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Flat or Spherical Earth? Evaluating Astronomical Observations [Part II] by Alana May, M.S. & Branyon May, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5449

Flat or Spherical Earth? Evaluating Astronomical Observations [Part II]

by  Alana May, M.S. & Branyon May, Ph.D.

[Editor’s Note: A.P. scientist Dr. Branyon May holds a Ph.D. degree in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama. Alana May, his wife and co-author, holds an M.S. in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama. Part I of this two-part series appeared in the August issue. Part II follows below, and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]

Evaluating First-Hand and Photographic Evidence

First-Hand Evidence

In 1961, the Soviet Union shocked the world by sending the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin. This was not only the first manned flight into space, but the first to orbit Earth. Since that time, more than 500 professional astronauts representing 40 countries have traveled into space as pilots, commanders, or crew members of manned spaceflight programs.1 The three countries from which these astronauts have been launched include the United States, Russia (previously the Soviet Union), and China. It is important to note for those who might consider conspiracy theories that over the years of space travel, the three countries providing the launch abilities have had tentative and even hostile relations. Yet, even though the over 40 countries who have sent astronauts into space disagree on politics, religion, and economics, their recognition of a spherical Earth that is able to be orbited and studied is consistent.

Each of these countries has been fortunate enough to send select men and women to space as first-hand observers and scientists to gather data from above the Earth’s atmosphere. With more than 50 years of time and over 500 first-hand observers from over 40 countries, the view of Earth as a majestic globe has not been refuted or even brought into question by these individuals. While some may claim a Flat-Earth view, their arguments do not include spaceflight testimony from first-hand observers.

Photographic Evidence: Full-Disk Imagery

While there are many amazing and beautiful images of our Earth provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we want to first focus on the photographic evidence available from numerous international sources. The following collection of photographic evidence only includes imagery from full-planet views of Earth. As you will see, the sources of these images come from a range of satellites, operated by different countries with sometimes different scientific objectives.

Let’s begin with photographic evidence from Japan. The Himawari-8 satellite overseen by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is currently taking full-disk images of the Earth every 10 minutes, focusing on the region of Japan and its neighbors to the South.2 Here is a satellite imagery synopsis from the JMA Web site:

The Himawari series of geostationary meteorological satellites provides constant and uniform coverage of the earth from around 35,800 km above the equator with an orbit corresponding to the period of the earth’s rotation. This allows them to perform uninterrupted observation of meteorological phenomena such as typhoons, depressions, and fronts.3

Credit: Japan Meteorological Agency Credit: © JAXA

Also the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) captured a full-disk view from the Hayabusa satellite.4 This satellite’s main mission was to study the comet Itokawa, but was able to image the full-disk of Earth from a distance of over 180,000 miles away.

Photographic evidence also comes from the currently operating ELEKTRO-L series of satellites launched by the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.5 These geostationary satellites are designed to take meteorological images and monitor weather conditions. The ELEKTRO-L2 satellite is positioned over the Indian Ocean and transmits regular images every 30 minutes.6

From India, we have photographic evidence from the INSAT-3D geostationary satellite, managed by the India Meteorological Department.7 Launched in 2013, this satellite is “designed for enhanced meteorological observations and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting and disaster warning.”8 New full-disk images are regularly relayed to Earth approximately every half-hour.

Credit: © Research Center for Earth Operative Monitoring (NTS OMZ) Credit: © India Meteorological Department

From a cooperation of numerous European countries, the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites take full-disk observations. Operated by the EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites), the Meteosat satellites are in geostationary orbits 22,300 miles above Europe, Africa, and the Indian Ocean. New images are taken every 15 minutes in visible and infrared wavelengths.9

 Launched in 2010, South Korea successfully placed into orbit its first geostationary satellite, COMS (Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite). Managed by the National Meteorological Satellite Center, the COMS satellite takes regular full-disk images with the stated meteorological missions of “continuous monitoring of imagery and extracting of meteorological products, early detection of severe weather phenomena, and monitoring of climate change and atmospheric environment.”10

Credit: ©2017 EUMETSAT Credit: © NMSC Credit: © CNSA

From China, we have photographic evidence from the unmanned Chinese lunar explorer Chang’e 5. Thetest module took this photograph on November 9, 2014 at a distance of 336,000 miles above the Earth’s surface.11 Notice the darker Moon (upper left) is clearly shown in contrast to the bright Earth.

Lastly, we add the photographic evidence taken by the United States. Decades of space travel and many diverse projects have generated a host of full-disk images of our planet. Going back to the early Apollo missions (1961-1972) aimed at traveling to the Moon, NASA astronauts were able to take first-hand photographs on film. While there are many photos, here are four from Apollo 8,10,13, and 17.12

Credit: Apollo credit: NASA’s Galileo spacecraft

Later, in 1990, as it began its mission to Jupiter, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft took an image back toward Earth from a distance of about 1.5 million miles.13

In 2015, the joint effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the United States Air Force launched the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Located one million miles away, this satellite “will maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities” in order to facilitate alerts and forecasts for geomagnetic storms caused by solar flares and coronal mass ejections.14 Different from geostationary satellites that continually maintain the same view of Earth, the DSCOVR satellite will be able to image all of Earth. Being located between the Sun and Earth, it will be able to watch the fully illuminated Earth rotate, imaging all sides of the spherical Earth.

Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the United States Air Force launched the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Credit: NOAA GOES-R satellite

Some of the most recent satellites to take full-disk images are the updated GOES-R series of satellites. These geostationary satellites are managed by NOAA and located to take real-time images of both Eastern and Western Hemispheres of Earth. “The new satellite can deliver vivid images of severe weather as often as every 30 seconds, scanning the Earth five times faster, with four times greater image resolution.”15

Historically Recognized As Spherical

Many of us might remember feeling a bit shocked in grade school when our teacher announced, “Many scholars and aristocracy in the 15th century believed that the world was flat and that if you sailed far enough, you’d go right over the edge. And Christopher Columbus set out to prove them wrong.” The problem with this statement is that Christopher Columbus (and most people in the 15th century) did not believe in a flat Earth, but rather understood the world to be spherical. Even as we look back to the B.C. era, the accredited scientists of the day believed and were able to prove that the Earth was spherical.  As far back as 500 B.C., most Greek scholars accepted the idea that Earth was spherical. Pythagoras (500 B.C.) believed Earth was round for aesthetic reasons, because the sphere was thought to be the perfect shape. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) was one of the first to make application of scientific observations to expected results, given a round Earth: (1) the hull of a ship disappearing over the horizon before the rest of the ship, and (2) Earth’s shadow being round during a lunar eclipse. Through time, ancient scientists would gain a deeper understanding of the physics of our world and begin to be able to explain what they were seeing in nature with mathematical formulas.

