The recent “blood moon” that we saw has set off many discussions about the end times, most of which are unproductive. A pastor named Mark Biltz of Washington state believes that this indicates that Jesus will come back in the fall of 2015. John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, has written a book that has given this theory a huge platform. Hagee seems to be more prudent than Harold Camping by remaining vague about what will happen. He says, with Nostradamus-like ambiguity, that the “blood moon” is a sign of important things to come. Even Rick Warren tweeted a picture of the moon with a reference to the prophetic verse in Joel.
Before we proceed we should get the relevant text.
The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
Peter also quotes this verse when preaching at Pentecost in Acts 2:14-41.
These “blood moons” are simply lunar eclipses. They’ve happened before and quite frequently, more than three dozen times in the last 100 years. They aren’t omens of the judgment day; just awesome phenomena to watch. When we read scriptures about the moon turning blood red we are looking at something more than just lunar eclipses.
We get some clues about the meaning of Joel’s prophecy from the fact that Peter quotes it in his sermon. Some scholars believe that Peter is interpreting this prophecy as fulfilled at the day of Pentecost. There’s also the question of which day is the “day of the Lord.” Early Bible commentators believed it referred to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It could also refer to the final judgment. Some even think it could be both.
I also have a hypothesis I’d like to throw in, though it is pure speculation. I’d suggest that these heavenly signs could apply to Jesus dying on the cross. We know that there was an earthquake and that the sky went dark at that time. The Father unleashed the wrath of His justice on His Son. In a way, God also judged Israel for rejecting His Messiah. He tore the veil in the Temple and His presence was there no longer.
Everyone will be too busy freaking out to notice the moon turning blood red.
Keep in mind that a red moon (including Revelation 6) usually accompanies catastrophic events. They could be indications during, or after, a calamity has begun. The smoke from a great fire can make the moon appear to be red and so this sign may reference the destruction of war.
That’s one way I know that these lunar eclipses, which are cool to look at, probably aren’t prophetic signs. If they were then it would be a bad time in which some kind of disaster was already taking place. If these blood red moons were the ones prophesied then no one would care because they’d be too busy freaking out to notice.
The other problem with this lunatic theory is that 3 of the 4 eclipses aren’t even visible in Jerusalem, which is a deal-breaker. The prophecy is given to Israel but they can’t even see it.
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.
Jesus told us that no one knows the day or hour so we should ignore anyone who foretells the second coming, no matter how cagey they are about it. The important thing to remember is that believers have no reason to fear because Jesus is victorious. Our responsibility is to be alert and expect the coming of our Lord.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.