Thursday, August 17, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse: Apocalypse?

Aug 21, 2017, people in the United States (and only the United States) will be able to see a total solar eclipse, coast to coast. Is this just an ordinary astronomical event? Or is it a sign from God Himself? Big deal or no?

According to NASA(Eclipse2017) [1], "This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina." And according to Wikipedia(Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017) [2], "The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was during the June 8, 1918 eclipse." A big deal in the sense that it's been 99 years since the last eclipse like it.

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 X Marks The Spot

There will also be a total solar eclipse seven years later, April 8, 2024 to be exact. Its path will travel from southwest to northeast, intersecting the 2017 eclipse path like a giant X.

Intersection of 2017 and 2024 Eclipses
The path of this eclipse will cross the path of the prior total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, with the intersection of the two paths being in southern Illinois, in Makanda, just south of Carbondale. A small land area, including the cities of Carbondale, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Paducah, Kentucky, will thus experience two total solar eclipses within a span of seven years. Wikipedia(Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024) [3]

And this area of Illinois is known as "Little Egypt" - Wikipedia(Southern Illinois) [4].

After 99 years, two total solar eclipses visible from the US appear seven years apart, and Little Egypt sees them both. One cannot miss parallels with the Bible. Let the speculation begin.

Why do people think an eclipse would be a sign of the end of the world? Historically, people feared eclipses. "So it’s perhaps not surprising that there’s a long history of cultures thinking of eclipses as omens that portend significant, usually bad happenings." - Smithsonian Magazine [5]. Now that we understand what causes them, and can predict them far into the future, we don't fear them, even if viewing one may cause some unease. Some folks will blame an eclipse for bad events, but there are always eclipses, and always bad events. There are about two eclipses every three years.

How about the Bible? If you read certain verses in isolation, ignoring context, you could get a sense that the sky is falling. Consider these.
  • Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in the heavens above 
  • Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars
  • Amos 8:9 It will come about in that day, declares the Lord God, that I will make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight.

Doesn't that sound like an eclipse is a big deal? Not really. The heavenly signs or "wonders" in the Bible are much more dramatic than a total solar eclipse. Matthew 24:29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (text in uppercase is a quote from Joel 3:15). Note these heavenly signs are severe, and come after the Tribulation. Or how about the rest of Acts 2:19 quoted above "and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and vapor of smoke." That sounds more serious than an eclipse. The point is that they are describing supernatural heavenly events, not natural heavenly events.


Still, it is hard to miss the parallels with the Bible. Two total solar eclipses, seven years apart, pointing to Little Egypt. One interpretation might be that something bad is going to happen in southern Illinois. But it seems more plausible to me we are being directed to look at the time when ancient Israel was in Egypt. Pharaoh had a dream, interpreted by Joseph of seven fat years followed by seven lean years. Problem is, if it is a sign, is 2017 the beginning or the ending of seven fat years?

What Others Are Saying

Ancient Egypt suffered ten plagues before letting Israel go. The ninth plague was a plague of darkness, see Exodus 10:21-29. One of the reasons for the darkness was to show God is in charge, even of the Sun, and not Ra the so called Sun God. The plague of darkness lasted three days, so it was not an eclipse, which only last a few minutes. But it was the final warning to Pharaoh before the death of the firstborn. Rabbi Solar Eclipse Recalling Egyptian Plague [6].
Just as the original plague of darkness was meant as a warning to Egypt, Rabbi Lazar Brody, an American-born Hasidic rabbi and teacher, understands this present-day manifestation to be a divine message.
“In Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), the sun represents the nations of the world, and the moon represents Israel,” Rabbi Brody told Breaking Israel News. “This eclipse is only over the United States. That is a shout from above, saying,  ‘America, get your act together, Come back to the Almighty and cast away all your legalization of what the Torah calls abominations’.”
One problem I have with this interpretation is the identity of Israel. The modern nation of Israel is Predominantly Jewish, that is, descendants of Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. America is also an Israelite nation, descendants of another son, Joseph. Regardless, it appears like a warning to America.

Rabbi Berkowitz points out that there is unusual timing in the 2017 eclipse because it occurs 40 days before Yom Kippur  -  Eclipse 40 Days Repentance [7]. This is considered to be the time when both Moses and Jesus fasted for 40 days. It is meant to be a time for repentance.

However, Rabbi Berkowitz also believes the eclipse is a warning to North Korea, based on a 100 year old Jewish prophecy about an eclipse "where kings of the East will suffer great loss, and kings of the East clearly refers to the despotic leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un" - Eclipse Portends Destruction of North Korea [8]. I find that a stretch.

I'm Not A Prophet

It is easy to get caught up in signs, heavenly or otherwise. The 20th century has seen significant world events that coincide with Shemitah years - The Mystery of the Shemitah [9].  In recent years, we have seen the "Tetrad of Blood Moons" surrounding the latest Shemitah year. I wrote this in July 2015 - Shemitah, She WHAT? [10].
So the signs keep piling up on the Shemitah year of 2014-2015. As it says in Luke 21:25 "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars". Four back to back lunar eclipses, also called Blood Moons, all four known as a Tetrad, occur in 2014-2015, three of them during the Shemitah year, all of them on Biblical holy days. The removal of the dead Ground Zero Tree of Hope happened on the first Blood Moon of the Tetrad, Passover 2014. A blood moon is considered a sign to Israel. March 20, 2015 saw a total solar eclipse, the middle of the Shemitah year. Solar eclipses are considered a sign to the world.
But nothing happened.

Blood Moons Around Shemitah Year

Some people predicted financial collapse in 2015, a Shemitah year, based on events in 2001 and 2008, the two previous Shemitah years.

But it didn't happen.

Some expect something major to happen in Israel because 2017 is 100 years since the Balfour Declaration where Britain declared support for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine  - Wikipedia(Balfour Declaration) [11], and 50 years since the Six Day War when the Jewish people regained control of Jerusalem, and possibly a Jubilee year . The year is not over, but nothing yet. Rabbi Jonathan Cahn [12] has written extensively about the warning prophecies fulfilled by 9/11 and events in years since.

But no apocalypse (TEOTWAWKI) yet.

Apocalypse used to mean "a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden, a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities. ... Today, the term is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called end time scenario, or to the end of the world in general." - Wikipedia(Apocalypse) [13].

Repent Early, Repent Often  

That doesn't mean these heavenly signs don't matter. It may mean we read too much into them. It may mean we don't understand God's plan as much as we thought. It may be that God is patient, giving warning after warning. The real heavenly signs will be unmistakable, supernatural signs, not natural predictable events. But I can't help thinking the timing and location of these natural events, however predictable they may be, are still signs, specifically warning signs, gentle warning signs if you will. And the point is to get right with God sooner rather than later.