During the last few years, the blood moons phenomena has taken the evangelical world by storm. It is not difficult to understand why, because anybody can see that the world is churning with chaos, and those familiar with the Bible know that the time right before Christ's return is going to be filled with turmoil, to say the least. Because there are prophecies that describe the moon turning a blood-red color, it is quite reasonable that people should ponder the significance of four lunar eclipses taking place on what are frequently called the "Jewish" holy days.
This all started seven years ago when a man named Mark Biltz was inspired to do some research on NASA's website, and he noticed that in 2014 and 2015 there would be four lunar eclipses, which NASA calls a tetrad. Tetrads are not necessarily rare, but what is rare is for a tetrad to coincide with the holy days, and this is what caught Mark Biltz's attention since he observes the Feasts of God. It has only happened eight times since the time of Christ, and the current tetrad makes number nine. That is a curious thing in itself, because according to E.W. Bullinger, nine is the biblical number of finality or judgment.
It was not long before Biltz's findings were picked up by WorldNetDaily, and then news of the blood moons began to spread like wildfire. Most recently, mega-pastor John Hagee hijacked Mark Biltz's material. Hagee has written a book and made a movie out of it, and has been raking in millions. In large part because of Hagee's audience, a great deal of evangelical Protestantism is abuzz with what the blood moons could mean.
One of the things that stands out in all of this is that the evangelicals' approach is double-minded. A great many of those who are interested in this find it significant that these blood moons are happening on holy days and simultaneously believe that those same days are no longer holy! They seek a sign in the heavens, and yet deliberately avoid the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-40)—a sign which disproves Sunday-worship. Psalm 111:10 tells us that "a good understanding have all those who do His commandments," so it should not surprise us that those who will not observe God's Sabbaths have their understanding darkened.
The Bible contains a number of verses which refer to the moon turning red, or turning to blood. Joel 2:31 is probably the best known: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord." If we were to stop right there, we might be justified in thinking that we were on the cusp of the day of the Lord. But the problem is that other verses clarify when this verse is actually fulfilled.
The moon turning to blood is also mentioned in the sixth chapter of Revelation:
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. (Revelation 6:12-14)
While the Sixth Seal mentions the moon, notice that it also contains disturbances in the sun, plus the stars, and even the sky as a whole. There are many things happening here, and the moon turning red is only one part. It mentions stars falling and the sky receding, which are not at all related to eclipses. When the Sixth Seal is fulfilled, far more than just eclipses will be taking place.
There is another critical point about the Sixth Seal. The very reason that Mark Biltz was able to research the eclipses is that the earth and the heavenly bodies move in predictable orbits, and NASA can do calculations based on their regularity. It is only because everything is moving like clockwork that we can know where the sun, moon, and earth will be in relation to each other at any given time. This is why we can predict eclipses centuries in advance—because everything is stable in the heavens right now.
But when the Sixth Seal is opened, the current stability of the firmament is completely upended. God tells Haggai twice that He is going to shake the heavens (Haggai 2:6, 21). In the Olivet Prophecy, Christ says that the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matthew 24:29). The "powers" indicates the forces of the heavenly bodies. In addition, Isaiah 13:13 says that not only will God shake the heavens, but that the earth will be moved out of her place as well. If the heavens are shaken, and the earth is moved out of its place, it will be impossible to calculate things like eclipses. The Sixth Seal is talking about cosmic events that come to pass in a way and in a time that we cannot foresee. So even if the Sixth Seal is describing eclipses, they will not be eclipses which NASA can predict.
Another time-marker here is that these cosmic disturbances happen after the Fifth Seal, which is the martyrdom of those who have the testimony of God (Revelation 6:9-11). The three accounts of the Olivet Prophecy make it clear that it is only after the time of great tribulation—tribulation unlike anything that has come before—that the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven. So even though we are seeing religious violence increasing, we are not to the point where God must cut things short for the sake of the elect. Thus it is still a little early to be looking for the fulfillment Sixth Seal.
Though the sequence of four blood moons do not match up with all the Bible says about the Sixth Seal, they are nonetheless worthy of consideration because of the symbolism involved, and because of God's intent for the holy days. More next time.
David C. Grabbe