The Psalm 19 Project: The Gospel in the Stars and the Arrival of Apophis
I am writing this exactly one year after coming to Oklahoma to join the amazing ministry that God is doing through Prophecy Watchers. It has been quite a year as God has thrown in a few curve balls. After arriving, Gary and I spent a few weeks recording some programs and then in August 2021 Gary ended up feeling unwell. Gary would have good weeks and bad weeks, but was finally diagnosed with needing a pacemaker in February 2022. He received his pacemaker and has been recovering over the past few months. He is now back in the studio! 🙂
Even though Gary has slowed down a little, he is excited to team up on several new projects that God is adding to the ministry of Prophecy Watchers. Our foundation and main focus will always be to “keep watching” as Gary likes to say. We know the Lord’s return is coming soon and all of us who are prophecy watchers have been given the tremendous privilege to be on the forefront of seeing the stage being set for the arrival of the tribulation. But… we also know that before the arrival of the 7-year wrath of God in the tribulation, the blessed hope of the rapture happens where Jesus rescues His bride (Luke 17:26-37; Rev 3:10; Luke 21:34-36; 1 Thess 5:9). We are not watching specifically for the tribulation, but looking/waiting eagerly for the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) and to receive the crown of rejoicing for those who love Jesus’ appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).
As we continue to partner and make known the excellent teachings of many Bible prophecy experts for the sake of reaching people with the gospel and the truth of God’s Word, God is creating other opportunities to promote and defend the gospel. As many of you know and have seen, we are continuing to use archaeology to share the amazing truths of how archaeology demonstrates the reliability of the Bible. Like fulfilled prophecy, God has used archaeology to equip His people to reach many with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. What many might not know is that in the last year God has been opening doors not only to discuss archaeology, but also to do archaeology. Our archaeological “arm” of Prophecy Watchers involves several behind the scenes projects which require much care and caution. We are in the process of receiving funds in order to purchase a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) system which will be used in our efforts. We are almost there and look forward to seeing how God uses this advanced technology to strengthen our ministry goals. Maybe we call this the Job 12:8 Project. 😊
This brings us to another new project God has been stirring in our hearts over the past year. Gary and I have many common interests and one of the first ones that we enjoyed discussing and dreaming about was astronomy. Gary is a pilot and used to write the technical manuals for Cessna aircraft. His brain is wired as a scientist and so he has long been drawn to study the scientific nature of the Bible. I took astronomy in college and am now working on a Master’s degree in astronomy which has been fun and helpful in preparation for this type of ministry. On a side note, I will combine this with my archaeology background and we will do further work in what is called Archaeoastronomy. This is a field which examines the ways in which archaeological monuments and structures are aligned with the stars, sun, and moon (think Stonehenge at the winter/summer solstices or spring/fall equinoxes). This is consistent with our desire to research and evaluate “fringe” topics that often are not addressed by many pastors or scholars. Even though the Bible doesn’t give us all the answers we would like in assessing these other subjects, we do believe that the Bible is the supreme authority and gives us sufficient knowledge to make preliminary evaluations.
As Gary, myself, and Bob have been discussing, we know that the opportunity is there to be on the cutting edge of watching prophetic events unfold. This certainly includes astronomical events. With our love for the gospel and astronomy, God has been guiding us to pursue advanced methods of research and teaching as we watch prophesied events begin to unfold. This is a multi-pronged endeavor which we are calling the Psalm 19 Project.
This project will have several layers to it, but the primary goal is to fulfill the admonition that Peter gives us, “…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15). We want everyone to see all of God’s creation be seen for what it does… it gives and proclaims His glory (Psalm 19:1).
The first facet will be to simply share the majesty and glory of all of God’s creation through astrophotography and biblical teaching. God is the creator and Paul teaches us that, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse” (Rom 1:18-20). This is a sobering passage of Scripture. It tells us that God’s wrath against sin is real and those that are not yet believers are under God’s wrath and need the gospel (John 3:36). Additionally, Paul explains that the creation itself reveals His invisible attributes, namely, God’s power and nature. How powerful is God? What does the creation inform us about God’s nature and qualities? Further, Paul says that mankind is without excuse because God has plainly revealed to all of mankind that He exists. We simply want to remind all of humanity of what God has already shown them, He exists and is amazing in His attributes! God is worthy of our worship and His love for us has been clearly demonstrated through His Son Jesus Christ and His creation (Romans 5:8; John 14:9; Psalm 103:11).