Credit: Wikimedia.org (Cmglee) 2016 license CC-by- sa-4.0

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (276-194 B.C.) was known as one of the greatest scientists of his time and in the year 240 B.C., King Ptolemy III of Alexandria appointed him chief librarian of what was then considered the hub of learning and the world’s greatest library: the Great Library of Alexandria. Probably one of Eratosthenes’ most well-known contributions to science was his calculations of Earth’s circumference. He was also a leading cartographer of his day and was able to map large regions. But to make a complete map he wanted to know the actual size of Earth. One year, on the Summer Solstice, while he was in Syene (today known as Aswan, Egypt) he noted that the Sun shone directly into the bottom of a well at noon, indicating that it was directly overhead. He realized that since the distance between Syene and Alexandria was known (approximately 5,000 stadia), he could extrapolate that data and determine Earth’s circumference. Back in Alexandria, on the following year’s Summer Solstice, Eratosthenes set up a tent pole of known height and measured the shadow cast by the pole at noon.  Using trigonometric calculations, he found the angle of the shadow to be about 7°, which correlates to about 1/50 of a complete circle.  With this data, he calculated Earth’s circumference to be about 250,000 stadia.16 There has been some disagreement on what a stadia represented, but it is estimated to be somewhere between 500 and 600 feet. Using these numbers, we see that Eratosthenes’ calculation gives the circumference to between 23,000 miles and 29,000 miles. Modern science gives an equatorial circumference of 24,900 miles.17

While Eratosthenes’ method and calculations were somewhat crude, one can see the simplicity and significance that his calculations have provided to the scientific community. It is notable that the belief, investigation, and calculation of Earth’s shape and size predate modern efforts, such as those of NASA, by thousands of years.

Conclusion

In this day and age of readily available information, sometimes just enough “truth” can be given to allow an idea to be plausible and believable in one’s mind. Sometimes an idea is given more credence because a celebrity endorses it. Other times, it might take hold because of a rebellion against the norm and someone wanting to be considered a “free-thinker.”  Whatever the reason a person has for believing something, its source needs to have credibility and must be backed by provable, validated data—evidence.

While the origin of the recent interest in Flat-Earth ideas may not be fully known or pinpointed, we can see that a spherical Earth is the one that has the scientific backing. While we did not consider many other evidences of the Earth’s spherical nature, such as Earth’s magnetic poles, GPS triangulation and satellites, the Coriolis effect, time zones, distant horizon curvature, Arctic and Antarctic exploration, and circumnavigation, we were able to evaluate numerous easily accessible observations. From our assessment of the shapes of other celestial bodies, observations of the Sun and Moon, consideration of historical perspectives, and examination of modern, first-hand and photographic evidences, we can see for ourselves that the scientific data supports a spherical Earth.

Endnotes

1 “List of Astronauts by Name,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_astronauts_by_name; “Timeline of Space Travel by Nationality,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_space_travel_by_nationality.

2 “Satellite Imagery” (2017), Japan Meteorological Agency, Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan; Image shown: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/gms/smallc.html?area=6&element=1&time=201706270300.

3 “Meteorological Satellites,” Japan Meteorological Agency, http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/jma-eng/satellite/introduction/satobs.html.

4 “The Earth Pictured by Hayabusa” (2004), Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2004/0519_new.shtml.

5 Anatoly Zak (2016), “Russia to Introduce A New Generation of Spacecraft,” http://www.russianspaceweb.com/elektro.html.

6 “ELEKTRO Geostationary Hydrometeorological Spacecraft (In Operation)” (2011), Research Center for Earth Operative Monitoring, http://eng.ntsomz.ru/ks_dzz/satellites/complex_electro); Image shown: ftp://ftp.ntsomz.ru/ELECTRO_L_2/2017/May/24_05_2017/24052017_10%2030.jpg.

7 http://satellite.imd.gov.in/insat.htm; Image archive: http://satellite.imd.gov.in/archive/INSAT-3D-IMAGER/3D-FULL-DISK/

8 http://www.isro.gov.in/insat-3d/insat-3d-advanced-weather-satellite-completes-two-years-orbit.

9 https://www.eumetsat.int/website/home/Satellites/CurrentSatellites/Meteosat/index.html; Image shown: http://oiswww.eumetsat.org/IPPS/html/MSGIODC/RGB/NATURALCOLOR/FULLRESOLUTION/.

10 http://nmsc.kma.go.kr/html/homepage/en/chollian/choll_info.do

11 “Earth and the Moon from Chang’e 5 T1” (2017), The Planetary Society, http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/space-images/earth/earth-and-the-moon-from-change5t1-2.html.

12 “Western Hemisphere” (2009), NASA, https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/40th/images/apollo_image_26.html; “May 18, 1969 - Apollo 10 View of the Earth” (2017), NASA, https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/may-18-1969-apollo-10-view-of-the-earth; “View of Earth from Apollo 13,” Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, https://airandspace.si.edu/multimedia-gallery/5429hjpg?id=5429; “Blue Marble - Image of the Earth from Apollo 17” (2007), NASA, https://www.nasa.gov/content/blue-marble-image-of-the-earth-from-apollo-17.

13 “PIA00076: Earth - Full Disk View of Africa” (1996), NASA/JPL, https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00076.

14 “DSCOVR: Deep Space Climate Observatory,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/content/dscovr-deep-space-climate-observatory; Image shown: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD//view.php?id=86257

15 John Leslie and Connie Barclay (2016), “NOAA’s GOES-R Weather Satellite Readies for Historic Launch,” https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/asset/document/goes-r-l-30-press-release_oct6.pdf.

16 Alan Chodos, ed. (2006), “June, ca. 240 B.C. Eratosthenes Measures the Earth,” APS News, 15[6]:2, June, https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200606/history.cfm. wiki/File:Eratosthenes_measure_of_Earth_circumference.svg.

17 “Geodesy for the Layman” (1984), Defense Mapping Agency, http://earth-info.nga.mil/GandG/publications/geolay/TR80003A.html.

Flat or Spherical Earth? Evaluating Astronomical Observations [Part 1] by Branyon May, Ph.D. Alana May, M.S.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5441

Flat or Spherical Earth? Evaluating Astronomical Observations [Part 1]

by  Branyon May, Ph.D.
Alana May, M.S.

[Editor’s Note: In the July issue of Reason & Revelation, Hebraist Dr. Justin Rogers addressed the matter of whether the Bible gives any credence to the notion of a flat Earth. In this month’s R&R, we consider whether science supports a flat Earth. AP scientist Dr. Branyon May holds a Ph.D. degree in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama. Alana May, his wife and co-author, holds an M.S. in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama.]

While the idea of a flat Earth is not a new one, it has been recently resurrected into mainstream pop culture. For a variety of reasons, many have adopted this view, or have begun looking toward it as a viable option. For some, the arguments contrasting a spherical versus a flat Earth are confusing and have caused frustration. This frustration has then led to a sense of doubt towards many previously accepted beliefs and facts. Such doubt towards authority has even caused some Christians to question their faith in God’s Word.

