Back on August 12, 2018, at the cost of US$ 1.5 billion dollars, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory designed and built the spacecraft called the Parker Solar Probe. NASA launched this revolutionary satellite to the sun on August 2018, a significant achievement! The reason being, no space agency has ever sent a spacecraft so close to the sun before. Previous attempts have gone as near as 25 million miles from the surface. The Parker Solar Probe however will orbit the sun at an average distance of only 4 million miles. In order to do this and not melt into a soft pile of metal, it is equipped with a revolutionary heat shield. The heat shield is made up of a carbon composite material which was heated to a very high temperature. The shield features a special carbon foam that is made up of 97% air. The surface is coated with white paint on the front to deflect the sun’s rays. This spacecraft was designed to survive a very hot and deadly environment. This heat shield protective layer is only 8 feet in diameter, 4.5 inches thick, and 160 pounds. The significance of this is not the satellite itself, but the data that has been and is being collected at this very moment. As a result of the most recent observations and measurements made by this satellite, researchers have published four papers in the Journal Nature.
- Kasper, J.C., Bale, S.D., Belcher, J.W. et al. Alfvénic velocity spikes and rotational flows in the near-Sun solar wind. Nature (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1813-z https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1813-z
- Bale, S.D., Badman, S.T., Bonnell, J.W. et al. Highly structured slow solar wind emerging from an equatorial coronal hole. Nature (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1818-7 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1818-7
- McComas, D.J., Christian, E.R., Cohen, C.M.S. et al. Probing the energetic particle environment near the Sun. Nature (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1811-1 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1811-1
- Howard, R.A., Vourlidas, A., Bothmer, V. et al. Near-Sun observations of an F-corona decrease and K-corona fine structure. Nature (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1807-x https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1807-x
After the spacecraft was launched, by November 2018 and April 2019, the orbit of the spacecraft brought the satellite closer to the sun than we have ever been. At this point, the satellite reached approximately 15 million miles from the surface of the sun. At the closest part of the orbit, the satellite matched the rotational speed (tangential velocity) of the sun which had the effect of the satellite essentially hovering above the surface of the sun. The purpose was to observe the solar wind and particles as they washed over the satellite sensors holding a stationary position over the surface of the sun. Researchers said the close distance to the sun caused their observations and measurements to be different from what they had ever experienced before. There are different physics effects due to the magnetic field and particles passing by at such a rapid rate. The two features that came as a surprise was what they called “rogue waves” in the magnetic field which are described as spikes in intensity and reversals in directions that lasted for seconds to minutes as they passed by the satellite. In addition to this, the satellite was able to measure the movement of electrons past the satellite which outline the features of the magnetic field from the sun. The satellite measurements reported very high speed electrons flying past the spacecraft and researchers suggest this lends support to the idea that this could play a role in the heating of the corona of the sun. Another surprising measurement was during the observation of the direction of the solar wind that was impinging upon the satellite. Astrophysicists predicted a distance of 35 to 50 solar radii away from the sun the wind would be streaming straight out away from the sun. Instead, they found the solar wind was blowing sideways at over 100,000 miles per hour. The assumption is the sun’s rotational drag is what was moving the particles sideways. This concept of magnetic field friction that is pulling on the solar wind will help researchers to understand how our sun ages, and whether the sun’s rotational speed slows down over time, etc. This sideways movement of the solar winds also helps to more accurately predict when solar flares and plasma eruptions will reach the earth causing potential damage to satellites around the earth. Additional data collected suggests the presence of a long-theorized dust-free zone around the sun, and an array of magnetic field structures and solar breezes far too small to be seen from Earth. These measurements are only the beginning, and over the next six years the Parker satellite will make further measurements, and even will pass by Venus which will help it to maneuver closer to the sun, eventually penetrating the corona itself for a direct look at the sun’s surface.
The spiritual Insight we receive from this type of research is in the way the solar winds are affected by the sun’s magnetic field and rotational drag pulling the solar winds sideways as opposed to what was previously believed at this distance the solar winds would be directionally straight out from the sun. This massive structure and magnetic field has a significant influence upon the solar wind. In parallel fashion, God’s word and His Spirit should function in a similar manner, pulling us aside from the way of the world. The Scriptures state the following according to the Torah in Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:16-21.
Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:16-21
10:16 ‘So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. 10:17 ‘For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. 10:18 ‘He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. 10:19 ‘So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. 10:20 ‘You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. 10:21 ‘He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. (NASB, טז וּמַלְתֶּם אֵת עָרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם וְעָרְפְּכֶם לֹא תַקְשׁוּ עוֹד: יז כִּי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הוּא אֱלֹהֵי הָאֱלֹהִים וַאֲדֹנֵי הָאֲדֹנִים הָאֵל הַגָּדֹל הַגִּבֹּר וְהַנּוֹרָא אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִשָּׂא פָנִים וְלֹא יִקַּח שֹׁחַד: יח עֹשֶֹה מִשְׁפַּט יָתוֹם וְאַלְמָנָה וְאֹהֵב גֵּר לָתֶת לוֹ לֶחֶם וְשִֹמְלָה: יט וַאֲהַבְתֶּם אֶת-הַגֵּר כִּי-גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם: כ אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ תִּירָא אֹתוֹ תַעֲבֹד וּבוֹ תִדְבָּק וּבִשְׁמוֹ תִּשָּׁבֵעַ: כא הוּא תְהִלָּתְךָ וְהוּא אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר-עָשָֹה אִתְּךָ אֶת-הַגְּדֹלֹת וְאֶת-הַנּוֹרָאֹת הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ:)
Notice here the context of what the Lord is saying to us through Moshe. We are to circumcise our hearts. This imperative is in light of the awesome power of God who is not fooled in knowing whether we are sincere or not in our devotion to Him. The Lord God Almighty knows our true intentions! The Lord is just, and we are commanded to show love towards the foreigner and towards one another with the example of our being foreigners in the land of Egypt. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:20 we read “You shall revere the LORD your God. You shall serve him and cleave to him.” (כ אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ תִּירָא אֹתוֹ תַעֲבֹד וּבוֹ תִדְבָּק וּבִשְׁמוֹ תִּשָּׁבֵעַ) The Hebrew word “devakut” (דְּבָקוּת) means “cleaving” and refers to having fellowship with and communion with God. This word is derived from the root word davak (דבק) meaning to cling or to stick. Note how the word “glue” in Hebrew is devek, from the same root word. This word תִדְבָּק was used by Moshe to describe how a man is to cleave to the Lord God Almighty. This is how a man was to cleave to his wife according to Bereshit / Genesis 2:24. This is also how our bodies are described in Job 19:20 My bone clings (דָּבְקָה) to my skin and my flesh, And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. (NASB, כ בְּעוֹרִי וּבִבְשָֹרִי דָּבְקָה עַצְמִי וָאֶתְמַלְּטָה בְּעוֹר שִׁנָּי) This word is used to describe how we are to hold fast, to cleave to the Lord each day. We are commanded to fear (revere) the Lord and to be united with Him (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 10:20, John 15:1-5, etc). A kabbalistic concept of devakut is to clinging on to God, referring to a closeness to the Lord God. This refers to a deep meditative state during prayer, Torah study, or when performing the 613 mitzvot as it is associated to the Jewish mystical tradition. In Jewish mystical tradition, devakut is considered as the highest step on the spiritual ladder back to God. This reminds us of Jacob’s ladder. In the rabbinic literature, the Midrashic approach to Jacob’s dream (see Midrash Rabbah on Bereshit / Genesis 68:12-14) seems to be a hyperbole of the revelation of God at the Mountain of Sinai. The word סֻלָּם, ladder, is equated with סיני, Mount Sinai according to Ibn Ezra on Bereshit / Genesis 28:12 Part 1. The connection is made by the numerical value of the letters in both words are the same (130, Daat Zkenim on Bereshit / Genesis 28:12 Part 1) the rabbis say these things provide us with a future expectation of the people of Israel standing at the mountain of Sinai with Moshe to receive the Torah. The parallel is in Moshe and Aaron acting as God’s messengers on earth, whereas the angels of God ascending and descending (analogous to Moshe and Aaron ascending and descending Sinai) are also God’s messengers on earth. Other Midrashic descriptions are of the angels Jacob saw as being inquisitive of Jacob to get a closer look at him saying that Jacob’s likeness was engraved upon God’s throne. Ibn Ezra goes on to say in his commentary on Bereshit / Genesis 28:12 Part 2 saying, “And Rabbi Shlomo HaSefardi said that ‘ladder’ hints at the highest soul and ‘G-d’s angels’ hints at wise thoughts.” In addition to this, Ibn Ezra also states in Part 3, “Rabbi Joshua said that the reason for the ladder is that his (Jacob’s) prayer rose on it and his salvation from the heavens came down on it…” He is basically saying that prayer goes up to heaven by way of the ladder, and salvation comes down by way of the ladder. It is interesting how this ladder represents all of these things, Sinai, the giving of the Torah, prayer ascending and the salvation of God descending from the heavens. Ibn Ezra says (Part 4) “the ladder here is a metaphor, for nothing is concealed from God. Worldly things hang onto the heavens as though there is a ladder between them, upon which the angels go up to report on things after they have been walking along the earth. Likewise, it is written that other angels descend to fulfill G-d’s tasks, like a king with his servants.” Based upon the rabbinic literature, the ladder symbolized the messengers of God, of the angels seeking to see Jacob whose image was engraved into God’s throne, his prayers ascended and the salvation of God descended upon Jacob by way of the ladder, and how all things are revealed from God (i.e. nothing is concealed from God), and how the angels descend to fulfill God’s tasks and then ascend to report to the Lord what is happening. If we couple this to Yeshua’s words in John chapter 1 (1:51) when he said of himself being that ladder, coupled to Jacob fleeing from Esau, we find the context of the son of man having no place to lay his head just as Jacob when he was fleeing his brother and having to sleep with a rock as his pillow. Yeshua said He is that ladder, and based upon this context, in the Messiah all of these things are true. The rabbinic literature provides a rich contextual background on the messianic identity of the Son of Man being connected to Jacob’s ladder. Yeshua told Nathan in John 1 that he is the gateway into heaven (John 1:51, 14:6).
