Countdown to the Eclipse: One Week Out!

A spectacular event that will not happen in North America again for 20 years.

by Dr. Danny R. Faulkner on April 1, 2024

We are now one week away from the April 8 total solar eclipse. In previous blog posts, I gave tips about how to safely watch the eclipse and what to expect to see and experience during totality. In this blog post, I’ll take on an idea that is making its rounds on the internet.

In a recent 10-minute video, Rocket Rob Webb and I discussed the upcoming eclipse. The video received quite a bit of attention, with a quarter million views in less than 24 hours. The comments on the video were interesting. There were many comments from people who saw the 2017 eclipse or earlier eclipses and related their reactions and expressed hopes to repeat the experience again this month. But then there were others who commented that the eclipse is no big deal. Some of those people said that they saw the 2017 eclipse or other solar eclipses and were not impressed. I’m sure that they weren’t in totality, for if they had been, their attitude would have been very different. As I discussed in my second blog post and my third blog post about this eclipse, there is a world of difference between being in totality and not being in totality. Trust me—you won’t understand that until you have experienced totality. Other people commented that they couldn’t care less about the eclipse. But they cared enough to comment. Of course, flat-earthers weighed in with comments critical of Answers in Genesis for not endorsing the notion that the earth is flat.

There is a world of difference between being in totality and not being in totality.

Then there was an entirely different set of comments that involved the provocative title of the video, which is “Why All Americans MUST Be Prepared for April 8, 2024.” Our intended meaning of the title was to get across the wonder and rarity of total solar eclipses and the fact that the United States will not be in the path of totality for another two decades, so to experience this remarkable event, we must prepare to be in the right place on that day. Unfortunately, many people took an entirely different meaning from that title. There are many sources promoting the claim that this eclipse signals God’s judgment on the United States. You may wonder how this could be, seeing that the United States is not clearly identified in Scripture. This claim is the product of extrabiblical speculation that amounts to a Rorschach test. It is claimed that the path of totality this month will pass over several towns or communities (some sources claim seven) called Nineveh, the city that God called Jonah to preach repentance (Jonah 1:2). Furthermore, it is claimed that the path of totality passes over Jonah, Texas. Indeed, the Texas community of Jonah is in the path of totality, but the only community called Nineveh in the path of totality that I can find is the one in Indiana. Purveyors of this notion liken this eclipse to the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38–42; Luke 11:39–42), mistakenly thinking that the sign of Jonah is merely a sign of judgment. If God does not immediately judge the United States after April 8, will they have the same displeased reaction that Jonah had when God spared Nineveh (Jonah 4:1)?

In this argument, the 2024 eclipse is tied to the 2017 total solar eclipse. The claim is that the 2017 path of totality passed over seven communities called Salem, meaning peace in Hebrew. The paths of totality of the two eclipses cross in southern Illinois near the New Madrid fault, the fault responsible for three of the most powerful earthquakes in US history in 1811–1812. This X formed by the paths of the two total eclipses is supposed to represent God’s judgment, suggested by a claimed resemblance to a Hebrew letter. April 8, the day of this year’s solar eclipse, is the first day of the first month on the Hebrew ceremonial calendar (Passover begins two weeks later, Exodus 12:2). I don’t see the significance of that. At least one person has opined that these two solar eclipses are separated by 6 years, 6 months, 6 weeks, and 6 days. There you have it—6666. No, wait, I thought that the number of the beast was 666 (Revelation 13:18). As I said, this amounts to a Rorschach test—people can find significance in all sorts of things where there is no significance.

If this sounds familiar, it is. A decade ago, Mark Biltz claimed significance for four lunar eclipses that occurred at the time of Passover and Sukkot in 2014–2015, with an implied apocalyptic warning. As I pointed out at the time, this was nonsense, which is further evidenced by the fact that this was a decade ago with neither the return of Jesus to earth nor the end of the age during the ensuing decade (Jesus will return, but don’t expect false prophets to tell you when). And Mark Biltz was involved in the nonsense about the 2017 and 2024 solar eclipses, for he was talking about the eclipses signaling the supposed judgment on the United States seven years ago, so he probably is responsible for all the current speculation about this eclipse. Or consider the hullabaloo seven years ago about the supposed fulfillment of Revelation 12:1–2 on September 23, 2017. As I warned then, this was nonsense, and, of course, the Lord did not return at that time either. Some will say that the four “blood moons” and the sign of Revelation 12:1–2 were just preliminary and that the seven (a number with special significance) years between the 2017 and 2024 eclipses are key, meaning that this time, it will really happen. Or not. You see, there have been eclipses throughout time. I’m sure that in the past there have been many claimed apocalyptic meanings for eclipses, for there is nothing new (literally) under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

So, take heart—there is no prophetic significance to this month’s eclipse. In the words of Adrian Monk, “I could be wrong. But I’m not.” If you will be in the path of totality, enjoy God’s creativity during this eclipse. Christians who do so will praise God and will agree that the heavens declare God’s glory. Please join me in praying for clear weather across the path of totality that day.

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