The August 21 total solar eclipse in the United States and the numerous biblical parallels to Israel
Note: The commentary originally appeared in the August 18, 2017, edition of Koenig's Eye View from the White House. Some additional comments from the 2020-2021 time frame have been added below after the end of the original article.
Koenig: The following was prepared by my assistant Max Obeidin. To say the least, this is very interesting and fascinating information.
The Biblical Significance of the August 21 total solar eclipse
The eclipse will produce a 67-mile-wide path across America; 1967 was the year Israel regained Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. The property lines are often called the pre-67 lines in peace talks.
The maximum level of eclipse coverage will be over Washington, DC at 2:42 PM (about 81 percent). UN Resolution 242 calls for Israel to give up land for an Arab state that is Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. The resolution is the foundation for the peace talks.
The suns will set in Jerusalem at the time the eclipse’s shadow of totality arrives in Oregon on August 21.
The eclipse line divides the land of the US; the Israeli-Palestinian peace process calls for the land of Israel to be divided
The paths of the August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024 total solar eclipses create a huge X, with a phase of totality of 9000 square miles the size of New Jersey. Israel is often said to be the size of New Jersey.
From Max Obeidin:
In last week’s new report, we shared a commentary by Anne Graham Lotz called “Is God’s Judgment Coming on America?” about the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21. In Anne’s commentary ( http://www.annegrahamlotz.org/2017/08/07/gods-judgment-coming-america/ ) she linked to a sermon by Australian pastor Steve Cioccolanti where he discussed the eclipse. One of the things that he mentioned is that zone of totality first arrives in Oregon at 17:16 UT (or 10:16 AM PDT), which is the same time the sun sets in Jerusalem at 7:16 PM. But there are a least a few other significant facts about the eclipse that seem to relate to the US role with Israel.
The National Eclipse Blog says, “From Oregon to South Carolina, the eclipse will trace a 67-mile-wide path across the country and millions of Americans will witness a once-in-a-lifetime event as the moon passes between the earth and the sun and day turns to night for up to almost three minutes.” ( https://nationaleclipse.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/x-marks-the-spot-two-total-solar-eclipses-in-seven-years/ ).
Other sources have also noted that the path of the eclipse averages 67 miles wide. This 67-mile-wide ‘line’ so-to-speak essentially cuts the United States in half at a diagonal angle, dividing the land into two parts.
In the year 1967 Israel regained control of the eastern half of Jerusalem, as well as the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula (although Sinai was later given back to Egypt). People that call for a two-state plan often mention the pre-war 1967 borders that existed before Israel regained control of Jerusalem and those other areas, sometimes referring to them as the ’67 lines. While our president is hoping to make the ‘ultimate deal’ for a two-state plan which would involve dividing Jerusalem and Israel based on using the ’67 lines as a starting point, America is symbolically being divided by a ’67 line.’ This seems to be very significant. The path of the 2017 eclipse also looks like it is sloping downward since it moves from the Northwest to the Southeast. Even this shape could possibly have a significance. In economics, when a line appears on a graph in this shape it is typically used to show a decline in something. It also looks like a slash mark across America, which is often used to negate something (i.e. think of a no eating symbol on a bus).
Washington, DC is not in the path of totality of the eclipse. However, there is another interesting fact which may be symbolic. According to timeanddate.com ( https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/washington-dc?iso=20170821 ), the eclipse reaches it maximum level of coverage over Washington, DC (of about 81%) at 2:42 PM. In 1967, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 which called for “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
Not only is there the concern that this eclipse could be an indication of God’s judgment, including for the U.S. role in the peace process, there is also further concern because another solar eclipse will happen approximately seven years later April 8, 2024. When you take the paths of the phase of totality of these two eclipses and cross them together, it makes a large ‘X’ over America which is centered close to Carbondale, Illinois. What makes it even more significant is the size of the area where the paths of totality cross. National Eclipse Blog describes it as such, “Because the 2017 eclipse travels across the country from northwest to southeast and the 2024 eclipse makes its way through the nation from southwest to northeast, the two paths cross each other and create a zone of overlapping totality of almost 9,000 square miles, or roughly the size of New Jersey.” ( https://nationaleclipse.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/x-marks-the-spot-two-total-solar-eclipses-in-seven-years/ ). The size of Israel is often compared to the size of New Jersey. Many pro-Israel speakers will distinctly say that Israel is “about the size of New Jersey.”
An ‘X’ over something is often used as a symbol of rejection. What does it mean for America when these two eclipses that are about seven years apart have paths of totality that form an ‘X’ over America with an area of overlap that is close in size to Israel?
