And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood

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?

10 thoughts on “And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood”

  1. Go back and re-read Pres. Hinckley’s talk during the Saturday morning session of the Oct. 2001 Conference. He states the following: The era in which we live is the fulness of times spoken of in the scriptures, when God has brought together all of the elements of previous dispensations. From the day that He and His Beloved Son manifested themselves to the boy Joseph, there has been a tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world. The hearts of men have turned to their fathers in fulfillment of the words of Malachi. The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared:”And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.”The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.”And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:28–32).Does this mean that Joel’s prophecy has been realized? I have asked several people who do not even remember the comment when it was made. Any thoughts on what it means?

  2. The talk Anon is referring to speaks much of Joseph Smith. I tend to believe that when Pres. Hinckley stated that Joel’s prophecy had been fulfilled, he was referring to the:”…I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit”The talk is indicative of Joseph’s and other’s experiences with the Spirit. Alternatively, I have read others define “the moon into blood” as an indication of the spirituality of those living a terrestrial law. In other words, those that live according to the standards of the Terrestrial Kingdom have “turned to blood,” possibly violence.Nonetheless, I agree with Tim, I don’t think we have seen this “wonder[] in the heavens”.

  3. I agree with Anon. I have a book, 50 Signs of the Times and the Second Coming. In it are listed 50 various prophecies at various stages of being fulfilled. #19 is “The sun will be darkened and the moon will become as blood.” The author lists it as “Fulfilled,” citing the same talk by President Hinckley.He said, “As soon as our living Prophet said that these words of Joel have been fulfilled, I accepted it on faith … [W]e will have to wait for a prophet to reveal the exact meaning of these words to us … [M]any people have felt that this prophecy has to do with air pollution.”He goes on to say, “Perhaps … the meaning could be more symbolical than literal,” that, “The moon often symbolizes terrestrial glory, which implies good and honorable people … One possibility … could be that the sun’s being darkened and the moon’s becoming as blood would symbolize gross spiritual darkness in the final days preceding the Second Coming.”We’re sure getting there, if that was the intended meaning!Either way, I would think that if President Hinckley cited the entire passage saying Joel’s words had been fulfilled, I believe he would do so meaning all Joel’s words in that passage had been fulfilled.

  4. i’ve actually heard that it may refer to man’s landing on the moon. I do agree with anon in reference to Hinckley’s talk. He very plainly says that the vision of joel has been fulfilled. He doesn’t say a portion of joel’s vision.

  5. I think the consensus is mixed. There are many within the church who hold the hard-line attitude that President Hinckley was referring to all of the scripture which he quoted. I am not one of those who sees it that way. I remain convinced that we have not yet seen this happen to the degree that it was intended in Joel’s prophecy. I think when it happens we will all know it and there will be no doubt.

  6. I agree with Tim. I also believe that it will be a physical event. Certainly not the moon actually turning into blood, but something big enough to be witnessed by enough people that we will say, “yes this prophecy has been fulfilled.” I just have a difficult time believing that these signs, when they are fulfilled, can be so vague that even the most faithful can go unwares. The idea that this prophecy had definatley been fulfilled was brought up in Relief Society last week and most everyone looked at each other and asked, “When?”

  7. I prayed about President Hinckley’s talk and the fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy for a while. I was prompted to research the phrase ‘blood red moon’ refering to a lunar eclipse.The only North American lunar eclipse in 2001 was on January 9, 2001.If you write the date with the month/day reversed, it reads 09/11/2001,fairly interesting.I feel my prayers were answered and have not felt the need to question President Hinckley’s comments since.

  8. Almost, Angela. Reversing it would make it 09/01/2001, since January is the first month, not the 11th.Nice to have an actual ‘date’ to go with Pres Hinckley’s comment. Better for verification purposes.Man, I miss him. He was amazing …

  9. Pingback: Thoughts on the End of the World – Latter-day Commentary – Last Days – Signs of the Times

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