“The sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth”
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
You can run but you can’t hide, no matter your social stature.
This is some incredible imagery. It’s drawn from the Old Testament, therefore we will be consulting our Old Testament tutor. However, let’s briefly discuss what we’ve been taught. In most evangelical, ecclesiastical, eschatological, echelons, the claim is made the church has been raptured by this point in Revelation. Since the church is not mentioned after Revelation 3 or 4–some scholarly studies dissent.
Do we honestly believe that the ones mentioned in the immediate context are not part of the church? Listened to the words: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” Fellow servants and brothers sound like the body of Christ to me. This should be simple, we should be all of one mind by now. But I realize the difficulty in undoing years of teaching. We’ve been taught that God has two separate people with two separate purposes. The church is raptured, leaving Israel and non-covenant people to inhabit the Earth during a horrible Tribulation.
However, we must remember what I constantly repeat: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink.” And; “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” And; “by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace.” And; “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is in all.” And; “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful.” And a thousand other examples, I suppose.
Our Old Testament Tutor
O.O.T.T. Joel records; Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, And will have pity on His people. And the LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine, and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations “But I will remove the northern army far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard into the eastern sea, And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things.” Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, For the LORD has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, For the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, For the tree has borne its fruit, The fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the LORD your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and latter rain as before. And the threshing floors will be full of grain, And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. “Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. “And you shall have plenty to eat and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame. “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the LORD your God And there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame. “And it will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. The Day of the LORD “And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire, and columns of smoke. “The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”
Problem: Fulfilled in Acts chapter 2. Peter preached; “These men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN UPON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE, AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BENEATH, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. ‘THE SUN SHALL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS, AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. ‘AND IT SHALL BE, THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.’ “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. “And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
We have been told to interpret the book of Revelation literally; all the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled literally and we should assume Revelation will unfold in the same manner. Was Joel’s prophecy literally fulfilled at Pentecost? Pentecost is the Greek name for the celebration of Shavuot–the feast of weeks. After Pesach (Passover), the Israelites we’re to count 7 weeks–the counting of the Omer– until the wheat harvest. Yes, wheat–fine flour; everything in the Bible is linked, or Scarlet Threaded, together. Shavuot, the culmination of the counting of the Omer, was also the day that the Israelites celebrated the giving of the law. Even though we find no command from God for them to do so–they did it anyway. (You want me to say it? I’ll oblige; like our Christmas.) Jesus died during Pesach and the Holy Spirit was poured out on Shavuot. According to Peter, Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled that day. The day that they celebrated the giving of the law, God gave them his Spirit; I love that! Think about this, Jesus died on Passover, count seven weeks to Pentecost, and God pours out his Spirit like he said he would in the prophecy of Joel. But it didn’t happen literally, did it? Joel, like all other prophets uses imagery.
Context is King
Perhaps you are thinking that Pentecost was merely the beginning of Joel’s prophecy. That is that it started at Pentecost but continues until the blood moons reign in the rapture. Problem: Many pastors and preachers theologians and teachers made millions of dollars promising a possible Earth shattering event during the recent blood moons. (Have you forgotten already?) I charged nothing to say with certainty, “it’s not anything.” And I was accosted for it, yet I was right, and they were wrong. Why am I not credited while the others continue to sell more books and continue to pastor churches? I emphatically exclaimed, the blood moons are nothing concerning prophecy. Think about it, I put it all out there, I didn’t qualify my proclamation with “if” and, “but” and “possibly.” I went all in. They, however, emphatically exclaimed, something “may” happen. We need to pay attention. What they were really saying is, “buy my book.” The fact is, even though the disclaimer of “may” is there, they were wrong. I was right. I am not self promoting or patting myself on the back. I’m merely pointing out that these so-called pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers are peddling fool’s gold and we keep buying it. For free I try to show you the truth. I want nothing in return but for the church to start living and being the church. Joyful, thankful, meeting each other’s needs, praising God and growing. You are not an afterthought, you are the culmination of the law and the prophets and the Scriptures. A people for God’s own possession.
How was I convinced that the blood moons, although ordained by God, were not a sign of his rapture of the church? I applied the CAGED method. Context is King; Aspirations of the author to his audience is Apex; Genre is the General, Expository exegesis of examples is the Emissary and Division of truth is the Doctor.
Today, quite by coincidence, is Passover, it’s also Good Friday. It’s very rare for these two “dates” to be on the same day. I have nothing further to say other than it was ordained by God but not necessarily recorded in Scripture. While blood moons are a splendid sight, ordained by God, they are not part of prophecy. We are reading too much into Scripture. If we’re going to take the blood moons literally, like the Nile, the moon will literally be blood, not a hint of a hue of red.
The sixth Seal in Revelation, if taken literally, would have the power of a thousand atomic bombs. Mountains moved, earthquakes prevail, the stars fall and the sun is black. No one could survive. Literally, if the sun is black, we’re all dead in a matter of minutes. I think that’s the point. The entire cosmos bows to Christ’s command to commence cataclysmic carnage. We are not going to see the sack-clothed sun or the bloody moons. But we will see the carnage. Absolute slaughter of the wicked.
Then, and only then, after the chaff is put ablaze, will we who have the faith of Abraham be brought into his barn. As cool as it would be to watch the stars fall to the Earth, no one would live through the first impact. No one could withstand the temperature if the sun is turned black. The imagery is a behind the scenes look into God’s power. Revelation peels off the layer of our understanding and enlightens us to the Spiritual realm.
To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.