It seems a truly remarkable “coincidence” that despite the sun being 400 times larger than the moon, they appear to be EXACTLY the same size from this planet – but only from this planet, rather interestingly. Almost as if it was designed that way, as a phenomenon to be seen and enjoyed from earth. And that is because it wasdesigned. It was designed by God for our benefit, not only for our sense of wonderment, but also as a sign. A clue about this is found in some words – and a single Hebrew letter – appearing in Genesis 1.
A solar eclipse is like a giant wink from our heavenly Father, letting us know that the universe did not come about by accident, but by perfect design.
A sign and a wonder
The diameter of the sun (1.3914 million km) is approximately 400 times bigger than that of the moon (3,474 km), but it is also 400 times farther away from us (384,400 km compared to 149.6 million km). So, when they are in the same place in the sky, the moon will perfectly cover the circumference of the sun, giving a perfect eclipse.
Total solar eclipses are one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena there is to see – the moon hides the sun, but rays from the sun peek out from around the black disc, forming the “solar corona”, or a crown of light and casting eerie shadows and plunging us into a few seconds of darkness before the colossal globes carry onwards in their courses.
Umbraphile (fan of eclipses) David Baron explains why he travels across the world to catch every eclipse he can in a TED talk on the subject. He is not a spiritual man, but admits that his first experience of a total solar eclipse changed him forever. He said,
“It is the ultimate experience of awe… True awe is a sense of wonder and insignificance in the face of something enormous and grand is rare in our lives but when you experience it, it’s powerful. Awe dissolves the ego, it us feel connected, indeed, it promotes empathy and generosity. Well, there’s nothing more awesome than a total solar eclipse.”
Of course, there is something more awesome than a total solar eclipse, and that’s the One who created the entire universe and all its intricacies by the power of his word! And he is calling for our attention in a powerful way.
The sign in Genesis 1
Then God said, “Let lights in the expanse of the sky be for separating the day from the night. They will be for signs and for seasons and for days and years. They will be for lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the land.” And it happened so. Then God made the two great lights—the greater light for dominion over the day, and the lesser light as well as the stars for dominion over the night. God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine on the land and to have dominion over the day and over the night and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14-18)
God makes the sun and the moon and says that they will be for “signs and for seasons and for days and years”. The Hebrew says for “otot ve moadim” – an “ot” (otot in plural) is a sign, or a letter. A “moed” (moadim in plural) is the Hebrew word God uses to talk about his feasts, his high holy days. Shabbat is also one of God’s “moadim”, and sometimes we translate it as “appointed times”, because the word also carries a meaning of fixed appointment and even destiny. So the sun, moon and stars are to communicate to us as signs (otot) and inform us of God’s “moadim” – his appointed times.
In Jewish thought, the moon has more of a connection with the Jewish people (the commandment to mark each new moon as the start of every month, and the fact that the Passover and Sukkot holidays are celebrated at the full moon) whereas the sun is more connected to the gentiles. The Jewish calendar is more lunar than solar, whereas the Gregorian calendar is more solar than lunar. Some rabbis are saying that this solar eclipse over the USA is God calling the attention of America in particular. What is interesting is that the US hasn’t seen such a total eclipse like this from shore to shore for 99 years, but it will only be another seven years before it happens again, on April 8, 2024. This one will cross diagonally from north west to south east, but the following one will do the opposite, creating a criss cross over the land. (Click to Site)