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Reflections on Aurora Borealis and the Solar Eclipse
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Written by: Ronald Clark
Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

Barely a month after the awe-inspiring solar eclipse millions of people are now seeing stunningly beautiful displays of aurora borealis. No God-fearing person denies these spectacular celestial signs point to a powerful, good, loving and wise creator.  As it is written, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

But there is a mixed blessing. Aurora borealis originates from solar radiation. Also, the beautiful corona in the eclipse radiates from the sun. Anyone wanting to view the beautiful eclipse—virtually everyone—was strictly warned to exercise utmost care to avoid looking directly at the sun so as not to be struck blind. Likewise, the magnificent aurora displays from the northern come with a 'downside', so to speak. The electromagnetic storms generating these colorful lights can have a very powerful negative impact on our world. In fact, twenty-two years ago when severe G5 storms from solar flares struck our planet it caused massive electric power outages in Sweden and South Africa.

Last Saturday I attended a breakfast event and someone at our table showed us some splendid snap shots of the aurora borealis that he took the night before, not far from his home. I commented that a few weeks earlier I also had witnessed a remarkable view of the solar eclipse which included a magnificent sunset encircling the entire horizon. Of course, it is only natural that we admire such beautiful scenery. Is it, perhaps, God's desire that we be drawn to him through seeing these glimpses of beauty?

On the other hand, it is necessary that we respect the awesome power of the sun because failure to do so can have devastating consequences. At the end of my earlier article, subtitled, 'Insights on the eclipse,' I touched on this sober reality, noting that Muslims and Hindus view the solar eclipse as having an ominous, even frightful, meaning. It is true, of course, that Christians also fear God, albeit very differently.

“You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.’ Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, ‘I am terrified and trembling.’

No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. (Hebrews 12:18-23, bold font added)

Notice the words 'joyful gathering' and 'names written in heaven.' Do you recall the time when Christ's disciples rejoiced because they were able to caste out demons by the power of Jesus name? But then Jesus said, “don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” (Luke 10:20) Notice also the passage in Hebrews chapter12 which anticipates the 'joyful gathering' in the heavenly city of Jerusalem concludes by saying, “let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)

These joyful yet awe inspiring words call to mind 1 Timothy 6:16, “God … lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.”

The term 'heavenly Jerusalem' reminds me of two Scriptures, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. Notice in both passages the prominent theme of light and the rich spectrum of beautiful colors as seen in the precious stones inlaid in the foundation walls of the new Jerusalem:

“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. … Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the Lord. The flocks of Kedar will be given to you, and the rams of Naioth will be brought for my altars. I will accept their offerings, and I will make my Temple glorious. … Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations. … No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end.” (Isaiah 60)

We also read in Revelation 21,

I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls containing the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come with me! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” So, he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west. The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (according to the human standard used by the angel).

The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones*: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.

I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (bold font added)

So, if you think the eclipse was awesome, if you think the auroras were beautiful, you haven't seen anything yet! That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.'” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

All Bible quotes are taken from the New Living Translation unless otherwise indicated.

If these insights have delighted your heart or if you have questions, please write me here. I look forward to hearing from you.


* Earlier we asked, “Is God, perhaps, displaying these stunningly beautiful northern (and southern) lights in the sky as a way of drawing people to himself?” Interestingly, the Bible uses wedding imagery to depict God's Lamb, the Messiah, as the great lover with his “bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2) Naturally, the choreography for this joyous occasion is appropriately adorned with a colorful array of jewels as seen in the 12 precious stones listed in Revelation 21:19-21.