorching heat and gravitational force of the sun presumably gave rise to a long, brilliant train, although this was not visible from the Solar Dynamics Observatory where NASA was focusing. According to initial predictions, the comet should climb noticeably higher in the north-northwest sky from December 21-31, and by Christmas Day, should no longer rise or set, but should remain above the horizon all night long.

By now you’ve no doubt guessed why I am so amazed by this comet, for it reminds me of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Its flight so close to the sun is like the proximity of Jesus Christ, Son of God yet God Himself, to God the Father. Even in His earthly ministry, Jesus and the Father were one (John 10:30), and now He sits at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Romans 8:34).

Even though Jesus told His apostles that He would rise from the dead (Matthew 20:19; Luke 24:7), they lost all hope after His burial and crucifixion (John 20:19). But just as He said He would, Christ rose again on the third day, that all who place their faith in Him would live with Him forever! (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

How appropriate that the comet’s approach to the sun occurred on Thanksgiving Day! What better reasons do we have to be thankful than for the Word becoming flesh to pay for all our sins (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2;4:10), to give eternal life to those who trust Him (John 3:16), and now to intercede for us with the Father? (Hebrews 4 :14-16)

Yet not all are thankful, for many are lured away by the world and have not yet seen Him as their Lord and Savior. Even those who are saved can see Him more clearly away from the distracting glare of worldly light pollution (Romans 12:2). He is the Light of the world (John 1:9; 8 :12 ;9 :5 ;11:9) Who shines brightest against the darkness of our sin (Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

The astronomers warned us not to look directly at the comet as it approached the scorching light of the sun, but to safely enjoy the view of the comet at night,  When Jesus walked among us, bringing light to a world darkened by sin, looking at His face was no doubt the best blessing imaginable (2 Corinthians 4:6). Yet man cannot look directly at God the Father because of His supreme glory and holiness (1 Kings 19:13; Exodus 3 :6; 19 :21).

The astronomers initially predicted that this comet’s appearance to earth would culminate with an amazing display on Christmas Day, when it would neither set nor rise, but remain above the horizon all night long. Thanks to Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23), as celebrated on Christmas Day, those who trust Him are no longer in darkness (Isaiah 9:2). We have seen the bright light of the Morning Star!  (Revelation 22:16) He alone will light the New Jerusalem in continual radiance and there will be no night, nor any need for the sun (Revelation 22:5). 

Oh, and did I mention the name of the new comet? It is Comet ISON! The name is an acronym for the International Scientific Optical Network, which discovered the comet last year. But to my mind, this is a contraction of I AM THAT I AM, the self-existent Name of God (Exodus 3:14), and GOD THE SON, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13; 1 John 4:15, etc.), the Word from the beginning (John 1:1) and eternally our Lord (Hebrews 13:8).

Not that we need any sign (Matthew 12:39) to have faith in Him, for the facts of His death and resurrection are sufficient! (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Regardless of whether ISON lives up to expectations or disappears from view, we have faith – the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1) – that Christ reigns forever. Look up, and remember the Word made flesh, Our Redeemer, and His promise to return!    

© 2013 Laurie Collett

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Nadwra┼╝liwiec said...

Of course, we don't know when Christ will go again, but I see, that everything is going faster and faster. Today I read interview with famous Polish professor of sexuology - and he told, that if we moved man from the past (for example from the 1950's) to 2013, he or she would think, that we live in Sodoma and Gomorrah.
Greetings from cold Cracow :)

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie, yes I believe that we are very close to the end of the age and it is very important for each of us to do the work He has called us to do.
God bless you Laurie in your ministry.

Laurie Collett said...

Yes, that is very true, Zim! Television shows that now air on prime time would have been banned as obscene just a few decades ago. The morals are of our society are quickly deteriorating as the nations drift away from God and toward the devil.
Greetings & blessings to you!

