This past Sunday evening, January 20, a little before eleven o’clock Mary and I were out on the porch taking in this amazing scene of what is called a “blood moon.” According to National Geographic, “viewers across the Western Hemisphere were treated to the rusty hues of the decade’s last ‘blood moon’ eclipse.” In writing this article I learned that as people across the planet watched the moon glow crimson, some lucky observers caught “an unexpected delight: the flash of a space rock striking the lunar orb.” The article went on to say that if this event is ever confirmed, it may be the first time such a phenomenon has been recorded during a lunar eclipse. While Mary and I did not see the flash of light, we did briefly enjoy the moon’s beauty.
All of this discussion and talk about the blood moon reminds me of some comments made in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. The apostle Peter on that long anticipated day – the day the Lord’s kingdom/church finally arrived (Mk. 9:1) - references a prophecy Joel made in Joel 2:31. With the great outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4) and the speculation that they were drinking (Acts 2:13), Peter says:
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;1 8even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood.” ( Acts 2:16-20)
You will note that the O.T. prophecy says both the sun (turned to darkness) and the moon (turned to blood) were to be affected. Some suggest that a Blood Moon is a sign of the beginning of the end of times. Not necessarily. Peter on this occasion specified that Joel’s prophecy was being fulfilled. Clearly, he states, “this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel.” (Acts 2:17) Other translations say “this is that.” So if something was transpiring with the heavenly bodies on that day, which I don’t think is necessarily the case, Peter makes it clear that what was taking place was a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.
Fast forward to today. The mere occurrence of a blood moon, although it is spectacular to behold, in and of itself does not necessarily have any Biblical significance. There have been, according to the Faith In The News website, “well over a hundred blood moons since the time of Christ.” What is interesting though is there is a physical and a metaphysical point that can be made in connection with the moon turning shades. Physically speaking, an earthly catastrophic event like a volcano eruption, hurricane clouds, severe thunderstorm clouds or even the smoke of burning cities from a fire can obscure the sun’s light and/or alter the shade of the moon. For us to have a blood moon, notwithstanding those caused by the natural orbit of the heavenly bodies like the one this past week, it will always be associated with some severe, atypical physical event.
Similarly, in the spiritual realm, like on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) where Peter referenced Joel’s prophecy, there too was a unique, atypical event that took place – the arrival of the promised Spirit. That being said, we’d suggest the language of Joel’s prophecy is a figurative reference pointing to the fact that when the Lord’s kingdom was to come – amazing things were going to accompany such – amazing things like the outpouring of God’s Spirit.
The next eclipse, according to the experts, will be June 16 of this year. That is, if the Lord doesn’t come first. And if He were to come first there is no telling how awestruck the sky will be! As John said in the next to the last verse of the Bible, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)
You are loved