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The Open Space in Orion
By Brian Pepper
I want you to come with me as we follow the Bible instruction, to lift up your eyes on high and behold who hath created these things, to consider the handiwork of the great Creator.
For centuries man has been looking at the moon wondering if it would be possible to get there. It was a wonderful day when the early Apollo spacecraft actually took photos of the moon from close quarters. At last man had made it! A man on the moon - it was fantastic. Man walking on the dusty surface stirring up the dust of the centuries. Then photos of Mars. Man had speculated all kinds of things about Mars. Man is determined that he is going to visit the planets of other systems and take a look at the inhabitants. The scientists are working overtime devising new and more spectacular vehicles for space travel.
Progress in last 50 years
Have you ever wondered why in the last 50 years man has come such a long way? For centuries things were almost at a standstill and yet today we find ourselves in the space age. Did you know that nearly 3000 years ago Daniel the prophet foretold all this. Daniel 12:4 says, "But thou, 0 Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” Yes for centuries man has used the horse and plow to till the soil. Today we have the tractor in many sizes and shapes and power and the advantages of hydraulics as well.
The Space Age
History was made when in Lunar module Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first moon landing. After descending from the space craft Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. For the first time man left his footprints on the moon’s surface and viewers all over the world were able to see it all. Scientific equipment was then placed on the moon in order to send back valuable information. At last we were able to see our own earth as it can be seen in outer space. Man is aiming to go further into this solar system of ours and he has hopes of even going beyond.
We are on the Fringe of a Great Universe
How true the Bible is when it says in Daniel 12:4 “...Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased." Have you ever wondered why there is such a cloudburst of knowledge in our day? Well now you know why because the prophet Daniel tells us it would be so.
Where we are in Space
We are told that we live somewhere near the centre of the great Milky Way system or galaxy (this diagram helps us to get the picture).
The Immensity of the Universe
Dr Harlow Shapley says; "At least 10,000,000 galaxies like our own Milky Way can be photographed with the largest telescopes, and countless others probably exist." (In a letter dated February 19, 1958 to V.M. Hansen) We are not alone in space for recently the scientists are saying that there seems to be no end to the universe. Dr Fritz Kahn says, "If we divide the sky into windows the size of the moon, the telescope can find 1000 galaxies in each windowpane. Just imagine that, 1000 galaxies in each windowpane. It is no wonder that Jeremiah speaking under inspiration was able to say in Jeremiah 33:22, “… the host of heaven cannot be numbered…”
In this picture you are not looking at single stars but complete systems of stars, which gives us a little idea of the immensity of the universe of which we are part. Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.”
Veil Nebula in Cygnus
This picture of the veil Nebula in Cygnus gives us a little idea of the greatness of God’s creative power.
The great galaxy in Andromeda is a system of stars much like our own Milky Way. This is how it looks through the great Hale telescope. If you were on a planet in Andromeda viewing the Milky Way, it would look very much like Andromeda does to us through our telescopes.
Like a giant firecracker is the Spiral galaxy and just as colourful. The large telescopes have made it possible to view many of these celestial wonders in fine detail. Dr Fritz Kahn says, "Our home in the universe is a spiral of 200,000,000,000 stars; a unit of suns whirling through space like a fiery pinwheel." (Design of the Universe. p.156) It staggers the imagination and the mind boggles as we try to take it all in.
Controlled Movement of Heavenly Objects
Isabel Lewis of the U.S. Observatory says, “All known objects in the heavens belong to one enormous unit.” They are all under control moving as directed. The late General Mitchell who was the Astronomer General for the USA for 25 years has this to say, "His single arm guides the millions of sweeping suns, and around His throne circles the great constellation of unnumbered universes.” (Todays Amazing Universe, Knox.21) So accurate are the movements of the heavenly bodies that we are able to set our time by them.
David the psalmist speaking under inspiration declared in Psalm 19:1, 2, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” As we point the telescope toward the heavens we agree with David.
What a majestic sight is the Omega Centauri or the unusual galaxy in Centaurus which by the way is the source of radio noise.
Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius
Then the glorious Lagoon nebula in Sagittarius with its brilliant colour. In Colossians 1:17 Weymouth version it says, “…through him the universe is a harmonious whole.” In other words God controls everything and directs all the movements of the heavenly bodies.
