Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines

We look for the Saviour

If you survey the internet you’ll find almost an infinity of ideas and warnings of the End-times — the period around the return of Jesus Christ. People speak of the “blood moons” — lunar eclipses — the last of which just occurred in April 2015. I believe the excitement here is related to the biblical symbolism of the phrase “moon turned to blood” found in Joel 2:31, and repeated in Acts 2:20:

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.


The “great and terrible day of the Lord” is the day of Christ’s return to rule as King. However, blood moons are astronomical phenomena, which occur like clockwork and can easily be predicted well in advance, because God has so ordered the heavens, like clockwork.  The “sun turned into darkness” symbolises a solar eclipse, which also can be predicted like clockwork. However God does use natural occurrences as signs and symbols. He used a rainbow to symbolise a covenant with Noah that He would never flood the whole earth again. The rainbow was not new to Noah, but God gave it a new meaning (Genesis 9:13-16). And in Acts 2:19 we read,

Acts 2:19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

These events precede the “great and terrible day of the Lord” as the following verse (Acts 2:20) reproduces Joel 2:31. “Signs in the earth” might be earthquakes which the scriptures predict in several places (Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11, Matthew 24:7, Revelation 6:12, 11:13), yet though these can mean real occurrences much of those verses use them as symbolism for disruptions in man’s affairs. Then there is “wonders in heaven above” and the following verse, Acts 2:20, describes solar and lunar eclipses, which also can symbolise the state of affairs of the true believers on earth in the period before Christ’s literal return, and our resurrection with Him.

Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

The events described in this verse are part of the last days, in the lead up to the return of Christ. But these last days began about 2000 years ago and the symbolism here is of events around the Roman persecution of the early church, which did occur and had been occurring from the 1st century, and the upheaval of the fall of the Roman empire, its internal wars and eventual decline due to Barbarian invaders, in the 3rd century.  See my comments on Revelation 6 here. Particularly the symbolism in Joel 2:31/Acts 2:20 is of the persecuted church, which has been going on for millennia and will continue up to Christ’s return. But He shall return as He promised, at a time when the “world” least expects, yet all will see His return. It will not be a secret return (Revelation 1:7).

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

“BEHOLD, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS; AND EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM.” Now He is our Advocate at the right hand of God, making intercession for us. He waits, expecting His enemies to be made His footstool. He will come again; the time is hastening on and we should be living in daily expectation of His appearing. The Christian posture is that of waiting, looking, hasting unto the coming of the day of God. He will come the second time as certainly as He did the first. He will come as a thief in the night. He will come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him. He will come to reign, to reward His people, and to punish His foes. Let us not be slothful, careless, or indifferent about this momentous event. The Lord comes for our salvation. Let us look for Him daily, with earnest desire, ardent hope, fervent love, importunate prayer, and diligent preparation. When He comes, the earth will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God; the groans of creation will be silenced, the prayers of the Lord’s people will be answered, and crowns of righteousness bestowed. Let us abide in Him, that we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.–Daily Remembrancer May 23 Morning

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for ransomed sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train;
Jesus comes fore’er to reign.

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.