The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Blood Moons: The Mechanics, the Hype & the God-Honoring Response

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

God’s universe is endlessly fascinating.  It’s huge, it’s complex, and He’s filled it with countless objects which He likes to keep in constant motion.  Now the term “blood moon” is a dramatic term people have assigned to the moon getting a reddish tint to it when God causes the sun, earth, and moon to move into a straight line with each other.  Neither the earth nor the moon emit light of their own.  They are like rocks sitting in a dark room.  The sun is like the flashlight that you are holding in your hand.  When you shine your flashlight onto one of the rocks, the rock lights up with color.  When you see those amazing photographs of the blue and green earth, it’s because you’re seeing the earth’s surface being lit up by the sun.

Now if a man shines a flashlight into your eyes, what do you do?  You hold your hand up.  Why?  Because once you raise your hand in front of your eyes, the light hits your hand.  Your hand is solid–the light can’t penetrate through it.  The solid mass of your hand casts a shadow over your eyes which gives your eyes relief from the blinding light. 

To understand the blood moon phenomenon, imagine yourself standing outside on a cloudless day.  Your face is like the moon.  The sun is shining on your face and you’re feeling blinded, so you raise your hand up to shield your eyes from the blinding light.  Your hand is like the earth.  This is what happens during a blood moon: the earth moves between the sun and the moon and casts a shadow on the moon.  But as you shield your eyes from the sun on a bright day, does it mean you don’t see any light at all?  No, there’s still a lot of light that sneaks around the edges of your hand and gets to your face.

Okay, so now let’s take a paper plate and turn it into a piece of clear, red plastic.  Tape that big round piece of red plastic to your hand that’s protecting your face from the blinding sunlight.  What happens now?  The light rays that sneak around the edges of your hand must pass through that red plastic before they can reach your face.  Your face will now be cast in red light.  That piece of red plastic is like the atmosphere around the earth. It is the atmosphere of the earth which causes the sunlight on the surface of the moon to look red during a lunar eclipse.

blood moon

So why does only red light reach the moon?  Here’s where we get into the concept of “refraction.”

What appears to us as white light is actually a combination of light particles which are many different colors.  Get out six cans of different colored paint: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple–all the colors of the rainbow.  Open up all the cans and dump them into one big pot.  Imagine that as you pour in the last color, the resulting soup of paint suddenly turns bright white.  This is how white light works: when particles of colored light are all stirred together in front of you, they appear white.  It’s a very bizarre concept, yet God is a genius and loves to make complex things.

Let’s get out a prism and hold it up to a window so sunlight (which is white light) can shine through it.  What happens?  As white light moves through the chunk of glass, the room gets filled with tiny rainbows.

prism

Why is this?  Because the glass of the prism has been cut in a way that causes the ray of white light to bend.  Let’s imagine six colored horses running in unison through a field together.  Each horse is one color of the rainbow.  Suddenly they come to a big muddy swamp.  As they start slogging through the swamp together, the red horse is filled with energy and making good time.  Bu the purple horse gets really bogged down and he starts moving much slower.  Soon the horses are no longer running in a straight line with each other–now they’re all strung out in a line through the swamp with Red in the lead, and Purple dragging along in the rear.  Now when the horses were running in unison with each other, to your eye, they appeared to all be white.  But as soon as they get slowed down and separated by having to pass through some difficult terrain, suddenly you can see their different colors.  This is what happens when you see a rainbow appear in the sky.  White light is being separated into its various colors by passing through water molecules in the atmosphere.  Each little drop of water acts like a tiny prism which bends the white light and separates it out into its various colors.

Now rainbows always appear in the same order of colors: from fastest (red) to slowest (purple).  “Blood moons” are always red.  Why red and not green or orange?  Well, red is the fastest traveling color.   Whenever you see red light by itself, it means white light has passed through something that has scattered its other colors so that they’re no longer reaching the same destination.  Let’s imagine our colored horses running up some really steep hill.  Red is the fastest and the most energetic.  He swiftly takes the lead.  But Purple gets exhausted and says “forget it”.  He falls way behind.  The hill is super steep, and soon all of the other horses have fallen way behind Red.  They just can’t handle the incline, so only Red makes it to the top of the hill.  In the same way, when sunlight passes through earth’s atmosphere during a total lunar eclipse, its white light gets split into various colors.  The moon is far away.  By the time the various colors have been separated and scattered by the atmosphere of the earth, red is the only color to gallop all the way to the moon.  So when you look at the moon, you only see red.  Notice in the diagram above how blue and yellow do make it around the earth, but they’re traveling path gets curved inward so that they don’t make it as far out as red does.  The ingredients (or composition) of earth’s atmosphere causes the path of the various colors to bend so that the slower colors (violet, blue, green) move closer to the earth than red, which makes a big loop around the earth.  Red’s loop is like the outer lane at a horse track–it makes such a big, wide loop that it is able to reach the moon which is sitting far away from the earth.  If the other colors had been able to keep up with red, you’d see the moon appearing like it’s usual white color.  But because sun’s white light gets bent by the atmosphere of the earth, red is the only color to reach the moon.  It has nothing to do with blood, of course.  It’s just God’s creative genius on display.