God’s creation is extensively majestic. The Bible is not an astronomy textbook, but God Himself makes reference to certain constellations that have a long history. One of them mentioned, the Pleiades (an asterism known colloquially as the Seven Sisters) appears in Job 9:9; 38:31; and Amos 5:8. God sought to humble Job and asked Him, “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?” These cluster of stars are scientifically proven to be currently gravitationally bound together. How did the writer of the book of Job know this thousands of years before it could be scientifically proven? We know the answer. The Scripture is true and God provides these little nuggets of information to show that the Bible is inspired and trustworthy. This is a picture of the Pleiades star cluster that a friend of mine took recently with his telescope from his backyard in western Idaho (countryastronomer.com). Isn’t it beautiful?
We are going to be spending more time on this topic and also showing the wonders of God’s majestic universe. Why did He make it so big? How large is it? How many stars are there? And how many galaxies? Astronomers still have no idea how extensive God’s universe is. Just when humanity thinks we have answer, we realize that our technology isn’t grand enough to keep up. Back in 1995 Hubble spent 10 days taking a time exposed photo of a dark spot about 1/10 the size of the full moon in the Ursa Major constellation (“Hubble Deep Field”). They figured that since this was one of the darkest places in the heavens, they would simply confirm there was nothing there. They could not have been more wrong! In this extremely small section, they found over 3,000 galaxies. They decided to take another similar sized image again in 2003-4 in the constellation Fornax calling it the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field.” In this so called “dark spot” they found over 10,000 galaxies!
They have continued to use updated information and exposure times to gain more accurate renditions. The “Hubble eXtreme Deep Field” was put together in 2012 which was even smaller, at 80% the size of the Ultra Deep Field (1/32 millionth part of the sky). In the following image they estimate 5500+ galaxies are in view. And even this is limited by the size of Hubble and its exposure time! There are even more recent updates which we will share in upcoming articles. Additionally, the James Webb Telescope is now in orbit and conveys to us that these are exciting times to see the grandeur of God’s creative handiwork.
The second facet recognizes Jesus’ prophetic words that as we get closer to the end of the age, astronomical and cosmic signs will increase in frequency and intensity. Jesus says, “there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). The book of Revelation is replete with evidences that during the tribulation period the very nature of the heavens will be used by God to unequivocally reveal that the judgments occurring in the heavens and on earth are of His orchestration. God is judging rebellious mankind and giving them one final opportunity to repent and trust Jesus. As the wrath of God begins when Jesus opens the first seal of Revelation 6:1, the events unfold and the people of the earth clearly recognize that they are in the wrath of God (Rev 6:12-17). The Bible is full of examples of astronomical events happening during the 7-year tribulation period (Isaiah 13:9-13; 24:17-23; Matt 24:29; Rev 8:12; Joel 2:10-11).
At the same time, we also know that there will be cosmic signs in the heavens before the tribulation begins. Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes, “The first of these five blackouts is clearly prophesied to occur before the Tribulation in Joel 2:31. ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.’ Again, the term the Day of the LORD is used, which is always a name for the Tribulation. The first blackout is to take place beforehand. So, at some point before the Tribulation, one of these worldwide blackouts will occur” (Footsteps of the Messiah, 130). When these things happen, I expect the church will see these events. We need to be ready to document and explain these cosmic signs as the final warning of the impending arrival of the Day of the LORD.
