Summary: Response to the popular theory of "blood moons" as a signal of significant end-times events about to happen.
This message is in response to a very popular teaching making the rounds recently, concerning various prophecies in general and this passage in Joel specifically, connecting them with recent astronomical events. If you are familiar with the teaching, you probably already know I am referring to the theory about “blood moons.”
First of all, exactly what is a “blood moon?” The scripture teaching is very direct, and comes from Joel 2:31, telling us that “the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
Secondly, what is the current popular teaching about “blood moons?” This has to do with an occurrence taking place in the heavens in 2014-15, in which lunar eclipses will occur at the time of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in these two successive years. These occurrences, referred to as “tetrads,” are relatively uncommon. Significance is being attached to these due to their occurrence being synchronized with Jewish festivals. More specifically, a special end-times significance is being accorded to these tetrads due to events of Jewish historic significance which have occurred around the same time as the previous three occurrences of tetrads in the last 500 years. The teaching is certainly interesting, and has captured a lot of attention in recent months. Let’s examine these things more closely.
First, let’s take a look at the tetrads that have already occurred, and the events of significance that have been connected to them. In the past 500 years or so, three tetrads have already occurred. The first was in 1493-94, the second in 1949-50, and the third in 1967-68. Significance has been given to each of these based on Jewish historical events that have occurred at about the same time. The first one has been connected to the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492; the second to the independence of the Jewish nation which came in 1948; and the third with Israel’s 6-day war of 1967. The point that has been made with these tetrads is that God “uses the heavens as His divine billboard announcing coming events.” The point is also raised that lunar events are a “sign to Israel” and solar events are a “sign to the world.” So the four “blood moons,” then, are taken as a warning sign to Israel that “something is about to happen.”
So how true is all this? Let me first say, I am well aware that Scripture advises us not to “despise prophesies.” So what I am about to say is not in any way intended as a denial or an affront to the prophesies about the “blood moon.” I simply have some prayerfully and thoughtfully considered reservations about this theory, at least in the manner in which it has been recently portrayed and/or interpreted in the common “four blood moons” presentation. My main interest here is in addressing this teaching in the light of Scripture, in the manner of the people Paul spoke to at Berea, who “searched the Scriptures daily” to see whether the things he said were true; and also in the manner that Paul urges us, to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
So, having said that, the claims made about these tetrads are:
1. They are intended as a sign to Israel;
2. They are “God’s billboard” by which He warns of future events;
3. Historical events of importance to Israel have occurred in tandem with the last three tetrads.
In response, I would point out that the expulsion of the Jews from Spain occurred in 1492, while the tetrads occurred in 1493-94. In similar fashion, the independence of Israel came in 1948, while the tetrads occurred in 1949-50. And even the third one does not completely fill the bill, since the last two moons of the tetrad occur the NEXT year, and one of the moons of 1967 comes after the 6-day war. That throws into question the idea that these are “God’s billboard by which He warns of FUTURE events,” because the tetrads did not occur until AFTER the events had already come to pass. Since when does God warn people of things that have already happened? Not in my Bible. Mine declares that God says “I make known the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10).
I would question as well: since Jesus Himself (Matthew 24) repeats the blood moon prediction, declaring it as yet future, why would we not take into consideration the intervening years since then AS A WHOLE, rather than just the last 500 years? I think the answer is simple: the fact that there were FOUR OTHER tetrads since the time of Christ tends to lessen the idea of the rarity of these occurrences. That rarity was one of the key points used to build the dramatic import of these moons in the presentation. Add to that the fact that there are no significant historic events that can be linked to the other four, and the import of these occurrences is lessened even further. I would submit, and this is simply my own observation, be it right or wrong, that the time frame for the presentation of this teaching appears to have been limited to “the last 500 years” in order to play up the supposed “connections” to borrow for them more significance than the facts merit. This appears to be even more likely when you consider the fact that the events to which they were supposedly linked had already occurred at the time of the tetrads, lessening the “prophetic” significance of the events considerably. (The other four tetrads, for the record, occurred in 162-163 A.D., 795-796 A.D., 842-843 A.D., and 860-861 A.D.)