By Nathan Jones
Will the solar eclipses of 2015 usher in the year of the Rapture?
December 21st, 2010's lunar eclipse was a spectacular heavenly display that had millions of astronomy enthusiasts gazing into the late night hours. The eclipse also had a number of end times watchers speculating if the blood red color of the moon embodied the prophetic significance that Jesus described concerning His return in Matthew 24:29.
While we, of course, didn't see Jesus return that night, the prophecy watchers are now looking ahead to the historically significant series of eclipses that will occur in 2015. Are these sky shadows a possible indicator of Christ's return? Saying there's a good chance is Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries, the Hebrew roots teaching ministry that looks into the Messianic significance of today.
To help explain Pastor Biltz's teaching is one of the newest Bible prophecy teachers on the scene — Jeff Camino of Learn Bible Prophecy Ministries. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff just a year ago at the Tulsa conference. Since then, Jeff's followed God's call and given up his tech job and life in Kansas to bring his wife and six children down to Texas to start a Bible prophecy teaching ministry. Author of the book Pray That You May Escape, Jeff's shown he has a keen grasp of eschatology and is quite adept at helping people understand Bible prophecy. He's given The Christ in Prophecy Journal permission to repurpose below his great article so that we may be equipped to discern if there is any possible prophetic significance to the coming 2015 eclipses.
I invite you to get familiar with Jeff Camino and his ministry. You'll be blessed!
"Blood Red Moons and Solar Eclipses in 2015"
Mark Biltz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, WA, has discovered some information that is quite interesting in a prophetic sense. He notes that a series of four rare lunar eclipses (known as a tetrad) will happen in 2014 and 2015. Two of the lunar eclipses will happen during Passover and The Feast of Sukkot, (a.k.a. The Feast of Tabernacles) in 2015, and there will be two solar eclipses that same year falling on dates noteworthy to the Jewish calendar. I think this statement from Biltz best sums up what will happen in 2015 regarding the eclipses:
You have the religious year beginning with the total solar eclipse, two weeks later a total lunar eclipse on Passover, and then the civil year beginning with the solar eclipse followed two weeks later by another total blood red moon on the Feast of Sukkot—all in 2015.
Biltz's claims can be confirmed by looking at a biblical calendar and then NASA's web site because astronomers are able to predict those astronomical events with high precision (not surprising given that our Creator's intelligent design is amazing).
I have to admit that I've been aware of that theory for a few years, but each time it's brought to my attention I quickly remind myself that we must not set dates. Jesus Himself told us that repeatedly:
- "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)
- "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:42)
- "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:44)
- "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25:13).
Still, I am often asked about the topic and, thus, I have been compelled to dig deeper into the theory. The results of my research have been quite interesting (even for those who may have heard about this before).
The Significance of a Tetrad
Biltz notes that if we go back in history to examine when tetrads happened previously, we find one was in 1967, when Israel recaptured Jerusalem. Prior to that it happened in 1948, which we know to be one of the most notable prophetic events in centuries: when Israel became a nation! He goes on to explain that prior to 1948 there were not any tetrads at all until the 15th century, but none of those fell on Passover or The Feast of Sukkot. Then in 1493 and 1494, shortly after the Jews were exiled from Spain, there was a tetrad that also synced up with the dates of Passover and The Feast of Sukkot. "So each time it happened it was tied to the Jewish people," Biltz notes. He also points out that other than 2015 a tetrad will not happen again in this century.
Upon much closer examination of Pastor Biltz's theory and his calm and studious presentation thereof, I have to concede the possibility that something of prophetic significance may be in store for those dates. It's just too hard to ignore the pattern the Lord has seemingly provided to us. Please read on, as I'll explain that concept in greater detail throughout this article.
I'm not even sure Biltz is aware of this, as I haven't seen him mention it in any of his presentations; but one must also understand that God used celestial events in the past when the Christ child was visited by the Magi, and again at His death (which was also a blood red moon). If you have not seen The Star of Bethlehem, I highly recommend you order a copy for yourself to fully understand what I am saying about that. You have to see the video to really understand why I take pause and concede there may be something of prophetic significance related to the tetrad occurring in sync with the Jewish Feasts in 2015.
