Is the Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse an End-Time Sign?
Prophecy prognosticators claimed that a tetrad of blood moons in 2014 and 2015 was a prelude to some unnamed prophetic event. See my article “Will Four Blood Moons Usher in the Second Coming?” for an introduction to the topic. Let it be known that so-called Blood Moons and Blue Moons1 are common occurrences and have nothing to do with Bible prophecy. The same is true of lunar and solar eclipses.
This has not stopped prophecy “experts” from claiming otherwise:
Blood moons and eclipses have come and gone. But the signs of the times are getting more ominous than ever. As if the total solar eclipse last August and the “blood moons” of 2014 and 2015 weren’t enough, there will be a “super blue blood moon eclipse” on Jan. 31 – something that hasn’t happened for 150 years.
And this rare event could herald war and turbulence on earth, according to a leading researcher of astronomical signs and how they interact with Scripture. (WND)
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Notice the following: “something that hasn’t happened for 150 years.” The claim is being made that these lunar events are related to Israel becoming a nation again in 1948 – 70 years ago. But there was no “super blue blood moon eclipse” in 1948. If the “super blue blood moon eclipse … could herald war and turbulence on earth,” then why didn’t one precede World Wars I and II?
The “seventy 70 years” mentioned in Zechariah 1:12, a verse Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries argues refers Israel becoming a nation again in 1948 (plus 70 years) bring us to 2018). Actually, the 70 years refers to a period of time long past that has nothing to do with Israel becoming a nation again. In 1970, Hal Lindsey (1970) and others argued that all would come to an end 40 years (a generation was said to be 40 years) from the time Israel became a nation in 1948.
Then there’s this:
[Mark Biltz] also argues the mention of the “second year of Darius” [in Zech. 1:1] is also of critical importance, as the second year of President Trump’s administration approaches. As head of the world’s most powerful nation, Trump can substitute for Darius in contemporary prophetic terms.
Zechariah has nothing to do with Pres. Trump. Trump is not Darius. People who interpret the Bible this way confuse, mislead, and make it impossible to understand.
Prophecy writers touting the blood moon phenomenon are basing their argument on the belief that since sun, moon, and stars are for “signs” (Gen. 1:14), a special stellar phenomenon like a red-looking moon might have prophetic significance. It doesn’t.
It’s true that God does use the sun, moon, and stars as symbols to make theological points. For example, God told Abraham that his descendants would be equal in number to the stars in the heavens (Gen. 15:5; 26:4) and the “sand which is on the seashore” (22:17). We’re told that this was fulfilled: “’The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are this day like the stars of heaven in number” (Deut. 1:10). Keep in mind that the number of Jews never came close to the number of stars in heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore.
The Bible often uses symbolic and hyperbolic language. Notice the universal language used to describe what was a local judgment during the time of the Baals:
The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah: “I will completely remove all things from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. “I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, and the ruins along with the wicked; and I will cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. “So I will stretch out My hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, And the names of the idolatrous priests along with the priests.”… Be silent before the LORD GOD! For the day of the LORD is near… (Zeph. 1:1-4).
Also, in Genesis, we are told that Israel is represented by the sun, moon, and stars (Gen 37:9-11). A similar reference is found in the book of Revelation:
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth (12:1-2).
Stellar phenomena often represent nations. For example, Babylon’s destruction is represented by something that is said to happen to the sun, moon, and stars:
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
Cruel, with fury and burning anger,
To make the land a desolation;
And He will exterminate its sinners from it.
For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash forth their light;
The sun will be dark when it rises
And the moon will not shed its light. (Isa 13:9-11; also see 24:23; 50:3; Ezek 32:7).
In none of these examples does anything physical happen to the sun, moon, and stars. They represent something. The sun does not stop doing what it has always done.
When the sun, moon, and stars are stationary and giving off their light, God is pleased with the nations. When the sun and moon go dark and the stars fall, this is a sign of God’s displeasure.
We see a similar motif in the New Testament. Jesus describes Israel’s judgment using examples of national judgment borrowed from the Old Testament before that first-century generation passed away (Matt. 24:34) when the Roman army destroyed the temple (24:2) and sacked the city in AD 70:
But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL [Isa. 13:10; Amos 5:20; 8:9; Zeph. 1:15] from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matt. 24:29; also see Heb. 112:25-29).
Again, nothing physical took place to the sun, moon, and stars.
With this brief background, we can make some sense of the blood moon language quoted by Peter at Pentecost. Note that the words in ALL CAPS are direct quotations from the Old Testament:
“‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE HEAVENS ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE Lord SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE Lord WILL BE SAVED’” (Acts 2:17-21).
Peter makes it clear that these events were taking place in his day: “This is what was spoken through the prophet Joel” (2:16; Joel 2:28-32). The “last days” were the last days of the Old Covenant that was passing away (Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 9:26).
Notice that Joel does not prophecy that the moon will be “like” or “as blood” but that it will actually be “turned … into blood.” Even John Hagee notes that “the moon does not actually turn to blood, but it does appear blood-red.”2 Neither Joel nor Peter says the moon will “appear blood-red.”
So, what does a biblical blood moon mean? First, it doesn’t have anything to do with atmospheric conditions that trick the eye into seeing a moon that looks like it is red. Second, the moon is not and never will be overflowing with real blood.
From what we’ve seen of how the Bible uses the sun, moon, and stars for nations – either good or bad – nothing actually happens to the sun, moon, and stars.
Predicting that the moon will be turned into blood is making a theological point based on Israel’s sacrificial system. James B. Jordan gives one of the best explanations:
“[T]he turning of the moon to ‘blood’ points, I believe, to something particularly Jewish: the sacrificial system. If they will not accept the blood of Jesus Christ, the final Sacrifice, then they themselves will be turned into blood. They will become the sacrifices….That is what the destruction of Jerusalem in ad 70 was all about.
“But Joel is issuing a warning. Those who listen can escape. ‘And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh will be delivered; for ‘on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape,’ as Yahweh has said, even among the survivors whom Yahweh calls” (Joel 2:32). Just as Isaac escaped death on Mount Zion because of the substitute ram that God provided (Genesis 22:14), so those who trust in the Lamb of God will escape the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Such is Joel’s warning, reiterated by Peter on the day of Pentecost [Acts 2:19-21].”
The religious leaders who chose Barabbas over Jesus brought this blood-judgment upon themselves and those who were led astray by them:
When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified (Matt. 27:24).
- “This year, 2018, we have two months (January and March) with Blue Moons. They are Blue Moons by the monthly definition of the term: the second of two full moons to fall within a single calendar month. The first Blue Moon comes on January 31, 2018, and the second on March 31, 2018. Meanwhile, the month of February 2018 has no full moon at all.” [↩]
- Four Blood Moons (Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing, 2013), 19. [↩]