It’s overcast here at Slacktivist world headquarters, which is interfering with my viewing the lunar eclipse that started just before 2 a.m. Maybe it’ll be a clearer night for the next one, in October, or the one next April or in September of 2015. Yeah, four eclipses in less than two years — pretty cool.
Unless you’re a “Bible prophecy scholar.” In that case, four lunar eclipses in less than two years isn’t just a neat series of astronomical events — it’s a sign of the End Times. But of course, if you’re a “Bible prophecy scholar,” then everything is a sign of the End Times — eclipses, earthquakes, floods, droughts, Wednesdays, dandelions, war in the Middle East, peace in the Middle East, Middle Eastern restaurants in the Midwest. …
“Prophecy” enthusiast, mega-church pastor and pretty good saxophonist John Hagee of San Antonio — who has been preaching an imminent Rapture for more than a generation — sees great prophetic significance in these eclipses occurring around four Jewish holy days. In his view, that must mean … something. Seriously, that’s what he says in the title of his book: Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change.
I don’t often agree with Hagee, but I’ll give him that one. I, too, believe that “something” will “change” between now and September of next year. Maybe even more than one something.
This is a prophecy with solid precedent. We’ve had total lunar eclipses before, and after every one of them, something changed.Hagee says he’s just applying a “literal” interpretation of a passage from the book of Joel: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord.” (That passage may be familiar since it is quoted again in the Bible, in the book of Acts. And because L. Frank Baum borrowed a bit of it for The Wizard of Oz.) During a lunar eclipse, the moon appears to turn red — just like that verse “prophesies.” The verse also seems to mention a solar eclipse, but folks like Hagee are quite skilled at ignoring the bits that don’t fit into their “prophecies.”
I’m less impressed than Hagee is with the prophetic significance of a lunar eclipse in April coinciding with Passover. Lunar eclipses only occur when there’s a full moon. And Passover starts with, yes, the full moon.
Hagee’s “prophecy” also seems a bit parochial. Yes, tonight’s lunar eclipse will be visible in San Antonio — throughout most of North and South America, in Australia and in the Far East — but you know where it won’t be visible? Jerusalem. Over there in Bible Prophecy Central, the sun will be shining. That’s how lunar eclipses work — they only appear in the parts of the Earth where it’s nighttime.
That’s an inconvenient fact for anyone attempting to glean some global prophecy based on the appearance of a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses can’t be global. Perhaps, then, this series of lunar eclipses in 2014-2015 doesn’t mean the End of the World, but only the end of San Antonio.
Anyway, in the spirit of tonight’s lunar event, here’s Bonnie Tyler and her Dancing Ninjas:
That video came out in 1983, so I’ve now had more than 30 years to try — and fail — to understand what it’s supposed to mean. Fun fact, though: That’s E Streeters Roy Bittan on piano and Max Weinberg on drums.