So then, what is God telling us through blood moons?  He’s saying, “Look how creative I am.”  It doesn’t have anything to do with the end times.  God moves sun, moon, and earth around each other in predictable patterns.  Whenever they line up with each other in a certain order, we get eclipses.  When the earth gets between the sun and the moon, it’s called a lunar eclipse and the moon is the one getting shadowed by the earth.

When the moon gets between the earth and the sun, it’s called a solar eclipse, and the earth is the one getting shadowed by the moon.  During a solar eclipse, we see the moon blocking our view of the sun and it looks like this:

solar eclipseNow people have always been idiots about worshiping created things instead of their glorious Creators.  People have always worshiped celestial objects–which means objects they see in the sky, like the sun, stars, and various planets.  The Jews in the Old Testament were big into the worship of celestial objects–something which made Yahweh very angry.  In Deuteronomy, Moses tells the people:

“And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the forces of heaven—don’t be seduced into worshiping them.” (Deut. 4:19)

But of course no one listened. The Jews were big fans of worshiping celestial things.  They worshiped them back during their slave days in Egypt, and they kept right on worshiping them throughout the whole Old Testament.  Most of the Jewish kings encouraged this outrageous idolatry.  When good King Josiah finally comes along around 638 BC (that’s over 600 years before the birth of Christ), he proves himself to be very different than other kings by really caring about what Yahweh wants.  He puts a lot of effort into ridding his kingdom of idolatrous practices, and in the descriptions of his reforms, we get an idea of how bad things had become.

Josiah did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. (2 Ki. 23:5)

He removed from the entrance of Yahweh’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun. (2 Ki. 23:11)

Now if you worship the sun as a god and someone turns your god off by swamping him in darkness–as Yahweh did to the Egyptian sun god Ra during the ten plagues on Egypt–naturally, you’re going to panic.  Because people were worshiping celestial things, they freaked out over things like solar and lunar eclipses.  Instead of seeing God’s creative genius on display, they tried to turn eclipses into prophetic “signs”.  Utterly ridiculous, but there it is.

Now every culture uses dramatic metaphors to emphasize a point.  “I’m getting grey hair waiting on you,” Americans say to emphasize that they’re getting impatient.  “She was talking my ear off,” is another exaggeratory metaphor we like to use.  Our ears aren’t literally in danger of detaching from our heads–it’s just a way of saying that we were overwhelmed by someone’s communication style.  Well, the ancient Jews had their dramatic sayings as well, and Yahweh knew all about them.  So when Yahweh is talking to Jews, we find Him using common Jewish sayings that Jews can relate to.  “The moon will turn to blood” was a way of emphasizing terror and dread.  “The sun will turn black”–there’s another grim picture.  Stars falling from the sky, islands fleeing–we find Yahweh using all sorts of dramatic imagery in the prophetic books.  Is He being literal?  Of course not.  He’s being as metaphorical as we’re being when we talk about being “bored to death”.  So when you find Christian leaders today trying to tell you that you ought to be taking God’s metaphorical language literally, you’re listening to fools who are just trying to get you hyped up on the wrong kind of fear.

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of Yahweh comes. (Joel 2:31)

This isn’t God telling us, “Look for a solar eclipse, then a lunar eclipse, and then expect My arrival.”  He’s using metaphorical images which the Jews associate with terror and disaster to say “It’s going to be all bad” before His judgment day.  Now the term “the Day of Yahweh” (which English Bibles write as “the Day of the Lord”) is used to describe various events in the Bible.  This term isn’t just reserved for the end of the world.  Far more often it is used to describe a disastrous series of events which Yahweh is about to dish out onto the heads of souls who are guilty of long-term defiance.  The prophet Joel spoke shortly before the epic fall of Jerusalem, and in Joel 2, the “Day of Yahweh” which is being described is the day in which Yahweh brings in the mighty Babylonian army to spank Judah into the ground.  If our modern day phony prophets actually read the whole chapter to you, the original meaning would become a lot more clear.  Here’s how Chapter 2 starts:

Blow the horn in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the residents of the land tremble, for the Day of Yahweh is coming; in fact, it is near… (Joel 2:1)