Are other Worlds Inhabited? What Notables say.
This is a very interesting question: are other worlds inhabited? Not so long ago men were sure that this world was the hub of the universe; that other worlds were void of inhabitants, but not so today. Sir Harold Spencer Jones asks, "can it be that throughout the vast deeps of space nowhere but on our little Earth is life to be found?” Dr William W. Campbell says, "In the latter years of my life I have been gratified to think that there are other representatives of life scattered all through the universe (Today’s Amazing Universe. Knox, p.75). Garrett P. Serviss makes this statement "The natural tendency in the light of modern progress, is to regard the universe as everywhere filled with life." Sir James Jeans, the British astronomer says,” There must be myriads of worlds capable of supporting life as we know life here." (Today's Amazing Universe Knox p.75)
Are other Worlds Inhabited? What the Bible says.
It is very interesting to notice what the Bible has to say about the matter. Psalm 33:6 says, "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." Did you notice "the heavens”? This suggests plurality. Hebrews 11:3 says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God." Firstly we have "heavens". Now we have "worlds" and obviously there are more than one world. Hebrews 1:1, 2 says, “God...made the worlds…” Now isn’t that interesting? Now I want you to notice this text, Revelation 12:12. "Therefore rejoice (ye heavens) and ye that (dwell in them.)” That is plain enough. There is definitely more than our world that is inhabited. Now let us look at Job 38:4, 7. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?... When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy." At the time God laid the foundations of this earth there was great rejoicing. All the sons of God shouted for joy.
Who are the Sons of God?
Now who were these "sons of God” that were so jubilant at that time? Job 1:6, 7 says, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan. Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD and said, from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” In heaven a council was being held. The leaders of the other worlds were all assembled together when suddenly Satan arrived on the scene. When God questioned him as to what authority he had to be in attendance, his answer was that he came to represent this world.
Have you noticed that in Luke 3 there is a long list of names given, taking us through the royal line of Christ? Now notice what it says in the last verse. Luke 3:38 says “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” Right through the list it tells us that so and so was the son of man; but Adam as the first man, the leader of this world, was the son of God. It is very clear that the sons of God, who were so excited at the creation of this world, were none other than the leaders of the other worlds.
The Three Heavens
A lot of folk are surprised when they find that there are three heavens that are very important as far as man is concerned. 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4 says, "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago ... such an one caught up to the third heaven … and he was caught up to paradise." There are so many people, yes Christians too, who do not have the faintest idea where heaven is located. That is why when you mention heaven folk are often inclined to imagine that you are talking about some mythical place. If God dwells in the third heaven, there must be a first and second heaven.
The First Heaven
In Revelation 19:17 it mentions the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. We know that birds do not fly among the stars. The Bible mentions the heavens passing away. That is not the dwelling place of God. The first heaven is the atmospheric heaven which is immediately above us.
The Second Heaven
The second heaven is the starry heaven that David speaks about when he said, "The heavens are telling the glory of God."
The Third Heaven
The third heaven is the heaven of heavens or paradise. When we pray we say, "Our Father which art in heaven.”
Where is the Third Heaven?
But where does God live? Is it possible to find out? Amos 5:8 says, "Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion." Now we know that God dwells in the third heaven, but where is it and how can we locate it? We are told to seek God and our attention is drawn to Orion.
Listen to this statement "One evening astronomer Garrett P. Serviss and a friend were watching the matchless spectacle of Orion advancing to the meridian when his companion suddenly turned to him and remarked: Is there not some vast mystery concealed in that part of the heavens? To me, at least it seems so, for I can never shake off the impression that the creative power which made the universe lavished its richest gifts upon the locality in and surrounding Orion. Mr Serviss was in agreement with the suggestion."
Even the ancients though they did not have telescopes, they did have very keen eyes, and as they looked into the sky they noticed something special about Orion for they called it the Mighty Hunter.
