Book Daniel's 70 weeks

Appendix 5: When the Moon turned to Blood


Joel 2:28-32: “And it shall come to pass AFTERWARD, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh...I will pour out My Spirit in those days... And I will show wonders in the Heavens...the SUN shall be turned into DARKNESS, and the MOON into BLOOD, BEFORE the Coming of the Great and Awesome (Glorious) Day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”

This Prophecy predicted that just BEFORE the climactic event of Messiah’s Manifestation in Glory, there would be two Signs in the Heavens (one in the Sun and the other in the Moon), and then AFTER this event, He would pour His Spirit out on all flesh, and salvation would be given to all who call upon Him as Lord and God.

Acts 2:16-21: “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh... I will pour out My Spirit in those days...I will show wonders in Heaven above... The SUN shall be turned into DARKNESS, and the MOON into BLOOD, BEFORE the coming of the Great and Awesome (Glorious) Day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass, that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Here, on the Day of Pentecost. Peter, in the first sermon preached after Christ’s Death and Resurrection, proclaimed that the events of Christ’s First Coming were a fulfilment of this Prophecy, although it seems that the introductory form of words he used: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel” were deliberately chosen to leave open the possibility of a future fulfilment at the Second Coming (rather than the more usual formula: “that it might be fulfilled”). In selecting Joel’s Prophecy as the first Messianic Prophecy that he would proclaim as being fulfilled in

Christ, Peter must have found it it to be one of the most impressive. I propose that this was not just because of its reference to the outpoured Spirit, but also because the associated Signs in the Heavens were perfectly fulfilled, just as Joel predicted!

Some say that although Peter quoted Joel 2:28-32 in full, only the part about the Spirit being poured out was actually fulfilled at that time. However, if that were so, it would have made more sense for Peter to have just quoted the part that was fulfilled, rather than adding in all the verses that were not fulfilled, which would be self-defeating. In quoting the Prophecy in full (rather than just a selection), Peter was surely pointing out that it all had a fulfilment at the First Coming: (1) in the Signs in the Heavens that had to happen beforehand, then (2) in the Day of the Lord’s glorious Resurrection, as well as (3) in the Outpouring of the Spirit afterwards. Therefore, in Acts 2:20, in proving the Messiahship of Jesus, Peter was pointing to the fact that in connection with His Death and Resurrection, the SUN had recently turned to DARKNESS, and the MOON to BLOOD, in fulfilment of Joel’s Prophecy.

This is confirmed by the fact that the first heavenly Sign was clearly fulfilled, for Gospels tell us how the Sun was supernaturally turned to Darkness, while Jesus was on the Cross (see Appendix 4). This took place 2 days BEFORE the Resurrection, the Day of His Glorious Manifestation as: “Lord and Christ” - Acts 2:36), in perfect agreement with Joel’s prediction. When Peter pointed out how the unique supernatural darkness, that his congregation had experienced only 7 weeks before, was predicted by Joel in connection with Messiah’s Manifestation and the Outpouring of His Spirit, it must have been very impressive! However, there were two Heavenly Signs mentioned by Joel (and quoted in Acts 2) as happening together as a two-fold witness, one in the Sun, and the other in the Moon. Therefore, according to Acts 2, we should also expect that ‘the Moon turned to Blood’, at about the same time, shortly before the Resurrection of Christ, in fulfilment of Joel 2!

If we can demonstate that this actually happened on the day of the Passover in AD 33, on the very same day that the Sun was turned to Darkness, then this would be a great confirmation of both Joel’s Prophecy and Peter’s Preaching, proving that Jesus is the Messiah! Moreover, it would help us fix the exact day of His Death!

The ‘Moon turning to Blood’ is a graphic description of a lunar eclipse. The phrase: ‘Moon turned to Blood’ has been commonly used for LUNAR ECLIPSES for many centuries, because of the reddish colour of the light refracted onto the moon through the earth's atmosphere (see the picture on the next page). This expression dates back to at least 300 BC, for we have an example of its use from the time of Alexander the Great. Some well-documented ancient eclipses were described as the Moon turning to Blood. Here are three examples:

(i) At the lunar eclipse of 20 September 331 BC, 2 days after Alexander crossed the Tigris, the Moon was described by Quintus Curtius (History of Alexander) as ‘suffused with the colour of blood.’

(ii) The lunar eclipse of 31 August AD 304, at the martyrdom of Bishop Felix, was described in Acta Sanctorum as: ‘when he was about to be martyred the moon was turned to blood.’

(iii) The lunar eclipse of 2 March AD 462 was described in the Hydatius Lemicus Chronicon: ‘On March 2, with the crowing of cocks after the setting of the sun, the full moon was turned to blood.’

In the medieval European annals compiled by G.H.Pertz there are so many lunar eclipses described by ‘the moon turned to blood’ that the phrase is clearly used as a standard description. The prophecy of Joel clearly speaks of a lunar eclipse.

