LIKE A BRIDEGROOM COMING OUT OF HIS CHAMBER… Where does one begin when sharing the breathtaking physical majesty and utter brilliance of the handiwork of God Almighty! “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other...” Psalm 19:1-6.
But mere observation and recognition of God’s appointments does not deliver the spiritual understanding for which they were created. To understand the imagery of "the Bridegroom coming out of His chamber", we must be able to view the heavens in the Spirit, not with the wisdom of the world. “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit… But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:13-14,16.
The ancients had one important thing in their favor which enabled them to easily understand the spiritual lessons in God’s creation: TIME. Back then, plenty of folks lived almost a 1000 years, and without electricity, had eons of time to sit, night after night, month after month, year after year, century after century, and observe the constellations as they progressed across the sky, the sun as it rose and set, the moon as it appeared in its four quarters. And remember, they had not-too-distant ancestors who had come to know God in the Garden of Eden and passed their experiences down to them. Though these folks didn’t have God's written word to guide them, they understood and depended on Him as Creator, and eagerly received and celebrated His Word expressed to them in the vast expanse of the world He had created.
Today, we have confirmation of that in God's written word. "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." Genesis 1:14. Jeremiah 31:35 and Psalm 136:7-9 state these lights are the sun, moon and stars.
So, God’s Word says the light of the sun is used to mark a year. On March 14, 2019, the day and night hours were exactly equal, marked as the Vernal Equilux, providing a good indication that the physical circuit of the sun in the heavens was completed as appointed by the Almighty. After this point the daylight hours begin to outweigh the dark hours, and the sun can truly be said to have begun another renewed cycle, or year. Some look to March 20, the astronomical point called the Equinox, at which the center of the sun’s disk crosses an imaginary line in the sky called the celestial equator. The equinox is in a shifting process called "precession of the equinox" due to the wobble of the earth on its axis, causing the equinox to drift backward in time, and can’t be reliable on its own to gauge God's completed circuit of a year in our century. But it can help us to be on the watch for the beginning of the first month of the new year, using the stars for confirmation of the year cycle, as God’s Word states He appointed them for this, also.
Our Creator formed the stars and their specific, named groupings in the constellations. (Genesis 1:14; Job 9:8-9; Job 26:13; Job 38:31-33; Amos 5:8). “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Job 38:31-32
The Pleiades is a star cluster approximately 400 light-year distance from Earth near the constellations of Orion and Taurus in the night sky. The cluster includes seven bright stars that are easily seen with the naked eye, gravitationally bound together. One can only imagine how Job knew that. Every year the star group appears in close proximity to the newly visible crescent moon -- just after sunset, in the Spring, at the beginning of the FIRST biblical month. "Seek him that made the seven stars and Orion, and turned the shadow of death into the morning, and made the day dark with night: that called for the waters of the sea, and poured them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name …” Amos 5:8. (Go to Beckstrom Observatory for a printable March Evening Starmap.) https://www.beckstromobservatory.com/…/March2019StarMap-copy…
In ancient Israel, every month started with the rising of the new moon, “hodesh” in Hebrew, marked as the first day of the month, and lasted until the next new moon, 29-30 days. It was a simple and effective way to mark time as God ordained it. The years did not have a continuous cycle of weeks but instead the cycle started over with each new moon. New Moon day was a worship day followed by six working days, with the seventh-day Sabbath on the eighth of the month, then on the fifteenth, and in succession of 7 days, as first recorded in Exodus 16. (Exodus 16:1, 23. Numbers 28:11-15; Psalm 81:3-5; Isaiah 66:23)
So, we have been given the sun and its hours of light to help define the length of our year and the stars to specifically identify the beginning of the first month, in conjunction with the new moon, heralding the first day of every month. It was a simple and effective way to keep up with time as God ordained it. Of course, it required diligence and patience to observe the heavens often during each month. That explains the fact that from 70-1178 AD, the observation-based calendar given by God, was gradually replaced by the mathematically calculated one that did not vary according to the heavens, still used today by the Jewish nation. So, on our Gregorian calendar, God’s appointed Days may vary by date depending on which method is used. Also, the way most calculate the Sabbath is based on man’s appointed calendar, counting by 7’s. By doing so, years are marked in advance, instead of waiting and watching for God’s perfect timing through the heavenly appointment of the sun, moon and stars.
The Jewish philosopher Philo, who lived at the time of Jesus, also understood the importance of the language of the heavens. “Moses puts down the beginning of the vernal equinox as the first month of the year, attributing the chief honour, not as some persons do to the periodical revolutions of the year in regard of time, but rather to the graces and beauties of nature which it has caused to shine upon men . . . Accordingly, in this month, about the fourteenth day of the month, when the orb of the moon is usually about to become full, the public universal feast of the Passover is celebrated . . ." (Philo, On The Life Of Moses II, Section XLI (41) (222-224).
Eusebius, a Greek historian of the 3rd century AD also wrote, "… it was also known to the Jews anciently, and before [Messiah], and was chiefly observed by them, as we may learn from Philo, Josephus, and Musaeus; and not only from these, but also from those still more ancient, i. e. the two Agathobuli, commonly called the master, and of Aristobulus, that most distinguished scholar, who was one of the seventy that translated the holy scriptures from the Hebrew. These. . . say that all ought to sacrifice the Passover alike after the vernal equinox, in the middle of the first month." Ecclesiastical History Popular Edition. p. 313
So now we should be able to understand more fully, why this physical time of the year is so important. The first month of God’s New Year heralds the coming anniversary of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the one identified in John 1: 1-3 as Creator alongside Almighty God! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made…” John 1:1-3. We anticipate that God's New Year will begin on the evening of April 6th with the sighting of the crescent new moon.
In the New Testament, we clearly see that God reveals Himself through creation to give us the chance to come to know Him. "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Romans 1:20. The heavens signaled the birth of Jesus, leading the wise men straight to Him. When Jesus died, the daylight sky turned dark. Isaiah said in 13:10 that in the coming day of the Lord, “The stars of heaven and their constellation will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.” And for many Christian scholars, the ministry of Jesus is unmistakably revealed and appointed in Revelation through the imagery of heavenly constellations themselves.
Indeed, it is not foolishness to see the Bridegroom, Jesus the Christ, in the refracted rays of sunlight at the appointed time, spiritually stepping forth from His chamber in the heavens, making His way to the Bride, whom the apostle Paul likens to the Church at Corinth. "I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband." 2 Corinthians 11:2.
We close our lesson today with the words of Jesus, as He repeats the above Old Testament prophecy again in Matthew 24:29, and identifies Himself as its coming fulfillment in the next verse: “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
"LIKE A BRIDEGROOM COMING OUT OF HIS CHAMBER..."