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Friday, December 21 2012
What Happens In Winter?
Winter, and the other seasons, are the result of the Earth being inclined approximately 23½ degrees to the plane of its orbit around the sun. On December 21 or 22, the most direct rays of the sun are over the so-called Tropic of Capricorn at 23½ degrees latitude in the southern hemisphere, thereby causing winter in the northern hemisphere, while on June 21 the most direct rays of the sun are over the so-called Tropic of Cancer at 23½ degrees latitude in the northern hemisphere, thereby causing winter in the southern hemisphere.
The English word winter originated from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word that meant windy and wet. While winter weather varies tremendously around the world, and the land of Israel itself has a surprising variety of climatic regions, from the standpoint of Jerusalem, the meaning of that old Anglo-Saxon word for winter, windy and wet, applies generally well. The December to January daily high for Jerusalem averages 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) and the daily low averages 6 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit). Snow, although not a common sight in Jerusalem, can occur (see the two photographs below).
Most of Jerusalem's rainfall occurs from November to March, with the peak period from the last half of December to the end of February (see our complete study series for Jerusalem, beginning with Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches). King Solomon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Solomon) described that typical winter of Israel as "the rain."
"2:11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 2:12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 2:13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away." (Song Of Solomon 2:11-13 KJV)
As some tourists are surprised to discover, winter in some parts of the land of Israel can be cold. Just as the Scriptures record the rain, they also attest to winter cold there e.g. "the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him." The "ninth month" on the Biblical calendar occurs in winter, with the first month occurring in spring, at the time of Passover (see also The New Moon Calendar).
"36:20 And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king. 36:21 So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. 36:22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. 36:23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 36:24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. 36:25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them." (Jeremiah 36:20-25 KJV)
The seasons were often included within Biblical history and prophecy. In this example, the king's "winter house" and "summer house."
"3:13 Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God], the God of hosts, 3:14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground. 3:15 And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD." (Amos 3:13-15 KJV)
The seasons were no accident. The declination that causes the seasons ("Thou hast set all the borders of the earth"), as illustrated above, was deliberate ("Thou hast made summer and winter").
"74:16 The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. 74:17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter." (Psalm 74:16-17 KJV)
The seasons were included in the promise to Noah, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
"8:20 And Noah [see How Did The Flood Happen?] builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done [see The Floods Brought By Christ]. 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:20-22 KJV)
Hanukkah (see the Fact Finder question below) is observed during or near winter - "the feast of the dedication, and it was winter."
"10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch." (John 10:22-23 KJV)
Christ's warning "pray ye that your flight be not in the winter" in the same reference to "the abomination of desolation" is interesting in that the origin of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah (see the Fact Finder question below) was directly the result of the original abomination of desolation that will be ultimately repeated and fulfilled at Christ's return. Hanukkah is in winter and so was Christ's "pray ye that your flight be not in the winter."
"24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet [see the series of studies for the prophet Daniel, beginning with The Prophet Daniel: A Child Of The Exile], stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand:
After the Messiah returns (see What Happens After The Messiah Returns?), winter will remain a normal part of Creation: "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be."
"14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Fact Finder: How is the historic and prophetic "abomination of desolation" involved in the return of Jesus Christ?
This Day In History, December 21
1620: 103 English "Pilgrims" of the Mayflower made landfall in their "New England."
1872: The HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth, England on the Challenger expedition.
1898: Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium.
1908: Klara Hitler, mother of Adolf Hitler, died of breast cancer at age 47. It was after his mother's death that Adolf Hitler began his homeless hobo years in Vienna, Austria (Hitler was born in Austria, not Germany) where he developed his warped psychological basis of his supposed "socialist" (NAZI is the abbreviation for his National Socialist party) and anti-Semitic (his resentment toward Jewish shopkeepers, while he was living on the street and in homeless shelters) attitudes (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1910: 2,500,000 plague victims were reported in the An-Hul province of China.
1946: An earthquake and tidal wave killed hundreds of people in Japan.
1948: Ireland declared itself a republic, rather than a dominion, and withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
1958: Charles de Gaulle was elected the first President of the France's Fifth Republic.
1967: Louis Washkansky, the first human heart transplant patient, died 18 days after the operation by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa.
1975: Terrorists of the "Arm of the Arab Revolution" led by "Carlos the Jackal" raided the OPEC headquarters in Vienna and held 11 oil ministers and their staff hostage.
1986: 500,000 Chinese students gathered in Shanghai's People's Square calling for democratic reforms, including freedom of the press.
1988: Pan-Am flight 103, a Boeing 747, was blown up by on-board bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland; 259 passengers and crew, and 11 other people on the ground killed.
1991: 11 of the former 15 Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the death of the USSR. Of the other 4 former Soviet republics, 3 Baltic states were already independent and Georgia chose not to join the Commonwealth.
1993: President Boris Yeltsin abruptly abolished the former KGB security police, saying the huge force Russian citizens feared for decades was "incapable of being reformed."
1995: Bethlehem was transferred from Israeli to "Palestinian" control.