The Open Space in Orion
An open space in Orion! Why you say "it is all open space out there.” Edgar Lucian Larkin of the Mt Lowe Observatory said, "What has all along appeared to be a flat surface of nebulous matter.... in the sword of Orion is shown... to be mouth of a cavern, a deep opening receding into the mighty distance beyond.” (Divine Predictions, p.141) In this picture you have a man’s form superimposed upon a natural background. Notice the belt and the sword of Orion. This is a close up of the great nebula in Orion. The size of the open space. "These negatives reveal the opening and interior of a cavern so stupendous that our entire solar system including the orbit of Neptune would be lost therein."
In this diagram you can see the orbit of Neptune which gives you some idea how immense is the hole in the heavens. "In all ordinary telescopes the nebula looks like a flat surface. I have watched it since the days of youth in many telescopes of many powers, but never dreamed that the central region is the mouth of a colossal cave." Now isn’t that amazing!
This is a spectacular view of the nebula of Orion.
Hub of the Universe
Sir James Jeans says, “The universe is built so that it operates according to certain laws. There are certain laws governing the whole thing and away back behind Orion it seems to be stationary." Did you get that! Behind Orion it is stationary. In other words it is the hub of the universe.
God dwelleth in the Light
1 Timothy 6:15,16 says, “…who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of lords: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto:”
You will notice that God dwells in a light that is either too brilliant or of such composition that man could not come near it.
God covereth the Light
Job 36:32 says, "With clouds (or nebula) he covereth the light; and commanded it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.” God covers this light with a cloud or nebula so somewhere in the heavens there is a mysterious light which is located behind a gap or an empty space. And between that mysterious light and this earth there is a cloud or nebula.
The North and Empty Space linked together
Notice the text on the lower half of this picture. Job 26:7 “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” That is a significant statement. The north and the empty space are linked together.
This next text tells us more about the north. Isaiah 14:13,14 says, "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Throne of God in the North
This makes it very clear that the throne of God is in the north. Notice Psalm 48:1, 2. "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” So the throne of God is situated behind a nebula, behind an empty space and is in the north.
Professor Hyde of Southern California is University said, "It seems to me that I was looking through the door into infinity and that the celestial city was not far away." Now isn’t that amazing, especially when it comes from an astronomer.
One day soon we will be taking a trip through the stars right up to Orion. We will pass right through the cloudy veil that covers the open space. Just imagine what a sight that will be!
Psalm 103:19 says, “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens and his kingdom ruleth over all.” We are told that God’s throne is in the heavens; that He is beyond the stars.
Promise to take us to the Father's house
John 14:2, 3 says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.... I go to prepare a place for you. And..I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Jesus has promised to come and to take us to His Father’s house. Now isn’t that wonderful!
Travel through Space
So one day soon we will all be space travelers, travelling far beyond our own Milky Way. On the way to that glorious future home of ours beyond Orion we will see some of the planets at close quarters. We will go right up through the starry corridor to heaven. Jupiter that colourful planet will catch our attention. I am sure that we will be thrilled as we see it at close quarters. Saturn that furthermost planet easily visible to the unaided eye; 700 times larger than our world. They tell us that there is nothing like Saturn in all our universe with its beautiful ring system. We will go right up through the colliding galaxies. Another of the remarkable sights that we will see. Right up through Orion ablaze with glory, what a sight to behold.
Eye hath not seen nor ear heard
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "But as it is written eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Beyond our wildest expectations will be he marvellous things that God has in store for us in His heavenly Kingdom.
The Holy City
(Holy City Introductory music)
Last night I lay a sleeping There came a dream so fair I stood in old Jerusalem Beside the temple there
I heard the children singing And ever as they sang
Me thought the voice of Angels From Heaven in answer rang
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Lift up your gates and sing.
Rosanna in the highest, Hosanna to your King.
And then me thought my dream was changed, The streets no longer rang
Hushed were the glad Hosannas The little children sang;
The sun grew dark with mystery, The morn was cold and chill,
As the shadow of a cross arose Upon a lonely hill
"Jerusalem: Jerusalem! Hark! how the Angels sing,
Hosannah in the highest, Hosannah to your King."
And once again the scene was changed New earth there seemed to be
I saw the Holy City Beside the tideless sea;
The light of God was on its streets The gates were open wide
And all who would might enter And no one was denied
No need of moon or stars by night Or sun to shine by day,
It was the new Jerusalem That would not pass away,
"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sing for the night is o'er,
Hosannah in the highest, Hosannah evermore!