The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. Joel 2:31.
In the Savior’s conversation with His disciples upon Olivet, after describing the long period of trial for the church–the 1260 years of papal persecution, concerning which He had promised that the tribulation should be shortened–He thus mentioned certain events to precede His coming, and fixed the time when the first of these should be witnessed: “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.” The 1260 days, or years, terminated in 1798. A quarter of a century earlier, persecution had almost wholly ceased. Following this persecution, according to the words of Christ, the sun was to be darkened. On the 19th of May, 1780, this prophecy was fulfilled.
“Almost if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind, . . . stands the dark day of May 19, 1780–a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England.”– R. M. Devens, Our First Century, p. 89. . . .
The intense darkness of the day was succeeded, an hour or two before evening, by a partially clear sky, and the sun appeared, though it was still obscured by the black, heavy mist. “After sundown, the clouds came again overhead, and it grew dark very fast.” “Nor was the darkness of the night less uncommon and terrifying than that of the day; notwithstanding there was almost a full moon, no object was discernible but by the help of some artificial light. . . .”–Isaiah Thomas, Massachusetts Spy: or, American Oracle of Liberty, vol. 10, No. 472 (May 25, 1780). . . .
The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” Christ had bidden His people watch for the signs of His advent, and rejoice as they should behold the tokens of their coming King.