So what about humanity’s understanding for the shape of the Earth? Is the Earth spherical or flat? The best way to work through this discussion is to consider the observational evidences. One of the most definitive ways to directly see the spherical nature of Earth is through the images taken from space by various space agencies. However, because many people who hold to a flat Earth have also expressed concern about government conspiracy theories, we wish to present the space-based observations after we discuss some simple backyard-type observations. When considering new ideas, a bit of healthy caution is good, but can become unhealthy when conspiracy and paranoia consume the conversation over the facts and observations. Using the laws of nature and physics that God set in place, let’s investigate how we can know the Earth is, in fact, spherical.

Evaluating Observations of the Sun and Moon

Between Flat-Earth and Globe models, the Sun and the Moon have drastic differences in physical characteristics and scale dimensions. The Sun’s generally accepted location places it toward the center of Earth’s orbit at a distance of approximately 93 million miles, with a physical diameter of 864,600 miles. In contrast, Flat-Earth models describe the Sun as being 32 miles in diameter and orbiting above the surface of the Earth at a height of approximately 3,000 miles.1 Since by observation the Sun and Moon have equivalent angular sizes,2 Flat-Earth models must also place the Moon in an orbit coinciding with the Sun’s orbit at a distance of 3,000 miles and having the same 32-mile diameter.3 Such scales for the Moon are vastly different than the Moon’s generally accepted location in space, where it orbits the Earth at a distance of 238,900 miles and has a physical diameter of 2,160 miles. We should also note that between these two views there is a vast contrast in distance between the positions of the Sun and Moon. In the Flat-Earth model the two objects share similar planes of orbit, circling above Earth parallel to the ground. Therefore, their physical distances from each other would fluctuate substantially depending on where in their orbits they were. At least once during every month’s cycle the two would be physically very near to each other. By contrast, the standard heliocentric and spherical context describes the Moon’s position in orbit around the Earth, where its distance from the Sun would keep approximately the same 93-million-mile-physical-distance as Earth.

With such vast differences in scale these models must also describe vastly different physical characteristics for the Sun and Moon and, in fact, they do. Flat-Earth models describe the Sun and Moon in terms similar to spotlights moving above the Earth’s surface, illuminating in such a way as to produce periods of day and night. Resulting from this description, Flat-Earth models hold that the Moon is not reflecting the Sun’s light, but must instead be producing its own light. The physical characteristics of the Moon are therefore vastly different from the solid, rocky body and sunlight-reflecting surface usually discussed.

Eclipses

One means of testing these contrasting parameters is by evaluating eclipse events, where the Sun, Moon, and Earth experience well-defined and observable changes. First, the most obvious type of eclipse is a solar eclipse. In this type of eclipse the observed effect is for the New Moon to pass in front of the Sun eclipsing some or all of our view of the solar body. Due to the Sun and Moon having similar apparent sizes in the sky, a total solar eclipse can occur when the Moon’s path precisely crosses the Sun. A total solar eclipse causes a daytime period of dramatic darkening, allowing the less bright outer regions of the Sun’s atmosphere, including the chromosphere and corona, to become visible to observers. While these portions of the Sun’s atmosphere are always producing light, their levels of emission are much less than the extremely bright photosphere. Solar eclipses do not usually result in the total eclipse orientation, but rather will occur more often as partial eclipses where only part of the Sun is obscured by the Moon. What information do eclipse observations provide? Eclipses demonstrate several important facts, which we will expand on below, including: (1) the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon are approximately equal, (2) the distances from Earth to the Sun and Earth to the Moon are not equal, and (3) the spherical shape of Earth.

Eclipses provide for us an important understanding about the positioning of the Sun, Moon, and Earth. We see from the fact that the Moon passes in front of the Sun that the two bodies must be at different distances. During a solar eclipse when the Moon obscures the Sun, the Moon’s distance is closer to Earth than the Sun’s. When we couple this with the first important fact mentioned, that the apparent sizes are approximately equal, then we are able to also understand that the Sun and Moon must be different in their true physical sizes. If two objects were the same true physical size, then placing one of them farther from you would cause it to appear smaller. Thus, since the Sun and Moon appear the same size, then the Sun (which is farther away) would have to be larger than the Moon (which is closer) in order to appear equal in size. As we consider a difference in distance between the more distant Sun and less distant Moon to be greater and greater, the necessary size of the Sun must be larger and larger to result in an observed equivalent, apparent size.

Now that we have established they are not at the same distance, we can also explore how solar eclipses also help provide evidence for the distance factors of the Sun and Moon. A total solar eclipse occurs when the observer is located within the shadow cast by the Moon blocking the Sun’s light. Consider the shadow cast on a wall  by placing an object in front of a light source. What happens to the shadow as the distance between the object and light source is decreased? The shadowed area becomes larger, and a viewer within the shadowed region would have to move farther to leave the shadowed area and lose this precise alignment. If the distance between the light source and object becomes larger, then the shadow that is cast on the wall will become smaller and subsequently the observer’s location in the shadow for an eclipse alignment must become more precise (i.e., since the shadow is smaller, there is less area located within the eclipse shadow region).

Total solar eclipses are very rare events to see on Earth, which tells us that the alignment of such an event requires certain precision. It first requires precision for the orbits and locations of the three bodies to be exactly aligned. Second, it requires that an observer be located within the area of the Moon’s shadow cast on Earth. This second requirement increases the rarity of seeing a total solar eclipse, because the area of the Moon’s shadow resulting in totality is small, at most only about 165 miles in diameter.4 The casting of a small shadow means there must be a significant distance between the Sun and Moon. In addition, the path of totality, which is the track that the Moon’s shadow takes as it moves across the Earth’s surface, is a very narrow strip. When seeking to see a total solar eclipse event, the location where you go to observe must be very precisely chosen within the track.

If we focus on the second major type of eclipse, a lunar eclipse, then we see, not only further evidence for distances and orientations matching the heliocentric view, but also evidence for the spherical nature of Earth. Lunar eclipses occur when Earth is positioned between the Sun and Moon, and its shadow is cast across the Moon’s surface causing a darkening of the Moon. While solar eclipses only occur during the New Moon phase, lunar eclipses similarly occur only during the Full Moon phase. The precise alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth is emphasized by the fact that while lunar eclipses only occur during Full Moon phases, they do not occur every cycle and are quite rare. In contrast to a solar eclipse that involves one body, the Moon, obscuring the more distant Sun, a lunar eclipse involves the Earth’s shadow progressing across the Moon’s surface until it becomes completely engulfed. The evidence for a spherical Earth comes from the fact that as the lunar eclipse event begins the curvature of the Earth’s shadow can be seen advancing across the Moon’s surface. This provides direct observation for the circular shape of the Earth’s body, as well as the required orbit of the Moon to go around to the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. Both of these observable facts are contrary to Flat-Earth models, some of which postulate Earth as an indefinite plane5 or as a circular inhabitable region set in a rectangular block.6

Observing Objects Outside of Earth

As we consider the shape of our own planet, we can gain perspective by making direct observations of other celestial objects. By comparison of the physical features we observe in other objects, we can make application to the features we observe on Earth. A good starting place is to consider the planets in our own Solar System, objects that are generally the easiest to observe: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Each of these planets is conventionally described as being spherically round, so let’s discuss the observational evidence.

The planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are the four easiest of the planets to observe with simple backyard telescopes or even binoculars. With these tools the casual observer can see that each of these objects has dimensions and shape, showing more than the spot of light seen with the naked eye. In a simple description, the planets are obviously round; but are they three-dimensionally round objects? During short times of observing, we are able to capture short picturesque views of the planets; but what happens as we continue our observations? If we simply make the effort to add repeated observations, we will be able to see the snapshot characteristics begin to show their dynamic and varying nature. With observations over a matter of days and weeks (even better over months), you will see Venus’ phase change, Mars’ apparent size and surface features change, Jupiter’s rotation, and Saturn’s ring orientation change.

Let’s begin making a few specific observations. Beginning with the planet that has the largest average apparent size, we find Jupiter to be a beautifully banded planet. The roughly horizontal striations of Jupiter have varying colors from white to brownish-red. Overlapping the middle bands, you might see one of the most well-known features of Jupiter: the “Great Red Spot.” This feature serves as a good landmark and is one of Jupiter’s most fascinating features. Named for its appearance, this giant, oval-shaped region in Jupiter’s atmosphere has existed for several hundred years and is similar to features described by Galileo Galilei and Giovanni Cassini as far back as the 1600s. In fact, Giovanni Cassini used careful observations to track the movement of spot features, seemingly similar to the Great Red Spot, in order to conclude that Jupiter was indeed rotating about its axis. From the measurements, Cassini calculated a rotation speed for Jupiter of approximately 10 hours.7 Even with Cassini’s very primitive equipment, his calculation matches the currently measured rotation period of 9.925 hours.8

The next planet has captivated astronomers’ attention as far back as the telescope: the red planet Mars offers intriguing observations. In a similar fashion to his calculations of Jupiter’s rotation, Giovanni Cassini also calculated the length of Mars’ rotation by measuring how long it took for surface features to make it back around to the same spot. Both Cassini and Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens independently calculated the rotation period of Mars to be similar to Earth’s at just over 24-hours.9 The similarity between Earth and what we see when observing Mars is much more than just a similar period of rotation. Mars has surface features such as large plains, expansive ravines, and elevated mountains. White regions aligned with its axis of rotation are similar to Earth’s icy polar regions. Mars also has varying atmospheric changes, which most notably include huge dust storms that can obscure large regions. As we consider a round, rotating planet with mountains and canyons, polar ice caps, and an atmosphere that at times is clear and other times is congested with dusty storms, we cannot help but think about days on Earth with beautiful sunny days and about camping excursions in quiet valleys, or maybe cloudy days that often bring sudden storms while hiking in the mountains. If Mars exists as a rotating, spherical planet with diverse landscapes, then so can Earth.

 

CREDIT: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: R.G. French (Wellesley College), J. Cuzzi (NASA/Ames), L. Dones (SwRI), and J. Lissauer (NASA/Ames)

One of the most recognizable planets, the ringed-world of Saturn, provides an interesting context to consider. With Saturn we find the geometries of both a flat disk for the rings and a spherical body for the planet. Saturn’s ring system is a collection of particles surrounding the planet, individually orbiting Saturn as evidenced from spectroscopic studies showing differential rotation of ring material.10 Even in commercially available telescopes, Saturn and its beautiful rings can be readily seen. However, as we make repeated observations from year to year, we can watch as the ring orientation changes in its tilt with respect to our perspective from Earth.

In some years, Earth’s view is edge-on with Saturn’s ring plane, causing the rings to be barely visible, while other years, such as late 2017, the rings reach a tilt angle of 27° allowing the outermost A-ring to be visible in its full circumference. The changing tilt-angle of the rings is a regular cycle, oscillating in such a way that both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of Saturn’s body will be directed towards Earth during the cycle. What this comparison provides is a single view contrasting a spherical versus flat geometry in space. If all of the planets were simply flat circles, then we should see the same type of drastic visual differences from their changing orientations that Saturn’s rings demonstrate, since Saturn’s rings are understood, even in the heliocentric model, to be approximately flat circles. Additionally, the fact that the ring-tilt observations are consistent for every observer on Earth shows that Saturn is a very distant object, so that even observers separated by great distances on Earth will have comparable views.

The more distant planets of Uranus and Neptune are harder to observe with smaller amateur equipment. However, with diligence and larger telescopes, their round bodies can be observed in similar nature as the other planets. The fact that both Uranus and Neptune have their own systems of orbiting moons helps us to understand their relative size and gravitational dominance in their regions of space. The brightest of Uranus’ moons, Titania and Oberon, have been studied for well over 200 years. Titania, the largest and brightest moon, completes an orbit every 8.7 days, while Oberon takes 13.5 days.11  The largest moon of Neptune, Triton, has been observed for over 150 years and has an orbital period of 5.9 days.12 Thus, when we compare our observations of Uranus and Neptune to those of Jupiter and Saturn, we see many similarities and, by extension, can understand Uranus and Neptune as large spherical bodies.

Simple observations of the Moon and Sun in the sky clearly show a circular body. Couple this simple observational fact with a few additional observations and we can understand them as three-dimensionally round, as well. For instance, in similar fashion to some of the planets, the Sun can easily be monitored over several days tracking visible photosphere features called sunspots, progressing across its surface. Sunspots are dark areas in the brightly visible layer of the Sun, called the photosphere. As we track a sunspot feature across the Sun’s apparent surface, we find that shape and orientation of their entire context shows its movement to be caused by the Sun’s overall rotation and not large atmospheric motion. Even small backyard telescopes with proper solar filters can be used to monitor the presence and movement of sunspots.

