Are Blood Moons a Sign of the End Times?
Some believe solar eclipses and blood moons are omens that the end of days is near. Are these ideas a misinterpretation of Bible prophecy?
In 2015 some religious groups became convinced that a tetrad of blood moons coinciding with the biblical holy days was a sign heralding the end of days. Of course, the four blood moons (lunar eclipses) came and went with nothing significant occurring. Though the religious fascination with blood moons has died down, there are still some small religious groups who proclaim certain lunar phenomena are end-time harbingers.
On Jan. 31, 2018, there will be another total lunar eclipse over part of the earth. There are some groups claiming such natural, predictable, regularly occurring events point to God’s impending judgment on the world.
When you hear or read these kinds of warnings, should you take them seriously? Could naturally occurring astronomical occurrences fulfill end-time prophecies and be signs of God’s judgment and the end of the world?
No doubt about it, astronomical signs are prophesied to occur in the end times leading up to Jesus Christ’s return. But are solar and lunar eclipses the signs of heaven that these prophecies refer to? Let’s look into the Scriptures for answers.
God has used darkness in major events such as the ninth plague on Egypt and during Christ’s crucifixion. Some Christian leaders have used these examples to justify the idea that God uses eclipses, but let’s have a look at those events more closely:
Ninth plague on Egypt. The plague that caused darkness throughout Egypt was not a solar eclipse because eclipses only last minutes or sometimes seconds! The darkness over Egypt lasted three days. The Israelites were not affected by the darkness. The darkness was not an eclipse, but a special miracle performed by God (Exodus 10:21-23).
Darkness at Jesus’ crucifixion. The Gospels describe darkness covering the land during Jesus Christ’s crucifixion (Mark 15:33; Matthew 27:45; Luke 23:44). A careful reading of these scriptures shows the darkness started in the sixth hour in Jewish reckoning of time (noon) and ended in the ninth hour (3 p.m.)—so for about three hours. Again, this is way too long for a solar eclipse. In addition, Jesus died on the Passover (the 14th day of Abib in the Hebrew calendar), which always occurs when earth is between the sun and the moon; whereas a solar eclipse can only occur when the moon is between the earth and sun. Like the ninth plague on Egypt, this darkness occurred by God’s miraculous intervention.
Since these past events don’t indicate God uses natural astronomical occurrences as biblical signs, what about future events?
Heavenly signs and the sixth seal
As we already mentioned, Bible prophecy does foretell future heavenly signs. In Revelation 6:12 the opening of the sixth seal causes this: “The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood” (compare Joel 2:31).
The real heavenly signs will be global, unmistakable and totally unnatural.This is the main verse that has led some to believe recent astronomical occurrences are end-time markers. But does this prophecy describe an eclipse? In a solar eclipse, the alignment of the sun, moon and earth causes the sun to go dark—but the moon will not go red. A blood moon occurs in a lunar eclipse when the sun, earth and moon align—but this does not cause the sun to go dark. So Revelation 6:12 cannot be referring to a solar or a lunar eclipse—because in order for it to be, both would have to occur at the same time!
Furthermore, this event is accompanied by other heavenly signs, like “the stars of heaven [falling] to the earth”—most likely meteorites—and “every mountain and island [being] moved out of its place”—likely the result of powerful earthquakes that will shake the earth (Revelation 6:13-14). The real heavenly signs will be global, unmistakable and totally unnatural. They will be caused by God’s direct intervention—not the natural alignment of earth and moon!
These heavenly signs will mark the beginning of a prophetic time period called the Day of the Lord. This future time period will be preceded by other prophetic events that have not yet transpired (or come to their fullness). A summary of those events are:
- Religious deception (Matthew 24:4-5, corresponding to the first seal of Revelation 6:1-2).
- Wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6, corresponding to the second seal of Revelation 6:3-4).
- Worldwide famines (Matthew 24:7, corresponding to the third seal of Revelation 6:5-6).
- Worldwide pestilences (Matthew 24:7, corresponding to the fourth seal of Revelation 6:7-8).
These first four are called the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). Even though we see these signs represented in world trends today, they will reach greater intensity in the future.
The heavenly signs mentioned earlier occur “immediately after the tribulation” (Matthew 24:29), corresponding to the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12-14). These astronomical disturbances will be seen and felt by the whole world, as opposed to eclipses, which pass through a narrow corridor and are never visible to everyone around the globe.
Don’t be confused
Eclipses and blood moons do not correspond to any prophesied biblical event. They occur as a result of the way God created and aligned the planetary bodies (Genesis 1:14-15, 16-18). The Bible specifically warns us to not be worried about celestial alignments: “Do not be dismayed [afraid or confused] at the signs of heaven” (Jeremiah 10:2).
Don’t be fooled by so-called end-time prophecy experts who claim eclipses and blood moons are prophetic signs. Eclipses and blood moons are interesting to study and watch, but hold no prophetic significance. Life, Hope & Truth will continue to help you understand world events in the light of Bible prophecy, while also alerting you to confusing false teachings that don’t align with God’s Word.