Notice Yahweh is addressing a very specific audience: Zion, which is an alternate name for Jerusalem. God is talking to the Jews here–especially the Jews living in Jerusalem.  At this point in Israel’s history, her northern kingdom has already been destroyed and only the southern kingdom of Judah is left.  Jerusalem and its Temple are the pride of Judah, and Yahweh is about to turn both into smoking rubble because He is fed up with the Jews’ incessant idolatry.  Good King Josiah is long dead at this point, and his religious reforms have all been reversed.  The Temple is stuffed with demonic idols and Jerusalem is a cesspool of wickedness.  The prophet Jeremiah is also speaking at this time: warning the Jews that annihilation is coming.  Ezekiel is prophesying the same message from Babylon–the capital city of the Babylonian Empire where Ezekiel and Daniel have been dragged off as slaves during a previous attack on Judah.  So Joel’s message is not at all unique–it’s yet another voice of truth amid a huge throng of false prophets who are speaking lies in Yahweh’s Name and declaring that Judah will have nothing but rosy times ahead. Yahweh now goes on to describe the coming Babylonian army in figurative terms:

“…a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and dense overcast, like the dawn spreading over the mountains a great and strong people appears, such as never existed in ages past and never will again in all the generations to come. A fire destroys in front of them, and behind them a flame devours. The land in front of them is like the Garden of Eden, but behind them, it is like a desert wasteland; there is no escape from them.” (Joel 2:2-3)

The Babylonian Empire was massive and gobbling up nations right and left as Yahweh used them as His Divine spanking paddle to avenge Himself on many nations who were defying Him.

Nations writhe in horror before them; all faces turn pale. They attack as warriors attack; they scale walls as men of war do. (Joel 2:6-7)

When you don’t understand historical context, it’s easy for false teachers today to freak you out by telling you this is a prediction of the end times, and that the great nation who is attacking everyone is, well, fill in the blank with whoever the current rising world power is.  It used to be Russia that was going to conquer us all.  Today China often gets exalted in end time predictions.  But no, it’s all a bunch of baloney because these bible “experts” are intentionally leading you astray about context.  This passage is about the Babylonians–an empire which is long gone, yet which definitely had its day of glory.

Now wars were ruthless in Bible times.  God-haters today love to quote Old Testament passages about infants being smashed on rocks, pregnant women being cut open with swords, and women being raped.  Well, this stuff actually happened.  Hand to hand combat was fierce, ugly, and no holds barred.  The Babylonians were feared for their brutality and the best part of Joel 2 is how Yahweh describes the Babylonians as HIS army.

The earth quakes before them; the sky shakes. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars cease their shining. Yahweh raises His Voice in the presence of His army. His camp is very large; those who carry out His commands are powerful. Indeed, the Day of Yahweh is terrible and dreadful—who can endure it? (Joel 2:10-11)

So these baby-killing, women raping, men butchering guys are following Yahweh’s orders in all their pillage.  What a fantastic example of Yahweh flaunting His sovereignty over all things and taking full responsibility for the carnage that goes on in this world.  After all, it is Yahweh who said:

“I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction.  And I have created the armies that destroy.” (Isa. 54:16)

So let’s not be circulating this irreverent rot about God never doing evil or intentionally inflicting pain on people.  God is pouring out the torture and the terrors throughout the Bible and He continues to do so today.  If it’s happening in God’s world, then God wants it to happen. This is what He teaches us in the same Bible which false prophets and teachers are waving at you today as they try and tell you that “God never wants anyone to suffer.”

So then, how should YOU respond when you look up at the sky and see God’s moon getting that red hue?  You should marvel at the complexity of God’s world.  As we learned in this lesson, everything God makes is complex.  Who knew that white light was really filled with particles of color and that all those colors travel at different speeds?  Look around at the world, and what do you see?  Colors everywhere.  Now that you understand something about the mechanics of light, you can understand that there’s a whole lot more going on around you than you realize.  God has worked out many fascinating mechanics to make grass look green while the sky looks blue.  All around you, particles of colored light are bouncing, bending, and flying about, and you aren’t even aware of it.  And as long as we’re gazing up at the moon, what’s holding it in place? What keeps sun, moon, and earth from colliding with each other in one big fiery mess?  If the sun got too close, we’d all be burnt to a crisp.  If it drifted too far away, we’d all freeze to death.  Everywhere we look, we see an infinitely complex Creation that can’t possibly stay in order unless someone with infinite power and wisdom is constantly hovering over it, keeping every molecule in place.  That Someone is God.  He is magnificent, and when He lines up sun, earth, and moon to spice things up a bit, He wants to hear His people praising Him in awe, not hear them freaking out that Satan’s about to rise up and conquer the world.

Don’t let these liars get you all bogged down with silly superstitions, wrong interpretations, and the exaltation of demons.  This is God’s world, and it’s God’s moon.  He turns it red now and then because it pleases Him to do so.  God loves variety, and He loves showing off the complexity of His universe.  Yes, the world is rapidly drawing to a close, but not because the moon is getting a red hue.  Lunar eclipses have been around for a very long time.  The end of the world will only happen once.  Make sure you are listening to God regarding the end times, and following His instructions for how to prepare for what’s coming.

FURTHER READING:
Identifying False Prophecy About the End Times

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