It has been a week of amazing portents in the sky across the country, with people witnessing and snapping extraordinary images of the setting and rising sun showing displays of rare sky phenomena suggestive to many of divine visitation.
On Wednesday, January 13, 2016, Mechaele Loraff, 46, of Buchanan, Berrien County, Michigan, pulled over her car on her way to work to snap a photo of the breathtaking sunrise.
She did not notice anything unusual at the time she was snapping the photo.She was inspired to snap a photo by the beauty of the golden sunrise. She noticed something very unusual about the image only when she was reviewing it on her phone -- a massive cross in the sky like a biblical pillar of fire.
"It's farm country out there, so when I came around the corner, I could see the sunrise and it was like a dome," she said. "From there, the light pillar was what caught my eye... Seeing it on my phone, it was one of those things you just have to share."She also commented on Facebook, "I took the picture because of the beam coming straight up off the sun and only saw the cross after I took the picture!"
And she shared the image with WSBT meteorologist Matt Ruddkin, saying she was overwhelmed and inspired by the rare sight.
Mechaele's sunrise cross photo went viral immediately after local TV stations posted it to Facebook.
She was astonished that the photo went viral.
"It just kind of went crazy from there," she said. "My phone's been blowing up since Wednesday night."
Responding to skeptics who accused her of altering the original image digitally, she said, "It's not. I took it with my iPhone 6. I'm not a computer geek. I have no idea how to edit or Photoshop a picture."
Also on January 13, 2016, photography enthusiast Amy Langley of Koloa in Kauai, Hawaii, stopped her car to snap a photo of the sunrise. When she examined the photo later, she was amazed to see what looked like a radiant angelic being spreading wings in the sky.Like Loraff, she was inspired to pull over her car on her way to work and snap a photo when she noticed the radiant beauty of the sunrise.
She uploaded the extraordinary photo to Facebook. Her Facebook friends agreed the photo appeared to show a guardian angel or dove.
Langley also said she did not notice any unusual shape in the sunrise when she stood on the side of the road outside her car to snap the photo. The angelic shape appeared only in the photograph, she said. She thought the shape was likely due to a flare of her camera lens.
And earlier on Friday, January 8, Erika Redner Winn of Pine Valley, New York, captured another photo of a beautiful sunset that also showed a "pillar of fire" shaped like a cross in the sky.
She uploaded the image to Facebook and was delighted at the response from her Facebook friends.
Some Christians have claimed that such rare sky phenomena have spiritual significance being divine portents. Christians point to the fact that some Bible passages refer to divine or spiritual beings using the names of heavenly bodies.
There is a reference in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah to Lucifer -- believed by Christians to be the Devil --as the "morning star."
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning [star]!" (Isaiah 14:12 King James Bible)Jesus also refers to himself in the Book of Revelation as the "morning star."
"I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." (Revelation 22:16 King James Bible)
[Image via S. Moeller/Wikimedia/Public Domain]