Expandable Space Module

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Interstellar Flight

Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration.

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A Nice Meal With God

And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”

Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” (Exodus 24:8-12)

There is a way to see God and not die: look at the Son! Nadab and Abihu, like their father Aaron, were priests. Together with Aaron’s brother Moses and seventy other Israelites, they all went up on a mountain. There, they saw God and suffered no ill effects for it. What they saw was something that Isaiah and Ezekiel would later see as well: God on his throne (Isaiah 6:1-4 and Ezekiel 1:22-28). How can this to be reconciled with God’s statement that no one can see him lest they die, and the New Testament statements that no one has ever seen God? (John 1:18, 6:46) They saw God the Son, rather than God the Father.

Joel 2:32 says that “anyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved.” Both Peter (in Acts 2:17-21 ) and Paul (in Romans 10:13 ) applied the passage to Jesus, thereby equating Jesus with the God of the Old Testament. After all, Paul says that the Son created the heavens and the earth (see Colossians 1:15-17).

The Father was merciful to his people. He let them see him in all his glory: his Son.

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Broadcast of Falcon 9 Launch and Landing on April 8, 2016

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Messenger of Death

For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. (Exodus 12:12-16)

God’s judgment on Egypt would be harsh: the first born would die. The first born of Egypt’s Pharaoh was believed to be an incarnation of the sun god, Ra, the chief god of Egypt. That Pharaoh’s first born should die was a blow not just against the political leader, but also against the religious system of Egypt—as had been all the plagues. Not just physical things were being attacked. It was a systematic attack against a belief system, against those things that the Egyptians had put their trust in.

The judgment of God against Pharaoh and his people was for the Israelites a great victory. From this time forward every year the people of Israel would remember what God had done and celebrate it as their day of deliverance. What was judgment for the Egyptians, to the Israelites was loving salvation.

But even for the Egyptians, mercy was attainable. It was not just the Israelites who could protect their loved ones by putting blood on their door posts. Any Egyptian who so chose could gain the same protection, the same benefit, the same relief from God’s judgment. God’s mercy is available to anyone who wants it.

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Need To Know

The LORD said to himself, “I should tell Abraham what I am going to do, since his family will become a great and powerful nation that will be a blessing to all other nations on earth. I have chosen him to teach his family to obey me forever and to do what is right and fair. Then I will give Abraham many descendants, just as I promised.”

The LORD said, “Abraham, I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are doing all kinds of evil things. Now I am going down to see for myself if those people really are that bad. If they aren’t, I want to know about it.”

The men turned and started toward Sodom. But the LORD stayed with Abraham, who asked, “LORD, when you destroy the evil people, are you also going to destroy those who are good? Wouldn’t you spare the city if there are only fifty good people in it? You surely wouldn’t let them be killed when you destroy the evil ones. You are the judge of all the earth, and you do what is right.”

The LORD replied, “If I find fifty good people in Sodom, I will save the city to keep them from being killed.”

Abraham answered, “I am nothing more than the dust of the earth. Please forgive me, LORD, for daring to speak to you like this. But suppose there are only forty-five good people in Sodom. Would you still wipe out the whole city?”

“If I find forty-five good people,” the LORD replied, “I won’t destroy the city.” (Genesis 18:17-28)

God and Abraham were on speaking terms. God had eaten a meal with Abraham that his wife Sarah had made for them. God had just told him that within a year he’d be a father and Sarah would be a mother. Then God decided to let Abraham in on another piece of the future: he planned to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Abraham was upset, not because he had a great love for those two wicked cities, but because he knew that his nephew Lot and Lot’s family lived there. Abraham didn’t ask for mercy for the guilty cities. But he believed that God was not one to punish those who didn’t deserve it. So he got God to agree to spare the city if there were but ten righteous living in it. Abraham doubtless figured that was a safe number.

Although it turned out that there were far less than ten righteous there, Abraham was right in thinking that God wouldn’t destroy the innocent with the guilty. But Abraham forgot that the innocent could simply be moved out of the way. God’s judgment hit only the guilty. Lot and two of his daughters were spared, though even Lot’s wife lost her life to God’s judgment.

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Empty Suits

The LORD says:
Don’t brag about your wisdom
or strength or wealth.
If you feel you must brag,
then have enough sense
to brag about worshiping me,
the LORD.
What I like best
is showing kindness,
justice, and mercy
to everyone on earth.

Someday I will punish the nations of Egypt, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, and the tribes of the desert. The men of these nations are circumcised, but they don’t worship me. And it’s the same with you people of Judah. Your bodies are circumcised, but your hearts are unchanged. (Jeremiah 9:23-26)

People get full of themselves sometimes. Jeremiah began prophesying when the nation of Judah was doing just fine, thank you. They were wealthy and life was comfortable, at least for the ruling class. Two things were a problem, however. One, the ruling class was not kind, they were not merciful, and justice was rare. They mistreated the poor and disadvantaged and were happy to find reasons for taking what little they had and adding it to their own pockets. They went through the motions of worshipping Yahweh, offering the sacrifices at the right time and making sure they were circumcised.
But Jeremiah pointed out that worshipping God was something more than rituals, fine words, and things like circumcision. After all, the Jews weren’t the only circumcised people in the Middle East. The Egyptians, the Edomites (descended from Jacob’s brother, Esau), the Moabites (descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew) and others were all just as circumcised as the Jews were. But that didn’t mean they loved God. And that wouldn’t stop God from punishing them. Circumcision, after all, was pretty easy. Words and rituals can be meaningless. What mattered were hard things, like a changed heart leading to compassion and true worship.

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God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear and terror of you will be in every living creature on the earth, every bird of the sky, every creature that crawls on the ground, and all the fish of the sea. They are placed under your authority. Every living creature will be food for you; as ⌊I gave⌋ the green plants, I have given you everything. However, you must not eat meat with its lifeblood in it. I will require the life of every animal and every man for your life and your blood. I will require the life of each man’s brother for a man’s life.

Whoever sheds man’s blood,
his blood will be shed by man,
for God made man
in His image.

But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.” (Genesis 9:1-7)

From the time of Adam until Noah’s flood, everyone was a vegetarian. God had judged the world, wiping out most of the human race and most of the animals. After the rain stopped and the water went down, Noah, his family, and the animals left the ark.

God then made a covenant—a contract—with those who had survived. God told them some old things and some new things. They were to repopulate the world—the same thing God had told Adam and Eve. Then there was a twist on an old thing: Adam and Eve had been given all the plants to eat, with one restriction: they could not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Now, after the flood, God told Noah and his family that from then on, in addition to all the plants, they could eat all the animals, too. There was only one restriction: they could not eat the blood.

Likewise, the blood of human beings was not to be shed: anyone, whether human or animal, who took the life of a human being would forfeit his own life, because human beings were created in the image of God.

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Meanwhile, Korah had convinced the rest of the Israelites to rebel against their two leaders.

When that happened, the LORD appeared in all his glory and said to Moses and Aaron, “Get away from the rest of the Israelites so I can kill them right now!”

But the two men bowed down and prayed, “Our God, you gave these people life. Why would you punish everyone here when only one man has sinned?”

The LORD answered Moses, “Tell the people to stay away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

Moses walked over to Dathan and Abiram, and the other leaders of Israel followed. Then Moses warned the people, “Get away from the tents of these sinful men! Don’t touch anything that belongs to them or you’ll be wiped out.” So everyone moved away from those tents, except Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families. (Numbers 16:19-27)

God’s judgment is selective. He sorts things out before he strikes. He never just “kills them all.” Korah, who was a Levite and therefore a relative of Moses and Aaron, along with Dathan and Abiram, who were part of the tribe of Reuben, and about two hundred fifty other community leaders, had decided that Moses and Aaron did not deserve their places of authority. They were convinced that Moses and Aaron had failed. They looked back to Egypt as a “land flowing with milk and honey” and pointed out that they had yet to reach the Promised Land. Instead, they were stuck in a desert where they believed they were just going to die.

The opponents of Moses and Aaron did not believe that God could or would take care of them. They did not believe that Moses and Aaron were God’s representatives.

Moses and Aaron begged God to limit his judgment to just those who had sinned. God listened. Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their families were swallowed up by the earth—and fire came out from God and consumed the other two hundred fifty community leaders that had joined the rebellion. The rain may fall on the just and the unjust. But fire only falls on those who deserve it.

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God Had a Reason

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” (Genesis 6:11-21)

Despite God’s dismay over a creation that no longer seemed good, but only wicked and violent, God found a bright spot in Noah. Noah was “righteous,” “walked faithfully with God” and “found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:9) “To find favor” is a Hebrew idiom meaning that God “liked” Noah. He was righteous, but not because he always did the right thing, or because he always performed the right sacrifices. People before Jesus were not made righteous because of their good works. They became righteous the same way that people do today: by grace, through faith. No one has ever been saved by following the law or sacrificing animals (Romans 3:20, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:4).

God gave Noah detailed plans on how to rescue himself, his family, and the animals. He did not hold back from Noah the reason the disaster was coming. And he gave Noah plenty of time to prepare.
In the midst of the judgment against the world, God offered mercy to one man, his family, and pairs of clean and unclean animals. God preserved a future for humanity and the life of the planet.

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