Sun, moon, stars smitten
Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.--Psalm 148:3
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain.--Ecclesiastes 12:1,2
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.--Isaiah 13:9-13
Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee. And I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy height. I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of thee. And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.--Ezekiel 32:4-8
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?--Joel 2:10,11
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.--Joel 3:14,15
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.--Matthew 24:29-31
Note that this says "they shall gather together his elect...from one end of heaven to the other."
The phrase of smiting the sun, moon, and stars is Jewish; for the Jews express the eclipses of the luminaries in this way, and say that when the luminaries "are smitten," it is an ill omen; when "the sun is smitten," it is an ill sign to the nations of the world; and when "the moon is smitten," it is a bad omen to the nations of Israel and so the phrase, "the day shone not," is also Jewish.
(The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)
The Jewish people are compared to the moon. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, so too has the Jewish nation cyclically grown and contracted. However, the most important comparison of the Jewish people to the moon is not in terms of its appearance, but rather, in terms of its mission.
Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so too are the Jewish people meant to reflect the "light" of God. The "Light unto the Nations" is really a "Reflector" of God's. It is the Jewish nation's role to bring the light of Torah to every last corner on earth. To not fulfill this function is to become "eclipsed," which results in historical darkness, and worse, terribel anti-Semitism.
(Parashas HaChodesh: Nu? What's New...Besides the Moon? Pinchas Winston)
Why the Sun seems to be 'dimming'
By David Sington
Jan 13, 2005
We are all seeing rather less of the Sun, according to scientists who have been looking at five decades of sunlight measurements.
They have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface has been gradually falling.
Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought.
The effect was first spotted by Gerry Stanhill, an English scientist working in Israel.
Comparing Israeli sunlight records from the 1950s with current ones, Dr Stanhill was astonished to find a large fall in solar radiation.
"There was a staggering 22% drop in the sunlight, and that really amazed me." Intrigued, he searched records from all around the world, and found the same story almost everywhere he looked.
Sunlight was falling by 10% over the USA, nearly 30% in parts of the former Soviet Union, and even by 16% in parts of the British Isles.
Although the effect varied greatly from place to place, overall the decline amounted to one to two per cent globally every decade between the 1950s and the 1990s.
Dr Stanhill called it "global dimming", but his research, published in 2001, met a sceptical response from other scientists.
It was only recently, when his conclusions were confirmed by Australian scientists using a completely different method to estimate solar radiation, that climate scientists at last woke up to the reality of global dimming.
Dimming appears to be caused by air pollution.
Burning coal, oil and wood, whether in cars, power stations or cooking fires, produces not only invisible carbon dioxide - the principal greenhouse gas responsible for global warming - but also tiny airborne particles of soot, ash, sulphur compounds and other pollutants.
This visible air pollution reflects sunlight back into space, preventing it reaching the surface. But the pollution also changes the optical properties of clouds.
Because the particles seed the formation of water droplets, polluted clouds contain a larger number of droplets than unpolluted clouds.
Recent research shows that this makes them more reflective than they would otherwise be, again reflecting the Sun's rays back into space.
Scientists are now worried that dimming, by shielding the oceans from the full power of the Sun, may be disrupting the pattern of the world's rainfall.
There are suggestions that dimming was behind the droughts in sub-Saharan Africa which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1970s and 80s.
There are disturbing hints the same thing may be happening today in Asia, home to half the world's population.
"My main concern is global dimming is also having a detrimental impact on the Asian monsoon," says Professor Veerhabhadran Ramanathan, professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at the University of California, San Diego. "We are talking about billions of people."
But perhaps the most alarming aspect of global dimming is that it may have led scientists to underestimate the true power of the greenhouse effect.
They know how much extra energy is being trapped in the Earth's atmosphere by the extra carbon dioxide we have placed there.
What has been surprising is that this extra energy has so far resulted in a temperature rise of just 0.6 degree Celsius.
This has led many scientists to conclude that the present-day climate is less sensitive to the effects of carbon dioxide than it was, say, during the ice age, when a similar rise in CO2 led to a temperature rise of six degrees Celsius.
But it now appears the warming from greenhouse gases has been offset by a strong cooling effect from dimming - in effect two of our pollutants have been cancelling each other out.
This means that the climate may in fact be more sensitive to the greenhouse effect than previously thought.
If so, then this is bad news, according to Dr Peter Cox, one of the world's leading climate modellers.
As things stand, CO2 levels are projected to rise strongly over coming decades, whereas there are encouraging signs that particle pollution is at last being brought under control.
"We're going to be in a situation unless we act where the cooling pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up.
"That means we'll get reducing cooling and increased heating at the same time and that's a problem for us," says Dr Cox.
Even the most pessimistic forecasts of global warming may now have to be drastically revised upwards.
That means a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.
That is unless we act urgently to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/4171591.stm
Published: 2005/01/13 14:10:30 GMT
PBS Nova, "Dimming the Sun" program aired April 18, 2006.
1997-2007 Notes on Revelation
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