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Eclipsing Scripture

January 11, 2018

While doing some research last fall for an Ask the Pastor question I came across something that surprised me. Before that time I had never done any extensive research into the Bible’s references to eclipses. I was familiar the various prophetic passages about the sun being blotted out and the idea that they are descriptions of eclipses. I knew some had suggested an eclipse caused the sky to darken during Jesus’ crucifixion. (Which is impossible. Solar eclipses only occur during a new moon and Passover always takes place at the full moon). When I began searching for references to eclipses, I found the Bible never mentions them.

What surprised me was not the lack of clear Biblical statements about eclipses. I do not expect the Bible to make specific statements about supernovae, photosynthesis, gravity or many other natural phenomena. What surprised me was the apparently large number of Christians who believe the Bible says that eclipses and other natural celestial phenomena are signs from God that we are living in the last days.

The last few years have seen a lot of conversation about the importance of eclipses to Biblical prophecy. The solar eclipse of 2017 set off another round of pronunciations like this one from Mark Blitz, “From a biblical point of view, a solar eclipse is meant as a sign from God. When there is a total solar eclipse, it is a warning to a specific nation or nations depending on its path. … Could God be giving us a warning that we need to repent or judgment will be coming to the United States? The timing couldn’t be clearer!”

If the Bible makes no clear mention of eclipses, how does a Biblical point of view lead to interpreting an eclipse as a sign from God? Even allowing that the prophetic descriptions of the sun being blotted out are descriptions of an eclipse does not justify viewing eclipses as signs from God. The passages describing th sun being blotted out are clearly describing events of the Tribulation shortly before the Second Coming of Jesus. The Bible does not speak about normal solar eclipses that happen every couple years. The Bible does not teach that eclipses have any prophetic significance for Christian’s today. Why do Christians believe otherwise?

But this article is not about eclipses. This is about the Bible. Why look outside Scripture for information on when Jesus is returning? Why do Christian’s act as if important information about life will be missed if we rely only on the Word? Could it be because of an underlying suspicion that maybe God left some important things out of the Bible? The Christian who does not hold a firm conviction in the full sufficiency of the Bible will not trust the Bible to teach him everything he needs to know about the Christian life.

The Bible contains everything the Christian needs for life, Godliness and complete preparation for all good works. (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17) The Bible contains everything the Christian needs to live for eternity, prepare for the Second Coming and be ready for the rapture. Christian’s do not need cosmology, meteorology and seismology to reveal when Jesus is going to return. Christian’s do not need psychology, philosophy or culture to tell them how to live for Jesus. The Bible is the full source of everything Christian’s really need.

God’s Word is enough for Christian living in these days. His Word is enough for the needs of the nation and the unsaved masses. His Word supplies all essential answers for times of trouble. His Word is enough for emotional stability, mental health and personal growth. His Word is sufficient to bring the lost to salvation. The unsaved world is not going to be drawn to Christ by a focus on extra-Biblical omens and harbingers. The Biblical message of the coming King is sufficient for the salvation of men. The Bible is enough for all men in all times.

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