While there are certainly other factors that are leading our nation further into God’s judgment, could the two eclipses be a warning that the tipping point for judgment is touching the land of Israel?
Even if this is so, as believers in Jesus we cannot live under a spirit of fear. One of the most amazing things to reflect on about these eclipses is that God already had these celestial events planned even before he set the sun, the earth, and the moon into their orbits. And even though the warning of judgment is a cause for concern and prayer about America, there is also something that we that live for Jesus can take comfort in. And that is that God is sovereign over the events of the Universe. He already knew before the world was created how all these things would take place. He knew the timing, locations, and parameters of these events. Not only did He know them, but He was the One that ordained and orchestrated these events according to His divine and sovereign plans. And this is a good lesson for our lives.
Do we trust that the God who set the sun, the earth, and the moon into their orbits and planned these celestial events out plans our lives with perfect knowledge and understanding? Do we believe that if we let God guide our steps that He will orchestrate them in a way that is in perfect alignment with His sovereign will? And do we trust that even in the midst of any upcoming judgment that our nation may face, that God can give us the strength to focus our eyes on Jesus and to do our part to the do the Lord’s work?
There is indeed concern about what is coming to America. And this means that we must pray for God’s mercy, pray for our own safety and the safety of others, and especially that we pray for the salvation of those that do not know Jesus. And we must share the truth of God’s word and the Gospel when it comes to our individual and national accountability for sin and the need to repent, and we must also share God’s biblical truth about not dividing the land of Israel. But we should do this with confident eyes on Jesus. When judgment comes, it will shake America, but Jesus will never be shaken! We will do our best to overcome what we may face nationally and individually if we are confident in and established firmly on Christ the Solid Rock!
UPDATE: Additional comments by Max Obeidin in January/February 2021.
I wanted to give some new details and also reference a few of the things I said in my original commentary to add some new comments.
When I wrote the original commentary, the goal was to take a thorough look at the symbolism of what God might be saying to America through the sign of the eclipse and especially to point out the message I believe God was sharing about not dividing Israel's land. The path of totality of the 2017 eclipse drew a line across the United States that traced a path all the way from Oregon to South Carolina. A unique thing about it was that the shadow of totality only passed over the United States and no other nation. I took the sign among other things as a warning of potential judgment coming if the United States continued to take part in the division of the land of Israel.
As I reflect on what has happened since the 2017 eclipse, I now believe that it distinctly warned of the coming Coronavirus pandemic. In the original commentary further above, I referenced Anne Graham Lotz's post from August 7, 2017, called, “Is God’s Judgment Coming on America?” In that post was a link to a sermon by Australian pastor Steve Cioccolanti in which he gave an analysis of the eclipse and what he felt it could mean for America. ( Link here: https://youtu.be/-ZvIibUAY2o ).
For now, I want to focus on two things that he mentioned: 1.) the symbolic connection to the 1918 eclipse [31:50 in the sermon] and 2.) the possibility that the 2017 eclipse could be an indication of a coming pandemic [33:40].
One major significance about the 1918 eclipse and the 2017 eclipse was that they shared a very similar path to each other. Both of them traced a path of totality from the Northwest to the Southeast in the United States without touching any other nations. Some people noticed the similarity in 2017 and even pointed out that the last time America had a coast-to-coast eclipse had been almost a century before in 1918. So, what is the significance of the paths of the two eclipses when compared to one another? The answer in part at least is that they are both related to a worldwide pandemic. From1918 and through 1920, the world was plagued by the horrible Spanish flu. Some estimates say that tens of millions of people died during that outbreak. I now believe that the 2017 eclipse was an indicator of the coming Coronavirus later in President Trump's term given that the eclipse approximately paralled the path of the 1918 American eclipse which occurred at the time of the Spanish Flu outbreak and also because in a total solar eclipse the sun's hidden corona appears, which I now believe in hindsight was symbolic of the coming Coronavirus.
To expand on my original comments from 2017, I now see a two-fold message in what I believe God was (and still is) saying to America. One message is not to divide the land of Israel and that there will be judgment if our nation takes part in dividing the land and/or restraining Israel from exercising the right to continue to annex land. The other message is the need for the United States to repent of sin in general. Both of these messages have validity. If America does not divide the land and does not hinder Israel from annexation, we will still face judgment as a nation if we do not repent of the sins of our nation and also as individuals in this country. Likewise, even if our nation repents of national and individual sins and turns back to God, we will still face judgment if we continue to take part in the division of the land of Israel. If we fail to heed to God's warning in both messages, then it only will make the degree of judgment more severe.
At the same time, there has also been a judgment on the nations of the world. Even though the United States has been the hardest hit by Coronavirus as far as the number of total cases, in some way the whole world has been effected. In that sense, the 2017 eclipse was also a warning to the entire world.
