Solar Eclipse: Biblical Significance?
Hezekiah’s Partial Solar Eclipse (II Kings 20:1-11, Isa. 38:1-7, II Chron. 32:24)
In the Old Testament, a partial solar eclipse portends healing and is recorded in II Kings. After Isaiah tells King Hezekiah that the Lord will heal him of a life-threatening illness, King Hezekiah asks for a sign to confirm the prophet’s word. Isaiah responds,
This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz (II Kings 20:9-11)
Biblical Archaeological Review Magazine (BAR) recently commented on Hezekiah’s partial eclipse:
“On March 5 in 702 B.C.E., the 16th year before Hezekiah’s death, a prominent solar eclipse appeared over the Middle East (see NASA’s Five Millennium Catalog of Solar Eclipses). Its path crossed the Arabian Peninsula, and the obscuration of the sun over Israel was more than 60 percent. If a stairway had been engulfed in darkness and then restored to daylight, the shadow would have appeared to retreat. A shadow wave, produced by an eclipse, may also have given the appearance of a shadow retreating” (Baltz, Frederick, BAR, “August 2017: An Eclipse of Biblical Proportion”).
“Signs of the Times” – quotations from the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy
We read in Matthew of a time when the Pharisees and Sadducees seek a sign from heaven:
“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt. 16:1-3).
Mary Baker Eddy writes:
“It is recorded that Jesus, as he once journeyed with his students, ‘knew their thoughts,’ — read them scientifically. In like manner he discerned disease and healed the sick. After the same method, events of great moment were foretold by the Hebrew prophets. Our Master rebuked the lack of this power when he said: ‘O ye hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?’ Both Jew and Gentile may have had acute corporeal senses, but mortals need spiritual sense. Jesus knew the generation to be wicked and adulterous, seeking the material more than the spiritual. His thrusts at materialism were sharp, but needed” (Science and Health 85:15-27).
Sun and Moon Events Recorded in the Bible
The following Bible verses describe additional sun and moon related events – many of which material science cannot explain:
Isa 13:10 – “the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”
Ezek 32:7 – “I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.”
Joel 2:10 – “the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:”
Joel 2:31 – “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.”
Joel 3:15 – “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.”
Matt 24:29 – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”
Mark 13:24 – “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,”
Rev 6:12 – “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”
Rev 8:12 – “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”