The great interest in the rare phenomenon of a series of blood-red moons raises a couple of important questions that need to be answered.
Does the Bible teach that events in the heavens may have spiritual meaning?
The first chapter of the Bible declares that the lights in the sky will serve as “signs and seasons” (Genesis 1:14), and Revelation, the last book gives several prophecies of changes in the sun and the moon, and falling stars (asteroids) during the Tribulation (Revelation 6:12-17; 8:10-12). In between these books there are many other examples of the spiritual importance of the heavenly bodies.
The Hebrews had their own ancient understanding of the meaning of the constellations (Job 9:9; 38:31-33). This concept has been called “The Gospel in the Stars” describing the spiritual battle between good and evil, and the promised coming of a heroic virgin-born Savior who would destroy the power of the dragon.
One of the prophecies about Messiah was that He would be “a star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17). In the days of the Babylonian Empire, Daniel was the only one who could interpret the Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The king rewarded Daniel by making him the head of his wise men, the Magi. Hundreds of years later, descendants of those Magi recognized an unusual series of events in the sky that they interpreted to be a fulfillment of the passage in Numbers, so they went to Israel and were directed to the place where the infant Jesus was (Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10).
Another prophet, Joel, wrote:
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.- Joel 2:31
Jesus, teaching about the future, corroborated this prophecy:
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. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. – Matthew 24:29-30 (See also Luke 21:11, 25-28)
The same prediction was mentioned by Peter (Acts 2:20). It was also described in John’s vision (Revelation 6:12-14).
However, these passages are clearly referring to a yet-future time at the end of the dreadful Tribulation Period, just before the Glorious return of Christ to the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:11-16).
If the current series of blood moons are not a fulfillment of that still-future day just before the Lord returns to reign, what significance do they have? John Hagee in his book, Four Blood Moons: Something Is about to Change, correctly demonstrated that there is an uncanny connection between the past occurrences of this phenomenon and major developments in the history of the Chosen People when their enemies were dedicated to their destruction. They especially point to the time-frame of 1493-1494, when Jews were being exterminated and driven out of Spain. But at the same time Columbus discovered America (1492), which would become a haven for Jewish people. They also note that this tetrad of blood-moons occurred in 1949-1950, just after Israel had become a nation (1948), and were attacked by their neighbors from all sides. The tetrad also occurred in 1967-1968, when Israel had to fight the “Six-Day War” and gained much additional property from its enemies.
This current tetrad of blood moons also comes at a time when Israel’s very existence is being threatened by Iran’s nuclear program. Iranian leaders have repeatedly expressed the desire to annihilate Israel. This particular series has an additional aspect that makes it even more significant. These eclipses all occur during the celebration of the Jewish festivals of Passover and Tabernacles. Hagee says all of this means something big is about to happen, but he wisely does not claim to know what that development will be.
Do we have to choose between spreading the Gospel or teaching prophecy?
In recent years it has become increasingly popular for pastors and Bible teachers to minimize the importance of prophecy. A CNN article about the Blood Moons quoted a professor at a Bible College, saying, “But instead of looking to the heavens for signs of the future, Christians should focus on the hope and promise of the gospel message and seek to reflect Christ in word and deed.”
Have they forgotten that during the major revivals of our generation, such as the Jesus People movement, the Gospel spread like wildfire, and the leaders of the movement were excited about Bible prophecy? The proper teaching of prophecy does not stifle hope, but it does stimulate evangelism.
The alternative, being chosen by too many spiritual leaders today, is to ignore prophecy, which represents more than a fourth of the Bible! The solution is not a question of “either/or” but of “both/and.” Let us proclaim both the Gospel and Prophecy.