A highly publicized total solar eclipse will unfold on Aug. 21, and it has people throughout the U.S. pretty excited. But, beyond that, the celestial event has some Bible enthusiasts claiming that the highly anticipated moment could be a sign from God.
But before we go there, let’s first explain what, exactly, is poised to happen in the skies. According to Space.com, the sun will disappear behind the moon during the total solar eclipse, creating a twilight that will persist during the day. Meanwhile, the temperature will drop pretty rapidly, as light streams emerge in the sky. Sounds pretty cool, right?
It’s an event that’s being dubbed the “Great American Total Solar Eclipse,” as the sight will be viewable from Oregon to South Carolina.
But while it’s largely a scientific phenomenon enjoyed by the masses, some in theological circles believe something deeper and far more profound will be happening as the sun slips behind the moon. Christian Today has more on what some are speculating:
But it’s not only sky-watchers who are getting excited about it. The upcoming eclipse is also causing a stir among Christians who are watching for signs of the end times prophesied in the Bible.
There are several verses in the Bible that prophecy about the sun turning dark, for example Matthew 24:29 in which Jesus says the sun will be darkened after the tribulation, and in Revelation 6:12 which talks about the sun becoming ‘black as sackcloth of hair’ and the moon becoming ‘like blood.’
Author Mark Biltz is among those who believe that the eclipse is a “sign from God,” proclaiming in quotes published by conservative site WND that he believes the Almighty is sending a sign to America. Biltz argues that happenings in the Middle East as well as “signs in the heavens” show that prophesy could be on the horizon.
“Could God be giving us a warning that we need to repent or judgment will be coming to the United States?” he asked. “The timing couldn’t be clearer!”
Of course, total solar eclipses aren’t all that rare. The next one isn’t due to be seen in America until 2024, though they can technically be seen somewhere on Earth once every 18 months.
But, with that said, there are some intriguing and defining elements surrounding the coming Aug. 21 event, including the fact that it is the first time since 1257 that the entirety of the total eclipse is exclusively viewable from inside the U.S.
Parade noted that the 1257 eclipse went over the Hawaiian Islands — a fact that some might say differentiates it from what’s to come this month. With that in mind, to find a comparable eclipse, the outlet said one must go all the way back more than 1,500 years to July 29, 436 (yes, the year 436). And America won’t see another such total solar eclipse that is viewable only in the U.S. until Jan. 25, 2316, when anyone currently reading this story is long gone.
So, on one hand the coming eclipse is certainly rare, unique and noteworthy. But if the main argument is that its exclusive presence over one area of the world could mean a sign or warning from God, one must also wonder what sign was being sent to the land that would one day become America back in the year 436? That’s certainly worth pondering.
Theological debate aside, there’s another fact worth considering. These total solar eclipses will apparently one day cease to exist entirely. Space.com has more:
But the moon is slowly moving away from Earth by about 1-1/2 inches (4 centimeters) per year, according to the NASA statement. As a result, total solar eclipses will cease to exist in the very distant future, because the apparent size of the moon in Earth’s sky will be too small to cover the sun completely.
“Over time, the number and frequency of total solar eclipses will decrease,” Vondrak said in the statement. “About 600 million years from now, Earth will experience the beauty and drama of a total solar eclipse for the last time.”
Regardless of where you stand on claims of end times signage in the skies, you can read more about the eclipse here.