Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
About this time every August our earth's rotation around the sun brings us near the tail of a comet with tiny grains of sand-like material that glow white hot as they strike our atmosphere. We call these shooting stars as they flash across our midnight sky. This August meeting is with the Perseid meteors. There is another similar encounter that occurs in November.
In Matthew 24:29 Jesus spoke of "signs" in the heavens that would indicate that we are entering "the time of the end" that Daniel spoke of (11:35; 12:4). It's in the Savior's great sermon on the end of the world: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days" the signs were to appear. He has been describing the persecutions of the Dark Ages, which Daniel and Revelation both pinpoint as 1260 years between 538 and 1798 A.D., when so many true followers of Jesus were martyred.
But the actual martyrdoms in Europe ended soon after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Mark reports the timing more precisely as "in those days, after that tribulation" (13:24, 25), "the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light." Thoughtful people who revered the Bible recognized this "sign" in the mysterious May 19, 1780, darkening of the sun. Then Jesus added: "the stars will fall from heaven." On the night of November 13, 1833, the most spectacular burst of shooting stars ever seen was in populous New England. Again, people who revered the Bible were reassured that we have entered into Daniel's great "time of the end."
Some keep expecting that God must repeat these "signs in the heavens" in order for His people to be well warned. But when Thomas refused to believe the historical reports by his fellow disciples of the resurrection, Jesus rebuked him (John 20:27). God expects us to respect the record of history!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 13, 2005.
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