What causes the Moon to bleed? Although the moon is in the earth’s shadow during an eclipse, some sunlight still reaches it by being refracted as it passes through

the atmosphere. The light reaching the moon is red, since scattering by air molecules and very small particles as it goes through the atmosphere removes more of the light at the blue end of the spectrum. Thus, in times of recent earthquake activity causing dust in the air (such as at the Crucifixion), the reddening effect is greatly strengthened.


The Moon ‘turned to Blood’

 

 

Tertullian records that Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea, wrote a Report of all the events surrounding the Crucifixion and sent it to the Emperor Tiberias Caesar in Rome (Apologeticus 5 and 21). We have manuscript fragments of this ‘Report of Pilate’ which provide independent evidence that the Moon appeared like Blood following the Crucifixion. One fragment from this ‘Report of Pilate’ states:

 

Part 2

 

“Jesus was delivered to him by Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Annas, Caiphas, and all the people. At His Crucifixion, the SUN was DARKENED; the Stars appeared, and in all the world people lighted lamps from the 6th hour till evening; the MOON appeared like BLOOD.”

This describes a strange Darkness occurring during the Crucifixion, followed by a Lunar Eclipse, graphically described by the Moon turning to Blood, in perfect agreement with the Scriptures. In addition to the words of Peter at Pentecost, and the Report of Pilate which added that it was at the Crucifixion that the Moon turned to Blood, we have further evidence from Cyril, the orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria in AD 412. After describing the darkness at the Crucifixion he says: “Something unusual occurred about the circular rotation of the MOON, so that it even seemed to be turned into BLOOD”, and notes that Joel foretold these Signs. This confirms that the Moon appeared like Blood on the evening of the Crucifixion. When the Apostle Peter, the ‘Report of Pilate’, and Cyril of Alexandria refer to the Moon turning to Blood on the evening of the Crucifixion, they were surely describing a lunar eclipse, with especially strong reddening, due to dust from the seismic activity.

In Appendix 4, we demonstrated from the historical records that the Sun turned to Darkness on Passover AD 33, when Jesus was crucified (Friday, April 1st, Gregorian). Now we can reveal the amazing fact that astronomical calculations establish that also the Moon turned to Blood on that very same day - April 1st, AD 33 - in agreement with the historical record! This fixes the date of the Cross!

We are very grateful for the work of Humphreys and Waddington in bringing to light the amazing fact that the Moon turned to Blood on the day of the Cross.

In order to date the Crucifixion, we first of all need to find a year between AD 26-36, when Passover (Nisan 14th) fell on a Friday, to satisfy the Biblical account. Since Israel used a luni-solar calendar, each new month (such as Nisan) started with the sighting of the New Moon. This makes it possible to calculate astronomically when Passover was on each year. In these years, Passover was on a Friday twice:

(1) April 5th, 30 AD (Gregorian), which is April 7th (Julian Calendar),
(2) April 1st, 33 AD (Gregorian), which is April 3rd (Julian Calendar).

Whereas, there was no lunar eclipse at Passover 30 AD, they have calculated that a lunar eclipse did indeed occur on Passover 33 AD (April 3rd, Julian) that was visible from Jerusalem! In fact, in the period from AD 26-36 there was one, and only one, lunar eclipse at Passover time, visible from Jerusalem, namely that of Friday, 3rd April AD 33! (see the Table opposite). It is only recently that we have been able to take into account accurately the effects of long term changes in the earth's rate of rotation. Hence, it is only in recent years that it has become possible to state with confidence that this lunar eclipse was visible from Jerusalem.

Moreover, it has been established that this eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise, and therefore it would have been witnessed by most of the population of Israel, since the Jews would be looking for both sunset and moonrise in order to commence their high holy day, which was both a Sabbath and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when they would eat their Passover Meal. Instead of seeing the expected full moon rising, they would have initially seen a moon with a red ‘bite’ removed. The effect would be dramatic. The moon would appear to grow to full in the next hour. The moon’s reddening would be enhanced greatly by all the dust in the atmosphere from the great earthquakes that took place at the Crucifixion.

The random probability of a ‘blood-red’ moon (lunar eclipse) occurring at Jerusalem Moonrise on a particular date is, of course, small. The combination of this with the 3 hour supernatural darkness that had happened just beforehand, created an awesome pair of ‘Signs in the Heavens’ pointing to the great significance of what had happened on that day - the Death of the Messiah. No wonder Peter used both of these Signs when he proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, soon afterwards at Pentecost!

C.J. Humphreys describes the eclipse of 3rd April (Julian) AD 33 as follows: "This eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise .... The start of the eclipse was invisible from Jerusalem, being below the horizon. The eclipse began at 3:40pm and reached a maximum at 5:15pm, with 60% of the moon eclipsed. This was also below the horizon from Jerusalem. The moon rose above the horizon, and was first visible from Jerusalem at about 6:20pm (the start of the Jewish Sabbath and also the start of Passover day in AD 33), with about 20% of its disc in the umbra of the earth's shadow and the remainder in the penumbra. The eclipse finished some 30 minutes later at 6:50pm."

