Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Most of the members of Christianity.SE have probably heard about the latest craze on the subject of End Times prophecy - the Blood Moons.

We are currently in the midst of what is referred to as a lunar tetrad, a period of time in which we experience a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, with six full moons in between, and no intervening partial lunar eclipses over a course of two years (two one year, two another), and fuelling this further is the fact that these moons usually occur on Jewish feast days. Those who teach that this sign is miraculous will note that these lunar tetrads have occurred in the past either on other Jewish feast days, or other major events in Jewish history.

While that certainly makes for a good story, research will show that these events occur on feast days because the Hebrew calendar (and thus, Jewish holidays/feast days) are based on a lunar cycle, so they aren't necessarily uncommon. And while positing that these are rare, we see they have occurred some 60+ times in the past.

Now, I know that Revelation and other Old Testament prophecy tells us the moon becomes red and the sun black, but being a prophecy intended (because of it's OT roots) for Israel, which to me would indicate both the sun and the moon taking on these colors in the sky at once, hardly an eclipse of this kind.

Are there any other biblical sources for the blood moons? Or is this more or less a cry for attention?

share|improve this question
    
How about Joel 2:31? –  apocalypse_info_click_here Jul 13 at 3:46
    
"Those who teach that this sign is miraculous..." - I think this is an incorrect word choice - you might consider replacing it with the word 'portentuous' which would more accurately describe the significance placed on these events by some teachers. –  bruised reed Jul 14 at 1:13

2 Answers 2

Joel 2:31 is an end time prophecy that features a blood moon and a solar eclipse.

Douay-Rheims Joel 2:31

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come.

John Hagee and many protestants think that end times prophecy is all about the nation of Israel and the Third Temple of Jerusalem, but I would remind them that God did not allow Julian the Apostate to rebuild the temple and invalidate Christ's words in Matthew 24:1-2, so I don't see why he's going to allow it this time.

And Jesus being come out of the temple, went away. And his disciples came to shew him the buildings of the temple. [2] And he answering, said to them: Do you see all these things? Amen I say to you there shall not be left here a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed.

The Historian Ammianus Marcellinus (A.D. c.330 - 395) "Res Gestae," Book XXIII

He [Julian the Apostate] planned at vast cost to restore the once splendid Temple at Jerusalem, which after many mortal combats during the siege by Vespasian and later by Titus had barely been stormed. He had entrusted the speedy performance of this work to Alypius of Antioch... But though this Alypius pushed the work on with vigor, aided by the governor of the province, terrible balls of fire kept bursting forth near the foundations of the Temple and made the place inaccessible to the workmen, some of whom were burned to death; and since in this way the element persistently repelled them, the enterprise halted. ("cum itaque rei idem fortiter instaret Alypius iuvaretque provinciae rector, metuendi globi flammarum prope fundamenta crebris adsultibus erumpentes fecere locum exustis aliquotiens operantibus inaccessum, hocque modo elemento destinatius repellente cessavit inceptum.")

share|improve this answer
1  
This makes some broad generalizations that would mislead a reader unfamiliar with the territory. For example "many Protestants" should really be changed to not that it is specifically dispensationalists that say that and only a subset of Protestant groups are dispensationalist. Many others specifically reject that view (e.g. those with more covenant based theology). The other generalizations are also not supported and the quoted material is not put into context of which Christian views are being represented. –  Caleb Aug 12 at 15:43

Much of this question depends upon interpretation and opinion. From a primarily textual and historical approach, we can discern thus...

In general, the 'moon turning to blood' can be considered a lunar eclipse. In particular, this being a portent of something is cited from the first chapter of the Bible.

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;

Genesis 1:14

As they were to be "signs", and to indicate "seasons", as well as for days and years, it is strong indication that they could mean something. Further, if one takes a "blood moon", Biblically, as a lunar eclipse, then the references to such indicate that some of the lunar eclipses have signified things.

If one looks at the crucifixion, assuming a date of April 3rd, 33 AD, we see from the Nasa Website that there was indeed a lunar eclipse on that day (see item 04904). Further, historian Plegon records the following:

In the 4th year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was a great eclipse of the Sun, greater than had ever been known before, for at the sixth hour the day was changed into night, and the stars were seen in the heavens. An earthquake occurred in Bythinia and overthrew a great part of the city of Nicæa.

[Plegon, "OLYMPIADES". In "Fragmenta Historicum Graecorum" (C. Muller) 1841- 1870, Volume 3, pages 603 - 624]

This darkness, recorded by a secular historian, however, was NOT a solar eclipse. As it was at the same time as the Lunar Eclipse previously mentioned, and a lunar and solar eclipse cannot happen at the same time (the moon must be on opposite sides of the earth with respect to the sun -- see here), this was an unexplained phenomenon. An interesting study of this can be found at The Bethelehem Star.

This puts sets the context for Peter's statement in Acts 2:20, quoting the prophet Joel,

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

Acts 2:20

Peter appears to be referencing these particular events from 50 days prior during Passover at the crucifixion. The sun was darkened as Christ died, and the moon rose in full blood red eclipse that night, beneath the constellation virgo, while Jesus lay bloody and dead beneath the "virgin", his mother.

Interesting to note, it is said (See Blood Red Lunar Eclipses for other thoughts) that the Jewish Rabbis are saying that the solar eclipse in the year 2015, in the midst of the tetrad, is to signify the year of the judgment upon the Gentile nations.

While it is true that certain Jewish feasts are always on the new moons, and that all lunar eclipses are always also on new moons, thus lessening the improbability of such an occurance, it is still the case that the number of tetrads documented in a Biblical history (6000 some years, assuming a young earth) is relatively limited (8 in the past 2,000 years - 8 blood moons ).

From this, from a purely analytical viewpoint, we can conclude.

  1. God set them up as signs.
  2. God prophesied them as signs.
  3. God uses them as signs.
  4. Most of the tetrads since the cross appear to be signs (to some).
  5. Not all signs are immediately, visible, globally effecting, or portent-ly significant, outside of a particular subset of the universe (not everyone felt the effect of it the moment it happened).

From this, it would appear it would be wise to be aware of such signs, although the particular interpretation of such events is one of faith.

The concordance says that the only references to a "blood moon" are Joel 3:21, Acts 2:20, and Revelation 6:12, however.

Is this tetrad important? Time will tell, won't it?

What is the Biblical prescription for discerning the times and being prepared? The same as it always is. Seek the Lord through Prayer (possibly with fasting), Biblical study, and a tender heart.

This is the only preparation, to be following Him, and to be listening to His Word, living a holy life, and dwelling in faith.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.