Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blood Red Moon, part 3

There has recently been considerable interest in the red moon (blood moon, blood red moon) and its role as a "sign". To understand the significance of a sign, we need to understand what signs are. 

We see signs every day and think little about them. As I pulled into my driveway this evening, I saw a sign that said, "No passing." That sign is both instructive and informative. Just past my house is a sign that says, "Road work ahead." That sign tells me what to expect if I continue traveling in the same direction. It's a prophetic sign. The "children at play" sign tells us to be careful so that we can avoid a terrible accident. That kind of sign is protective. 

Just as we have a variety of road signs, each with a particular purpose, we also have a variety of signs in Scripture. They also serve a particular purpose. The rainbow is a sign that reminds us of God's promise not to destroy the world by a flood again.  

In Genesis 17:11, Abraham was told by God that circumcision would be the sign of the covenant between them. 

Ahaz, King of Judah was facing dangerous enemies and he fully expected utter defeat at their hands. God sent Isaiah to encourage him, but Ahaz could not be comforted. Finally, God told him to ask for a sign. He refused, thinking he was tempting The Almighty. God told him that He would give Ahaz a sign instead. "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14 NASB) He went on to tell Ahaz that, before the child was old enough to know right and wrong, the two nations he feared would be forsaken. The virgin birth was a sign of God's ability to deliver. 

Ezekiel wrote that Sabbaths were supposed to be a sign between God and His people that He sanctifies them. 

The shepherds (Luke 2:2) were given the sign of the baby in the manger to verify what the angels had said. 

In Luke 21:7-24, Jesus talked about signs. He and the disciples were outside the temple. He looked up and said that there would be a time when not one stone would be left on another. He was speaking of the destruction of the temple. The disciples, of course, wanted to know when this would happen. Jesus began to talk about what was to come. You may want to read those verses for yourself, but I've excerpted a few:

"And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He, ' and, 'The time is near.' Do not go after them. When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately."  

Then He continued by saying to them, "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 

"But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; and you will be hated by all because of My name. 

"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled." (Luke 21:8-14, 17, 20-22 NASB)

Jesus imitators, wars, earthquakes, plagues, famines, and persecution would all happen before Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed. "When Jerusalem is surrounded by enemies," He said, "you know things are about to get much worse." 

Interestingly, all those things have happened and the temple has been destroyed, but a portion of the Western Wall tunnel remains. Because there are stones atop stones there, many feel that the prophecy is not yet fulfilled and that Jesus was speaking of a time of further destruction. Many people claim to know. Only God actually knows.

Before we move on, we need to look again at what Jesus said. "And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not go after them. (Luke 21:8 NASB) 

Did you catch that? We are not to be misled. When people start saying, "The time is near," as if they know when Jesus will return, we are to be very careful so we will not be misled. "Do not follow them," is what Jesus said. He knew it would be tempting to get caught up in speculation. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

Jesus also talked about when He would return. It's a great passage and I'm including it here so you can read it. 

"There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:25-28 NASB)

In a nutshell, Jesus said we will see unusual things in nature and will not be able to explain them. We will think they are signs (and they are). People will be perplexed and will be so afraid of what is to come that they will faint. After that, they will see Jesus returning in a very impressive manner. They will really be frightened then. However, those who are followers of Jesus should not be frightened out of our minds. Instead, we should see things that might be a sign, stand up a little taller, lift our heads, and look to the sky, because our Jesus will be on His way to get us soon. 
 
That finally brings us to the blood red moon. Is it a sign? Yes. What does it mean? It means that God is on His throne and in control, Jesus is coming back for us, and we don't know when.  We just know He's coming. We know it's closer than it was but only God knows when it will be. Our response to the sign should be exactly what Jesus said to do. Stand up taller, lift our heads, and trust in the name of The Lord, who alone has the power to save.