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God and Relationship

The great God of the universe who heaped up the mountains, scooped out the oceans, and flung out the stars, wants to have a relationship with you. – Adrian Rogers

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William Herschel died in his observatory, August 25, 1822

HerschelTelescope replicaAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

He discovered the first planet since ancient antiquity in 1781 and desired to name it after King George III, though others wanted to give it his name, as Thomas Jefferson wrote from Paris to John Page, August 20, 1785:

“You will find in these the tables for the planet Herschel, as far as the observations hitherto made…You will see…that Herschel was…the first astronomer who discovered it to be a planet.”

Born in German, November 15, 1738, William Herschel was a musician like his father, who was bandmaster in the Hanoverian guard.

A contemporary of Mozart, William Herschel fled to England during the Seven Years War.

He was hired as the first organist at St John the Baptist Church in Halifax, and then organist at the prestigious Octagon Chapel in Bath, eventually writing 24 symphonies.

He pursued astronomy on the side, building his own telescope to observe, not just the solar system, but “the construction of the heavens.”

He taught himself how to grind and polish telescopic mirrors, becoming pre-eminent in that field.

William Herschel constructed over 400 telescopes, including the largest reflecting telescopes of his day, using them to catalog over 90,000 new stars, as well as nebulae and galaxies.

After discovering Uranus, the 7th planet from the sun, King George III granted him a permanent salary as a royal astronomer.

Herschel identified double-stars, coined the word “asteroid,” meaning star-like, and discovered infrared radiation.

The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel (published by the Royal Society in 1912), recorded his diary entry of an argument over naturalistic philosophy:

“The First Consul…asked in a tone of exclamation…when we were speaking of the extent of the sidereal heavens ‘and who is the author of all this’…LaPlace wished to shew that a chain of natural causes would account for the construction…This the First Consul rather opposed.

Much may be said on the subject; by joining the arguments of both we shall be led to ‘Nature and Nature’s God.’”

The Royal Society editor wrote in a footnote of Herschel’s missing letters:

“Some 400 pages…are still extant…We are informed that Herschel in them interweaves his philosophy and even his musical studies with references of an earnest kind to the Creator as a beneficent Deity, expressing his gratitude and addressing him in a prayerful spirit.”

William Herschel was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order by Prince Regent, George IV, in 1816.

Sir William Herschel died in his observatory, AUGUST 25, 1822.

He was buried in St. Laurence Anglican Church in Slough, England, where a stained-glass ‘Herschel Window’ commemorates his astronomical discoveries and another window quotes Psalm 8:

“When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained, what is man, that Thou art mindful of him?”

A contemporary of Sir William Herschel was the famous English poet, Edward Young (1681-1765), whose poem “Night Thoughts” was published in 1742 and became so popular it was translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish and Magyar, and quoted throughout Europe and America.

Line 771 of the poem “Night Thoughts,” possibly referred to by Sir William Herschel, was:

“An undevout astronomer is mad.”

William Herschel’s sister, Caroline, assisted him and also discovered 6 comets herself, for which she was honored by royalty.

William Herschel’s son, Sir John Frederick Herschel, took his father’s telescope to South Africa where he cataloged hundreds of new stars and nebulae seen from the southern hemisphere.

When the HMS Beagle landed at Cape Town, South Africa, on June 3, 1836, the young Charles Darwin visited Sir John Frederick Herschel.

Sir John Frederick Herschel was quoted by Marcel de Serres in ‘On the Physical Facts in the Bible Compared with the Discoveries of the Modern Sciences’ (The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, 1845, Vol. 38, 260):

“All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more strongly the truths come from on high, and contained in the Sacred Writings.”

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Moon [and] New Moon


yārēach [and] chōḏeš


As God made “the sun to rule by day,” He likewise made “the moon [yārēach, H3394] and stars to rule by night” (Psa_136:8-9; cf. Gen_1:14-18; Jer_31:35). That latter picture took on a more practical application in the Near East than it does in the West. Its especially great brilliance in that part of the world, aided further by the reflective quality of the sands there, enabled people to carry on many tasks at night; a full moon, in fact, even allowed people to travel.


Because the Hebrew calendar is a lunar one, the chief application of the moon’s movement was the marking out of time in the monthly cycle, that is, the seasons (Psa_104:19). Added to this was the term new moon, chōḏeš (H2320), which appears about 280 times and is derived from the root verb chāḏaš (H2318), “to renew, restore, or repair” (e.g., 1Sa_11:14; Psa_51:10; Isa_61:4). A new moon, then, was basically “an equivalent to our wordmonth because the month began when the thin crescent of the new moon was first visible at sunset.” Each month of the Hebrew calendar is referred to either by name or number (e.g., all twelve are listed by number in 1Ch_27:1-15).


As with the sun in Psa_19:5-6, the overarching practical application the moon provides is that of regularity and consistency. Have you ever watched the moon for an entire month? It is truly fascinating to observe its phases, notice that it rises about fifty minutes later each night, and then marvel at its dazzling glow when full. And it’s been doing that month after month, century after century, since Creation.


Such consistency prompted the psalmist to write in reference to David’s eternal lineage, “It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah” (Psa_89:37). Likewise, writing directly about his son Solomon’s reign but with clear overtones of the coming Messiah and Hiskingdom, David declares, “In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth” (Psa_72:7).


Should not all this motivate us to praise? As the “sun” and moon and “all [the] stars of light” praise Him (Psa_148:3), should not that also be our greatest desire?


Scriptures for Study: Read Num_28:11-15 and Psa_81:3 (“time appointed” is kese’ [H3677], literally, “full moon”), noting that the new moon and full moon were special days of praise and celebration. Let those days still encourage us to praise.




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