In a sermon in 2017, Mark Biltz said the path of the eclipse was 70 miles wide and that the number 70 is symbolic of the nations. In Anne Graham Lotz's post, she also noted how the solar eclipse was a sign to the nations. As I stated above, the average width of totality was 67 miles (as reported by the National Eclipse Blog), symbolizes Israel and the peace process. However, the rounded figure of 70 miles (as reported by NASA) to represent the nations is also valid. Both of the numbers are symbolic. Both of the numbers have to do with the warning God was giving. God was using the symbolism to call all of the nations of the world to repentance of national sins, as well as to warn all the nations of the world that there are consequences for dividing the land of Israel.
Even though the 1918 eclipse happened over America, the pandemic affected the entire world. It is the same today. The 2017 eclipse happened over America, but the pandemic has affected the entire world. The key difference is that in 1918 the eclipse followed the beginning of the outbreak by several months. Then the outbreak continued for about two more years. In the case of the 2017 eclipse, it foreshadowed the outbreak which would start a little more than two years later in late 2019. The outbreak will likely continue into at least sometime in late 2021 or 2022 before it is under better control. It is possible some effects could last longer.
In 2017, I was not fully sure of the exact nature of the judgment that would be coming. There were many possibilities, but I could not say distinctly what would happen. Although I now realize in hindsight, that there was a specific symbolism given related to the current pandemic in the picture of the total solar eclipse and not just because of the path of totality.
So, what happens in a total solar eclipse? Along a very specific path, the moon temporarily blocks the full disk of the sun. At that moment, a part of the sun is visible that cannot normally be seen from earth with the unaided eye. That part of the sun extends outward and away from the main disk of the sun. It is called the solar corona. The path of the eclipse in 2017 was indicative of a pandemic, and at the same time the solar corona was visible along the path of totality that swept across the land. Now, we have a virus with corona in its name that has swept across America. The symbolism of the solar corona pointed to the Coronavirus. I have included some pictures of the eclipse compared to some graphics from US government websites so that you can see the picture of the solar corona and how it related to the Coronavirus.
Note: Coronavirus images are from US Government websites.
I want to take a moment now and give some updated comments in regard to some of the things I said in the original commentary.
Statement: “The path of the 2017 eclipse also looks like it is sloping downward since it moves from the Northwest to the Southeast. Even this shape could possibly have a significance. In economics, when a line appears on a graph in this shape it is typically used to show a decline in something.”
As the Coronavirus has effected the economy in ways that no one was expecting, I thought about the 2017 eclipse and the shape of the eclipse path. When I was in college, I took several classes in economics. As I was considering what God might be indicating through the sign of eclipse in 2017, the picture of an economics graph was one image that was in my mind. The path made me think of our country declining economically. If you look at a stock graph for instance, you will see that a line with a downward slope means a reduction in value. Also, from an economic perspective, the decline can also be thought of as a decline in prosperity in addition to economic value. Even though the government has taken unprecedented steps to try to stimulate the economy, this has come at the cost of trillions of new dollars added to America's national debt.
The line that divides America could also possibly have meant that a spirit of division was coming onto the land in a more pronounced way, which seems to have happened at the same time as the Coronavirus.
Statement: “While there are certainly other factors that are leading our nation further into God’s judgment, could the two eclipses be a warning that the tipping point for judgment is touching the land of Israel?”
A key thing to note about the eclipse and the Coronavirus, is that judgment for the U.S. role in the peace process is a major factor, but it is not the only factor. The phrase “tipping point” is also akin to the phrase “the straw that broke the camel's back.” When you study the pattern of judgment related to violating the Abrahamic covenant and attempting to divide the land of Israel, you will find that God will often deal with other sins at the same time he is allowing the judgment to come related to attempting to divide the land of Israel. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 after the disengagement of the Gaza Strip and Samaria, it hit the city of New Orleans right before they were about to have their annual Southern Decadence gay festival. It also damaged a lot of the casinoes along the Gulf Coast. Yet, the ferocity and intensity of Hurricane Katrina as a whole was very strongly rooted in the United States' push for the peace plan and the disengagement of the Gaza Strip.
