O Lord, what a morning! O Lord, what a morning!
O Lord, what a morning! When the Stars begin to fall.
You will flee to the rocks and mountains. You will flee to the rocks and mountains
You will flee to the rocks and mountains, When the stars begin to fall!
Thus did “The Seekers” sing in one of their top-chart song albums in 1968, a biblically-based song which needs some interpreting before the truth emerges.
In the early morning of November 13th, a cotton planter in South Carolina was awakened by a commotion: “. . . the most distressing cries that ever fell on my ears. Shrieks of horror and cries of mercy I could hear from most of the Negroes on three plantations . . . I heard a faint voice calling my name . . . ‘Oh my God, the world is on fire!’ I then opened the door and it was difficult to say which excited me most – the awfulness of the scene, or the distressed cries of the Negroes. Upwards of one hundred lay prostrate on the ground; some speechless, and some uttering the bitterest cries, but most with their hands raised, imploring God to save the world and them. The scene was truly awful; for never did rain fall much thicker than the meteors fell towards the earth, – east, west, north and south, it was the same.”
Maybe you will have seen the contemporary engraving of this Leonid Meteor Storm of 1833. The panic generated can be well understood by reference to Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” In watching a meteor storm it is easy to imagine that the stars are actually falling, but when the storm is over, all the permanent stars are seen still to be in their rightful places. (Incidentally, most people interpret the above prediction by assuming that the astronomical events occur when the “tribulation” is over, but the wording of the text suggests rather that the time is related to the beginning of the tribulation. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days [begins] . . .”)
Panic would not occur today if another Leonid storm was witnessed, simply because knowledge has increased, thereby to dispel unnecessary fear. But did the Lord refer to such a storm in His prophetic words? Some believe so, but like so many other “signs”, one needs to be in full possession of the facts before making rash predictions. The facts are as follows.
The Leonid meteor shower (which it usually is, rather than a storm) occurs every year in mid November, and quite a number of “shooting stars” are seen, coming from the constellation of Leo, hence the name. Although arriving in the earth’s atmosphere parallel to each other, these shooting stars appear to come from a point, known as the RADIANT, for the same reason that traffic viewed down a long straight highway appears to converge to a point in the distance. The Leonids are produced as a result of the Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle shedding some of its matter on passing nearest to the Sun. Hence the orbit of this comet is like a dusty pathway. And because the earth occasionally passes through the NODE of its orbit, the intensity of the shower can increase to that of a storm.
The nodal passage occurs every 33 years and therefore three times each century there is a possibility of a storm. Last time, in 1966, there was quite an active display of up to 100,000 meteors per hour visible in the USA. This year on November 18th at 2 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time there is a distinct chance of witnessing a storm, but only for those resident in Europe. (This is sad for our American friends, who didn’t get to see the eclipse this year either.) However, it would be advisable to observe for activity between 15th and the 20th of the month. One never knows when the maximum “snow-fall” will occur during this period.
What about the past? Mention has been made of 1833, but historical records go way back. On October 12th AD 902 Turkish records say that the stars spread themselves out over the face of the sky like rain on the death of the tyrant king Ibrahim-ibn-Ahmed. Chinese chronicles reported spectacular displays on October 14th 934, in Japan in 967, and another in ChinaOctober 15th 1002. In more recent times, 1866 was predicted, but the display was best seen in Europe rather than America. Strangely, there was no storm in 1899 or 1933.
So much for the stars falling. What about the Sun and Moon being darkened? We know that this occurred just before the Exodus, and also for three hours at the Crucifixion, (not only recorded in the Gospels, but also in the writings of Phlegon ofTralles in his history entitled “Olympiades“, by which it is possible to fix the date of the crucifixion as Friday 3rd April AD 33.) But since then there has been a major darkening of the Sun and Moon, which occurred over the whole of New England onMay 19th 1780. It lasted from 11 am until about 2 am the following morning. The Moon was full at the time, as it was at the crucifixion, and on both occasions there was a lunar eclipse.
Panic struck many of those in New England, just as it did to the Negroes in 1833. I have collected many reports of incidents at that time, where people were terrified that the Lord was about to return. (If any reader would like to see these reports, I have included them in “The Prophetic Telegraph” No. 51. See end for web-site address)
The 1780 event has been well publicised, but few know about the other recorded incidents of darkness. For example, onMarch 19th 1886 at Oshkosh in Wisconsin, “the day was light, though cloudy, when suddenly darkness commenced settling down, and in five minutes it was as dark as midnight. General consternation prevailed; people on the streets rushed to and fro; teams dashed along, and women and children ran into cellars; all business operations ceased until lights could be lighted. . . . The darkness lasted about ten minutes and then passed off.” On 18th April 1859 the sun became obscured at noon inBrazil. Venus was seen in the sky. In this report, mention was made of like phenomena in 1547 and 1706. On September 18th 1938 a dark day was widely observed in north-western Siberia. There was an intense darkness reported at Preston,England, on April 26th 1884, and on August 19th 1763 a great darkness came upon London, which occurred again onJanuary 22nd 1882, and on April 17th 1904 at Wimbledon, London. No one has yet been able to propose a satisfactory theory to account for these strange darknesses.
So much for all the astronomy, what about the “Great Tribulation”? If these astronomical phenomena occur at the outset of the Great Tribulation, what should we be looking for? How does the G.T. start? The first useful piece of evidence comes from the 12th chapter of Daniel, where it is said to coincide with the “standing up of Michael.” Now, throughout Daniel’s prophecies, mention is made of one after another wicked agents of the Devil “standing up”, last of all being the “little horn.” The expression therefore refers to the coming into power of the individual. Finally then, the Archangel Michael “stands up” in his power, and at last the earth sees a beneficent ruler emerge after much darkness.
The next step towards understanding is found in Revelation chapter 7, where the Lord obtains “a great multitude without number” who come out of Great Tribulation, having “made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.” Hence the result of the G.T. is a great harvest for the Lord. So it starts with a mighty angelic “standing up”, or visitation, triggering off a massive turning to the Lord throughout the whole world, and ends up with the Lord culling His great harvest. Between these time-points a massive persecution looms up under Satan’s direction, but God uses it to purify the people of His harvest.
One other point made by Daniel. He mentions that resurrections will be observed at the standing up of Michael, and these must be those firstfruit saints of God assigned to assist the Lord at the start of His reign. This interpretation will no doubt be new to many, but a little digging will show the reasonableness of the assertions made. Perhaps this great event is just round the corner. No man knows the day and hour of the Lord’s return, which is not necessarily in view here, but what about the coming of Michael, and indeed the second coming of Elijah?
To save space, all the many references to information in this paper are withheld, but will be supplied on request. Some of the details I have taken from my own book, “The Other Star – a new theory on the origin of the Solar System” 1966 – but it is long out of print.