See also Israel’s Blood Moons
Seasonal and Unique Astronomical Events
The Bible attaches great significance to astronomical observations, all the way from the days of Genesis and running right through to the end of the age. For example, the sun and moon were created ‘for signs and seasons’ (Gen 1.14) and so the Jewish calendar is essentially a lunar calendar with twelve lunar months, each month starting on the new moon.
Celestial events occur either on a regular basis, as in seasonal signs, or as unique events. Either way, God’s timing of these signs is precise – there are appointed times and sometimes they are associated with Israel’s appointed feasts (Num 9.2, Lev 23.2).
Unique events have occurred in history (see later) and will occur with increasing importance toward the end of this age. The latter are God’s ‘bill-board’ for the world and Jesus told man to watch for unique celestial events at the end of the age. Either way, whether regular or unique, God’s timing of these celestial events is precise.
In 2014-2015 a sequence of four total lunar eclipses occurred (seen as four ‘blood moons’). This is a pretty rare event in itself, but when each blood moon occurred virtually precisely on a Jewish feast date (Pesach or Sukkot) many saw it of particular significance to Israel. Heavenly signs like this are also given to warn mankind of God’s impending intervention in the world, and the moon will again ‘turn to blood’ at the end of this age (Joel 2.31)(Rev 6.12,13).
An astronomical event that catches the news headlines today is the possibility of an asteroid strike on earth. NASA defines a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) as having the potential to make close approaches to the Earth and a size large enough to cause significant damage in the event of impact. The 1908 Tunguska asteroid (which nearly impacted) released energy equivalent to about 185 Hiroshima bombs. So it was a timely warning.
In 2016 there were over 1,700 known PHAs and, clearly, it only needs one to hit! Do we treat this as just another scare story, or does it have some deeper significance? Put another way, will it actually happen in the foreseeable future? Yes – Bible prophecy strongly suggests that it will! Revelation 8.8,9 refers to “something like a great mountain burning with fire was throne into the sea … a third of the ships were destroyed”. This could be a biblical description of a future major asteroid impact.
When referring to the end of this present age, Jesus said:
The stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken (Mk 13.25)
It’s Happened Before
The Bible records a day when the normal cycle of the sun seemed to have been interrupted – the sun seemingly back-tracked. As a sign to King Hezekiah that he would live another 15 years (which he did). God said:
I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down (Isa 38.8)
It is claimed that this was no ordinary astronomical phenomenon in that it cannot be explained by any known astronomical law. So despite attempts to explain it by known laws, link, it remains unexplained and is attributed to a miracle of God.