In the Scientific data collected from the satellite orbiting the sun, the measurement of the electrons in the solar wind reveal the way the sun’s rotational velocity and magnetic field control the direction of the solar wind at a very great distance (15 million miles). It is in parallel fashion we are moved by the Spirit of God inside to love, serve, and live for the Lord God Almighty. We are to devakut, cleave, to the Lord God Almighty through His Son Yeshua the Messiah. Yeshua demonstrated God’s own devakut for us by being hung upon the cross for the purpose of paying for our sins. Because of God’s desire to devakut, cleave to us, He sent His son out of the great love that He has for us. (John 17:21-23) The Lord God of Israel loves us with “an everlasting love” (ahavat olam, אַהֲבַת עוֹלָם) and calls us by His chesed (חֶסֶד, grace, mercy, lovingkindness). Jeremiah wrote saying אַהֲבַת עוֹלָם אֲהַבְתִּיךְ עַל־כֵּן מְשַׁכְתִּיךְ חָסֶד, “I love you with an everlasting love; therefore in chesed I draw you to me” (Jeremiah 31:3). This kind of drawing to God and to His Messiah is paralleled to the magnetic field control of the solar wind. The electrons in the solar wind are sensitive to the pull generated by the rotational velocity moving in the direction of the magnetic field, analogized to an unseen force, which is observable experimentally. For those who believe in the Messiah Yeshua, and have received the Holy Spirit of God, we too can feel the pull of God on our hearts. We too can observe the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives to know without a doubt the Lord God Almighty is dwelling in our hearts! Many people however do not want to live their lives on God’s terms. Most people are content with straddling the fence, walking with one foot with God and the other foot buried to the knee in the deception of the world. This is why when one is called of God, this usually comes at the point of total brokenness when a person needs a miracle. Notice something here that David wrote in Tehillim / Psalms 3:8, he said “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (לַיהוָה הַיְשׁוּעָה). This idea of prayers going to heaven, and salvation coming down from heaven to us, is rooted in the Messiah, the one whom the Lord God has sent His messenger to deliver His people. It is only by a personal encounter with the Lord, that one is awakened from the dead and brought to life everlasting. (see Mark 5:41, John 6:40) This draws us back to this idea of the Work of God in our lives. The work of salvation on our behalf. The victory that we must have in Yeshua is because we always fall short of God’s command. This truth of the Lord Working in our heart is powerful to set us free from the power of sin and to give us eternal life. (John 8:32, 14:6, Romans 10:13-14) The Scriptures state, “For the Messiah also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous (δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων), that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). And “God is so rich in mercy (מָלֵא רַחֲמִים) and who loves us with such intense love (בְּרב אַהֲבָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר אָהַב אתָנוּ), even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience, he brought us to life along with the Messiah, it is by grace that you have been delivered (בַּחֶסֶד נוֹשַׁעְתֶּם).” (Ephesians 2:4-5). These words are consistent with the Torah’s description of the Messiah and the salvation of God! The Scientific research describes the power of the sun to exert control upon the solar winds, and there is so much more to learn as the data continues to be streamed back to Earth. We can see the essential meaning of the Torah, of the God in heaven who desires to dwell among His people. The gospel message in a single sentence is “Yeshua the Messiah came into the world to save sinners, laying down his life, and sending God’s Holy Spirit such that the Torah is fulfilled in our lives!” He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. We must submit our lives to this, allowing ourselves to be pulled by God, to be shaped, formed, molded, into the likeness of His Son. The scientific research draws us to this conclusion! This submitting to God, to His will, to His Word, to His Messiah, is what i means to continue in the faith. If indeed you continue in the faith, remain stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the message (εὐαγγέλιον) that you heard (Colossians 1:19-23) we can know without a doubt that Yeshua has seated us with him in heaven “in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is his grace, how great is his kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift” (Ephesians 2:7-8)!