21 August 2017 and the Eclipse of Reason

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, warns Americans not to enjoy next week’s solar eclipse:

For the first time in almost 100 years, a total solar eclipse will be seen from coast to coast in our nation.  People are preparing to mark this significant event with viewing parties at exclusive prime sites. The celebratory nature regarding the eclipse brings to my mind the Babylonian King Belshazzar who threw a drunken feast the night the Medes and Persians crept under the city gate.  While Belshazzar and his friends partied, they were oblivious to the impending danger.  Belshazzar wound up dead the next day, and the Babylonian empire was destroyed.

Jewish rabbis have historically viewed solar eclipses as warnings from God to Gentile nations. Therefore, my perspective on the upcoming phenomenon is not celebratory. While no one can know for sure if judgment is coming on America, it does seem that God is signaling us about something. Time will tell what that something is.

One of the functions of religion is to find meaning in dramatic natural phenomena, although that’s perhaps putting it a bit strong for something as hopelessly vague as “God is signaling us about something”. I previously discussed religious responses to the eclipse and the September constellation alignment a few days ago.

Lotz (or whoever posts articles on her behalf) continues:

Please view the following video posted by Australian pastor Steve Cioccolanti.  Pastor Steve articulates the warning in a very clear, undeniable, yet undogmatic way based on his understanding of Biblical truth:

With this, we once again see Lotz acting as a gateway for mainstream evangelism into a conspiracy theory milieu.

Cioccolanti is not just an “Australian pastor” – his various video uploads includes talks such as DONALD TRUMP is God’s End-Time PresidentNephilim Among Us: Human-Animal Hybrids, Eugenics, GMOs & TranshumanismPlanet X, Meteors & the End of America?How iPhones will Destroy Australia & Usher in the Anti-Christ; STAR WARS Revealed ANTICHRIST Technology & Image of BEAST; and Benjamin NETANYAHU was Predicted by EnochThe title of his video Is the USA in the Bible? Great American Eclipse Aug 21st, 2017 a Real End Time Sign? is perhaps a clue as to why this particular eclipse is generating so much interest – the USA is of course the world’s most important country, so it must be in the Bible somewhere. Cioccolanti also has an obsession with codes and numerology, and his extravagances include the claim that he received a dream about Hillary Clinton that was then confirmed by Wikileaks.

Meanwhile, while Lotz cites “Jewish rabbis” (rather than the Bible) as general evidence that eclipses are warnings, the site Breaking Israel News (previously discussed here) has something more specific:

An esoteric prophecy written over a century ago described the solar eclipse that will traverse the entire United States next week and predicted, in shocking detail, what the astronomical event portends for the outcome of the current North Korean-US conflict.

…”The prophecy states that when a solar eclipse occurs exactly as it will next week, in the beginning of the month of Elul, kings of the East will suffer great loss,” Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, revealed of the century-old text Yalkut Moshe (“Collection of Moses”).

Written by Rabbi Moshe ben Yisrael Benyamin in Safed in 1894, the Yalkut Moshe notes that when a solar eclipse occurs at the beginning of the month of Elul, “it is an especially bad sign,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News.

…According to the rabbi, the suffering of the “kings of the East” clearly refers to “the despotic leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, and the loss he will suffer if he continues to taunt President [Donald] Trump…”

This has also been picked up by some evangelical sites. The book was published in Mukachevo (Munkatch) in Ukraine, and according to a blurb here it seems that the “collection” was gathered from Yemen and India. Hebrew readers can access the full text here; the supposed prophecy appears on page 178, listed among what seems to be a collection of isolated statements. Devoid of context, it is impossible to interpret what is meant by “kings of the East”. It should be noted, though, that Berger’s explanation of the passage seems to imply a general principle rather than a specific incidence. There’s also a Hebrew video here.

Rabbi Berger has been in the media previously for his prognostications. In January he announced that a new star that is scheduled to appear in 2022 when the light from a collision between two stars reaches earth was proof of the coming of the Messiah; the British tabloid the Daily Star unfortunately reported this in terms of the Rabbi predicting that “Jesus will return in 2022”.