Last updated on July 13th, 2020
Does the Total Eclipse have Christian meaning? What does the eclipse teach us about God?
Just before America experienced the Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, my pastor reminded me that “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1-3).
It’s obvious from this verse, an eclipse has Christian meaning. For one thing, God can use the eclipse to reveal truths about Himself and about His Word. Meditating on what God might say through the eclipse led me to create three shirt designs on Amazon, each of them reminding me of an important truth:
- Just as the eclipse hides the sun from view, my sin and self-righteousness hid the gospel from me. “Was blind but now I see” comes from Amazing Grace, one of my favorite hymns.
- Even when I cannot see Him in the midst of trials, God is still there, steady as the sun in His brightness. “When darkness hides my Savior’s face, I rest on His unchanging grace” is a line from the beloved hymn, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.
- Even when life is at its darkest, God’s love is always shining.
This post uses the eclipse and its Christian meaning to tell the story of my conversion to Jesus Christ after years of prideful self-deception, uncertainty, and confusion. Blinded by sin, I now see. (This post is long. For the short version, see my salvation testimony.)
Pre-Eclipse Christian Meaning: Everyone is born with an awareness of God
Every person is born with a “God-shaped vacuum.”
When I think of the Total Eclipse and its Christian meaning, I think of how easily children “see” the existence of God. We enter the world with the sun shining brightly.
As a child, I readily believed in God. I believed the Bible accounts of Creation, Noah’s Flood, and Jonah. I believed Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world.
In fifth grade, I recognized the implications of what my teacher said about Neanderthal Man. And I realized in a flash of insight, “Hey! Those ‘scientists’ want me to disbelieve the Bible!” (Many years later Evidence That Demands a Verdict would strengthen my faith in God’s Word, and other research would introduce me to flaws in carbon dating. As a ten-year-old, it was enough to recognize that scientists interpret data according to their own biases. “A man’s morality dictates his theology.”)
Growing Eclipse Christian Meaning: Blinded by Sin and Pride
As I reflect on my life, it’s easy to give the growing eclipse Christian meaning. Just as the eclipse progressed to hide the sun from view, years of sin and pride progressively blinded my mind to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Maybe someday I’ll take time to steer you towards evidence for Creation and the rest, but that’s not the point of the post, so I’m moving on. [Update, July 2020: Mama Bear Apologetics is an excellent resource for giving children a strong, scientific, biblical foundation in support of creation. See My Library for convenient links to this and more recommended reading.]
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.2 Corinthians 4:3-4
Just as the moon hid the light of the sun for a few moments, so Satan hides the true Gospel from people – ”the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…”
Dead Faith Leads to Destruction
While everybody has faith in something (even the atheist has faith in his ideology), most are staking their eternal fate on a lie that will separate them from God forever. I always believed Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. But for many years my faith was “dead” — it was close to the gospel, but not close enough.
Jesus warned of this:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”Matthew 7:13-14, KJV
A lot of people think they are on their way to heaven. But they are heading for a place God “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
Total Eclipse Christian Meaning #1: Ignoring the Words of Jesus
According to Jesus, there is only one way to heaven:
”Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”John 14:6, KJV
When I think of the Christian meaning of the eclipse, I think of this verse that so many people try to hide or ignore.
There are many disagreements about what this verse means. Even many “Christians” try to explain it away. They say Jesus didn’t really mean what He said. Or He didn’t know what He was talking about. Maybe His contemporaries misunderstood Him.
Right. Apparently they understood His claims enough to accuse Him of blasphemy and demand His death. And He never stopped them. He never said, “Wait a minute! That’s not what I meant!”
Demonic Faith Deceives
Even among those who claim to be “Born-again Christians,” there are many who believe a corrupt version of Christianity. For one thing, believing Jesus is the Way is not enough. Before you call me a heretic, hear me out.
”Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”James 2:19
It is not enough to believe that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, or even to believe He died for one’s own sins. The devils believe that. The first question we have to ask ourselves is, “How am I different than the devils?”
Devils can’t be saved
One obvious difference is that Jesus did not die for the sins of devils, and so they cannot be saved.
There were times in my youth when I actually felt sorry for Satan, the chief devil, and the leader of the rebellion in Heaven. I read in the Bible what happens to the devil in the end. I thought it was sad that God would not reconsider and let him become good again.
This reasoning is from the pit of hell. And it’s another aspect of the Christian meaning found in the eclipse. There’s an old saying about the Bible, “This Book will keep you from sin, and sin will keep you from this Book.” It’s your choice. Friend, if we feel sorry for the devil, we’ve not spent much time in the Book.
Satan rebelled from a position of complete knowledge of how great God is. His sole passion now is to steal, kill, and destroy, taking as many people to his end as he can. This is the greatest pain he can cause the Almighty: to make fruitless the great suffering and death of God’s Son.
