Blood moons? Really? Seriously… Really?

“Blood moon” is not in the Bible. Search it; it is not there. Hard to believe that there are so many Christians up in arms about it thinking the world is about to end because of the sensationalism around so called blood moons.

Moon into Blood

Don’t get me wrong, there are things derived from the Bible that we give names to like Trinity, monotheism, atheism, incarnation, and so on forth. So where does the idea of a “blood moon” come from?

There is a faction of Christians who teach this and they go back to Joel 2 as the basis for their interpretation of a “blood moon”. What does Joel say?

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

Ergo, they claim that if the moon turns a shade orange-ish or red-ish, because of the atmosphere, lunar eclipses, etc. then it could be a sign the world is about to end. By astronomical standards, we can often determine when the moon will look a little different. But that is really an aside to the discussion at hand.

To continue, some point out that the book of Acts has Peter reiterating this prophecy at Pentecost. They quote Peter:

Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

Context is key

Let us read the passages in context:

Joel 2

28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.

29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

32 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.

Acts 2

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

15 “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

16 “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know —

First, Peter pointed out that what they were seeing was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy before their very eyes! Therefore, it is not in reference to something that was to happen in the distant future (i.e., today).

Clearly, there is metaphorical language here too. So what does Peter mean when he says this prophecy of Joel was being fulfilled in his day? Let us evaluate this portion of Acts 2 in more detail.

Details of Acts 2 Fulfillment

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

These things were happening at Pentecost before their very eyes. The Spirit of God was poured out and people began speaking in tongues and prophesying. In fact, the canon of Scripture was reopened after 400 years of silence when there had been no prophets. The New Testament is written fulfillment of this prophecy. This event at Pentecost triggered this.

19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

As witnessed by the miracles, wonders, and signs of Christ done in the midst of Israel (Acts 2:22).

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

Let us now look at other Scripture (Scripture interprets Scripture) to see other uses of the sun, moon, and stars. The Bible talks a lot about the sun, moon, and stars in a metaphorical fashion as well as a literal fashion. Context determines the meaning and they can easily be determined as literal and metaphorical.

Let us do an example. Genesis 1:14-19 is speaking of the literal sun, moon, and stars. By the context, God created these physical bodies to give light on the earth in a physical sense.

Now let us flip to the back of the Bible. Are the sun, moon, and stars in Revelation in reference to the literal sun, moon, and the stars (Revelation 6:12, 8:12, and 12:1)? The context indicates something that yields a metaphorical nature. Here are the verses in question:

Revelation 6:12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.

Revelation 8:12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.

Revelation 12:1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.

Phrases such as the “woman clothed with the sun”, the “moon became like blood”, the “sun became black”, a “third of the sun was stuck and it only shown a third of the day”, help us realize that this needs not be interpreted in a “wooden” literal sense. Now let us return to Acts 2 and Joel 2 while looking at other metaphorical uses of sun, moon, and stars.

Acts 2:20 and Joel 2:31 nearly mimics where the “the sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood”. The Gospel accounts in the context of tribulation and the temple’s and Jerusalem’s destruction say:

Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Mark 13:24-25 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; “the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

So where Peter points out this was happening in his day, the Temple’s destruction was the final culmination of the sun, moon, and stars being darkened in its finality—which occurred in A.D. 70.

But what are the sun, moon, and stars, in these metaphorical instances. These passages in Revelation and the Olivet discourse are clearly not the first metaphorical use of sun, moon, and stars. Joel prophesied such things previously in 2:10; 2:31; and 3:15 (one we have already seen). Other prophets use this imagery as well such as Isaiah in 13:10. So where is this imagery from? The answer is in Genesis. The first use of a metaphorical nature of the sun, moon, and stars is:

Genesis 37:9-10 Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father [Israel] rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?”

Yes, Israel, that is the sun, moon, and 11 stars bowed down to Joseph in Egypt! Israel (i.e., Jacob and the twelve tribes) was seen as the sun, moon, and stars collectively. So the meaning reveals itself that Israel was to be darkened (e.g., Romans 11:7-10, Matthew 21:23) and turned to blood as Jesus indicated would happen with their destruction.

These things Peter spoke in Acts 2 about the sun, moon and stars, were in the works as Israel rejected Christ and now only a remnant would be saved (Joel 2:32) and final culmination would be at the destruction of the sun, moon, and stars (Israel) and the Temple in judgment for rejecting Christ (Luke 23:45, Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13). The unrepentant Jews were darkened (Romans 11:7-10) and Christians are now bearers of as lights of the world (e.g., Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5) thorough Jesus Christ who is the ultimate light of the world (John 8:12) shining through Christians (Ephesians 5:14).

21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’

This was triggered for New Testament times at Pentecost and this still occurs today as the saving work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). Truly, the moon was turned to blood and sun was turned to darkness just as the Lord prophesied and Peter affirmed was occurring (i.e., when the Jews remnant was saved, then rest were darkened for rejecting Christ (Romans 11:7-10) and the gospel was finally sent to the gentiles who are listening, Acts 28:25-28.)

What can we conclude?

All this to say that looking at the moon turn colors due to atmospheric phenomena or eclipses misses the point of the whole passage. So seriously…blood moons really?

Cite this article: B. Hodge, Blood Moons? Really? Seriously…Really?, Biblical Authority Ministries, October 14, 2015, https://biblicalauthorityministries.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/blood-moons-really-seriously-really/.

BHodge

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Blood moons? Really? Seriously… Really?

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