There has been recent attention to an apocalyptic belief known as the "Blood Moon" prophecy, proposed by a couple of Christian ministers. This interpretation is based on taking the Bible in a very literal way, when in reality it is speaking of internal spiritual matters that are not necessarily visible to the human eye. However what many do not know is that hidden behind the literal sense of the words of scripture, there is a hidden spiritual sense revealed in the symbolism of the words. Multiple revelations were given in the 18th century to Emanuel Swedenborg revealing this hidden symbolic sense, and using this knowledge we can interpret the Blood Moon prophecy.
The Blood Moon prophecy comes from the following passage:
And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Joel 2:30-31)Apparently an astronomical interpretation was given to this, which is explained in What is a Blood Moon? on Earth & Sky. Since they got questions on this they took a look at it, and although they are not Biblical experts the first comment was that the verse seems to also describe a solar eclipse, which they find a bit confusing:
That description, by the way, sounds like a combined total solar eclipse and total lunar eclipse. It sounds like a description of a total eclipse by someone who perhaps has never seen one. Sun turned to darkness = moon directly between the Earth and sun in a total solar eclipse. Moon turned to blood = Earth directly between the sun and moon, Earth’s shadow falling on the moon in a total lunar eclipse. Solar and lunar eclipses are very ordinary and frequent happenings that have occurred many times in our lifetimes, but they don’t happen, can’t happen, ever, on the same day.This is the first hint one should immediately have that this passage is symbolic.
The astronomical interpretation of the Blood Moon prophecy states that it represents a tetrad of four lunar eclipses, which is fairly common. So what the interpreters do is to try to isolate specific dates when the tetrad series of eclipses have fallen on the Jewish feasts of Passover and Tabernacles. So right away, I see a few problems:
1. It does not explain the solar eclipse, as pointed out by Earth & Sky.While it is an interesting astronomical pattern, it has nothing to do with the prophecy of Joel. So let's investigate the spiritual meaning, according to the revelations received by Swedenborg in the 18th century.
2. There is nothing that states that the eclipse should fall on a particular Jewish festival.
3. Many of the dates on which this occurred do not have a significant event.
4. The interpretation does not take into account the geographic visibility or path of the eclipse - another topic altogether (see Nostradamus and the Prophecy of 1999 and Nostradamus and the Year 1999.)
THE INTERNAL SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE PROPHECY
All scripture is focused on the Lord and the kingdom of heaven. The prophecy of Joel speaks of the internal spiritual states of the church, for the church on earth has passed through several ages or dispensations. Some prophecies were fulfilled by the end of the Jewish church in the 1st century A.D. When that church dispensation ended, the Christian church was established to replace it. The Christian church as we know it will now meet its end as well, and this is the subject matter of this prophecy. For many reading this, Christianity has "ended" already for them - they have left the church, due to the falsehoods they see in it.
So, what I will do here is cover portions of the spiritual sense of the second chapter of Joel, so that people will have more context. The proof that this indeed is the symbolism of this passage is contained in Swedenborg's works Heavenly Arcana, Apocalypse Revealed, and Apocalypse Explained - we are talking about 29 volumes of scriptural analysis (see also The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem.) So I will try to be brief.
Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near (Joel 2:1)A trumpet is a declaration or announcement of Divine truth. Zion is the highest heaven where love reigns, the lower heaven is the "mountain of holiness" where good is derived from truth. The "inhabitants of the land" is the church on earth. They tremble out of dismay that their church is about to come to an end and replaced by a new one, this is the "day of the LORD." Right away, one should see this has nothing to do with the land of Israel, for Israel was but a representation of the Christian church that replaced it long ago.
a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations. (Joel 2:2)A "day of darkness and gloom" means a state of falsehood, where nothing of truth remains. A "day of clouds and thick darkness" means truth has been obscured in the literal sense of scripture, and no one can understand it. Blackness upon the mountains and people means the falsehoods have covered up love and truth in the church. Such a state was never before seen in the church's history, for it is at its final end.
Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them. (Joel 2:3)The fire and flame that devours are one's own selfish loves, which destroy and devour anything of spirituality within the church. The church began as a garden of Eden in a state of love, but ends as a desolate wilderness where people are lost with no way to go. At this point, I will simply quote from Swedenborg:
"The day of Jehovah cometh. . . . A fire devoureth before it; and after it a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before it, but after it a desolate wilderness. The appearance thereof is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so do they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains. . . . They run to and fro in the city; they run upon the wall; they climb up into the houses; they enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth quaked before Him; the heavens trembled; the sun and the moon were darkened, and the stars withdrew their shining (ii. 1-10). Here the subject is the desolation of the church, when falsities break in and destroy truths; these falsities are the thieves who climb up into houses and enter in at the windows. Who can help wondering why it is said that the day of Jehovah will be as the appearance of horses, and that then as horsemen they shall run, shall run to and fro in the city, shall run upon the wall, shall climb up into the houses, shall enter in at the windows, the earth shall quake, the heavens shall tremble, the sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining? He who knows nothing of the internal sense and who in his heart calls in doubt the holiness of the Word, will say that these are mere expressions without a Divine meaning hidden within them, and perhaps will call them empty sayings. But he who believes that the Word is most holy, because it is Divine, and who moreover knows that there is an internal sense which treats of the church, of heaven, and of the Lord Himself, will confess that the several expressions in the above passage have each their several import. It shall therefore be briefly unfolded what the expressions and the sayings in the passage signify.
