Though the lunar module Eagle fulfilled Godís plan for America, the centuries old message ended not with the first manned landing. It continues, from there (i.e. among the stars, on the Moon) I will bring thee down (back to Earth). Previously, the discussion of Bible prophecy examined multiple fulfillment in time. Additionally, the characteristic of multiple meaning showed that Godís Word can be interpreted symbolically as well as literally. Another view is that His pronouncements may be a blend of both, i.e., a hybrid of physical reality and spiritual instruction.
For example, Christ spoke to His disciples these words, If this temple be destroyed, it will be rebuilt in three days. Lacking understanding, his followers envisioned the Jerusalem Church being razed and restored in the course of three days. Such a physical event would be impossible. Nevertheless, Christís prediction was both physical and spiritual. The physical reality of his bodyís death would result in the spiritual miracle of His resurrection from the dead. The temple he alluded to was the temple of the Holy Spirit which is the physical body of the believer. The disciples came to understand this meaning as a result of ensuing historic events and revelation from God through His Holy Spirit.
In like fashion, the landing of Eagle and rescue of Apollo 13, can be examined based on history and revelation in relationship to Obadiahís words. Based on Godís favor, Americans succeeded as first on the Moon. In a sense, President Kennedy had set forth a prophecy that day in Rice Stadium, saying that the landing would be accomplished before the end of the decade. It was fulfilled by the exalted Eagle foretold by Obadiah.
Much has been made of the numerous identifications of Apollo 13 with the number 13. Apollo 13 launched on the thirteenth minute of the thirteenth hour of the day and exploded on the thirteenth day of the month. Later, a Bible teacher sent me a study enumerating all the 13s he found concerning Apollo 13. Their number exceeded a dozen. My posture had been rejection of any suggestion that the explosion was a by-product of bad luck associated with the number thirteen.
Principally, I reject such theories on the basis of scripture. Numerology is forbidden by God! Numbers do not control a Christianís future! According to scripture, God deals directly with believers based on faith and prayer. To count on numbers for guidance is as ill advised for Godís followers as gambling on horses, cards, or the lotto.
Yet, there is a biblical use of numbers in scripture which gives honor to God, exalts His Son, and demonstrates the truth of His Word. This is altogether appropriate for the believer. For example, students of prophecy deal with the number of the Antichrist as 666. Certainly, this is a warning to believers, information that will assist them in dealing with the evil of the Antichrist. Scripture students believe 6 identifies with things of man and the world apart from the Kingdom of God. According to Genesis, creation of the Earth and all that it comprised including man happened in six days. End time accounts in scripture describe an unholy trinity opposing the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The opposers consist of Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet. In my mind the three digits 6-6-6 represents the evil trinity. Each digit 6 represents a member of the evil threesome.
There is then a valid application of the number 13 to a space mission. Does it demonstrate Godís plans and purposes as an after-the-fact element of testimony? Using 13 in a Bible sense shows forth praise for what God accomplished. This requires knowledge of thirteenís meaning in scripture. As a frustrated college math student, I inventoried Bible stories that dealt with numbers. Thankfully, this exercise dealt with arithmetic not the advanced differential equation course I failed in my junior year. The story of Joshuaís army marching around Jericho for seven days came to mind. Turning to the account, I read: "On the seventh day, Joshua marched around Jericho SEVEN TIMES." A quick tally of Jericho orbits was once each day for six days then seven orbits on the seventh day. Six plus seven equals 13 times. And what happened? There was an explosion of sorts, the sudden destruction of massive stone fortifications. The walls crumbled in response to the Israelitesí shout. This certainly was a convincing Bible definition of thirteen as far as Apollo 13 was concerned : DESTRUCTION, COLLAPSE, perhaps, AN EXPLOSION. Even Joshuaís march around Jericho matched Apollo 13ís intended orbit around the Moon. Furthermore, the name Jericho in Hebrew means MOON.
The Eagle, according to Obadiah, had the promise of being brought down from among the stars by God. Not only does God use numbers in scripture as evidence of His plans and purposes, He also, employs names in the same fashion. There was Isaac whose meaning in Hebrew is laughter since Sarah and Abraham exhibited just that when told they should have a son in their advanced ninety-plus years. Yet, a prospect so unlikely as to be laughable came to pass with the birth of the boy Isaac.
Of course, I was curious about my name. Certainly, if this premise holds, it should relate to Apollo 13. Was not this the defining experience of my life on Earth aside from finding Christ as my personal Lord and Savior? My given first name is JARED, the same name as the patriarch of the fourth generation in the Genesis genealogy started by ADAM. Incidentally, I am Jared Ryker Woodfill, the FOURTH, the fourth generation in the line begun by the first J.R. Woodfill.
The name JARED in Hebrew means: coming down or descending. And that was my role with regard to Apollo 13: assisting in the coming down or descending of the crippled moon-ship. But as Obadiah declared, it was not only the NASA team which brought the damaged spacecraft to Earth. God, said, from there I WILL BRING THEE DOWN. Only because millions prayed was God able to fulfill Obadiahís proclamation in bringing Apollo 13 down to Earth from more than 200,000 miles in space.
As Apollo 13ís warning system engineer, I might have been first on Earth to note the explosion. My interest, above all others, was the indication of a Master Alarm. Earth-based telemetry monitors at the Manned Spacecraft Center would flash its occurrence in approximately a second. I saw the indicator the moment it appeared on the screen. This would have coincided with the explosion of Oxygen Tank 2.
Not only did the spacecraft transmit the master alarm event to Earth, a Master Alarm light on either side of the command shipís control panels illuminated. These were known as push-button annunciator lights. Astronauts turned off the Master Alarm lights by pressing either of the lit push-button switches. This reset the switch/light for subsequent alarms. Resetting of the Master Alarm light appeared on telemetry monitors at the space center.
There is considerable evidence that God associates His grace with the number 5 in the context of scripture. There were five thousand men who came to Jesus hungry both physically and spiritually. A young boy offered his modest lunch to Christ to satisfy their hunger. Christ, the BREAD OF LIFE, took the ladís FIVE loaves of bread and miraculously fed the five thousand and their families, approximately 30,000 people. Such is the grace of God in multiplying our gifts. I watched for the Apollo 13 crewís reset of the Master Alarm. There it was! The mission elapsed time was exactly:
At fifty-five hours and fifty-five minutes, zero seconds from launch, Godís grace was at work rescuing Apollo 13.
The picture below summarizes uniquely the prophetic fulfillment of Obadiah 1:4 as a two-fold promise for America: the Eagle landing men on the Moon and the rescue of Apollo 13 in April of 1970.
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