Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blood Moons, again

This was originally posted in the spring, when the third blood moon of the tetrad appeared. The fourth blood moon, a supermoon (yes, that's a thing) is tonight.


Wherein I try to avoid lunacy (pun alert!), while pointing out some things...

Most of us are aware that we are in the middle of a relatively rare phenomenon called a lunar tetrad. Tetrad refers to four and lunar...well, you know.  A complete lunar eclipse is sometimes called a blood moon, because the light reflected through the Earth's shadow is red. Most are also aware of the alarming blogs, reports, articles, Facebook pages, tweets, ad nauseam screaming all sorts of stuff about what it all means. The sheer volume (both in number and in noise) is enough to make us cover our ears and eyes, until the fire hose is shut off. Because there is so much information to sift through, the tendency is to think about something else until the entire thing is over and we can return to hoping that Kim Kardashian has tired of posting nude pictures of herself on the internet (please God).

Because of instant, world-wide information access, our ADD culture chatters excessively about a topic for about five minutes, before jumping to the next trending story. That's a shame, because that doesn’t mean the story is actually over...or that we actually got the message of the story. Way, way back, before we had all our technology and scientific information, God told us He set the lights in the sky, "...to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years (Genesis 1:14 ESV). We take this for granted. Of course that's what they're for. Most versions say seasons, some say sacred events, less say religious festivals. But the Hebrew word translated seasons is mo'adim which means 'appointed time.' The religious festivals God ordained and scheduled according to the moon's cycle are special appointments at which He promises to meet with His people. He used the cycles of moon and sun to help pre-modern folks—who couldn't exactly check their watches or iPhones—keep track of time.

And yes, we don't need to use the moon to keep track of our calendar days any more. And yes, Paul tells us that feast days and new moon festivals are only shadows...our salvation is in Christ alone (Col 2:16-17). But we don't want to find ourselves thinking we've grown too sophisticated to hear from God, any way He chooses. Just because we now have clocks and printed calendars and internet doesn't mean that God has thrown up His hands with a, "Well they're ahead of Me now! I guess I'd better stop using such antiquated methods to signal my tribe." God uses many means to speak to us including signs in the heavens, the ancient method He invented.

So what does the tetrad have to say to us? That covers a wide spectrum from "nothing" to "The world is ending, like right now! Please go immediately to my website where I just happen to have for sale everything you need in order to survive the impending apocalypse!" We have to find the line of sanity which runs between these two extremes. We also have to be careful not to dismiss or accept the message because of how we feel about the messenger. Just because the folks shouting the loudest may come across as a bit loony doesn't mean God isn't trying to speak to us (If you're unsure, read about the OT prophets' lives). Neither should we uncritically accept reassurance that it all means nothing, because the messenger is logical, low key and credentialed. There are respected teachers and scholars on all sides holding forth on this topic.

I'm not saying which way folks should jump. What I am (I hope) gently and humbly urging is, please ask God. Do not simply rely on what others are saying, no matter who they are. Look up these phenomena in the Bible and read what it says about them. Pray. Find out for yourself what you believe God is saying through these signs, which no one can deny are biblical signs, i.e. found in the Bible. What you then do is between you and God.

Signs in the heavens are just that...signs. Signs exist to inform, or warn, or point to other things. The fact that these eclipses are falling on important feast days cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence. The first one was Passover 2014; the second Sukkot (Tabernacles) 2014. The third is Passover 2015, next Saturday morning (full eclipse at 6:58 am, Central time) and the final will fall on Sukkot 2015. God set up the feast calendar as a giant prophetic marker. The spring feasts were fulfilled with Jesus's first coming. Any guesses on what fulfills the fall feasts? Could God be saying to us—First Coming! Second Coming! Pay attention!

So, should we begin setting dates and counting days? Quit our jobs, postpone college or having children? Not at all! (Stop cleaning the house, maybe.) But neither should we give mental assent to the second coming as part of our orthodoxy, but live as though it were never going to happen. That's what scoffers do (II Peter 3:3-4). Re-examine those Scriptures we've been told say we can't know anything at all about when Jesus returns. In context, those verses seem to indicate that not everyone will be caught flat-footed. People who like to quote I Thess. 5:2 as if that concludes the matter, seem to be unaware of I Thess. 5:4-6. Since God both put the lights in the sky and arranged His calendar—before there were people, let alone calendars—it makes perfect sense to me that He is trying to tell us something. Only you can decide what that something is. I just can't picture Him in Heaven, smacking his head and saying, "Wow, Blood Moons! Look at that! What a coincidence! How did that happen?" And we shouldn't either.
 


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