Analysis of the Initial Theory
Further below (under the section entitled "Reasons to Pay Attention to 2015") I explain why these celestial events may be prophetically significant. To be thorough, however, I must note that there are some problems with the initial theory Biltz presented, as it suggested that the solar and lunar eclipse that will happen in 2015 could be related to the Second Coming. (I must also give Biltz credit that he was careful to not blatantly set dates, yet it's clear the theory was implying 2015 was the Second Coming.) Indeed, in Matthew 24:29 we read about the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light immediately after the Tribulation (which we know will shortly be following by the Second Coming) because Matthew 24:30 clearly describes that:
"Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."
However, if the celestial events of 2015 were to occur immediately after the Tribulation, we must back up seven years from the dates to locate the beginning of the Tribulation. Since the Bible tells us Daniel's 70th Week will begin when the Antichrist comes upon the scene (Revelation 6:2) and confirms a covenant with the Jewish people (Daniel 9:27), then we would have had to seen that event in 2008. Obviously we did not. In fact, there was also no Rapture, which would have been an even more obvious event.
Of course, some might contend that I am assuming a couple of theological issues, and I am. Among other things, an understanding of Daniel's 70th Week is essential to understanding that we can not be in the Tribulation now given there has been no confirmation of a covenant nor has there been a Rapture. I can concede that the Tribulation and Daniel's 70th Week do not necessarily have to be entirely in sync, but that does not help with the problem at hand. I have included links to both of those topics, "Reasons for a Pre-Trib Rapture" and "Daniel's 70th Week," at the end of this article [on my website] if you want to study either of those topics further.
If the celestial events are not related to the end of the Tribulation and Second Coming, then that leaves a few possibilities. Perhaps they will represent the beginning of the Tribulation. Maybe they will happen at the abomination of desolation, or a major prophetic war involving Israel. If we look to when they happened in the past, then whatever it may be, it suggests we are to be looking for a major event related to the Jewish people.
There are other places in scripture where we read about the sun and moon being darkened. For example, the prophet Joel foretold that the sun and moon would be darkened, and he added it would happen before the day of the LORD:
"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD." (Joel 2:31)
So what is Joel's prophecy all about? We learn about that in Acts 2:17-21, where we read that Peter explained to a group of listeners that those speaking in tongues were fulfilling Joel's prophecy: which foretold that a future generation would prophesy and see visions, that God would pour out His Spirit, and that there would be wonders in heaven — to include that "the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood". Once again, I refer you to The Star of Bethlehem for further insight to how that did, in fact, happen at the time of Pentecost, just as Joel predicted!
Thus, Joel's version is not about us now or any future event. Rather, it happened at the time of Pentecost (before the day of the LORD in that context). It should be noted that it was also an event related to the people of Israel because right after quoting Joel, Peter resumes his sermon with "Men of Israel, listen to this..." (Acts 2:22).
Another place we can look is Joel 3:15, as we also see reference to the sun and moon being darkened. However, that appears to be the same event described in Matthew 24, for the next verse (Joel 3:16) also describes additional celestial events that appear to be of a more ominous and supernatural nature. Isaiah 13:10 and Isaiah 24:23 also seem to be describing the same event as Matthew 24:30 and Joel 3:15. In fact, it appears that the prophetic events related to the Second Coming are of a supernatural nature because other celestial events (stars falling from the sky and the heavenly bodies being shaken) are also foretold to happen. That does not seem to be the same natural events scheduled to happen in 2015 (though it could be said that, unlike the eclipses, those events are not something we can predict with science.)
That brings me to one final place in scripture that must be examined, because Revelation 6:12-14 also describes the sun being darkened ("like sackcloth made of goat hair") and the moon turning to blood. Interestingly, that is related to the opening of the Sixth Seal, which may not be about the Second Coming since many more Tribulation events described in Revelation come afterward. If any of the verses in scripture match, I believe it could be this one.
