IN THE BEGINNING GOD… When Apollo 8 carried mankind into lunar orbit for the first time on December 24, 1968, a billion people on Earth heard the Word of God being broadcast 240,000 miles above them. "We are now approaching lunar sunrise. For all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send to you. 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth...’”
If we had been with Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders on that memorable day, we would certainly understand why they chose to read God’s Word at such a defining point in human history. The Apollo 8 astronauts realized there is all the difference in the world (pun intended) between SEEING God as Creator and SEEKING Him as Creator. Indeed, it wasn't about all the nuances of what happened when, or the swagger of intellectual knowledge and ability of mankind. In fact, it was sheer human INABILITY to comprehend the magnitude and design of God's universe that prompted their need to seek Him as Creator! Listen to the Apollo 8's historic broadcast from the moon to the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3LIvb1Nzak&t=0s
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5. Here we are on Earth right this very moment, also hurtling through space and time at 66,700 miles per hour, with the same opportunity as the astronauts to confront the shear omniscience of the Maker of our Universe! Amazingly, though the Sun is 93 million miles away, all it takes is 8- and 1/3-minutes for its light to illuminate Earth. As God appointed, evening begins at sunset, and morning begins at sunrise. Together, and in that order, they constitute what God called the Day.
God said in Genesis 1:14-16: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also."
Today, astronomers estimate that there are ten thousand billion trillion stars – that’s a 1 followed by 25 zeros! And there are between 100 billion and 1 trillion stars in 1 normal galaxy. Our universe alone may contain 100 billion galaxies! "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." Isaiah 40:26.
Using elements from the staggering array of His heavenly handiwork, God has appointed a lunar and solar calendar for His creation on Earth. A year is the time required for Earth to travel once around the Sun. As the Earth beneath out feet also spins in counterclockwise motion to the east, in the same direction as its orbit, it is moving at about 1,000 miles per hour at the equator. When it reaches two points during the year where the tilt of its axis causes it to be straight relative to the Sun, these are called equinoxes. During the equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator, essentially making day and night hours equal on the earth, which can vary somewhat, depending on how far you are from the equator. From this point forward, the daylight hours begin to outweigh the dark hours, and the sun begins another renewed cycle.
At 11:33 A.M. EDT, March 20, 2022, the moment of the vernal equinox, day and night hours were equal, indicating the physical circuit of the sun in the heavens was completed as appointed by the Almighty. God has given us an awesome spiritual picture of this in Psalm 19:4-6. “...In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course, It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/4958016664278483
Time periods within the year are based on the cycles of the moon. The Hebrew word for month, “chodesh”, literally means “new moon.” A new month begins with the rising of the new moon at twilight and lasts until the next new moon rises at twilight. The moon’s phases follow one another in clock-like precision, giving mankind the ability to easily follow God's calendar as He has designated it in the heavens.
Then, He expressly instructs us in His Holy Word when to begin this heavenly calendar. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” Exodus 12:1-2. The name of the month is given In Deuteronomy 16:1, where the Israelites are told to keep the Passover in the month of Abib (aka Nissan) because they were delivered from the 10th death plague of Egypt on that very day by God Almighty.
Numbers 9:5 states that they kept the Passover "on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai..." Yes, the Israelites observed the first celebration of the Passover on the prescribed month, setting the date in the middle of the desert, with only the heavens as their reference point. And they did so every year for the remainder of their 40 years in the desert!
So, for observing God’s calendar, at the sign of the Vernal Equinox, March 20 in 2022, we began to watch for “chodesh”, or "new moon". Yes, we have to watch! God's next new moon or month will begin a New Year and is projected to be visible on the evening of April 2, 2022, 30 minutes or so before sunset.
"Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven...for signs," Recognizing God’s 1st month is extremely important, as it literally ushers in God’s appointed dates for the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! When Jesus died as the Passover Lamb, whose blood was shed for all mankind for forgiveness of sins, that divine appointment had been put on the calendar 1500 years before. Raised from the dead on Firstfruits as the sinless, Unleavened Bread, He fulfilled the appointment God Almighty made 1500 years prior and guaranteed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in His name, 50 days from that date, known as Pentecost.
We also can look forward to heavenly signs of at least 3 more divine appointments on God’s calendar. Jesus will return as the anointed Trumpet Call for our righteous ingathering. Jesus will reign as the divine Atonement for our sin. And finally, Jesus will Tabernacle WITH His people when He returns as the King of Glory! Check out God's appointment schedule given to His people in Leviticus 23.
Yes, when Jesus returns again to this earth, it will be by Divine Appointment only, right on time as appointed by God's calendar! The Apostle Paul said this to the people of Athens, "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth...made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us...’” (Acts 17:24-28)
No, God isn't far from any of us, we just don't recognize that truth. The greatest irony of all is when we really and truly do SEE Him, in all His glory in His creation, as the Apollo 8 astronauts did, we will spend the rest of our lives SEEKING Him as our Lord and King!
In the coming year, as we hurtle through space, we will travel nearly 600 million miles. That's certainly more than enough time to be humbled by the Almighty, as He reveals His glory and majesty, just like He planned all along!
"IN THE BEGINNING GOD..."