Celestial Signs

Meteors, also called shooting stars, are common enough to be seen every night. Most meteoroids are no bigger than grains of sand, yet Earth travels so fast through its orbit that when they enter our atmosphere, the compressed air in front of them heats up and glows bright enough to be seen from the ground. (These streaks of light are the meteors, not the objects themselves.) Few meteoroids are big enough to not completely burn up in the atmosphere, and the ones that land on Earth as meteorites are all believed to come from asteroids. The rest are just small pieces of debris, some coming from comets, which are even more spectacular. I’ve never seen one of these “dirty snowballs” close enough to the sun to convert a portion of its icy body into a tail of vapor and dust, but I have witnessed a meteor shower from cometary debris. I wish I could say I’ve also witnessed a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse.

The last total solar eclipse that swept across the United States was on August 21, 2017. I was located in one of the places where it totally eclipsed, though I was in prison at the time and missed it. I had planned to look at the halo of light around the moon for the brief time it totally blocked the sun, the only time a solar eclipse is safe to look at without eye protection. But to my dismay, inmates weren’t allowed outside for recreation until after it was over. I had to settle for watching it on TV and looking at the sky darken through a window (the sun was out of view). I was also in prison during the four lunar eclipses from 2014 to 2015. I briefly witnessed a portion of the first two when walking to a food-service job early in the morning, but neither time was it in the stage when the moon glowed red. There will be another total lunar eclipse starting at 10:36 Eastern on the night of January 20, and it won’t return to a normal moon until 3:48 the next morning. It will be totally eclipsed for over an hour, with that stage starting at 12:41 on the morning of January 21. I have every intention of watching the entire show.

I’ll brief you on the science of blood moons because, well, it’s interesting! Sunlight is made up of all colors, making white light when mixed. Earth’s atmosphere acts as a lens that bends some of this light that reaches it and redirects it to the moon, most of which is red because it bends more than the light of other colors. But this extra red light on the moon goes unnoticed when the sun is shining on it, just as extra light from other stars goes unnoticed when sunlight drowns it out. So when Earth blocks sunlight that would normally hit the moon, all that’s left hitting it is mostly red light, the reason totally eclipsed moons are called blood moons. The color red has been associated with blood since ancient times. As a red planet, Mars was previously named by both the Babylonians and the Greeks for their gods of war, Nergal and Ares, respectfully. Now the planet carries the name of the Roman god of war, Mars, and we have the word “martial” for something related to combat. And the two martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, were named for the sons of the Greek war god, Ares.

The four blood moons from 2014 to 2015 occurred on Jewish holidays, as did a total solar eclipse between these lunar eclipses. I’m one among many Christians who believes this is God’s way of getting our attention. Joel 2:31 comes to mind: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” These back-to-back eclipses on Jewish holidays could be seen as coincidence had they occurred before the 20th century, but they occurred around the same time as other signs (Luke 21:10, 11), including Jerusalem being surrounded by enemy armies (Luke 21:20). All of these signs are connected. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the Earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” (Luke 21:25)

There have been a lot of recent prophetic signs, some of which are natural rather than man-made. That’s the focus of this post; the things human behavior doesn’t determine. Many natural forces determine what happens on Earth, including the speed of its rotation. The time it takes for Earth to rotate slightly varies from day to day due to weather patterns, tides and geologic events. The earthquake in the Indian Ocean that caused the tsunami at the end of 2004 actually decreased the length of day, and Jesus said the days of the Tribulation will be shortened for the elect’s sake (Matt. 24:22), a time when there will be many earthquakes (Matt. 24:27). I have to wonder if earthquakes will be God’s method of shortening the days.

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1 Comment

  1. Megan on January 15, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Neato information! I wonder sometimes too how God will orchestrate the end times. I didn’t know that an earthquake could alter the length of a day. I thought the passage about God shortening the days for the elects’ sake meant that the number of days would be shortened, not the length of a day. Interesting thoughts!

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