Written by 9:07 am Blog

Stop Spiritualizing Solar Eclipses

I can feel the hate mail coming already.

Christians, we have got to stop giving airtime to these people who are always making so much ado about blood moons and solar eclipses.  But first, let’s deal with what the Bible says about signs in the heavens.

25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
– Luke 21:25-26 (ESV)

Let’s start here. Jesus indeed did say that there would be signs in the sun, moon, and stars before His coming. I have to admit that.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
– Joel 2:31 (ESV)

The prophet Joel seems to be describing total lunar and solar eclipses. In a total lunar eclipse, the moon turns blood red. In a total solar eclipse, the sun goes dark. These phenomena seem to fit Joel’s description.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
– Matthew 24:29 (ESV)

Again, these are Christ’s words, and he’s echoing the prophet Joel about the sun and moon. He says more about stars falling – which could be meteor showers or could be heavenly hosts – but also speaks of the powers of the heavens being shaken. I’d say the latter is a spiritual war reference to the principalities and powers of evil in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12) which leads me to interpret stars as heavenly hosts, not meteors.

Alright. I could spend lots of time referencing places where things like this are mentioned in reference to Christ’s return, but these will suffice because they capture the subject.

Shane, if the Bible says these things, why are you telling us to stop spiritualizing eclipses? Aren’t they part of the signs of the end?

I get it. But at the same time, it’s a trap. If you would bear with me for just a few minutes, let me explain the trap.

First, lunar and solar eclipses have been happening on a predictable timetable ever since the LORD created the heavens and the earth. These things happen all the time. There’s nothing uniquely special about them, except that most people are in the wrong place at the wrong time to see them. That alone doesn’t preclude the LORD from using them as signs of His coming because, after all, it is His predictable timetable we’re talking about. He knows what’s up. But from a human perspective, if we sound the alarm every time a lunar or solar eclipse happens, we become the boy who cried wolf to the rest of the world. But that’s not where our drama stops.

Second, trying to assign spiritual significance to these events with numbers and names of cities is divination, plain and simple. The most recent thing I read about this (and what prompted this article) is that the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse passed over seven cities named Salem in the United States. Now this next eclipse is supposed to pass over seven cities called Ninevah. Salem means peace. Jerusalem means roughly the city of God’s peace. You know what didn’t happen after 2017? We didn’t enter into a time of great peace nationally, locally, spiritually, or otherwise. Nor am I aware of some opportunity that arose (besides the everpresent opportunity to believe the Gospel) that our nation missed to enter such peace. Why, then, are we to expect that this eclipse passing over seven Ninevahs will mean anything at all? The author of that posting said it will represent an opportunity for our nation to repent as Ninevah did or face destruction.

Umm, friends, that choice is always before us. It’s before us right now. The words of Jesus ring clearly on this matter.

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
– Matthew 13:5 (ESV)

The guy who wrote this never said this was a prophetic word from the LORD, but it smacks of the same kind of prophetic nothing sandwich that happens all the time on YouTube. Ever since Christ ascended, the impetus has been upon us to repent, believe the Gospel, and teach the nations what we have learned. Nothing has changed. I’ll be gracious and say that even if this guy is right, this isn’t a new message. The message all along has been to repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand! So, at best, this still falls short of anything to be impressed about. We should repent. Every day in every way that we fail, we should be repenting.

But I’m not being gracious. This kind of stuff needs to stop. The Bible has told us how to interpret the signs that appear in the sun and moon. It simply means Christ is coming soon. To make them say more than that is divination. To assign numbers and names of cities to them is divination. But the worst is to spread divination around as some kind of truth. That’s being a false prophet.

Believe what Jesus said, for sure. But also remember what the prophet Jeremiah said.

Thus says the LORD:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,”
– Jeremiah 10:2 (ESV)

I know that the people I personally know who shared this guy’s post aren’t dismayed about it. At best, it stirs their excitement for Christ’s return. I get it. But the scope of this is that these kinds of “prophetic” warnings do more harm at large. And when we share it, we’re spreading divination, not the good news of Jesus. Let every eclipse remind us that He is coming. But let our response be to keep sharing the Gospel, not to spread sensationalist nonsense.

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Last modified: March 5, 2024