Much attention has been given in the church, as well as in the media, to the "blood moon" that occurred during the recent Passover/Easter season.
This blood moon, along with the three other lunar eclipses scheduled to occur during Jewish feasts in 2014-2015, has fueled conversation about whether we are entering into a new season of the end times, as referenced in the book of Joel: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (2:31-32).
I won't try to speculate about dates and times of the Lord's return; however, I will say that I agree with many other voices that these blood moons should serve as a signpost for the body of Christ to awaken and understand the season into which we are entering.
As the Bible tells us in Genesis 1:14-15, the sun, moon and stars are not merely to give light to the earth or to mark days and years. They are also to serve as "signs and seasons." If God wants to speak to His people and give warning to the earth about a changing spiritual season, signs in the heavens are one of the means He has designated to do so.
So, just what is the season we have entered? What kinds of days are ahead of us? The passage in Joel quoted above suggests that the blood moon is a sign pointing to the great and awesome day of the Lord. There are countless scriptures we can look to for learning about the day of the Lord, but I will summarize with this statement: the coming of the day of the Lord means that time is short. The Lord is coming soon. Whether it is in five, 15, or 50 years, the Lord is coming soon.
A Dual Season
For those separated from Christ, or living a life of lukewarm or compromised Christianity, the blood moons bring a season of warning. Their message is one of urgency, to prepare and to turn your heart to the Lord while there is time.
For those who are in Christ, His coming is glorious news. Our salvation is drawing near and the great harvest of souls prophesied in scripture is coming. The message of the blood moons is to prepare for harvest, and to beckon all men to call upon the name of the Lord.
Yes, this is a dual season—of warning and of harvest. Of soberness and of celebration. Of preparation and of action.
A Season of Warning
Throughout the nine-day period this last April that included Palm Sunday, Passover, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about the season ahead.
The message I heard was out of Jeremiah 12:5: "If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?"
The question I heard the Holy Spirit asking was, "If the church can't keep up with the footmen, how will they keep up with the horsemen? If you can't walk in victory in a land of peace and safety, what will you do when the shaking really begins?"
For days, this phrase was burning in my spirit: The horsemen are coming, the horsemen are coming, the horsemen are coming.
How do horsemen differ from footmen? They're faster. The coming of the horsemen speaks to an acceleration. The signs that we see around us— blood moons, weather phenomena, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes that shake the earth so violently it is literally moved on its axis—these all are part of the same process. Things are accelerating.
Just as labor pangs increase and accelerate as a woman approaches her time to give birth, so are the pains and groaning of the earth accelerating as the time of the Lord's return approaches. And what is the earth groaning for?
The revealing of the sons of God.
A Season of Harvest
Both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul quoted the passage in Joel chapter 2 that speaks of the blood moon and the coming day of the Lord. In Acts 2, the Apostle Peter quoted from Joel 2:32, ending with these words, "And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." The Apostle Paul referenced this same portion of scripture in the famous "Romans road" salvation scriptures.
Romans 10:9-10,13 says this: "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation...for 'Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.' " So we see that Joel chapter 2 points not only to a season of warning, but also to a season of harvest. The blood moon points to a day of salvation!
Hebrews 11 tells us that it was by divine warning that Noah built an ark. In dark days and in a time of judgment, Noah's ark became an instrument of salvation. This is the calling of the Church. In a season of divine warning, we are to prepare an ark—an ark of redemption and an ark of His presence. An ark that will be an instrument of salvation in a time of judgment!
In dark days, it is the children of light who will point many to Christ. As the sons of God are revealed, the earth's salvation is near (Romans 8:19-22). Our assignment in this season is simple: to warn and to gather souls. Just as animals were gathered and brought into the ark, so the Spirit of God is gathering souls to be brought into an ark of refuge.
Lift Jesus Higher, Lift Jesus Higher!
As the horsemen approach and the storm clouds gather, our message should be this: "Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!" God has given us the privilege of drawing others to Him. As we lift Jesus higher, proclaiming His name, He will draw all men to Himself. The great harvest of souls is coming!
Second Corinthians 5:18-19 tells us we are ministers of reconciliation. So we must remember in the season of divine warning that our calling is not to bring judgment and condemnation, but to prepare an ark that will save from that judgment and condemnation. It's easy to call out warnings about all the evil we see around us. But it's a lot more work to be an ark builder. Might I be so bold to say, if you are not actively preparing for a harvest of salvation, then maybe the warning is for you!
Remember His Covenant, Examine Your Heart
As I write this, it is now the Feast of Pentecost, also known as Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks. This feast, along with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (recently passed in April) and the Feast of Tabernacles which occurs in the September/October time frame, are times of remembrance and examination for the people of Israel. They are a time to remember God's covenant and His faithfulness, and to examine where the people stand in relation to God, both as individuals and as a nation.
God has been faithful to us. He is committed to us. His promises are yes and amen in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). As we remember this—as we remember His faithfulness, His covenant and His promises—let us examine our hearts. Are we faithful to Him? Are we committed to Him? Do we honor Him with our lips, while our hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13)? Let us humble ourselves before Him in this season of warning. Let our hearts be quick to heed His call. Let our lives be first to reap a harvest of righteousness.
It is only when our lives are in alignment with Him that we can be positioned as those who will herald His coming. It is only when the warning is no longer for our own hearts that we can be those who effectively labor in the fields of harvest. So, in this dual season of warning and harvest, may we be single-minded in our focus, our purpose and our covenant with Him.
Doug Stringer is an internationally known conference speaker, the founder of Somebody Cares and Turning Point Ministries International, and the author of several books, including Somebody Cares: A Guide to Living Out Your Faith.