By L. R. Fugit
Dec. 15, 1962
Television audiences on the North American and European continents were treated to an added marvel of electronics on July 23, 1962.
A highly intricate mechanism called Telstar had been shot into space some time before. This television instrument now circling the earth every 158 minutes, we are told, follows an elliptical path with an apogee (point furthest from earth) of 3,502 miles, and a perigee (point nearest earth) of 593 miles. When the Telstar moves over that portion of earth where television signals can be beamed to it, in turn it relays such signals to desired areas where special equipment is prepared to pick them up. The use of solar cells allows it to manufacture its own electricity for transmission. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company developed the Telstar at a cost of more than $1.05 billion.
Television signals are so complex, apparently, that submarine cables or radio waves bounced off the ionized layers of the upper atmosphere do not furnish satisfactory transmission. The television signals must travel on microwaves which follow straight lines as a beam of light. This requires relay stations high enough to rise above the curvature of the earth.
The Telstar, although greatly limited for dependable and constant transmission, has achieved this purpose by its great height. The satellite is actually a mobile television station which both receives and transmits. Users of more than 56 million television sets in America now can tune in, for brief periods during the day, on live scenes and events across the world, by the way of outerspace. This is enough to capture the interest of moderns who are intrigued by the new.
But as Solomon said, “There is no new thing under the sun.” God long ago placed in the sky His own Telstar, commonly called the “Star of Bethlehem.” The mechanics of the two Telstars are different, but they are alike at many points of principle and purpose.
Both are developed as means of communication. God’s Telstar was a divine creation and infallible. That of the electronics expert is man-made and subject to all manner of hazards. One functions only at prescribed times and in certain areas, the other is constant and universal. Almost 50 of these man-made satellites would be required to furnish around-the-clock viewing. God’s Telstar is wholly sufficient and given without price to man.
A basic similarity exists between the two, for both were used to furnish highly selected information.
STARS AND SCRIPTURE
Stars have a prominent place in Scriptures related to God’s effort to communicate with man. The Messianic prophets recognized the “bright and morning star” Jesus Christ as the means of His self-revelation. How fitting then, that a star should guide watchers to find Him!
Stars are frequently employed in the Word as symbols of persons in high place. The patriarchs were shown to be stars, as recounted by Joseph in his dreams (Genesis 37:9). King David is designated as a “star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17).
The stars were used to oppose evil men: “The stars in their courses fought against Sisera” (Judges 5:20).
Again, John was given to see that stellar being in heaven, “And upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). The sacred record closes with Jesus proclaiming himself, “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16).
The heathen prophet, Balaam, in the days of Moses appeared to have some gift of prophecy. He saw the ultimate triumph of the patriarchs and said, “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17).
The Magi were wise men of the East who studied the stars, for in ancient times guidance by the stars was a matter of belief and expectancy. For Matthew says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2:10). They had judged aright, for they said, “We have seen his star in the east” (Matthew 2:2).
With all of man’s ingenuity, his inventions are greatly limited. The creations of God are limitless. . . .
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