OK, I’m gonna get freaky on y’all. I think you’ve come to expect that.
A lot has been ‘popping’ for me lately… things coming together in scripture, in music, in the news, and in the ‘non-news’ (non-current web research I’ve been doing). Also personally. I’ll try and keep that justifying story to a minimum lest this run to novel length (again), but I’d be remiss in not mentioning it. One thing I’ve learned in five years of blogging is that the posts I force based on my own reckoning usually end up looking stupid.
I’m not going to claim what I’m about to lay out is more than it is. This entire post assumes knowledge of the various reasons why July 22nd may be significant in Christian eschatology.
A lot of what I’m going to lay out is merely suggestive and informative (e.g., in the spirit of this post, ‘Signs in the Heavens’). It’s my hope that others will run further with it. If you’re looking for a definitive statement, you’re not likely to find it so don’t get all hot and bothered trying to refute what isn’t there.
As in some other imperfect but at least directionally correct posts that seem to have hit big here of late, I’ve sensed the Holy Spirit continuing to nudge me in certain directions. As a result of following those nudges, I’ve increasingly had that feeling that I need to turn my eyes (and typing fingers) away from the abyss and up to the heavens (both plural and singular — i.e., heaven itself).
It’s been the feeling you get when the border of the picture puzzle is all in place along with several ‘clumps’ of interlocking pieces. Then there comes a point where, even if it’s late and you’re tired, it becomes possible to ‘bridge’ between those big sections. In an accelerating rush as the number of loose pieces gets smaller and smaller, the entire picture begins to take shape.
Let’s start with some things I’ve learned about the July 22nd solar eclipse (NASA site). (If you want to go really deep on this and have some math, geometry and astronomy under your belt, go here. If you’re more of a visual person and like cool animations, go here. If you have a PhD from MIT and way too much time on your hands, go see the ‘Five Millennium Canon Database of Solar Eclipses’.
If you’re a control freak who won’t believe anything until you’ve played with it yourself, and you don’t mind installing Google Earth plug-ins, go here. If you’re an 0ld-school latitude-and-longitude-only map geek, go here. Or just look at the wireframe picture, below (which I’ve cleaned of inscrutable technical jargon) from the NASA site. (The blue line in the middle is the path of totality, moving from west to east).
The July 22nd solar eclipse begins at just before midnight UTC (23:58:18 to be exact) on Tuesday the 21st, (UTC = Universal Coordinated Time, an hour behind London time in the summer). That’s just before 8PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on the 21st (though neither Britain nor the U.S. will see it… outside of Hawaii. Hold that thought. If you’re confused about time zones, go here.)
The eclipse becomes total starting at 0:51:16 UTC on Wednesday the 22nd. Totality ends between 4:18 and 4:20 UTC. All of it ends just after 5:00, UTC (sunset local time in a remote part of the South Central Pacific).
The solar eclipse is bracketed in time by two ‘penumbral’ (that is, not even partial, but lightly shaded) lunar eclipses — on July 7th and August 6th, both of which touch portions of the U.S., but neither one visible with the naked eye. As this site notes: “The human eye won’t be able to detect any darkening for [either] eclipse… Most of the sunlight is not blocked by the Earth…”
The July 7th lunar eclipse occurred right around moonset for the northeastern quarter of the U.S. The tepid maximum for the August 6th penumbral lunar eclipse occurs right around moonrise across the eastern two-thirds the United States (around 12:40AM UTC on the 7th of August). Look at the pictures of each eclipse (linked above) and note how in the first, a U.S. moonset eclipse meant a moonrise eclipse in Indonesia and how, in the second (post 7-11) event, a U.S. moonrise eclipse is matched by a moonset eclipse across Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Russia. I don’t know if that means anything but the geographic symbolism seemed interesting.
And since we’re on the subject, the July 22nd solar eclipse is absolutely fascinating in terms of the sites of recent (and likely future) world history it touches, as well as those it obscures completely. I’m going to let this bit explain itself but when you run down the list of sites notable for mass casualties, horrific acts of human violence, negligence, tyranny, oppression and other such things, it would be hard to come up with a more elegant swath of literal darkness — though I’m sure some clever soul will.
In particular, the number of nuclear nations and sites in nuclear weapons history which this eclipse touches is nothing short of remarkable.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran (among others, e.g., southern Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, etc.) will experience a partially eclipsed sunrise. Bhopal, India will experience the path of totality — a path that begins just north of Mumbai, off the coast of India, between there and the border with Pakistan. (Remember the terrorists in the rubber boats?) So will parts of Chinese-occupied Southern Tibet and super-repressive Northern Burma.