For the second brightest object in the sky, the Moon, our regular observations can be done even easier than trying to safely view the Sun. The most obvious observation of the Moon is that it progresses through a regular cycle of phases each month. As this cycle occurs, there is an obvious curvature seen in the visibly bright portion of the Moon. The shape of the Moon’s phase, defined by the dark and light regions, is not caused by any shadowing from Earth. Instead, the obvious curved shapes of a Gibbous or Crescent Moon are due to the overall spherical curvature of the Moon itself. As the Moon’s position relative to the Sun’s location changes, our view of the Moon’s sunlit portion changes, and we see the side of the Moon facing away from the Sun. The direct relationship between lunar phases and the Sun can be seen by how each phase corresponds with the Sun’s position, noting also that the phase of the Moon is approximately the same for every observer—evidence for the Moon having a large distance from Earth. Flat-Earth models have the Moon located quite close, and as such, the Moon’s phase would be dramatically different based on where the observer is located. Instead, a Full Moon is always found opposite the Sun in the sky for every observer. When the Sun is setting below the horizon, the Full Moon is rising above the horizon, and when the Full Moon is setting, the Sun will be rising. Conversely, when the lunar phase is a New Moon, both the Sun and Moon will be seen in the same direction. The sunlit portions and the oppositely shadowed regions of the Moon are the visible results of the spherical shape of the Moon.

Even further, as we gaze at the Full Moon, its varying surface features are obvious by the contrasting light and dark regions. Employ binoculars or a small telescope and you will have immediate access to a wealth of topographic variation: rough and smooth areas, large and small craters, elevated peaks and depressions. Focusing on the surface features, we find that the shadowing effect that the phases provide enhances our understanding of the three-dimensional aspect of the Moon. The boundary line produced by the curved shadow across the Moon’s surface (during the Gibbous or Crescent phase) is called the terminator. You will find as you observe the Moon that the terminator is a region of excellent viewing. “Why?,” you might ask. There is a subtle decrease in the brightness of this region, allowing it to be somewhat easier on the eyes. The brightness difference is caused by the fact that the shadows of visible features along the terminator become lengthened as the terminator line approaches them. First, this is one piece of evidence toward the Moon not producing its own light, as some Flat-Earth proponents suggest,13 but rather reflecting light from an outside source (the Sun). Second, the shadows become extended when features are near the terminator, showing to a greater degree a contrast in height above the lunar surface. Here we can begin to identify the differences between elevated and depressed features by where their shadow is cast. The Moon is a distant, three-dimensional body with a variety of topographic landscapes.

Evaluating Observations of the Constellations

As we view the night sky and trace out familiar patterns in the stars, we can begin to map out the constellations. It is these consistent arrangements of stars that allow us to map and chart the heavens. We can use the positions of constellations relative to other stars and constellations to help us determine, not only where lesser-known and less-obvious celestial objects are located, but to help us on Earth to navigate our own geography.

Similar to how Earth’s geography has been mapped through history to provide our current knowledge of how the major landforms are oriented, the entire sky has likewise been mapped to give us a relation for how each constellation is oriented and located relative to the others. Following the same process for how Earth’s maps were compiled, requiring not only exploration but a combining of knowledge from many diverse groups across the world, the constellation map of the sky has been compiled from astronomical observers from different regions of the Earth over long periods of time. This process of combination was not only a good arrangement but was necessary for a complete map, since the available view of the sky is dependent on your location on Earth. Observers in different locations will have different views, not only for similar times of night or seasons, but also may have access to view constellations not available to other regions.

First, the view of a single observer varies seasonally. The visible constellations follow a regular cycle throughout the period of a year, and then repeat the same exact cycle the next year, and every year after that. What this seasonal cycle illustrates is that for any single location, there will be constellations that can be viewed during the winter months but that are not visible during the summer months, and vice-versa. This variation means that the Sun’s position in the sky is independent of the star and constellation positions, and thus there must be two motions in process to account for the Sun’s position and the constellation positions. The fact that there are seasonal variations seen in the East to West changing of visible constellation positions supports the spherical curvature of Earth and its rotational axis motion that impacts the star’s positions.

Second, there are constellation variations based not only on seasonal changes but on the geographical locations of observers. If we consider different observers located in the midwest United States, in central Africa, and in Australia, we find that each will have dramatically different observations. The set of constellations visible will be very different for locations with large North-to-South separations, where many constellations will not be visible from the opposite location. Constellations that may be visible from two locations with smaller North-to-South separations will still have very different apparent positions in the sky. Thus the stars and constellations visible at a particular location correspond directly to an observer’s latitude, where observers located at dramatically different latitudes will have unique views. These variations show us that there is a North-to-South curvature of Earth, which is aligned with a preferred axis of East-to-West rotation. A Flat-Earth model is not able to describe these observations, where a spherical Earth provides a simple description for how they occur.

These observable facts make clear sense for a spherical Earth, as the relative positions on the globe would determine your outward facing view of the sky. Other regions of the sky are obscured by the curved body of Earth. The reason that some constellations may be completely unique based on your location, results from Earth’s globe having a rotating motion about its axis. Where an observer is located on the surface, relative to the axis of rotation, will define what regions of the sky may or may not be visible and which stars are circumpolar (meaning they circle the celestial pole and are continuously above the horizon). The nearer you are to one of Earth’s poles (North or South), the less of the total sky you are able to see. A person South of the Equator will never see the North Star, Polaris (located at the North Celestial Pole). A person North of the equator at latitudes greater than about 26 degrees will never see the Southern Cross (near the South Celestial Pole).14 This location-dependent view is why Australia and New Zealand have this prominent group of stars on their nation’s flags, but Northern Hemisphere nations do not.

Flat-Earth models have huge complications when trying to describe how the visibility of constellations varies based only on an observer’s latitude. Problems are further compounded when addressing the observations of completely different constellations visible to those located at far Northern and far Southern latitudes, and that there are not one but two celestial poles around which stars rotate.

(to be continued)

Endnotes

1 Eric Dubay (2014), The Flat–Earth Conspiracy (Self-published), p. 89; See the phrase “under 4,000 miles” in Samuel Rowbotham (“Parallax”) (1865), Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe! (Bath: S. Hayward), p. 74.

2 Both the Sun and Moon have an angular size of 0.5 degrees. “Angular size” measures how large in angular units, such as degrees, an object appears. Angular size is not a measure of the true physical size, but rather an apparent size based on the object’s distance.

3 See “The Moon” at the Flat Earth Society Web site: http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=The+Moon.

4 http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast161/Unit2/eclipses.html. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse will only be about 70 miles in diameter, as measured from the NASA map projections. See https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html.

5 “The Flat Earth Society, along with previous notable flatists such as Samuel Shenton and S. Rowbotham, believe there is no end to the Earth and that it continues indefinitely. The only edge to the earth is the one you are standing on.” Seehttps://theflatearthsociety.org/home/index.php/faq#173818.

6 See the flat Earth map on the cover of this issue of R&R created by Orlando Ferguson in 1893. Also at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orlando-Ferguson-flat-earth-map.jpg.

7 Thomas Hockey (1999), Galileo’s Planet: Observing Jupiter Before Photography (Bristol, PA: IOP Publishing), pp. 31-32; C.A. Young (1886), “Rotation Time of the Red Spot on Jupiter,” The Sidereal Messenger, 5:289-293, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1886SidM....5..289Y.