Devils won’t ask to be saved
Another obvious difference is that the devils will never ask Jesus to save them. Maybe we asked Jesus to save us. Wonderful. But is this enough? After all, Jesus gave a frightening warning:
”Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”Matthew 7:22-23
Total Eclipse Christian Meaning #2: Praying Sometimes Brings More Darkness
Praying a prayer and doing religious things never saved anybody…
- I prayed a “sinners prayer” three different times.
- I got baptized.
- I went to church, read my Bible, and prayed many prayers.
None of those things saved me. Instead, they gave me a false sense of security because I was “doing everything I knew to do.”
When I think of the eclipse and its Christian meaning, I think of how I came into the world believing in God (full sunshine). Then sin did its work and blinded me to the truth. And the blindness reached its pinnacle when I embraced religion and praying the “right prayer” as a means of salvation.
At the time, I was going around telling others they were going to hell without Jesus, but I hadn’t truly been born again myself. I had zero discernment, zero conviction over my own sin. Just a self-righteous hypocrite of the worst sort.
Waning Eclipse Christian Meaning: The Gospel Begins to Shine
After all that religious activity, I found myself one day asking God to show me my sin. Crossing the drill field at Virginia Tech on my way to an exam, I prayed, “Dear God, I know I’m not perfect, but I just can’t think of anything wrong in my life. Lord, please show me one sin so I can repent and go on from there.”
This is the event that comes to mind when I think of the waning eclipse’s Christian meaning. The light of the gospel is beginning to shine!
Yes, I’m really bad
Looking back, my prayer seems ludicrous. The Bible is clear:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.1 John 1:8, KJV
At this point, I’d been going to church for months. Yet this was the first time I admitted to God, “I don’t think I’m all that bad.” Compared to my druggie friends, I wasn’t. But compared to Jesus, I was.
Well, God heard my prayer. It took several months, but I began to see my sin. I started comparing myself to God’s Son instead of to other sinners. And I began to realize that, just as a fish is a swimmer, so I was a sinner.
It wasn’t until God showed me my all-encompassing sin…
- how I only, always went my own way
- how I was only and always selfish and self-centered
that I finally understood just how much I did and still do deserve to go to Hell.
It wasn’t an overnight thing. It took weeks after that prayer on the drill field for God to awaken me to my sin.
When I think of the eclipse and its Christian meaning, these weeks of growing conviction are like the way the sun begins to come back into view.
Yes, I deserve to go to Hell
At first, this completely confused me. I couldn’t understand this… conviction of sin. After all,
- Hadn’t I already prayed and asked Jesus to be my savior? (Yes! Three times!)
- Hadn’t I already been filled with the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by my speaking in tongues? (Speaking in tongues, yes. Filled with the HOLY Spirit, no. See 2 Corinthians 11:14).
So why was I up crying until 2 AM every night, wanting to die and yet afraid of dying because I knew I would surely go to Hell?
Why did this “Goody Two Shoes” suddenly see myself as worse and more deserving of Hell than any lowlife on the street that I could imagine?
Completed Eclipse Christian Meaning: The Gospel Received!
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.1 Timothy 1:15
Seeing my sin from God’s point of view was a very good thing. Until we see ourselves deserving of Hell we cannot be saved.
How can we be found if we are never lost?
Nobody will get to heaven saying, “Look at all the things I did right.” After all, if we could do enough good works to get there on our own, why on earth did Jesus suffer and die? Will He sit in a corner while the saints congratulate each other on the hard work they did to get there?
Salvation Requires Repentance
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.Mark 2:17, Luke 13:3
Owning up to being a sinner deserving of hell was great, but it wasn’t enough for salvation. Remember how “the devils believe and tremble” (James 2:19)?
Satan knows he deserves Hell. But even though he knows and understands that, he will never be saved from it.
What is repentance?
Salvation came when God showed me my wickedness. He made it utterly abhorrent to me. And He showed me how powerless I was to change on my own.
Repentance is not turning over a new leaf. It’s not saying, “I’m going to do better, I promise!”
Repentance is a change of mind about the value of our sin. Instead of saying, “I know I am a sinner, but my sin is not that bad,” or, “I like my sin too much to give it up,” repentance says, “I am a slave to my sin, but I don’t want to be this way anymore!”
Repentance is a change of mind
Notice, I did not say, “I want to give up all my sinful habits.” Some of those sinful habits felt good, and I did not want to give them up. I just didn’t want to feel so dirty and miserable and powerless to change myself. For the first time, I saw myself and my sin as filthy in God’s sight, and I gave up on any hope of self-reformation.
Completed Eclipse Christian Meaning: Eyes blinded by Satan finally see!
After three days of utter misery and despair, a lightbulb went on.
“This is why Jesus died on the cross! I can never be good enough to please God!” I thought.
So there, at my kitchen table, I bowed my head and asked God to change me. I did not pray a “Sinner’s Prayer.” I thought I was already saved. But in that moment, for the first time ever, I believed on Jesus Christ as the all-sufficient Savior and my only hope.