Then there’s Nanjing (aka, Nanking), site of Japanese atrocities in the late 1930′s, the southern suburbs of which will experience totality around 1:35 UTC (about 9:35AM local time). Partly because it’s big country, but also because of the eclipse’s unique path, China will experience a longer period of total eclipse and a longer geographic line of total eclipse than any other nation, and there is no part of China that will not be at least partially darkened by it. India and most other countries in Southeast Asia will also be completely blanketed by at least partial eclipse.
There’s also Japan, the far southern islands of which will experience totality. Here’s how the July 22 solar eclipse will look from Tinian (about 75-80% total). Tinian is the spot in Northern Mariana Islands from which U.S. B-29s took off to drop atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945. Interestingly, the eclipse crosses Japan’s southern islands at 11AM local time — the same time as the Nagasaki bomb exploded just short of 64 years ago.
And as far as I can tell, at nearly the exact minute when the eclipse is greatest on Tinian, and within perhaps only ten minutes of the greatest shadow the earth will experience in this eclipse (the biggest until June 13, 2132AD), the dawn will be breaking in Jerusalem (at 2:45 UTC, 5:45AM local time).
About 45 minutes later, the path of totality passes over Enewetak Atoll, the site of 43 open-air nuclear tests between 1948 and 1958 and the site of the world’s (and U.S.’s) first hydrogen bomb explosion in 1952. All of the other sites in the U.S.’s early-Cold War Pacific nuclear ‘Proving Grounds’ are largely obscured as well.
Remember that thought I told you told you to hold?
Yes, that’s right. Hawaii. BHO’s alleged birthplace.
Note that Alaska isn’t touched. Not even the far, far end of the Aleutian Islands. Hawaii is. About a half hour before 7:14PM sunset in Honolulu (6:45PM local time), the Hawaiian Islands will see 10-12% of the sun obscured. Then the sun will set on the previous day for everyone. The sun will rise, presumably unobscured, on July 22nd in the rest of Europe and Africa.
It will be just a bit after midnight, July 22nd, in New York and Washington…
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Anyone up for a Tuesday night prayer vigil?? …perhaps with a low-volume backing-track?
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord
Well if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand
I’ve seen your face before my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am
Well I was there and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies
UPDATE I (8:00AM, Sunday): Listening to this (Chris Tomlinson’s ‘Indescribable’) on the iPod as I study my Bible this morning. Turn it up loud and praise His name! (This version is more sedately awesome.)
UPDATE II (12:00Noon, Sunday): Well now, that was remarkable… When I posted the Chris Tomlinson video earlier, it was way out-of-pattern for me, but I felt compelled to do it right then. My espresso was sitting, getting cold in the other room but something said, ‘Do it NOW’. So a did. A few minutes earlier, I’d felt a strange pull to listen to THAT PARTICULAR song when I almost never do that anymore around the house. (I mostly listen to sermons on my iPod).
And wouldn’t you know it, but when I walked into worship two hours later, guess what the VERY FIRST song was that we sang? Yep. ‘Indescribable’. And what was the scripture the pastor was preaching on? One of the closest to my heart, (Isaiah 40:21-31) and on a very special anniversary related to my becoming acquainted with it, no less. There’ve been too many other ‘Godincidences’ this morning to even mention. I am absolutely overflowing. Something extraordinary is going on, folks. God is getting us ready. Be alert!
UPDATE III: See Part II here.
UPDATE IV (11AM, Tuesday): One commenter mentioned the ’1040 window’ the other day and I didn’t have a clue what she meant. (Taxes??) Light dawns: She meant this (see below) which is kinda interesting in that the right half of it will be blanketed by Tuesday night’s eclipse (moving from west to east), while the left half of it was covered (in a sense) from east to west by a different kind of darkness over the 7700 days that ended on July 11th.
“The 10/40 Window is an area of the world that contains the largest population of non-Christians in the world. The area extends from 10 degrees to 40 degrees North of the equator, and stretches from North Africa across to China.”
UPDATE V (1PM, Tuesday): Continuing to plow through Isaiah during a break today, I found the following (Isaiah 45:4-7) evocative in the context of the upcoming eclipse:
“For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.”