"The day of Jehovah is the last state or last time of the church, when there is no longer any truth, but falsity in the place of truth; the fire which devours before it is the lust of evil, the flame which burns after it is the lust of falsity therefrom; the appearance of horses is the intellectual reasoning from falsity as from truth, the horsemen who run are reasoners, the chariots are doctrinals of falsity; a city is the doctrine itself, the wall upon which they run is essential falsity; the houses into which they climb is the voluntary of man, the windows by which they enter in are intellectual things; the thief is the falsity which takes away truth; the earth which will be moved before Him is the church, also the heavens which will tremble; the sun is love to the Lord, the moon is faith in Him; these are said to be darkened when they are no longer seen; the stars are the knowledges of good and truth which will no longer have light from faith and love, thus from heaven, and this is meant by withdrawing their shining. From these significations it may be evident what the words in general involve, also in what sense that day, or the last state of the church, is called a thief who will climb up into the houses and enter in at the windows, namely, that it is falsity, which will then take possession of the whole man, both his voluntary and his intellectual, and thus will take away all truth and good. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 8906.2-3)Above one begins to see that "heaven" and "sun" and "moon" and "stars" do not refer to the literal sky above us, but aspects of the spiritual heavenly world which flows inside all of us. When there is no love and no truth in the church, it inwardly collapses, and another one takes it place. Skipping ahead, verse 21 speaks of the establishment of this new church among new people after the old one dies out:
"Fear [not], O earth, rejoice and be glad, for Jehovah hath done great things; fear not, ye beasts of My fields, for the habitations of the wilderness are made full of herbs, for the tree shall bear her fruit, the fig-tree and the vine shall yield their strength. Sons of Zion, rejoice and be glad in Jehovah (ii. 21-23). This is said of the establishment of the church by the Lord: and the "earth which will [not] fear, but rejoice and be glad" signifies the church and its delight; its establishment by the Lord is signified by "Jehovah hath done great things;" therefore "the beasts of His fields"mean those who are in the affections of good and long for instruction from the Word, "beasts" meaning those who are in the affections of good belonging to the natural man, and "fields" the doctrinals from the Word. "The habitations of the wilderness are made full of herbs" signifies that there will be the knowledges of truth and good with those with whom there were none before; "the tree shall bear her fruit" signifies the bringing forth of the good of life through these knowledges, for a "tree" signifies the man of the church, and in particular a mind imbued with knowledges, and "fruit" signifies the good of life; "the fig-tree and the vine shall yield their strength" signifies the bringing forth of the effect from natural good and spiritual good together. Because "beasts of the fields," "tree," "fig-tree," and "vine," signify such things as are with the man of the church it is said, "Sons of Zion, rejoice and be glad in Jehovah," "sons of Zion" meaning those who are of the celestial church, while "to rejoice" is predicated of the delight of good; and "to be glad" of the pleasantness of truth." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 650.39-40)As one can see, when the internal spiritual sense is opened, one can use it to open up one's internal mind, and apply it to one's life. It's not about some event in some nation at some date - it is all about our internal state, and transforming it into a new life. This is why no one knows "the day and the hour" - for it all depends on one's internal state, and the overall general state of the church, which can only be foreseen by the Lord. The New Church, which will replace the older churches, will be much more highly spiritual as stated in verses 28-29:
I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; . . . also upon the servants and the maidservants will I pour out My spirit in those days (ii. 28, 29); where the Lord's kingdom is treated of; prophesying standing for teaching (n. 2534), sons for truths themselves (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147), daughters for goods themselves (n. 489-491), servants and maidservants for lower truths and goods, upon which the spirit is said to be poured out, when they accede and confirm. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2567.5)Again, another passage:
I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the maidservants in those days will I pour out My spirit (ii. 28, 29) — where pouring out the spirit upon them is instructing concerning truths, and prophesying is teaching and preaching those truths, as also is dreaming dreams. Old men are the wise, young men the intelligent, servants those who have knowledge. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4682.2-4)Where is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and where are the dreams and visions, and where are the teachings of this New Church? You are reading it. For when in the history has someone had full waking visions of heaven and hell for 27 years? There has been nothing like it that comes even close. However, to reveal these internal spiritual truths, one has to reveal the falsehoods of the older Christian churches that have destroyed it internally. One has to clear out the thorns before planting a flower, and this is the subject of the Blood Moon prophecy:
He therefore who knows that blood means truth Divine from the Lord, may also know that by shedding blood in the Word is not signified killing or depriving a man of the life of the body, but killing or depriving him of the life of the soul, that is, destroying his spiritual life, which is from faith in and love to the Lord. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9127.5)When a revelation is given, it will be violently opposed by the older churches who do not want to acknowledge their own falsehoods. And this is the case with the revelations of Emanuel Swedenborg, which have been rejected, censored, and distorted by the older churches. And now for the primary verses of the Blood Moon prophecy:
Again in the Apocalypse:—The columns of smoke are falsehoods derived from opposition to the new revelation - internal states are actually seen this way in the heavenly world, which is the origin of this symbolic language. The sun signifies the Divine love, for angels who are closest to the Lord in love see Him in heaven as the sun, and the moon signifies good from the truth of faith, or the spiritual Divine, which is seen by the moon. The church, at its very end, becomes inverted and opposed the very love and truth that it once upheld. This is the Blood Moon prophecy. Out of this, there is only a small remnant that escapes from condemnation by following the truth, leading to a life of love and service towards others, for there will be many in the last days that turn away from Christianity due to the falsehoods:
I saw when He had opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, and the whole moon became blood (vi. 12).
