A Sign From Above? What the American Eclipse Teaches us about God

I saw a total solar eclipse for the first time in my life yesterday (August 21, 2017). It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. Living in East TN put me right in the path of this incredible spectacle. I didn’t know quite what to expect and up until the final moment, I wasn’t too impressed. However, when the moon slowly crept in front of the sun, I took off my UV glasses and stood in amazement.

There hasn’t been an eclipse of this kind in the continental U.S. observable from coast to coast since 1918. So as the hype grew for this event a lot of people were giving their opinions about what this event means. Some proclaimed the eclipse as a sign of the coming judgment of God upon America. Some see it as an apocalyptical sign that the end is near. I believe it was a sign from God. But what kind of sign?

God has used the sun as a sign before. The prophet Ezekiel predicted the destruction of Pharaoh and Egypt saying, “And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud and the moon will not give its light” (Ezekiel 32:7). Joel, in his prophecy of the terrible day of the Lord, says, “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Joel 2:31). The Apostle John in his depiction of earth’s last days writes, “I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood” (Revelation 6:12) The New American Bible translates Luke 23:44-45, saying that while Christ was upon the cross of Calvary, “It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun.”

So was The Great American Eclipse a sign from God?  Absolutely, here are 3 signs we should learn from this incredible event.

The eclipse was a sign….

1. Of God’s Glory 

The view from my lawn was so surreal.  The crickets started chirping apparently because they thought it was night and that’s what they do at night.  The street lights came on because it was dark.  And the birds stopped singing.  The neighborhood was quiet.  We all sat in amazement of the glory of God.  I felt a new sense of the majesty and glory of our creator God.  

The Bible connects the expanse of the sky and God’s glory in Psalm 19:1-2. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” Every day we stop to view the glory of God in creation we open our hearts to the majesty of God’s beauty and creativity. While the eclipse was a sign from God, we’ve already had the opportunity to be convinced.

2.That Jesus will return

“There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:25

The eclipse is yet another sign that the coming of Christ could occur at any moment.  But again, we already believed that this was going to happen.  The eclipse is just more proof that prophecy is being fulfilled and Jesus could return any day.  In reference to his return, Jesus said, “Concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32-33).  The point that Jesus makes over and over in the Gospels is that we need to be ready.  

3. People will always want signs from God. 

The people selling T-shirts and UV glasses capitalized on this event.  I wish I would have thought about buying those glasses in bulk a year ago! People are always going to exploit what appears to be miraculous.  So called signs from God can make a lot of money for people and make them famous. It’s a huge problem when people misinterpret the Bible and exploit others for fame and money.

Jesus dealt with people like this.  In Matthew 12:38-39 Jesus said, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”  But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”  Jesus called those who wished for a sign “evil” and “adulterous.” Pretty strong words from Jesus.  

Don’t be fooled, be wise.  Don’t freak out every time something happens and you read an article or watch the news and it scares you.  God is in control.  If you haven’t given your life to Jesus, then be afraid.  Trust in Christ for your salvation and live your life for Him. Then you can rest in his work on the cross and experience His peace, no matter what happens in life.

I don’t think that the eclipse was a sign of God’s imminent judgment that is coming to America.  I don’t think that we need to fear anything.  The reality is that there’s an eclipse somewhere on the earth at least once every 18 months.  Yesterday’s eclipse was unique for us because it was over America.  But they happen more than we realize.  

So the eclipse was a sign, but it was a sign of things we already knew would happen.  It definitely grew my heart for the greatness of God.  When I saw the eclipse I was truly blown away.  God’s glory is evident all around us, and the more we seek His glory, the more we’ll realize his love for us.