Starting April 15, 2014 there will be four total lunar eclipses over a year and a half period that can be seen in North America if weather conditions permit. These fall during four Jewish festivals (not completely unusual because Jewish festivals are based on full moons and a lunar calendar).
This is causing great excitement among some evangelical Christians because they believe this is a fulfillment of the Bible prophecies of the sun being darkened and the moon being turned to blood. Many think this is a sign of something special about to happen in Israel.
What are we as Seventh-day Adventists to make of all this?
Seventh-day Adventists recognize that these prophecies of the moon turning to blood have already taken place and were used by God to gain the attention of the world when it was rediscovering the truth of the Second Coming of Jesus.
In Matthew 24:29 Jesus gives the sequence – 1) “Immediately after the distress of those days
2) “‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
3) the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
1) “Those days” refers to the Dark Ages period of 538-1798 AD (in prophecy expressed as “1260 days”, “42 months” and “3 1/2 times” in Daniel 7, 8, 12; Revelation 11, 12, 13). The “distress” or persecution of “those days” ended a little before 1798 as Jesus promised in Matthew 24:22 – “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”
2) “The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light” (quoting Joel 2:31 which says “moon into blood”) was fulfilled May 19, 1780, with many scientific and news publications noting the event. This took place a little before 1798, during the American Revolutionary War, when the world was watching America and when the Bible was becoming available to the masses.
3) “the stars will fall…” was fulfilled 53 years later on the evening of November 13, 1833, with the greatest meteor shower before or since. It initiated the modern-day study of meteors. The event was noted by a young Abraham Lincoln and others and caused many to search the Bible as never before.
Revelation 6:12 points out that there would be a great earthquake before these signs. History tells us that the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 impacted much of Europe and even the eastern coast of North American, again directing people’s attention to serious Bible study.
For a clear explanation of these events and their sequence, as well as numerous historical references to these events, see pages 304-308 & 333-334 of The Great Controversy, found at these links – http://www.whiteestate.org/books/gc/gc17.html
Why does it matter? Because the “blood moon” movement is being used by some to focus on Israel and the festivals rather than the nearness of Jesus’ soon return, the need for heartfelt obedience to all His commandments and the importance of uniting with His final movement.
As we live in the last days we will have more and more distractions from our mission to take the everlasting gospel, in the context of the Three Angels Message (Revelation 14:6-12) to all the world. The Three Angels Message focuses on an “everlasting gospel” strong enough to deliver us from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and ultimately from the presence of sin in the universe! It directs our attention to the “hour of God’s judgement” taking place in the heavenly sanctuary, rather than a future rebuilt temple in Israel. It reminds people to return to the weekly Creation Sabbath by worshiping the One “who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of waters” (cf. Revelation 14:7, Exodus 20:8-11 and Genesis 2:1-3) rather than the yearly Jewish festivals. It calls people out of any religious system that is willing to mix truth and error (cf. Revelation 14:8-11; 18:2-4; Isaiah 8:20) rather than letting them feel comfortable in a religion that attempts to keep Sunday holy, promotes the false teaching of the immortality of the soul or ignores the need to glorify God in what we eat, drink and in everything we do.
This Three Angels Message, and this alone, will prepare God’s people to keep all God’s commandments, have the faith of Jesus and unite with His final movement that arose as a result of prophecy, teaches and preaches prophecy and has a prophet in it (Revelation 14:12; 12:17; 19:10).
Let’s not get distracted and let’s go for it!