I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth; blood, and fire, and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great day of Jehovah come (ii. 30, 31).
Here also it is known from the contrary meaning that "blood" signifies violence offered to the Divine truth; for "sun" in the Word signifies the celestial Divine, which is the Divine good, and "moon" signifies the spiritual Divine, which is the Divine truth; it is therefore said that "the moon shall be turned into blood." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 329.22)
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:31)To call upon the name of the LORD is to acknowledge Jehovah in His human, Jesus Christ, and to live a life according to His commandments. Jerusalem is not the city of Jerusalem in Israel, but rather its the New Jerusalem which descends out of heaven, where the doctrines have been given by revelation according to the prophecies of scripture.
THE BLOOD MOON PROPHECY REFERS TO THE FINAL SPIRITUAL STATE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The Bible is focused on the Lord, the kingdom of heaven, and his kingdom on earth which is the church - the church is present where there is love and truth in honor of the Lord. The kingdom of heaven is not "here or there" - but rather it is within you (see Luke 17:20-21). When interpreting scripture in the spiritual sense, one can see how it deals with internal states of love and truth within us.
The internal spiritual sense of scripture deals with universal truths, and as such the meaning is not always readily apparent in the literal sense. However in this case in the literal sense it becomes apparent that this prophecy concerns the old Christian church before it is transformed into the new, when we continue to the third chapter of Joel:
“What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily.In the literal sense, this speaks of Phoenicians (Tyre and Sidon) and Philistines selling Jews as slaves to the Greeks. I am not clear as to how literalists try to interpret this in conjunction with the Blood Moon prophecy, but probably they just focus on the two verses out of context. In the spiritual sense, items of wealth do not refer to material wealth, but rather the things of gold and silver refer to spiritual knowledges. In the other life, spiritual knowledge is wealth for it serves higher uses. To "buy" is to acquire knowledge, to "sell" sometimes means to share knowledge, but in this case it means to become alienated from spiritual things. Judah and Jerusalem spiritual signify the celestial and spiritual things of the church, which become alienated due to falsehoods:
For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples.
You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border. (Joel 3:4-6)
"Tyre and Zidon" mean those within the church who are in the knowledges of truth and good; here those who have perverted these, and applied them to falsities and to the evils of falsities; this is signified by "Ye have taken My silver and My gold, and the desirable things of My goods have ye brought into your temples;" "silver" signifying truth, "gold" good, and "the desirable things of goods" signifying derived truths and goods, which are knowledges from the sense of the letter of the Word; "to bring them into their temples" signifies to turn them into profane worship; that "they sold the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem to the sons of the Grecians" means that they changed all the truths of good into the falsities of evil; "removing them far from their borders" means far from truths themselves. (Apocalypse Explained, n. 242.12)In the spiritual sense, Tyre and Sidon are those who have a wealth of spiritual knowledge but have perverted it by their own doctrines. Who are the Philistines? In the spiritual sense, the Philistines are those who separate faith from charity, and make faith alone saving. As such, in the spiritual sense the Philistines are those of the Protestants who make faith alone saving, due to their misinterpretation of the writings of Paul - I have discussed this symbolism before (see The Prophecy of September 11 and America). To alienate the things of good and truth (Judah and Jerusalem) to the Greeks, means they have perverted spiritual matters by misapplying falsehoods to the Greek New Testament. It was in the realm of the ancient Grecian empire that the church invented the doctrine of a trinity of three persons at the Nicene Council, and subsequent to that the original Christians of the Middle East were declared heretics, and were thus alienated. The Byzantine Empire that followed was largely Greek:
In the New Church, which will replace the older Christian churches, the Trinity is acknowledged to be the Divine itself, the Divine human, and the Divine proceeding in one person, Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah in human form. Those who acknowledge this are the ones who "call upon the name of the LORD (Jehovah)." For the moon to turn red, and for the sun to become darkened, means that as time progressed after the Nicene council the Christian church became alienated from what is good (the sun) by perverting the truth (the blood moon). How does this happen? Truth is perverted (the blood moon) by promoting the doctrine of justification by belief alone, and works of love and charity are regarded as nothing or an "effect" with no human effort (the darkening of the sun). For as God is love, we are the recipients of that love in loving others.