In the last couple of years, a new fad idea has been captivating the attention of Christians and Jews, a preoccupation with blood moons as portents of judgment or momentous events for Israel and the world. Depending upon who you read, a blood moon is a clear sign of dramatic political change or of cosmic upheaval, such as by massive earthquakes or a meteor strike. Keep your options open, I suppose. Something is bound to hit the target. At least one false teacher is adding to his millions with book sales that put him on the New York Times Best Seller list. He warns that blood moons are signs that some dramatic change in world history is imminent. Amazon search results show books by several authors. It seems that blood moons are a cash cow.
A blood moon is caused by a lunar eclipse. The current idea that blood moons signal end time events comes from Acts 2:20, which records Peter’s quote of Joel 2:31 on signs of end times:
“the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.”
Discussion is increasing of late as another blood moon is due at the end of this month, September 2015, especially as it coincides with a feast of Israel. It will be the fourth since April 2014. Discussion is so widespread that even NASA finally issued a statement to calm fears. What should Christians do with this urgent, emotionally-charged suggestion that we hang prophetic Scripture on an eclipse?
1. Be students of the Bible, not of false teachers or of phenomena.
Without adding to the coffers of some false teacher by buying his book, without spending a single cent, we can open our Bibles and read the truth and practice discernment. Granted, we ought to study end time passages as a whole to understand the Bible’s broad perspective. Still, in the present case, even if you are untrained in Bible study you can apply a first rule of study: Context is king. Using this rule, right away we can observe within the same verse that the “sun shall be turned to darkness.” So far, I’ve not heard any announcements of a darkened sun accompanying these latest four blood moons.
Usually for context, we would read at least several verses before and after. But let’s add just one verse of context and read Acts 2:20 with verse 19 attached. The missuse of this passage becomes plainer.
“And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.”
Isn’t it obvious that Peter was listing signs that would be miraculous, phenomena that would be unequivocally attributable only to God’s power superseding the normal course of nature? Within the context of the massive, disastrous calamities in the book of Joel, Joel 2:31 can’t be anything but extraordinary and miraculous. This is also blatant in other end-time passages (Matt. 24:29-31; Revelation 6:12-17; 8:7-13; 9:13-21 and many more). If Acts 2:20 (Joel 2:31) refers to just a predictable, explainable lunar eclipse happening on schedule, what’s the big deal? How is that a wonder or sign?
2. Obey our Lord Jesus regarding efforts to foresee the future.
Our Lord Jesus already told us,
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come (Mark 13:32-33).
But, but, but….the blood moons are happening in conjunction with Jewish feasts and those feasts are harbingers of the future.
With Jewish feasts tied to a lunar calendar, coincidence with lunar eclipses ought to be expected to happen sometime in history.
Either Scripture is sufficient or it is not. He who invented those feasts and created eclipses said that no one knows. Either we believe God or we don’t. Considering our predilection for chasing after dates, for trying to read signs, our thirst to know the future before it happens and to respect men who seem to be in the know, no wonder He emphasized that we don’t know and warned us to guard ourselves against being led astray and going after those who predict.
And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them” (Luke 21:7-8).
Do not go after them. Don’t support them with your money. Don’t listen to them. Don’t give their ideas credence. Do not go after them.
3. Grow in godliness.
Shall we think about the return of Christ and the calamitous events that come with it? You bet! In fact, years after his quote recorded in Acts Peter led us to the next step and told us how to apply that knowledge. He said that truths about end times ought to make us ask,
“…what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:11)?
If the end comes, may God be glorified! Meanwhile, rather than excite ourselves over possibilities that it is impossible to predict, let’s excite ourselves over godliness. That means, let’s excite ourselves of over Bible study, over prayer, over fellowship. Let’s excite ourselves over self-denial and viewing others as more important than ourselves and sharing the gospel.
And let’s excite ourselves over adoration of God. Isn’t a blood moon stunning? And gorgeous? How amazing its Creator must be to spin the moon into its orbit among so many other heavenly objects all precisely sized, weighted, and timed in their own orbits that there would be eclipses so beautiful for us to behold.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1).
At sight of the next one, let us lift our hearts in adoration of such a powerful, wise, beautiful Creator!