Pentecost: Did the Sun Go Dark and the Moon Turn to Blood?

PENTECOST- Introduction
In Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, he quoted a prophecy in Joel which said that the sun would become dark and the moon would turn to blood before the day of the Lord. Peter claimed that this prophecy had been fulfilled in his day and time. But when did these events really take place?

PENTECOST- The Darkened Sun
Matthew, Mark, and even Luke all mention that the sun became dark at Christ’s crucifixion [Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45]. This doesn’t mean that the sun ceased to give light. Nor did it refer to an eclipse of the sun by the moon. Rather, it was probably caused by a dust storm.

PENTECOST- The Lunar Eclipse
But the real question is, was Peter actually referring to this darkening of the sun when he quoted Joel? Interestingly enough, until recently the reference to the moon turning to blood seemed to indicate otherwise. However, now, beyond reasonable doubt, we know that the moon did “turn to blood” and it was on the very day that Christ died. You see, in ancient idiom the “moon turning to blood” was a reference to the moon turning blood-red during a lunar eclipse. And now scientists have discovered that a lunar eclipse occurred and was visible from Jerusalem on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33. Incidentally, this day was a Passover, and on independent examination it’s the most likely date of the Crucifixion.

PENTECOST- Intensified by the Dust Storm
Not only this, but a dust storm in the afternoon (especially one that would have obscured the sun’s light) would also have intensified the reddening effect of the lunar eclipse, making the blood-red coloring of the moon even more dramatic.

PENTECOST- Fulfillment of OT Prophecy
In and of themselves, a dust storm and a lunar eclipse are not overtly supernatural. However, the fact that they happened on the very same day — the day of Christ’s death — provides powerful evidence that Christ’s death was, as the Gospel writers clearly claimed, a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. For all these reasons and more, we can conclude that Peter was right in claiming that Joels’ prophecy had been fulfilled in his day.

PENTECOST- Conclusion
Interesting isn’t it? The more we learn the more we understand how incredibly reliable the Bible and Biblical prophecy really are. Well, did the Sun go dark and did the moon turn to blood in Peters’ day? The verdict is yes! That’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.