8 C.A. Higgins, T.D. Carr, and F. Reyes (1996), “A New Determination of Jupiter’s Radio Rotation Period,” Geophysical Research Letters, 23:2653-2656.

9 “All About Mars” (no date), NASA, https://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/mystique/history/1600/; Jim Plaxco (1999), Mars Timeline of Discovery: 1570 BC thru 1799, http://www.astrodigital.org/mars/timeline1.html.

10 Helen Sawyer Hogg (1963), “Out of Old Books: James Keeler and the Rings of Saturn,” Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 57:269, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1963JRASC..57..269S.

11 David Williams (2016), “Uranian Satellite Fact Sheet” (Greenbelt, MD: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/uraniansatfact.html.

12 David Williams (2016), “Neptunian Satellite Fact Sheet” (Greenbelt, MD: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/neptuniansatfact.html.

13 Dubay, pp. 78-81.

14 Bruce McClure (2017), “Northerners’ Guide to Southern Cross,” EarthSky, http://earthsky.org/favorite-star-patterns/the-southern-cross-signpost-of-southern-skies.

Feeling Design by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2469

Feeling Design

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Those in the medical field of prosthetics (artificial limbs) are faced with a daunting task—to mimic human body parts. Experts in this field of study are quick to admit that the natural, biological human body is far superior to anything that humans can design. Yet, even though prostheses are clumsy, awkward, and inefficient when compared to human limbs, progress is slowly being made toward more human-like limbs.

One step toward better prosthetics is the ability to feel, also known as tactile sensation. “[S]cientists from Northwestern University, in Chicago, have shown that transplanting the nerves from an amputated hand to the chest allows patients to feel hand sensation there” (Singer, 2007). This new technology has the potential to enable amputees to feel sensations such as cold and hot, distinguish between surface texture such as smooth (like marble) or rough (like sandpaper), and various other sensations that biological hands can feel.

Todd Kuiken, the lead doctor in the research that was presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Kuiken, et al., 2007), said that improving and refining the technology will take time. Emily Singer, writing for Technology Review, commented on the process of creating usable, “feeling” prostheses, saying, “The task is likely to be difficult” (2007). Kuiken further noted: “Our hands are incredible instruments that can feel things with exquisitely light touch and incredible resolution; to emulate that through a device is incredibly challenging.... All we’re giving our patients is a rough approximation, but something is better than nothing” (as quoted in Singer, 2007).

Notice the necessary inference implied in this research. Humans are brilliant, creative beings. They are using existing nerves to design prostheses that have “a rough approximation” of the sense of touch that a biological hand has. Millions of dollars are being spent, thousands of hours used, and massive amounts of various other resources are being employed to make this muted sensation available. Yet, evolutionary scientists expect thinking people to believe that the original, biological limbs that have an “exquisite” sense of touch and “incredible resolution” arose due to blind processes and random chance over multiplied billions of years of haphazard accidents overseen by no intelligence? Such a conclusion is irrational. Design demands a designer. If the “rough” prostheses have a designer, the human limbs after which they are modeled must, of logical necessity, have one as well.

REFERENCES

Kuiken, Todd, et al. (2007), “Redirection of Cutaneous Sensation from the Hand to the Chest Skin of Human Amputees with Targeted Reinnervation,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, [On-line], URL: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/104/50/20061.

Singer, Emily (2007), “Prosthetic Limbs that Can Feel,” Technology Review, [On-line], URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/19759/?nlid=689.

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Savior's Sigh (8:11-13) by Mark Copeland

 

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

The Savior's Sigh (8:11-13)

INTRODUCTION

1. Have you ever considered the Lord's reaction to your behavior...
   a. When you refuse to believe in Him?
   b. When you do not follow Him as you should?

2. In this lesson I want us to think how Jesus must feel...
   a. When we put off obeying the gospel of Christ
   b. When we fail to trust and obey Him in our daily walk

[In our text (Mk 8:11-13) we read of Jesus' response to those who came
to test Him.  Let's begin by carefully noting...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. THE PHARISEES' DEMAND A SIGN...
      1. Jesus had just returned to the western shores of Galilee - Mk 8:10
      2. The Pharisees began to dispute with Him - Mk 8:11
         a. They had challenged Jesus before - Mk 2:6-7,16; 3:22; 7:1-2
         b. Matthew adds that they were joined by the Sadducees - Mt 16:1
      3. They demanded a sign - Mk 8:11
         a. A sign from heaven, perhaps like Joshua? - cf. Josh 10:12-14
         b. Had they not seen and heard of the many miracles already done?
         c. They were testing Him, perhaps hoping He would fail and be discredited

   B. JESUS' RESPONSE INVOLVED A SIGH...
      1. He sighed deeply in His spirit - Mk 8:12
         a. The anguish which Jesus experienced came from deep down inside him - Hendriksen
         b. Here the word "spirit" is used in a sense not much different
            from "heart" or "inner being." - ibid.
      2. Similar responses on other occasions
         a. Grieved by the hardness of their hearts - Mk 3:5
         b. Sighed as He healed the deaf mute - Mk 7:34
         c. Groaned in His spirit seeing the grief of others - Jn 11:33
         d. Wept over the city of Jerusalem - Lk 19:41-44

[Because of their hard hearts, no sign such as they were demanding would
be given them, except His resurrection (Mk 8:12-13; cf. Mt 12:39-40;
16:1-4).  Now consider whether Jesus might "sigh deeply in His spirit today...]

II. THE APPLICATION

   A. JESUS OBSERVES OUR BEHAVIOR...
      1. Just as He observed the behavior of Saul of Tarsus - Ac 9:5
      2. Just as He observed the churches of Asia
         a. He knew their works - Re 2:2,9,13,19; 3:1,8,15
         b. He found fault where it was due - Re 2:4,14,20; 3:2,16

   B. WOULD NOT JESUS SIGH DEEPLY...
      1. When we refuse to obey His gospel, time after time? - cf. Mt 11:28-30
      2. When our conduct is not much different than those of the world? - cf. Mt 5:20
      3. When our love is no different than that displayed by sinners?- cf. Mt 5:44-48
      4. When the kingdom of God is not our priority in life? - cf. Mt 6:33
      5. When tribulation or persecution causes us to stumble? - cf. Mt 13:20-21
      6. When anxiety or materialism makes us unfruitful? - cf. Mt 13:22
      7. When discouragement leads us to abandon prayer? - cf. Lk 18:1
      8. When human traditions displace keeping the commands of God? - cf. Mk 7:7,9
      9. When denominationalism defeats His prayer for unity? - cf. Jn 17:20-21
     10. When love of the world replaces love for His Father? - cf. 1Jn 2:15-17

CONCLUSION

1. From the Savior's sigh we learn that Jesus cared deeply...
   a. For those He was willing to heal (e.g., the deaf mute)
   b. For those He was willing to save (e.g., the Pharisees)

2. In similar fashion, Jesus stands ready...
   a. To save us from our sins
   b. To heal us of our souls' diseases

How will Jesus react to our response to Him?  Will it be with great joy,
or a deep sigh in His spirit...?     
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Masculinity That’s Not Toxic by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2019/01/18/masculinity-thats-not-toxic/

Masculinity That’s Not Toxic

This week all the rage has been Gillette’s controversial ad. It opens with the narrator asking “Is this the best a man can get?”

