Skip to comments.Signs in the Heavens Return for the Umpteenth Time
Posted on 08/11/2008 8:07:22 AM PDT by topcat54
“February 20th, 2008, at Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake Washington saw something, a total lunar eclipse also called a ‘blood moon’ for its reddish hue” (read article here). “I thought 'wow' that looks just like what the Lord was talking about in the last days,” says Blitz. Blitz is referring to Joel 2:31: “The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” Notice that the moon will be turned into blood not look reddish. Those who claim to interpret the Bible literally can’t make a text say what it doesn’t say. Peter quotes the passage from Joel and applies it to the events of Pentecost (Acts 2:14–36) because he understood how the prophets of the Old Testament use stellar language, and it’s not to describe the collapse of the cosmos. In the case of Joel, God was describing the end of the Old Covenant and the inauguration of the New Covenant.
Blitz also appeals to Luke 21:25 and Revelation 6:12–14. In both cases, the Bible is describing what was about to take place in events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The use of sun, moon, and stars has a long biblical history to describe the temporal and local judgment of nations (Isa. 13:10–13; 24:19–23; 34:4; Ezek. 32:6–8; Joel 2:10, 30–31; 3:15–16; Hab. 3:6–11). In none of these passages is the destruction of the earth in view even.1 Even a futurist like Tim LaHaye admits that sun, moon, and stars are often used symbolically. The symbolic interpretation is confirmed for us when Joseph had a dream in which he saw “the sun and the moon and eleven stars” bowing down to him (Gen. 37:9). Joseph related the dream “to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?’” (37:10). They understood that the sun, moon, and stars represented them.
LaHaye writes that the image of the sun, moon, and eleven stars of Genesis 37:9 and the “woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,” and having “on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev. 12:1) “is a reference to the nation of Israel.”2 LaHaye’s further comments are helpful in understanding the imagery:
These objects are light-conveying objects: The moon is a reflector, the sun, a source of light. They are symbolic of Israel as God’s light-bearer to humankind. This Israel was in Old Testament days, for God intended her to propagate His message from the Holy Land to the entire world. Unfaithful in the dissemination of this message, the nation of Israel fell under the judgment of God.3
Here is something on which LaHaye and I can agree. When used in these passages, the sun, moon, and stars “are symbolic of Israel.” If they are symbolic of Israel in Genesis 37:9 and Revelation 12:1, then why doesn’t the same hold true in Matthew 24:29? When Israel is faithful, the sun is shining, the moon is giving off its reflective light, and the stars are positioned high in the heavens. “In Ecclesiastes 12:1, 2, we find that the expression ‘while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened’ is used to symbolize good times. Consequently, the reverse—an expression about the sun, moon, and stars being darkened—would symbolize ‘evil days,’ days of trouble.”4
Since Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 deals with Israel’s judgment within a generation (v. 34), the sun and moon are dark, and the stars fall. Like other prophecy writers, I believe that the image is symbolic of Israel, but symbolic of Israel’s impending judgment. The Old Testament—the only Scriptures the disciples had to interpret Jesus’ words—is filled with metaphors of the darkening of sun and moon and the falling of stars. In each case, the images clearly indicate the fall of nations. Let’s first look at a passage concerning the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, which is a past event. Notice how Isaiah opens chapter 13: “The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw”:
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming,
Cruel, with fury and burning anger,
To make the land a desolation;
And He will exterminate its sinners from it.
For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash forth their light;
The sun will be dark when it rises,
And the moon will not shed its light. (Isa. 13:9–10)
Isaiah describes this event as the “day of the LORD.” It’s a local event: “To make the land a desolation.” During the course of the judgment nothing happens to the sun, moon, and stars. Similar language is used to describe the destruction of Egypt:
And when I extinguish you,
I will cover the heavens and darken their stars;
I will cover the sun with a cloud
And the moon will not give its light.
All the shining lights in the heavens
I will darken over you
And will set darkness on your land . . .
When I make the land of Egypt a desolation. (Ezek. 32:7–8, 15)
And all the host of heaven will wear away,
And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll;
All their hosts will also wither away
As a leaf withers from the vine,
Or as one withers from the fig tree. (Isa. 34:4)
Notice what immediately follows: “For My sword is satiated in heaven, behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom, and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction” (Isa. 34:5). God is describing the judgment on Edom not the actual dissolution of the cosmos.
Using similar language in Matthew 24:29, Jesus told His disciples that there would come a time of intense divine judgment against Israel before their generation came to an end. By letting Scripture interpret Scripture, we are not left to speculate what Jesus meant to say: Israel would be judged before the generation to whom He was speaking passed away.
2. Tim LaHaye, Revelation Unveiled, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), 198.
3. LaHaye, Revelation Unveiled, 198., emphasis added. Also see LaHaye, Prophecy Study Bible, 47, note on Genesis 37:6–11, and 1383, note on Revelation 12:1–5.
4. Ralph Woodrow, The Great Prophecies of the Bible (Riverside, CA: Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Association, 1971), 81.
Gary DeMar is the President for American Vision.
"For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:22)
this whole thing about the blood moon is interesting but it seems to be out of context and not in scale with what is to take place at the end of days. sure we get blood moons throughout history and they may have some significance for events but if you look at Joel 2 (30, 31) in context with Revelation 8, a major catalysmic event occurs with the opening of the seventh seal that literally rends the earth and heavens. there is massive volcanic activity and the heavens begin to disintegrate, with some bodies falling to earth. that seems to me to be quite a different cause of a “blood moon.”
“turn to blood”
I’ve always considered it open-ended, and it could mean:
1. blood red color
2. become blood
3. turn to war
4. turn to a blood religion
There are others, but being open-ended about it is best, in my opinion.
I think applying the term “literally” to anything in John’s vision in the Revelation is unwise.
"If you're planting a tree and here the moshiach is come,
first finish the planting, then go to greet him."
Here He comes. Look busy.
What is that from?
Talmud, I think.
I'm not positively sure about this, but I think the sword Isaiah was referring to was a sword you would take into battle for offensive operations, it would be a long sword vs a short sword that in one big swing your enemy would be dead. From what I can predetermine, that is pretty much about how fast the Romans dealt a death blow to the Jews in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Having done some studying on the post mil position, which Gary DeMar is I've got to come to the same conclusion that he has.
i disagree. i have studied revelation about five times under some pretty good teachers. and it’s interesting that the more you look at this (in context) as a vision of literal events in heaven and on earth — taking into account that John was trying to make sense out of what God was showing him — the more sense it makes. sure some of it uses symbolic and figurative language, but we do that now and it doesn’t mean we don’t understand it when used.
i honestly don’t think god would intentionally be obtuse when people’s souls are at stake—prophecy is a warning for those living in the time it will come to pass. i personally think we have to take it in context of the time and situation, and understanding the language.
for example in Joel:
30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
this looks like symbolism, yet if you imagine it visually and what is happening at the same time in the timeline and other related verses, it seems to refer to catastrophic volcanic activity all over the world (blood, fire, pillars of smoke) following the “stars” falling to earth.
Well, I don't know ... Matt. 20:13-17 seems to say otherwise. "... This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand...."
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