No, “Blood Moons” do not foretell major events in history, and nor do they foretell the end of the world.

The “Blood Moon” theory* is suspect for a number of reasons. Here is one of them (for more, see here): the “Blood Moon” theory falls far short of what is actually in the Biblical descriptions.

The “Blood Moon” theory is based around passage in the scriptures where the Moon is said to be ‘darkened’ (or similar) or ‘turned’ to ‘blood’ (e.g., Isa. 13:10; Joel 2:30-32; 3:15; Luke 21:11, 25; Acts 2:19-20; Rev. 6:12).1 There are potentially two ways of approaching these passages. As John Stott says in his commentary on Acts 2:19-20:

It is possible to understand these predictions either literally as upheavals of nature … or metaphorically as convulsions of history (since this is traditional apocalyptic imagery for times of social and political revolution).2

In a footnote, John Stott lists the following passages as examples of times when the image of the Moon being turned to blood is being used metaphorically: Isaiah 13:9ff.; 34:1ff.; Ezekiel 32:7ff.; Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25-26; Revelation 6:12ff. These are the types of passages relied on to support the “Blood Moon” theory when, in reality, they are passages in which ‘traditional apocalyptic imagery for times of social and political revolution’3 is being used.

N. T. Wright concurs with this second way of understanding the passages about the Moon being turned to blood, etc. Writing about Matthew 24:29-35, where the Lord Jesus quotes Isaiah 13:10 (‘For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.’), he says:

What does this mean?

For Isaiah, and for those who read him in the first century, the one thing it didn’t mean was something to do with the actual sun, moon and stars in the sky. … This language was well known, regular code for talking about what we would call huge social and political convulsions.4

More recently he has written:

When Isaiah spoke (in chap. 13) of the sun being turned into darkness and the moon into blood, his readers knew that he was talking about the catastrophic fall of great world powers, in this case Babylon. … Jeremiah used end-of-the-world language to describe the fall of Jerusalem [in chap. 4] …

Here again readers of the New Testament have made the mistake of forgetting … that language about such things as sun, moon, and starts falling from heaven was about what we would call political events.5

If this is the case, then the “Blood Moon” theory falls flat even before it leaves the starting gate.

However, even if we were supposed to take such language literally, the “Blood Moons” theory doesn’t get far before it meets an obstacle it can’t surmount. In the Biblical descriptions, there are a variety of “signs in the heavens” that come together as a package: as well as mentioning the Moon becoming dark, Isaiah, Joel, and Ezekiel also talk about the Sun and the stars being darkened (Isa. 13:10; Joel 2:10; 3:15; Ezek. 32:7-8). In Luke the Sun and stars are mentioned along with the Moon (21:25). The phrase ‘the powers [dunamis] of the heavens’ (referring to the Sun, Moon, stars, planets and/or comets, etc.?6) is also used, and it says that these things ‘will be shaken’ (v26). God says something similar in Isaiah: ‘I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place’ (Isa. 13:13). Finally, all of these ideas are echoed in Revelation (6:12-14): not only does the Moon become ‘like blood’, but also the Sun becomes ‘black as sackcloth’ and the stars fall to the earth; there is an earthquake (with ‘every mountain and island’ being ‘removed from its place’), and even the entire sky vanishing ‘like a scroll that is being rolled up’.

In the Biblical descriptions, these things happen as a package – the Sun goes dark and the Moon goes dark and the stars go dark and there are earthquakes all during the same period; the same day, even (Isa. 13:6,9,13; Joel 3:14)!7 – and yet the “Blood Moon” theory cherry picks the references to the Moon (and occasionally, and fleetingly, the Sun) and says these are the ones giving us ‘signals’. If it is to be taken literally at all, what the Biblical descriptions present is far more supernatural and strange than what the “Blood Moon” theory does. This is what one commentator says about the dramatic language in Matthew 24:29:

[Jesus] speaks of significant celestial phenomena in language reminiscent of Old Testament passages but without specifically quoting them (e.g., Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:10). The most striking thing is that neither the sun nor the moon will give any light: the whole earth will lie in darkness. With that is joined disturbance in the stars, for they will fall from heaven … That the stars will fall means that starlight is affected as much as is sunlight and moonlight. There is to be no source of light here on earth in that day.8

When the “Blood Moon” eclipses happen, it is only darker on the night side of the earth, and, even there, the stars still give their light. For the “Blood Moon” theory to come at all close to the Biblical descriptions, it would have to demonstrate that, at the same time as all the lunar eclipses it has identified as significant, the Sun and all the stars also went dark, the ‘heavenly bodies’ (Luke 21:26, NIV) were shaking, and there were earthquakes as well. Again, it seems the “Blood Moon” theory cherry picks the data it wants (a darkened Moon is mentioned in the Bible in relation to significant events) and rejects data that doesn’t fit its thesis (in these passages a darkened Moon is mentioned as part of a package including other phenomena). The “Blood Moon” theory falls far short of what is actually in the Biblical descriptions.

For other reasons to question the “Blood Moon” theory, see the longer article ‘Cherry Picking Blood Red Moons‘.

Also seeWill Jesus return on 21 May 2011?andDid the world end on May 21, 2011?


* For those unfamiliar with it, simply put, the idea of the “Blood Moon” theory is that whenever there is a series of four total lunar eclipses in a two year period (called a tetrad), and those eclipses coincide with Jewish festivals, something world changing happens: perhaps ‘a major political development’ occurring to the Jewish people, or a major war, or economic crisis. These tetrads are regarded as ‘heavenly signs’, God’s ‘heavenly billboard’, ‘heavenly messages from our Creator’ that need ‘decoding’ – and in the last few years, so it goes, some people have managed to decode them.

1. E.g., M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 29-30; A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 176

2. J. Stott, The Message of Acts (Leicester: IVP, 1990), p. 74-75

3. J. Stott, The Message of Acts (Leicester: IVP, 1990), p. 74-75

4. T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone: Part 2, Chapters 16-28 (London: SPCK, 2002), p. 122

5. T. Wright, Simply Good News (London: SPCK, 2015), p. 107

6. NIRV translates dunamis as ‘sun, moon and stars’; NIV has ‘heavenly bodies’; CEB, ‘the planets and other heavenly bodies’.

7. C. White, ‘The Blood Moon Theory Debunked And More’ (03/12/15) on Bible Prophecy Talk:

8. L. Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew (Leicester: IVP, 1992), p. 609

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