The ancients made no distinction between the umbral and penumbral shadows. Under normal circumstaance, the most probable colour of the rising moon would be red in the umbral shadow and yellow-orange elsewhere. However, the extra dust still suspended in the atmosphere from the earthquakes earlier that day would redden these colours, making the whole visible moon appear red (‘turned to blood’) at moonrise, the umbral portion being darker red.

Calculations showed that the 20% of the moon in the umbra was positioned close to the top (i.e. leading edge) of the moon at moonrise. Thus, over 60% of the moon’s disc would have been perceived as being dark red at moonrise (see diagram opposite). Thus most of the visible area of the rising moon would initially have been seen as fully eclipsed (dark red) forming a dramatic 60% ‘bite’ out of the moon. The rest of the Passover Full Moon would also have been tinged with red, until 7.20pm.

*Thus the Moon was indeed turned to Blood on the day of the Cross, a Sign in the Heavens that Messiah’s Blood had been shed for the sins of mankind!

*Therefore, on Friday April 3rd (Julian) AD 33, Jesus died for our sins, the Sun was indeed turned to Darkness and the Moon to Blood, two days before the Great Day of the Lord’s Manifestation (His Glorious Resurrection!) in fulfilment of Joel 2:31.

This date (April 3rd, AD 33, Julian) is the most probable date for the Crucifixion deduced independently using other data. If this date was indeed the date of the Crucifixion, the most important date of history, we would expect some kind of scriptural confirmation. This was given by the astronomical Sign that the Moon must turn to Blood. There was a Lunar Eclipse at Jerusalem moonrise that evening, so that indeed ‘the Moon turned to Blood’ as prophesied in Joel 2, and confirmed as being fulfilled in Acts 2, as well as other historical accounts (the writings of Cyril of Alexandria and the Report of Pilate). Moreover, in the period AD 26-36, there was one, and only one, Lunar Eclipse at Passover time visible from Jerusalem, namely that of Friday, 3rd April (Julian), AD 33. There are therefore powerful convergent arguments pointing to this date as being the date of the Crucifixion.

7 weeks later on the Day of Pentecost, Peter claimed the prophecy of Joel had been fulfilled, which included: (1) Signs in the Heavens, before (2) the Great and Manifest Day of the Lord, after which (3) His Spirit would be poured out on all flesh. The Signs in the Heavens were the Sun turning to Darkness during the daytime, and the Moon turning to Blood in the evening. When Peter spoke of these Signs, the crowd would undoubtedly have understood his words about the Sun as being fulfilled by the supernatural darkness on the day of the Cross, and his words about the Moon as being fulfilled by this eclipse they had just seen. Its timing at moonrise, shortly after the supernatural darkness, would have made it a dramatic Sign, especially when you consider the moon’s extra redness due to the extra dust in the air that day.

Peter quoted Joel’s prophecy, declaring that it had been fulfilled by recent events. The prophecy predicted Signs in the Heavens, followed by the Great Day of the Lord’s Manifestation, followed by the outpouring of His Spirit. His sermon (at least as far as its summary in Acts 2 is concerned) makes no further comment on the two Astronomical Signs, no doubt because their fulfilment was obvious to the hearers.

Peter then majored on how the 2nd part of Joel’s Prophecy (‘the Great and Manifest Day of the Lord’ or ‘the Great Day of the Lord’s Manifestation’) was fulfilled by His glorious Resurrection on the 3rd day after the Cross, when God made Jesus both Lord and Christ. Thus, the: “sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood (2 DAYS) BEFORE the Great and Manifest Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). Finally, he explained how this led to the fulfilment of 3rd part of the Prophecy 7 weeks later at Pentecost - on the very day he was preaching: Jesus, having ascended on high, has now poured out His Spirit on all flesh! With this clear exposition of how all 3 aspects of Joel’s Prophecy had been perfectly and supernaturally fulfilled in recent days, it is no surprise that many thousands were convinced by these proofs that Jesus was the Messiah, causing them to repent, believe, be baptised and receive God’s Spirit, freely given to them by the risen Jesus.

The interpretation of Peter's words as a Lunar Eclipse not only makes perfect sense linguistically, it is astronomically possible, and it also allows us to specify with certainty Friday, 3 April (Julian), AD 33, as being the date of the Crucifixion.

This date is important for us in order to see how Daniel’s 70 Weeks were fulfilled to the very day! From Ezra 7, we know that the 70 Weeks started on Nisan 1st, 458 BC. This was April 3rd on our Gregorian Calendar. Therefore the last day of the 70 Weeks was exactly 490 (solar) years later: April 3rd, AD 33 (on our Gregorian Calendar). Now the day of the Cross was April 3rd (Julian) or April 1st (Gregorian). Therefore the day of the Resurrection of Christ was April 3rd, AD 33 (Gregorian)! Thus the climactic last day of the 70th Week was the day of Christ’s Resurrection! Having made Atonement, He rose from the dead and was ready then to establish His Kingdom on earth. But Israel rejected Him, so the Kingdom was postponed, and the 70th Week cancelled in order to be rerun as the future Tribulation! Thus we can demonstrate a perfect fulfilment of the 70th Week.

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