The Upcoming Solar Eclipse: A Sign of the End?

By Richard Young | Posted March 26, 2024

If you live in the United States or Canada, this will be your last opportunity to see the sun’s corona until 2044 (2052 if you live in Mexico). But even if you’re prepared with the proper eye protection, April clouds could ruin your chance of viewing the upcoming solar eclipse.

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America. The path of totality will narrow from about 123 miles wide when entering Mexico to about 100 miles wide when exiting Newfoundland, Canada. Along the way, the total eclipse will pass over parts of 13 states from Texas to Maine. Onlookers not in the path of totality will experience only a partial eclipse. For example, only a fifth of the sun will be covered in Seattle, Washington, and nearly half in Miami, Florida.

As people in the path of totality anticipate this event, end-time prognosticators are saying it’s a harbinger of doom. Since the shadow of this eclipse will pass over seven U.S. locations named Nineveh, could this be a warning from God?

Ancient Superstitions

In ancient China, solar eclipses were believed to be a celestial dragon eating the sun. The dragon must, therefore, be driven away through certain ceremonies: shooting arrows into the air and beating drums accompanied by songs, prayers, and imprecations. Two Chinese court astronomers, having failed to predict an eclipse, were put to death. 

The ancient Vietnamese believed that a solar eclipse was a great toad damaging the sun. The Norse viewed it as a wolf, and the Koreans attributed it to “fire dogs.” Some cultures thought it was the sky itself seeking to devour the sun.

In their book Eclipse and Revelation, two university professors explain the widespread fear among ancient cultures “regarding the pestilential effects of eclipses, … especially the danger they pose for pregnant women and the babies in their wombs. … In India, it was once widely believed that a solar eclipse is a source of dangerous contamination and contagion, and that one should avoid eating or drinking anything its shadow has touched, and should bathe and change clothes once it has passed, praying all the while for protection from its noxious influences.” 

However the ancients understood them, solar eclipses were often deemed portents of misfortune. They were linked to blizzards, earthquakes, famines, floods, political violence, the death of rulers, and disaster on the battlefield. 

Modern Worries

Today, of course, we have a much better understanding of this celestial phenomenon. Total solar eclipses are rare (an average of two a year), but natural events follow the law of gravity. And because they occur with scientific regularity, they can be predicted with astonishing accuracy. A NASA website lists all the various eclipses—annular, total, and hybrid—through 2039.

Nevertheless, even with our modern-day scientific understanding, many of us still believe that solar eclipses are harbingers of calamity. The last solar eclipse visible on the continental United States was in August 2017, which, according to one source, “ushered in a catastrophic hurricane season, the global COVID epidemic, the war in Ukraine, and the horrific Hamas attack on Israel.”

Now, a new eclipse is slated to cross the continental United States on April 8. An article in Science News, “Why the 2024 total solar eclipse will be such a big deal,” states, “Compared with the last total eclipse that crossed the United States, in 2017, this year’s total eclipse will last longer, the sky will fall darker, and the sun itself will put on a much livelier show.”

 Yet the expected drama of this eclipse is precisely what brings out the kind of hype that would link, as we saw above, the 2023 Gaza attack to the eclipse that occurred almost five years earlier. Just because event y followed event x does not mean event x caused y, or was even a harbinger of y

Nevertheless, hype abounds about this upcoming April eclipse, mainly because its shadow will pass over seven U.S. places named Nineveh. Nineveh, of course, was the capital city of Assyria to which God sent Jonah to preach a message of judgment. Had the inhabitants not repented after 40 days, they would have perished (Jonah 3:4, 10). Thus, many Christians now believe that Jonah’s message applies to the United States. Moreover, they are comparing this eclipse to the one in 2017 that crossed seven U.S. locations named Salem, the primitive name for Jerusalem. Could these eclipses, then, be the “signs in the sun” and “in the moon” (Luke 21:25) that Jesus talks about? 

Portents of the End?

It is true that the Bible predicts, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31). Revelation says that “the sun [will become] black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon … like blood” just before “the sky [recedes] as a scroll” (6:12, 14). And Jesus Himself places these celestial signs right before His coming in the clouds “with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25–27).

The problem comes when we exaggerate natural phenomena to fit our dogmatic interpretation of these verses. And no better example could be given than the false claims regarding the seven Ninevehs in the United States. Two of these places can hardly be called cities—Nineveh, Texas, hasn’t had a post office since 1966, and Nineveh, Missouri, is a township. But the most glaring exaggeration is seen in the fact that only two of these seven “cities”—Nineveh, Indiana, and Nineveh, Ohio—will be in the path of totality. The rest of them, like every other U.S. town, will experience a partial solar eclipse.

Historically, some Christians have read way too much into things like solar eclipses, which turned out to be nothing more than natural events—fascinating, and sometimes frightening, but not portents of evil or signs of the end.

Instead of getting all worked up over natural phenomena, learn about the real signs of the end by watching Pastor Doug’s online video “The Final Events of Bible Prophecy.” 

Richard Young
Richard Young is a writer for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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