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Rapture Watch: Why Some Christians Think the Solar Eclipse Will Actually Be the Second Coming of Christ

Rapture Watch: Why Some Christians Think the Solar Eclipse Will Actually Be the Second Coming of Christ

As millions of Americans are preparing to see today’s rare total solar eclipse, some Christians are gearing up for the rapture.

That’s right, while everyone else is looking to the sun, others are thinking about The Son. (You might want to put on your tin foil hat for this one.)

It all began with an image that points to southern Illinois as the spot where the next eclipse is going to intersect with the path of the 2017 North American eclipse.

Two yellow lines cross over southern Illinois on a map showing North America.
Eclipse maps published by Michael Zeiler, CC BY-NCC

From this image, two theories have been birthed. First off, there’s this idea that these eclipses are seven years apart, and if you know anything about biblical symbolism, you know seven is a holy number that symbolizes completeness. Secondly, when you map out these eclipse paths, they resemble a cross.

So, naturally, some Christians are seeing this as a major sign. But before we all start building underground bunkers, let’s hit the brakes and look at this logically.

First off, solar eclipses aren’t exactly rare sightings. According to NASA, there has been an average of 2.5 eclipses every year for the past 1,000 years. They happen when the moon photobombs the sun passes between the Earth and the sun and blots out all or some of the sun’s light. They only seem rare because they affect a narrow strip of land that falls in the shadow of the moon.

And the whole eclipse path-crossing thing? Not as extraordinary as it sounds. Maps of other eclipses show that overlapping happens frequently.

A world map with countries in green being crisscrossed by blue lines.
Map of the world charting the paths of eclipses between 2001 and 2025. All but two of these paths intersect. Eclipse map predictions courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Now, some might argue that the 2017 and 2024 North American eclipses are special because of that seven-year gap. And that would be interesting — if they were actually seven years apart. The actual gap between those two events is six and a half years, or precisely 2,422 days if you’re counting.

This new theory isn’t a complete surprise, as religious theories have often been intertwined with astronomical events. In December 2020, for example, many Christians believed the planetary alignment of Jupiter and Saturn signaled the return of the “Star of Bethlehem.” Televangelist John Hagee has spent the last decade trying to convince everyone that “blood moons” are signs of the impending apocalypse. One of the most tragic examples in recent history is the religious cult of Heaven’s Gate, where members believed there was a spacecraft hidden in the tail of the Hale-Bopp Comet and they only way to access the ship was through a ritualized, mass suicide.

So, maybe let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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