However, while it is predicted that both a solar eclipse and lunar eclipse are to happen in 2015, they will not happen on the same day (in fact, at best, they happen a couple weeks apart). Yet, it may be that John saw the eclipses in succession and not simultaneous and, because he was seeing them in a vision, it would have been hard for him to distinguish they happened one after another with a small time period between each. Therein I'll admit that the eclipses scheduled to happen in 2015 may be related to Revelation 6:12-14. Yet I do so very cautiously and must qualify that statement: I just don't know for certain. (Also, some experts interpret the Sixth Seal of Revelation as a "flash forward" that aligns with the other verses describing the Second Coming, which would require that we also rule it out.)
Reasons to Pay Attention to 2015
Even if we ruled out that there is no relation between any prophetic scripture referencing the sun and moon being darkened with the eclipses forecast to happen in 2015, I believe we still may have reason to pay attention to the interesting discovery. First, the pattern is quite remarkable, as we have seen noteworthy celestial events when the "Star of Bethlehem" led the Magi to the Christ child, at Christ's death, during Pentecost, when the Jewish people were exiled from Spain in the late 14th Century, when Israel became a nation again in 1948, and when Israel recaptured Jerusalem in 1967. If that pattern continues, then we can expect that 2015 will also have major prophetic implications for the Jewish people.
Also, while we know that we do not know the exact time of Christ's return, the Bible also explains in many places that we are to be watchful:
- "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night." (Luke 12:35-38, emphasis added)
- "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36, emphasis added)
- "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." (Revelation 3:3, emphasis added)
We can also refer to the verses I quoted at the onset of this article reminding us we do not know when Jesus will return. With the exception of Matthew 24:36, Jesus also specifically told us to be ready and watch for His return:
- "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:42, emphasis added)
- "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:44, emphasis added)
- "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25:13, emphasis added)
Before I conclude this article, I want to discuss watching signs in the heavens. The key is to be students of astronomy, the scientific study of the stars; which is not to be confused with astrology, a practice related to the occult that falsely believes we can "interpret" the stars (and planets) and their influence on humanity. The Bible says that stars, along with the sun and moon, were given for "signs" and "seasons" (Genesis 1:14). That verse alone is pretty compelling, but we also have other verses we can turn to about the subject of watching the heavens for signs. In Psalm 19:1-4 we read the following:
"1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."
So, like the verses explaining we are to be watchful, we learn from David that God has given us notice that His creation in the heavens declare His glory and His work (v. 1), they continually, both day and night, pour forth speech and display knowledge (v. 2), they can be translated to every language (v. 3), and everyone all around the world can hear that voice (v. 4). Moreover, in Romans 10:16-21 Paul explains that Israel did not accept the Messiah; but he explains they could have, and then he quotes David's Psalm! Romans 10:18 says:
"But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
'Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world'"
I don't think it can be more clear: we are to pay attention to prophetic signs, we should be ready and on the watch, and we must acknowledge that the heavens have signs for us as well!
I began this article by providing a brief overview of Mark Biltz's finding, then cited verses that remind us that nobody knows the specific time of Christ's return. I then examined how Pastor Biltz has uncovered an amazing pattern wherein a major event related to the Jewish people happened each time there was a tetrad that year and I provided you with further evidence that God has, time and time again, used celestial events to point to earthly events. I examined why 2015 can not be related to the Second Coming, yet explained that we should still be paying attention to the tetrad in 2015. I then provided some scripture that clearly warns us to be ready and watchful — to include paying attention to the heavens.
Note: In no way does the possibility that some major event impacting the Jewish people in 2015 influence the imminence of the Rapture. Since the Rapture can occur at any time, with it not being necessary that any event precede it, the fact we are seeing end-times signs (a looming tetrad; wars and rumors of wars; earthquakes and other natural disasters; worldwide economic stress; technological advances; etc.) just brings us all the closer to the end times and, therefore, we can, more than ever, expect the Rapture at any moment!
The original article can be found on the Learn Bible Prophecy website.