The opening scenes show men and boys bullying, being obnoxious and harassing women. As men stand behind their barbecue grills and two little boys fight, the men are muttering “boys will be boys” implying that bad behavior is justified.

Interestingly the response has been mixed. First there was a backlash. Now there’s a backlash against the backlash. The YouTube video currently stands at 145,000 likes and 454,000 dislikes.

The topic of “toxic masculinity” is being discussed, debated and dissected on various news and talk shows as well as facebook. What is Gillette’s point? And purpose? Are they and others equating masculinity itself with being toxic?

About 35 seconds into the video we are told “that something finally changed.” The pictures imply it was the “Me Too” movement.” Following the revelations of sexual abusive by powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Matt Lauer, have we suddenly realized that men ought not to be sexual predators, harassing and abusing women?

Most men and certainly Christian men already knew that manhood does not give us the right to gratify our fleshly desires with unacceptable and ungodly actions toward others. The Bible offers this stern admonition

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;  that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,  not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (1 Thess. 4:3-7).

But, I personally think there is something else behind this sudden social concern about “toxic masculinity.” In the past 50 years, there has been an attempt to blur the lines of distinction between men and women. Social engineering has tried to change who God created us to be.

In the beginning “God created them male and female.” That means masculine and feminine. Both experience and observation tell us there is a difference between men and women. Just as in various personality traits it is possible to abuse, misuse, or exploit our God-given nature, so it is with our masculinity.

The Bible offers counsel on the roles and responsibilities of both men and women and how we are to act and interact. Masculinity does not mean that we run roughshod over women or our wives. Instead, husbands are admonished to treat our wives with understanding, consideration, and honor. And to nourish and cherish our wives (I Pet. 3:7; Eph. 5:29). It is that kind of man who a woman can love and respect (Eph. 5:33).

True masculinity is both tough and tender. I’m reminded of the remarkable tribute that the poet Carl Sandburg paid to Abraham Lincoln. “Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as a rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.”

Lincoln’s will of steel drove him to accomplish what he believed was a “noble cause” during the American Civil War. His many detractors would not deter him. Yet, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, Lincoln showed a softer side, a man of velvet, when sent this message to the enemy commander. “Tell your men they may keep their horses; they’ll need them for plowing. Tell your men they may keep their rifles; they’ll need them for hunting.” It is said when Lee read those words he wept.

No doubt Sandburg’s description of Lincoln inspired the title of Aubrey Andelin’s 1970’s book, Man of Steel and Velvet. It’s subtitled: “A Guide to Masculine Development.” While the illustrations are obviously dated, Andelin’s concept is decidedly Biblical. Men can be both. Steel and velvet. Tough and tender. Strong and sensitive. Driven and gentle.

Masculinity that is toxic is not Biblical. Toxic means harmful, dangerous, or damaging. Of course, toxic femininity, which we never hear about, is also wrong. Whenever we use our position, role or relationship is a way that is demoralizing, detrimental, or debasing, it becomes toxic. And sinful.

Actually, we don’t need Gillette or the “Me Too” Movement defining and lecturing us on what it means to be a man. A return to God’s Word and a healthy respect for our divine roles and responsibilities will suffice.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

DID JUDE JUST LIKE TO HEAR HIMSELF WRITE? BY STEVE FINNELL

 

https://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2016/

DID JUDE JUST LIKE TO HEAR HIMSELF WRITE? BY STEVE FINNELL


Is it possible to fall from God's grace? Calvinist doctrine proclaims that once you are saved you can never be lost. Jude sent a letter to the churches of Christ warning of ungodly men in their congregations and giving them examples of men and angels falling away and the punishment for unrepentant sin. Was he warning of a possibility of falling from grace or did Jude just like to hear himself write?

Jude 1:5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

Why would Jude mention this if there was no chance of ever falling from grace? Did Jude just like to hear himself write?

Jude 1:6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for judgment of the great day,

Was Jude giving an inconsequential history lesson or a warning to the churches? Did Jude just like to hear himself write?

Jude 1:7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of fire.

Why would Jude be pointing out the punishment of fire, if all Christians have eternal security. Did Jude just like to hear himself write?

It makes no sense that Jude would warn Christians about ungodly men in their churches; if all Christians are "once saved always saved."  The actions of ungodly men would have been on no threat to eternally secure Christians. Why would Jude warn the churches of an impossibility? Did Jude just like to hear himself write?

(All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)

Listen to the Silence by Richard Mansel

 

https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Mansel/Richard/Dale/1964/silence.html

Listen to the Silence

Silence.

In the minds of many, the word conjures up images of loneliness and abandonment. Men fear the drumbeats of silence and will go to great lengths to protect themselves from it. Department stores, doctor's offices and the like pipe in soft music to ensure that their patrons are not awash in silence. Likewise, homes are often so filled with sounds emanating from the radio or the television that the voice of silence cannot be heard.

In this busy world of noise and chaos men have seemingly lost the ability to sit still and be quiet. Men have lost interest in the teeming sounds of the forest and the rustle of tall grass. Have you listened to the wind or the bushes lately? In their feeble voices they speak of God and His wonderful works. In their song is the praise of the Creator (Psalm 19:1).

Christians who wish to find peace in their lives can begin by discovering the power of silence. Thomas Carlyle said, "Speech is great, but silence is greater." For it is in the latter that we find the recipe for reverence.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." Perceptively, Don Henley writes, "We are like sheep without a shepherd and we don't know how to be alone so we wander 'round this desert and end up following the wrong gods home."

Prayer is the foundation for a life of reverence. Bowing our hearts and minds to God is how we can come humbly before His throne (James 4:10). Prayer is the avenue men can use to speak to the Father. But do we ever hear what He has to say? Do we pray and then rush off to other activities? Or, do we follow our "amen" with a period of thoughtful meditation on the word of God? How can we hear the voice of God unless we take the time to listen? His majesty is everywhere, to be seen by those perceptive enough to recognize the evidence of His power.

"Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still" (Psalm 4:4).

Richard Mansel

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading for February 3 and 4 by Gary Rose

 

 

Bible Reading for February 3 and 4

World  English Bible


Feb. 3

Genesis 34

Gen 34:1 Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

Gen 34:2 Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her. He took her, lay with her, and humbled her.

Gen 34:3 His soul joined to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young lady, and spoke kindly to the young lady.

Gen 34:4 Shechem spoke to his father, Hamor, saying, "Get me this young lady as a wife."