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! May we be faithful to do His will and His work, and may we soon hear Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"
God bless you too,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Knowing our dismal British climate, I would not be suprised if we will be under cloud cover throughout the 24 hours which makes up Christmas Day.
Other than that, I too believe that the Rapture of the saints to Heaven is imminent, it can happen at any moment.
But this truth brings me mixed emotions. Sure, I would say with John, "Come quickly, Lord!" but also sadness of the fate of the lost, and that includes my loved ones.
I sometimes envy believers whose parents and siblings are also Christians. To be the only believer (along with my wife) in my father's house does not feel right.
My parents know my faith full well. At our wedding at the Baptist Church in which I regularly attend, the rest of my family were there and, at my request, the Gospel was presented during the message delivered after our vows were made.
But my Dad remains an agnostic and Mum had vowed that she would never leave the Catholic faith, and my brother remains an atheist.
God bless,

Janis Cox said...

You write such amazing stuff. That is wonderful. I love the ISON.. This is My Son whom I love. I am following you from Still Saturday and I thank God when He leads me to read your posts.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
God bless you for having the Gospel presented at your wedding. Hearts are softer when witnessing a marriage celebration, and more receptive to spiritual truth. Thankfully, it is not our job to save anyone -- that is the work of the Holy Spirit -- but just to tell others about Christ. Never give up, and keep praying for your family, because the Spirit is still working in their hearts. I was not saved until decades after I heard (unwillingly) a clear Gospel presentation by an evangelist who sat next to me on the train. My salvation testimony is at the link on the side bar (My Testimony: In His Arms).
I also believe that God in His mercy will hold off on the Rapture until every person that God knows will be saved is saved, so, personally, I hope He comes soon!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Janis, your words of encouragement are such a blessing. Thank you for your lovely comment, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the post!
May you have a blessed week in Him,

Kym said...

Thanks for sharing the news that Comet ISON survived its pass around the sun and I should get another chance to see it. We live in a great viewing area, but it's been cloudy almost constantly recently so I haven't seen the comet yet. Loved your thoughts relating this to the star of Bethlehem. :-)

Ceil said...

Hi Laurie! I love astronomy, and the last I heard, the comet was going to be burnt up, so I am so happy that it 'made it'! It is a wonderful sign for the beginning of the Advent Season, as we await the coming of the Lord. I liked the way you connected the comet to the Star of Bethlehem. What great signs in the sky!

And gotta love that name too :)

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

As you so aptly pointed out, even if the comet should turn out not to be sign of the Lord's return, it is still a wonderful reminder of his promises and power.

Laurie Collett said...

You're very welcome, Kym! Be sure to let us know if you do get a good look at ISON. Thanks so much for your comment, and God bless!

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Ceil! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! As disappointed as I was when they said the comet "died," I was even more thrilled to hear that it had "resurrected," as it made the parallels even stronger. Praise God that He sends us reminders of His loving promises!
Love in Christ,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Despite all the turmoil of these End Times, He is still on His throne, controlling all in the universe and heavens. Praise God for His love and His faithfulness!
God bless,

Unknown said...

Laurie, this post is so creative. I never thought for a moment to put this comet in connection with Jesus. Great stuff to ponder!

Vashtiqvega43 said...

Hi Laurie! What an interesting post post! I enjoyed reading it. I'll be on the look out for that comet on Christmas Day! Thank you!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Jen! I'm blessed to hear that you enjoyed the post. Many blessings to you & your ministry!

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Vashti! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Sadly, it looks like what is visible of the comet is fading from view and not holding to the original predictions. But scientists say they are learning a lot from it, and hopefully we can all benefit from the reminder to look up for His return!
God bless,

Unknown said...

Loved reading your post. This is my first visit here. Yes, the signs are everywhere and the end is near. May God bless you ministry.

Laurie Collett said...

Welcome, Kathy! Thanks so much for your comment & for following -- I'm following you back! May God bless you and your family,

Katherines Corner said...

Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. ♥

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Katherine, for hosting & for your comment! God bless,