It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon… – Luke 23:44
Eclipse means to hide, to conceal, cover or darken. It also means to cast a shadow upon something. In the ancient Greek language, eclipse meant “to abandon.”
This month, the earth’s moon will cover, conceal, and totally darken the sun in places around the world. In the United States, on August 21st, a total eclipse of the sun will occur on a path from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
Photo from NASA (link)
A total eclipse of the sun which occurs close enough for our eyes to see is rare. This is because the moon is vastly smaller than the sun it covers in an eclipse. This means that a narrow band of the earth is the place where a total eclipse can be seen. Eclipses occur regularly on the earth. Three partial eclipses will occur in different parts of the world next year: February 15, July 13, and August 11.
The soon to arrive eclipse across North America has created significant activity in national media. An eclipse has always caused human excitement. Babylonian records show a recorded eclipse 1300 years before Jesus walked on earth. Scientists have used eclipses of the sun to learn about the relationship of the earth and sun in our solar system.
An eclipse is also beautiful and dangerous at once. Without safety protection for our eyes the concentrated solar radiation can burn the cells of our retina. Rather than taking the risk, there are many photographed images which can be safely viewed. These will do no harm to the eye.
A total solar eclipse never lasts long either. Sorry to rain on your picnic, but most last 7 minutes 31 seconds.
But, there is an infinitely greater reason to be excited about an eclipse of the sun. Do you remember the Greek word for eclipse means abandonment? Perhaps they exclaimed, “The sun has abandoned us!” It is possible to imagine the fear that could occur if it was thought the sun had ceased to shine on the earth. Life would cease. We all fear change, especially with things we do not control.
The Bible tells us that one day in the future, the current sun will cease to shine. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. Both the old testament and new testament speak of this. There are two words we pronounce the same: sun and son. The first sun will eclipse, it will someday be darkened – Read Joel 3:15. The second Son has walked as a man upon the earth. He was crucified on a cross on this earth. That day the sun was darkened for 3 hours not 7 minutes. Looking at Jesus will never harm you. Jesus died that all who believe in Him will not perish but have life everlasting! He made the sun. He directs the eclipse that is soon to come. He does not abandon us. He will never leave us or desert us. There is no eclipse with Jesus! Enjoy the eclipse of the sun if you wish. Be reminded the Son of God came so we would not be abandoned in our sin.
Fix your eyes on the Son who is able to save and not blind you.
Featured above image from ESA (link)
Mr. Ellis is a retired instructional system specialist at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center (operated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). He also serves as an elder of Bethel Church.