This second facet also involves the recent information being presented by Tom Horn concerning the orbit of the asteroid Apophis which NASA has confirmed will come near earth on April 13, 2029 (as well as 2036 and 2068). Tom Horn is convinced that NASA is not being honest about how close Apophis will come to the earth in 2029. He believes that Apophis will actually make impact with the earth and possibly be the fulfillment of the Wormwood prophecy as found in Revelation 8:11. His new documentary, Ragnarök, is coming out which explains his reasons for believing that Apophis will strike the earth. Amateur astrophotographers are already photographing Apophis. As the asteroid gets even closer, we will be able to photograph it with our new Psalm 19 Project equipment and bring some verification to its orbit. We are not in the habit of making predictions, but we are commanded by Jesus to keep watching and to always be ready (Mark 13:37). This we will continue to do by the Lord’s grace.
The Third facet to our new project will also be evangelistic in nature. With access to the internet, the theory that the earth is flat is becoming increasingly pervasive in our culture. You might be asking, “Really? People actually believe the earth is flat?” It is very true as we have people consistently writing in or posting on our social media outlets that we are not “enlightened” since we affirm the earth is a globe. For the most part, these people mean well. Many of them believe the earth is flat based on their interpretation of the Bible. Often, these are people who love Jesus, are saved, but who have become convinced through well produced videos on the internet. One of their assertions is that most pictures you see of the universe, planets, Hubble pics, etc. are fabrications and lies put out by NASA and other global conspirators.
Obviously, we cannot verify 100% every last picture that NASA (or Hubble) publishes, but we can do our own astrophotography to confirm whether those images are true. And this is exactly what we plan on doing. Our new telescope is a state of the art 6” refractor sitting on a superb tracking mount and housed in a permanent observatory. In addition, we are working towards a variety of astrophotography cameras and other imaging scopes. Some of the beautiful pictures you see accompanying this article from my friend Micah in Idaho were taken with a 5” refractor and ours should provide even greater resolution.
Did you know that the planet Jupiter rotates in just under 10 hours? This means that with our own Psalm 19 Project equipment, we will be able to photograph the Great Red Spot of Jupiter rotating through one evening session? If Jupiter is spherical, then why not Earth? We will have the opportunity to avoid the accusations that NASA’s images are fake by producing our own. Our hope is to help as many people as possible move beyond the misinformation and reconnect with the scientific truths that bring glory to God in His creation.
The Fourth facet to our project will be to continue to research and examine the idea of a “Gospel in the Stars” concept. Ever since Frances Rolleston’s book, Mazzaroth, was published in 1862, there has been an increasing focus on understanding the 12 Zodiac signs. These are not meant to give credence to astrology which claims that the stars have direct influence in the lives of humans or are used to make predictions of the future. We reject that as being unbiblical and specifically forbidden and associated with the occult (Isaiah 47:13-15; Daniel 1:20; 2:2, 27; 4:7; 5:11; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; 4:19; 2 Kings 23:5).
On the other hand, we recognize that for thousands of years there has been a consistency of names, stories and images which are associated with the 12 signs of the Zodiac (Hebrew word is Mazzaroth). Notice what God asks Job, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? 32 Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? 33 Do you know the fixed laws of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?” (Job 38:31-33).
God is reminding Job that He is the all-knowing and all-powerful Creator and has demonstrated these in His creation work. Job’s previous challenges and accusations against God (7:17-21; 9:21-24; 10:1-7; 13:15-25; 19:23-27; 24:9-12; 27:1-4; 28:12-23; 29:1-6; 32:1; 33:8-12; 35:1-3, 14; 36:15-23) are arrogant and will be answered by God Himself. God is the one who has brought out the Mazzaroth in its seasons, not Job. This reveals to us that God has set up these constellation sign posts and no one else (Genesis 1:14-16). Does this mean that everything today written about the gospel story in the stars is true and accurate? Definitely not, but as we continue to share this information, there is a source history and consistency that reveals God’s intentionality. It is similar to what we see in the flood stories found throughout the whole world. Did you know that there are over 200 flood stories from the various cultures around the world? They certainly have variations, but there are also some major commonalities among them all. This is similar to the 12 Mazzaroth signs. There is amazing consistency and when we compare these with the biblical narrative, we see a story that shines through about God’s redemptive plan written by God Himself in the stars of the heavens.
We are excited where God is taking us with our new Psalm 19 Project. We invite you to join others who are praying and contributing to this new project. Exciting times ahead! Stay tuned!
Psalm 19:1 “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.