Last week in some parts of North America we experienced another total eclipse of the moon. When the earth passes between the sun and the moon, the moon is darkened, but not completely. The brilliant white appearance of the moon is replaced with a distinctly red color caused by reflected light from the earth. This is an oft-repeated occurrence.
In case anyone is wondering, the common event of a lunar eclipse is not the fulfillment of prophecy found in Joel and elsewhere that the moon shall turn to blood. We also know that the prophets were not telling us that the moon would literally become composed of the liquid that flows through the veins of all mortal beings. That would be ridiculous.
However, it is just as inconceivable to me that Joel or any other prophet would refer to a common lunar eclipse as a viable fulfillment of this prophecy. No, I am much more inclined to believe that Joel had something more dramatic in mind when he used this metaphor. In fact, I’ll bet he was describing something that he had seen in his lifetime.
Some have argued that they have seen the moon turned to blood in the smoke of forest fires or the haze of smoke from the burning of the twin towers in September of 2001. I have written previously that I do not believe these events could qualify as they were only local phenomenon. I am convinced that Joel’s prophecy will be seen by the whole world.
Imagine for a moment that you are an astrophysicist. You have studied the motions and behavior of stars and planetary bodies for most of your career. You know from direct observation what happens when two large celestial bodies come close to each other. They heat up. Now what would happen if there was no way to dissipate that heat?
The same thing happens when you place a coil of metal in a fire. It begins to glow with a bright red color. We call that incandescence. Is it possible that the same thing could happen to the moon if there were some other large planetary body nearby? Ancient prophets may have experienced celestial events that we have not seen in many millennia.
In other words, I believe Joel was describing something that may have happened to the moon in his day and which he was inspired to foretell would occur again in our day. The question is do we believe it? Do we believe that Joel was describing an actual event? We may have never thought how it could happen but a close by planet is one possibility.
What do you think? Have you ever heard of such an idea or explanation for how the moon could appear to us to be blood red from all over the world?