The Easter Night Sky
- Wednesday, March 28, 2007
For those of us who still follow the Moon's phases, we notice that the Full Moon rises in the east just as the Sun is setting in the west. The Full Moon crosses the sky all night, and reaches its highest point at midnight. The Full Moon finally sets in the morning, just as the Sun is coming up. So the Moon truly does "rule the night" as we read in Genesis 1:16. Here's an excellent classical description of the Full Moon:
Now God commanded the Sun to measure the day, and the Moon, whenever she rounds her disc, to rule the night. For then these two luminaries are almost diametrically opposed; when the Sun rises, the Full Moon disappears from the horizon, to reappear in the East at the moment the Sun sets. - from the "Hexaemeron" of Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea, circa A.D. 360
On the night of the Full Moon, after it has risen high into the sky, it casts plenty of light! You can see very strong shadows under the Full Moon. Actually, the Full Moon is only one-millionth as bright as the Sun. But our eyes have been designed by the LORD to record a light level difference of one billion! So moonlight actually appears quite bright, since we can still see in light only 1/1000 of that level! This is still another manner in which our bodies are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Moon Over Jerusalem
So the LORD in his provision had the children of Israel depart Egypt under the light of the Full Moon. We read in Exodus 12:29 that the LORD smote the Egyptians at midnight, and that that Pharaoh released the Israelites sometime afterwards. So the LORD gave His Chosen People plenty of bright moonlight for traveling as they left Egypt on foot.
From this night forward, God commanded that Israel celebrate the Passover on the evening of the Full Moon. So it only follows that Jesus and the disciples ate the Last Supper in the Upper Room as the Full Moon rose over Jerusalem. And in the night, the bright Full Moon shone down upon Jesus as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, as depicted in "The Passion." This astronomical fact of Scripture is often overlooked. In fact, this also illustrates the extent of which the common astronomy of the Moon's phases is poorly understood in our generation.
We read in the Gospel accounts of the darkness that fell over the land during the crucifixion. Some rational-minded thinkers have attempted to explain this away as a Total Eclipse of the Sun that occurred during the crucifixion. However, such a solar eclipse can only occur during a New Moon, when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun. However, the Paschal Full Moon occurs in exactly the opposite side of the sky as the New Moon, the completely wrong phase!
Also, a solar eclipse can only last as long as eight minutes, not the three hours of the darkness that happened during the crucifixion! So as we see, this miraculous darkness defeats any ill-informed attempts to at a rational, scientific explanation, again showing the folly of the "wisdom" of this world.
This article is from the Classical Astronomy Update, a free email newsletter for Christian homeschoolers. Jay Ryan is also the author of "Signs & Seasons," an astronomy homeschool curriculum. For more information, visit his web site http://www.ClassicalAstronomy.com.
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