A number of people are saying that God is using the Coronavirus and the disruption it is causing to call our nation and the world for that matter into repentance for sinning against God's moral laws. I believe this is true also. The fact that there is a strong connection between the peace plan and the timing of the Coronavirus outbreak does not limit what God wants to do with this situation to call people and nations into repentance. Both of those factors are true. Neither one is exclusive of the other. While this newer part of the commentary focuses on the eclipse, the peace plan and the connection to the Coronavirus, the aspects of God calling the nations to repentance for violating his moral law cannot be ignored. As Mark Biltz has pointed out before, there was a significant total solar eclipse that passed over Nineveh before the prophet Jonah prophesied of its impending judgment. Although, the fact that God was giving the people the warning through Jonah indicated that God was willing to relent if the people were willing to repent. Jeremiah 18:18 says, "and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned" (NIV). However, there are times when repentance will not necessarily prevent all judgment, especially if only certain sins are repented of, while others are left alone.
Statement: “When judgment comes, it will shake America, but Jesus will never be shaken!”
The sign of the eclipse seemed to be a significant warning of judgment, but I did not know exactly what would happen. I was concerned that there would be some kind of event that would shake America. While I was thinking more along the lines of a sudden event when I wrote the original commentary, a shaking has now come to America (and to the rest of the world) in a different way. A number of people in 2020 were saying that America is being shaken. Some people referenced Hebrews 12:26-27, which states, “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (KJV). While the ultimate context and fulfillment of this verse is focused on the the Lord's judgment at the end of the world, it is still true that we are indeed facing a great shaking in the world right now. Many people are afraid and hardly know how to handle the situation.
“Not only is there the concern that this eclipse could be an indication of God’s judgment, including for the U.S. role in the peace process, there is also further concern because another solar eclipse will happen approximately seven years later April 8, 2024.”
When I first saw the article about the 2017 and 2024 eclipses crossing paths approximately seven years apart, it seemed very significant. Because of the significance of the seventieth week of Daniel, which many people interpret as the 7-year Tribulation period, it catches our ears anytime we hear anything about a 7-year period in conjunction with a possible peace deal involving Israel. While the time period between the two eclipses is technically 4 and half months short of 7 years, it is still natural to notice the 7-year difference between 2017 and 2024 when you look at the year numbers on the Gregorian calendar. Even though I do not believe that this current 7-year period is the actual seventieth week in Daniel, there could have been some symbolism here in how the two eclipses related to the peace process.
Another significant thing about this 7-year time period is how it relates to the previous Presidential term and the current Presidential term. The year 2017 was the first year of Donald Trump's Presidential term. The year 2024 will be the fourth year of the current Presidential term. As of January 20, 2021, Donald Trump is no longer in office and Joe Biden is serving as President of the United States. As these things were continuing to play out in 2020, I was considering the possible meaning of the two eclipses spread across the two presidential terms. Interestingly enough, there was also a total solar eclipse at the exact halfway point between the 2017 and 2024 eclipses. The eclipse on December 14, 2020, did not pass directly over any U.S. territories, but it still seems to be significant since it occurred on the same day that the electoral college was meeting in the various states to cast their votes for president. So, the three eclipses together seem to have a symbolic meaning relating the two presidential terms.
Some additional comments may be added later at this link: https://watch.org/node/72439
As much as I now see the warning of the pandemic in the 2017 eclipse, I believe there is more to the potential coming judgment that the 2017 eclipse indicated than simply the Coronavirus. Steve Cioccolanti has mentioned the possibility of a significant earthquake, which is very relevant given the recent earthquakes that have happened in the United States. Also, I believe there is a warning of a potential significant military conflict or war that may be coming at some point in the future based on the pattern of the August 21, 2017 date, which corresponded with the new moon that indicated the start of the Hebrew month of Elul. An eclipse occurred in 1914 on this same date on both the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars. The 1914 eclipse seems to have been connected to World War 1. Mark Biltz has also pointed out that the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul starts a 40-day period of repenetance leading to Yom Kippur. So, the 2017 eclipse was definitely a call to repentance.
We have to continue to pray for our nation as well as the world to repent. We also need to repent in our own individual lives. Judgment does not have to come. National judgment comes when a nation and the individuals in that nation disobey God. When Jonah gave the warning to Nineveh, they repented. Then God relented of the judgment he was going to bring on the nation. The challenge we have now though, is that we are already experiencing one layer of judgment (but there is more to come than just the Coronavirus if we do not repent). We also have to be ready to cling to Jesus no matter what, especially if things continue to progress the way they are. While God is giving America a chance to repent, the general trend of our society over the last several decades has been to move further and further away from God and the truth of His Word. While God has still been granting America time to repent, I am not convinced the nation as a whole is going to repent. So, we need to be preparing ourselves spiritually to endure whatever we have to until the Lord comes. At the same time, we need to remember the promise from His Word, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Many people would say we have a lot to fear, but we have to learn to trust in God even when the world around us is in fear. While we still need to be careful not to take unnecessary risks with the pandemic happening around us, we have to make our decisions in wisdom rather than a spirit of fear.