In terms of the Total Eclipse and its Christian meaning, at this point the eclipse is totally over, and the sun shines brightly again.
Do you have Saving Faith? It Depends.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.John 6:47
The day I realized I deserved to go to Hell, I cast myself on Jesus as a person trapped in a burning high-rise might cast themselves on a safety net extended by rescuers below.
I didn’t just believe in Him as the Savior of the world, I believed on Him as my Saviour, completely depending on His promise: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37.)
Dynamic faith bears fruit
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.2 Corinthians 5:17
The moment I trusted Christ, Heaven became real and not just some story I believed. The glory of God filled that tiny apartment, and I wanted to weep for the beauty and wonder of it all.
As I said, I thought I was already saved. A year later, a Baptist preacher in Alaska challenged me to examine what biblical salvation is.
That pastor often mentioned the village where he had served as a missionary. He struggled to convince the locals they needed salvation. Why? Because they thought if they could “speak in tongues” they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet the “spirit” that provoked their ecstatic utterances never provoked them to be sober. It never led them to care about the spiritual welfare of others.
What is spiritual fruit?
As I heard my pastor talk about these things, I was reminded of all those times I prayed a “Sinners Prayer.” I’d never seen any change in my life or habits, much less a concern for the souls of others. How could I think the Holy Spirit of Love was in me when I didn’t have enough love to care whether others went to Hell or not?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.Galatians 5:22
My thoughts troubled me greatly. I prayed, “Lord, I feel like I am saved now, but as I look back on all those times I prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” I know nothing changed. There was no fruit of love, joy, peace, or any of the rest. If I am saved, will You please show me when it happened?”
Evidence of true salvation
Through that prayer and the study of God’s Word I was reminded of that amazing day in my tiny kitchen, and remembered the spiritual fruit that happened when I trusted Christ.
Besides the reality of Heaven I experienced that day, other fruit became evident:
- a new desire for and understanding of God’s Word
- joy unspeakable and full of glory
- confidence that Jesus loves me, even when life is hard
- most remarkable and confusing at the time, an overwhelming burden for others to be saved.
I sat at the window sill of my second-story apartment and wept uncontrollably as I watched people passing by below. It was as if I could see them all pouring like lemmings off the side of a cliff into a devil’s Hell, and while heading that direction they were completely oblivious to the danger they were in.
For the first time, I caught a glimpse of how God sees every lost soul. Someone has wisely said,
Nobody who is really on their way to Heaven can bear the thought of going there alone.
Are you really saved? Examine yourself.
What about you? When you consider the eclipse, do you understand its Christian meaning?
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?2 Corinthians 13:5
The most important thing we can know is where we will go after we die. Once that’s settled, nothing else matters. When our faith is grounded in the Word of God, we can have hope in tough times.
This life is not the end. Jesus already paid for every sin you’ve ever done or will do. As sad as it is to me that so many have not yet heard about His gift, it is sadder still to think of those who have been deceived by their religion to think they are Christians when they are not.
The true gospel has been eclipsed by a list of do’s and don’ts. Instead of trusting Jesus and His atoning blood as the payment of their sin, they try to be “good enough” to go to Heaven. Or, even worse, they think Jesus will automatically save everybody, because “God is love.”
My friend, if everybody’s going to Heaven, why did Jesus bother warning us so much about hell?
Please make sure you are truly saved! I’m praying as I write that I will meet every person who reads this post, because we will be in Heaven with Jesus, together forever!
It’s not about being good enough
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.Isaiah 64:6
The Bible is very clear about this.
Going to church, being baptized, going to confession, praying and other religious exercises do NOTHING to help you get to Heaven.
Biblical salvation is not a process. It happens in a moment. Just as a baby is born at a specific time that the doctor records on the birth certificate, so is being born again an event that happens at a specific time.
Salvation is as easy as A-B-C:
- Admit you are a sinner deserving of hell
- Believe that Jesus Christ is your only hope (believe His atoning sacrifice is enough to pay for all of your sins, and you have no power to “help” Him save you)
- Confess your faith in Christ and dependence on Him alone
Please don’t ignore this vital issue. God wants to save you, He wants everyone in Heaven. But He will not force you to believe. It’s your choice. If you’re unsure, pray like I did that God will show you what is keeping you from Christ. Expect that some element of unbelief is at the root of your trouble –
- Doubting that God will judge anyone for their sin
- Doubting that the “hard parts” of the Bible are true
- Doubting that you are “bad enough” to miss out on Heaven
- Doubting that you are worthy of hell because of your sin
- Doubting that Jesus is willing and able to save you
When you find the specific doubt that is keeping you from Christ, you will find salvation is as simple as renouncing that lie and embracing God’s truth, casting yourself on His mercy.
Whether you are saved or still struggling, find a solid, Bible-believing church where you can listen to preaching. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Check out the video linked on my salvation testimony. If God can save me, He can save anyone. May His mercy and grace be yours today.