Gen 34:5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah, his daughter; and his sons were with his livestock in the field. Jacob held his peace until they came.

Gen 34:6 Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to talk with him.

Gen 34:7 The sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it. The men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had done folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; a which thing ought not to be done.

Gen 34:8 Hamor talked with them, saying, "The soul of my son, Shechem, longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife.

Gen 34:9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.

Gen 34:10 You shall dwell with us, and the land will be before you. Live and trade in it, and get possessions in it."

Gen 34:11 Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you will tell me I will give.

Gen 34:12 Ask me a great amount for a dowry, and I will give whatever you ask of me, but give me the young lady as a wife."

Gen 34:13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with deceit, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister,

Gen 34:14 and said to them, "We can't do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised; for that is a reproach to us.

Gen 34:15 Only on this condition will we consent to you. If you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised;

Gen 34:16 then will we give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.

Gen 34:17 But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our sister, and we will be gone."

Gen 34:18 Their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor's son.

Gen 34:19 The young man didn't wait to do this thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter, and he was honored above all the house of his father.

Gen 34:20 Hamor and Shechem, his son, came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying,

Gen 34:21 "These men are peaceful with us. Therefore let them live in the land and trade in it. For behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.

Gen 34:22 Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people, if every male among us is circumcised, as they are circumcised.

Gen 34:23 Won't their livestock and their possessions and all their animals be ours? Only let us give our consent to them, and they will dwell with us."

Gen 34:24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor, and to Shechem his son; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

Gen 34:25 It happened on the third day, when they were sore, that two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword, came upon the unsuspecting city, and killed all the males.

Gen 34:26 They killed Hamor and Shechem, his son, with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away.

Gen 34:27 Jacob's sons came on the dead, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.

Gen 34:28 They took their flocks, their herds, their donkeys, that which was in the city, that which was in the field,

Gen 34:29 and all their wealth. They took captive all their little ones and their wives, and took as plunder everything that was in the house.

Gen 34:30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have troubled me, to make me odious to the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I am few in number. They will gather themselves together against me and strike me, and I will be destroyed, I and my house."

Gen 34:31 They said, "Should he deal with our sister as with a prostitute?" 

 

Feb. 4

Genesis 35

Gen 35:1 God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there. Make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother."

Gen 35:2 Then Jacob said to his household, and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, change your garments.

Gen 35:3 Let us arise, and go up to Bethel. I will make there an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went."

Gen 35:4 They gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

Gen 35:5 They traveled, and a terror of God was on the cities that were around them, and they didn't pursue the sons of Jacob.

Gen 35:6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.

Gen 35:7 He built an altar there, and called the place El Beth El; because there God was revealed to him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Gen 35:8 Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; and its name was called Allon Bacuth.

Gen 35:9 God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan Aram, and blessed him.

Gen 35:10 God said to him, "Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be Jacob any more, but your name will be Israel." He named him Israel.

Gen 35:11 God said to him, "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your body.

Gen 35:12 The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and to your seed after you will I give the land."

Gen 35:13 God went up from him in the place where he spoke with him.

Gen 35:14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he spoke with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it.

Gen 35:15 Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him "Bethel."

Gen 35:16 They traveled from Bethel. There was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and Rachel travailed. She had hard labor.

Gen 35:17 When she was in hard labor, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid, for now you will have another son."

Gen 35:18 It happened, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Benoni, but his father named him Benjamin.

Gen 35:19 Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem).

Gen 35:20 Jacob set up a pillar on her grave. The same is the Pillar of Rachel's grave to this day.

Gen 35:21 Israel traveled, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Eder.

Gen 35:22 It happened, while Israel lived in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father's concubine, and Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.

Gen 35:23 The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob's firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.

Gen 35:24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.

Gen 35:25 The sons of Bilhah (Rachel's handmaid): Dan and Naphtali.

Gen 35:26 The sons of Zilpah (Leah's handmaid): Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.

Gen 35:27 Jacob came to Isaac his father, to Mamre, to Kiriath Arba (which is Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac lived as foreigners.

Gen 35:28 The days of Isaac were one hundred eighty years.

Gen 35:29 Isaac gave up the spirit, and died, and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. Esau and Jacob, his sons, buried him. 

 

Feb.  3

Matthew 17

Mat 17:1 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.

Mat 17:2 He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.

Mat 17:3 Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.

Mat 17:4 Peter answered, and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let's make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

Mat 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."

Mat 17:6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid.

Mat 17:7 Jesus came and touched them and said, "Get up, and don't be afraid."

Mat 17:8 Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.

Mat 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Don't tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead."

Mat 17:10 His disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Mat 17:11 Jesus answered them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and will restore all things,

Mat 17:12 but I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they didn't recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted to. Even so the Son of Man will also suffer by them."

Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptizer.

Mat 17:14 When they came to the multitude, a man came to him, kneeling down to him, saying,

Mat 17:15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is epileptic, and suffers grievously; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.

Mat 17:16 So I brought him to your disciples, and they could not cure him."

Mat 17:17 Jesus answered, "Faithless and perverse generation! How long will I be with you? How long will I bear with you? Bring him here to me."

Mat 17:18 Jesus rebuked him, the demon went out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour.

Mat 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, "Why weren't we able to cast it out?"

Mat 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Mat 17:21 But this kind doesn't go out except by prayer and fasting."

Mat 17:22 While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men,

Mat 17:23 and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised up." They were exceedingly sorry.

Mat 17:24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma?"

Mat 17:25 He said, "Yes." When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?"

Mat 17:26 Peter said to him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Therefore the children are exempt.

Mat 17:27 But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you." 

 

Feb. 4

Matthew 18

Mat 18:1 In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?"

Mat 18:2 Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the midst of them,

Mat 18:3 and said, "Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mat 18:4 Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mat 18:5 Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me,

Mat 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a huge millstone should be hung around his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea.

Mat 18:7 "Woe to the world because of occasions of stumbling! For it must be that the occasions come, but woe to that person through whom the occasion comes!

Mat 18:8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire.

Mat 18:9 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire.

Mat 18:10 See that you don't despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 18:11 For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.

Mat 18:12 "What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray?

Mat 18:13 If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.

Mat 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Mat 18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother.

Mat 18:16 But if he doesn't listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Mat 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector.

Mat 18:18 Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will have been released in heaven.

Mat 18:19 Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."

Mat 18:21 Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?"

Mat 18:22 Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.

Mat 18:23 Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants.

Mat 18:24 When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

Mat 18:25 But because he couldn't pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down and kneeled before him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!'

Mat 18:27 The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

Mat 18:28 "But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'

Mat 18:29 "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you!'

Mat 18:30 He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due.

Mat 18:31 So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done.

Mat 18:32 Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me.

Mat 18:33 Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?'

Mat 18:34 His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.

Mat 18:35 So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds."