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Discovery Magazine 1/1/2008


"The Host of Heaven Cannot be Numbered"

According to NASA, the Milky Way Galaxy where we live contains more than 100 billion radiant balls of gas called stars. The closest star to Earth is the Sun. All other stars are millions of miles away. Scientists estimate that the entire Universe (composed of billions of galaxies) has more than 10 billion trillion stars.

From our earthly perspective, stars appear very small in the night sky. We sometimes sing the popular nursery rhyme, “Twinkle, twinkle little star….” Actually, however, some of them (like the Sun) are so big that one million planets the size of Earth would fi t inside them. Other stars are large enough to hold several stars the size of the Sun inside them! Stars only appear small in the nighttime sky because they are so far away.

In the long ago, astronomers once thought that stars numbered in the hundreds or thousands, instead of the now-estimated “billion trillions.” About 200 years before Jesus was born, the Greek astronomer Hipparchus stated that he believed there were from 800 to 1,080 stars in existence. About 300 years later, Ptolemy estimated there were about 1,050 stars. Even as recently as the 1600s, leading astronomers like Germany’s Johannes Kepler believed that there were only about 1,000 stars.

Interestingly, long before Hipparchus, Ptolemy, or Kepler, God indicated in the Bible that the stars of heaven were numberless. In speaking with Abraham about how numerous his descendants would be, God said: “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them…. So shall your descendants be” (Genesis 15:5). Similarly, Jeremiah wrote: “The host of heaven cannot be numbered” (33:22). The fact is, scientists have only recently begun to learn what God said in His Word thousands of years ago: stars are countless.

Scientists may estimate that there are 10 billion trillion stars in the Universe, but the fact is, they will never know for sure. The deeper into space we look, the more stars we fi nd. How remarkable it is to think our God is so mighty and awesome that He was able to bring them all into existence on day four of Creation with the word of His mouth.

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth…. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6-9).



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