"Blood Moon" Sensationalism

Millions of people are fascinated with Bible prophecy. Unfortunately, many of these same people are deceived by false prophecy “experts” who claim that biblical prophecy, in particular from the Old Testament prophets, is being fulfilled today. For example, it is popular to claim that when a lunar eclipse occurs, this can be described as a “blood moon” and must, in some way, be connected to Joel 2:31. To be clear, we do believe Joel 2:31—as all Bible prophecies—will be fulfilled exactly as the Bible describes. However, this “blood moon prophecy” is not being fulfilled today. The lunar eclipses we experience are not fulfillments of this or any Bible prophecy, and let us consider these three reasons why.

First, consistent Biblical interpretation rules require at least the complete verse be considered, not just a phrase extracted from it. According to Joel 2:31, concerning the heavenly bodies described in this text, we read, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood.” Interestingly enough, these “blood moon” prognosticators say nothing about the darkening of the sun in the present time. Why do these current prophecy “experts” ignore this part of the verse? Because solar light being darkened today is not happening. If the sun is not being darkened today, why do some believe that this “blood moon” prophecy is occurring? This simply does not make any sense.

Some might suggest that Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61:1, 2a, when He preached in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:18-21), and in doing so, He stopped in the middle of the verse. Thus, they contend that simply taking part of a verse is a legitimate way to use Scripture to prove a point. But, notice that Jesus cited the verse in chronological order and He cited it in its entirety to the stopping point. He did not lift the phrase out of verse 2 and take it on its own accord. The order of wording in Joel 2:31 is that the sun is darkened “and the moon into blood.” The two are connected in some fashion.

Second, our modern lunar eclipses are not any fulfillment of biblical prophecy (particularly Joel 2:31) because the timing of these changes in solar and lunar appearances is said to transpire “before the great and terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31). The description of the entire chapter indicates events that transpire during the future (to our time) 7-year tribulation period (cf. 2:2, 11). To be even more precise, it would appear that these signs in the stellar heavens (vv. 30, 31) occur during the last three and one-half years of the tribulation period, or as John refers to it, “the tribulation, the great one” (Literal translation of Rev.7:14; cf. Matt. 24:21, 29, Christ’s comments about heavenly bodies).

Third, it hardly seems likely that a lunar eclipse which lasts but a few hours and has occurred periodically, with regularity and accurate predictability, would serve as a “sign” of impending trouble. The dramatic change in solar and lunar appearance described in Joel 2 seem to indicate an extended period of time. It would be more accurate to understand that the darkening of the sun and the moon turning to blood would either be something supernatural—God acting directly upon these two heavenly bodies, defying scientific, calculable explanations or rationale—or that the solar and lunar changes are a consequence of the severe judgments upon the earth, resulting from the “ fire, and pillars of smoke” (Joel 2:30) as the divine judgments of Almighty God are poured out on the inhabitants of the earth. Present-day occurrences of either solar or lunar eclipses is a sign of nothing prophetic. However, they are signs of the magnificent order of God’s creative power in the universe (Gen. 1:14-19).

Sadly, even God’s people fall for nonsense and false teachers who sensationalize God’s prophetic Word and wind up trivializing precious truths promised therein. We desire to encourage believers to practice biblical discernment when it comes to statements and claims any teacher makes. Remember, John admonishes us to “try the spirits … because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1). Do not fall for every claim and assertion made by religious leaders today. We must remain ever vigilant and fervent about the plan and program of God for this age. Our focus needs to be on the Savior’s imminent return. —Gary Freel