Is 2024’s Total Solar Eclipse a Harbinger of Judgment to Come?

Hey, did you hear the news? There’s a total solar eclipse cutting a swath across the United States here in just a few weeks! It’ll be the fifteenth total solar eclipse of the twentieth century, and the second one that I’ve bothered getting eclipse glasses to view because of its path being conveniently visible from my hometown.

For the August 21, 2017, eclipse, my eldest (and then only) daughter spent the afternoon with a friend of hers and their family, having been invited to watch the eclipse and enjoy a meal. The eclipse happened, and shockingly, the world didn’t end. By that point, we were a year into the rapist traitor Donald Trump’s presidency, so that nothing big happened was certainly a relief!

I bring that up because in the lead up to the April 8, 2024, eclipse, I have seen some absurd content being shared about it on social media, so because we have a few weeks to spare before the eclipse solidifies God’s impending judgments upon the United States, I wanted to get my thoughts down to, I hope, squelch at least a little bit of disinformation from weighing on your minds.

As It Was in the Days of Jonah…

I first noticed something was amiss when I saw this image shared by a few friends on Facebook:

via assorted Facebook posts

The image features a map of the United States depicting from as far west as the Dakotas to as far east as Maine, with the paths of three solar eclipses overlaid. Within the path of the upcoming eclipse, the following locations are marked: Jonah, TX; Rapture, IN; the city of Nineveh in TX, IN, OH, PA, NY, and Nova Scotia; and also the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY.

Along with the map is the following text:

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man” Luke 17:26

“…An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 12:39

“…yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Jonah 3:4

The total Solar ECLIPSE that will be taking place on April [sic] of this year will pass through Jonah, Texas and through several towns and cities bearing the name of Nineveh: also passing through Rapture, IN. All this takes place under the constellation, Cetus, which is “THE WHALE.” Also included in the path of the eclipse is The ARK in Williamston [sic], KY.
40 days after the eclipse will be May 18th – The eve of Pentecost.

My initial reaction to the content on this image was to point out just how much it misses the point of what Christians ought to be worried about. I called the content on the image bullcrap, but I didn’t explain why it’s bullcrap, so let’s dig in.

Luke 17:26

I see this verse used a lot to call back to Genesis 6:1–3 in order to say that the last time humanity was getting involved in marriages that it should’t be, God flooded the whole world; therefore, as nontraditional marriages and relationships take hold in society today, it can be said to be a harbinger of the end of the world.

However, that sort of conclusion isn’t the right one to take away from this passage. Let’s look at the verse with it a bit more context:

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Luke 17:26–30, English Standard Version

Jesus gives two examples of when God caused destruction as a means of judgment: the great flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He describes what life was like prior to the judgments by describing perfectly ordinary activities, not the sins that caused the judgments but rather “business as usual” activities: dining, marrying, participating in commerce, gardening, and building.

People have been living “business as usual” for, well, pretty much all time.

You can’t use Luke 17:26 as a precursor to prophesying God’s judgment — if you want to use it, and the next few verses, then the lesson you should be learning is that Noah and Lot were saved because they weren’t busying themselves with the typical activities but instead gave themselves over to obeying God.

Matthew 12:39

I’m not sure what this verse has to do with anything other than that whoever made the meme wants to tie Nineveh to the eclipse because of the spread of cities named Nineveh which the eclipse will pass over as it crosses North America.

As a matter of fact, Matthew 12:39 (and the passage from whence it’s ripped) isn’t referring to the end times; rather, the passage is referring to how people, namely the Pharisees, are responding to Jesus’ ministry. In dealing with them, Jesus compares his impending time in the grave to Jonah’s time in the belly of the sea creature, generally thought to have been a whale.

Jonah 3:4

Going all the way back to the Eighth Century BCE, we see Jonah warning the people of Nineveh that they had forty days to repent.

The maker of the image goes even further off the rails by including this solely to continue the perceived connection to Jonah and Nineveh. The image maker also wants that “forty days” bit.

The Image Maker Brings It All Together?

The maker of the image says that the “total Solar ECLIPSE” will “pass through” (“pass over” would read much better and has the benefit of sounding biblical!) Jonah, TX, and a variety of cities named Nineveh, the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, and Rapture, IN.

However, it doesn’t take long on an eclipse map to see that the total eclipse will not be seen in Nova Scotia or Kentucky at all — those locations, like most other locations bearing witness to the eclipse, will see a partial solar eclipse.

Why include those cities among those that will see a “total” eclipse unless your intention is to deceive and hope that people won’t fact check you?

Next, the maker of the image states that all of this “takes place under the constellation, Cetus, which is ‘THE WHALE.'” Well, no, it doesn’t. The sun’s path follows a well known path through the sky known as the ecliptic, which passes through plenty of constellations. You likely know them: Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Capricornus, and Aquarius.

Saying that the eclipse happens under Cetus isn’t accurate, any more so than saying it happens under any other distant star formation. However, as far as direct paths go, the sun points us to the zodiac, not to THE WHALE, no matter how necessary it is to connect all these disparate points.

Finally, the image ends with “40 days after the eclipse will be May 18th – The eve of Pentecost.” So forty days after the event is… nothing? Well, I guess Catholics may fast on that day. Some Catholics and Protestants may even hold vigils overnight. But… Actually no, you know what? May 18th is International Astronomy Day and if the existence of social media posts sharing extremely bad takes on astronomical phenomena is any indication, there should be more celebration of astronomy, more public knowledge of how things like full moons, the zodiac, and eclipses work.

So What Then?

Look, I get it. It’s fun to find connections in things. Our brains are extremely adept at finding patterns, whether it’s faces in burnt toast or scouring the Hebrew and Greek scriptures for crossword-like word clusters that align with events like 9/11 or World War II. I’ve been guilty of trying to put together perceived puzzles in the past too, so I understand the allure.

Still, is it so much to ask for people to put just a little bit of thought into what they share on social media? Christians do themselves no favors when they share such demonstrably false material; it calls into question everything they say about being aligned with “the Truth”! I get that not everyone’s brain gets a thrill out of factchecking, but even that shouldn’t be an obstacle to not sharing nonsense: If you can’t factcheck something, you don’t have to share it! Better to remain silent and maybe be a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt, after all.

Further, there is far too much for Christians to be busied with than worrying about eclipses, poorly made memes, or well, Facebook in general. I cannot stress this enough: Christendom holds among its members enough wealth to solve nearly every problem facing the people of the world: healthcare, hunger, homelessness, and more could be solved overnight if God’s so-called people woke up and decided to do so.

But instead, as in the days of Noah and Lot, they’ll go on eating and drinking, marrying and participating in the world’s economies all while the desperate of the world await the godly to rise up and obey their Lord.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you want, join me over on the Fellowship Hall and let’s hear about your eclipse day fun!

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