Has the prophecy in Joel 2:31 been fulfilled?

In October 2001, just after the destruction of the world trade centers and the tragedy of the loss of all the lives of those who perished there, President Hinckley said this in his opening address of General Conference:

"The era in which we live is the fulness of times spoken of in the scriptures, when God has brought together all of the elements of previous dispensations. From the day that He and His Beloved Son manifested themselves to the boy Joseph, there has been a tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world. The hearts of men have turned to their fathers in fulfillment of the words of Malachi. The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared:

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call" (Joel 2:28–32).

I have no doubt that President Hinckley was right when he said that the vision of Joel had been fulfilled. I'm sure this point has been brought up and debated on the LDS mailing lists but there weren't as many LDS Blogs back then. As we were discussing some of the prophesied signs of the last days, a friend recently reminded me that President Hinckley specifically said that this prophecy was fulfilled. I had to think twice, especially about the part about the moon into blood.

Does the burning of the World Trade Center towers qualify as 'blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke'? How about the burning oil fields of Kuwait from the first gulf war? Do those qualify? Is it possible that Joel saw either or both of these events in his vision? Are these events the only occurrences of the prophecy being fulfilled or are there others for which we should continue to look? I'm especially interested in determining for myself how this fulfils the prophecy of the moon into blood.

In fact, it is my personal opinion that we have not yet seen the fulfillment of the part about the moon into blood. Why? Because each occurrence of the moon looking red so far has been a localized event. I would expect that when we do see the moon appear as if it is blood red it will be something that can and will be seen from any vantage point on the earth. What if the moon were to become incandescent because it has no way to dissipate heat. Is that a crazy thought?

Maybe not. It has been proposed by Velikovsky, Dave Talbott and Anthony Larson. But then their stuff has all been debunked as bogus science, hasn't it? If you have Anthony Larson's book, "And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood," read his comments on page 68. It sure seems plausible to me, but then I'm not a scientist or astrophysicist to be able to say that such a thing could never happen. I'm just a common, ordinary member of the church trying to understand this prophecy.

What do you think? Has the prophecy in Joel 2:31 been fulfilled?


Kevin B. said…
I had recently been assuming that the sign in the heavens that Joseph Smith spoke of preceding the return of Christ which men would say is a planet, a comet, etc. would in fact be a planet/comet which comes close enough to Earth that the resulting earthquakes/volcanic activity which would accompany the proximity of a large body, would throw up enough dust/smoke/ash in the air across the globe as to cause it to appear red as a global phenomenon.

I guess I've got more reading to do regarding this incandescent moon thory...
Tim Malone said…
Hi Kevin,

Thanks for stopping by. Although this essay from over a year ago continues to rank high on the hits, I have always been surprised that nobody has commented on it until now. I like what you suggested that enough dust and ash kicked up could be what causes everyone to see the moon as red.

But I'm going to stick with my original proposed theory about what could cause the moon to turn red - incandescence caused by close proximity to another planetary body. There are not many places where you can read more about this because it is dismissed as ludicrous by most planetary scientists.

The moon has neither atmosphere or oceans to dissipate heat caused by the interaction of the magnetic fields surrounding the approaching planetary body. I wish we had some body of scientific work we could study that extrapolates what could happen to the earth if a large planetary body were to approach it, but such a thing has never occured according to the scientists of our day, or has it?

That's why I am so fascinated by the writings of Anthony Larson, Dave Talbott and Velikovsky. All three have been rejected by orthodox scientists as being crackpots. I like the kind way in which the Wikipedia contributors labeled Velikovsky an "independent scholar." His catastrophist theories are "out there" according to most of academia.

Another essay I wrote last year addresses the idea of the moon appearing to be red as blood. Several commenters there suggested different ideas about what the moon turning to blood could really mean. I expressed there that I am not convinced that the prophecy in Joel 2:31 has been completely fulfilled as some think President Hinckley said it has.
Noni said…
Maybe mine is a simple faith, but if the Prophet says a prophecy has been fulfilled, it is easy for me to trust and believe his word, completely. I think there is tremendous safety in trusting every word of counsel.

Tim Malone said…
Hi Noni,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I can totally accept what you are saying. In fact, I said it myself in the essay: "I have no doubt that President Hinckley was right when he said that the vision of Joel had been fulfilled."

My point is that prophecy can be fulfilled on multiple levels and at multiple times in history. This is shown throughout the scriptures with the prophecy of the destruction of Babylon being a type or shadow of the destruction of the Second Coming.

Thus, I accept what President Hinckley said about Joel 2:31 being fulfilled and also believe that it will yet be fulfilled in greater measure at a future date. This is consistent with the way prophecy works. The Lord provides us with advance warnings and multiple examples of how his word will be fulfilled. This is one of them. I think it is marvelous!
Michael Brinson said…
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Michael Brinson said…
I really like your last explanation in response to Noni Tim. I take the same approach as Noni expressed (simple faith), but what you said takes it further and makes sense.

Thanks for the great thread. :)

(I deleted my last post because it wouldn't let me edit it to correct a grammatical error. So, just deleted and re posted.)
mommy of 2 said…
I am a master's degree Bible student. Have been an evangelical Christian for years, and read everything by everyone I can get my hands on (for the past 30 yrs), so I would consider myself well-read on the topic. I agree with the author of this post, that Joel's prophecy has not occurred yet. It will occur just prior to Rapture of the church &/or Jesus' 2nd Return. The interesting questions is...what is the triggering event that causes the Rapture/Tribulation to start. My answer to that is..."when the church becomes more consolidated/less divided". In that, I mean, fewer denominations, more like the time of Jesus and the Disciples. Denominations tend to divide (Paul warned against this). Joel's prophecy will come to fullfillment when believers have faith and NOT DOUBT, just as Jesus indicated. Miracles can still happen today, just as they did in Jesus' time. Just as the Disciples learned to completely believe and not doubt, human man can do the same, then these visions will occur, and these signs of the end times will occur. Jesus and the Disciples miracles may reappear as well (upon faith w/out doubting). Therefore, Joel's prophecy will occur during this Generation, since scripture indicates it must occur within one generation of when Israel became a nation. It could happen anytime between now and then next 10-20 years. The increase in natural disasters, civil unrest, lack of respect for traditional marriage union, increase in theft, etc are NOT coincidental. They are signs.
Jones said…

I just had a great lesson in gospel doctrine yesterday and this prophecy of Joel has come across. I just assumed that Joel 2:28-32 has been completely fulfilled. President Hinckley quoted it in its entirety. My reasons for believing this is that in his words preceding its fulfillment he talks about "the wonders of television, radio, cable", etc. The scenes of 9/11 and the wars have been seen by the world. Then you said that prophecies "can be fulfilled on multiple levels and at multiple times in history"...which after thinking about it, I also believe that. Can you give me some examples to work with or give a little more detail, or just point me in the right direction on what you mean by this?

This really intrigues me--especially the following chapter in Joel.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Unknown said…
I have been thinking about this for a while. As I was in Sunday School today, I had what I think was a personal revelation concerning this matter. The symbol for the Muslim nation is a crescent moon and on 9/11 they turned to blood and pillars of smoke appeared. Think about it. The moon has turned to blood.
Mary Ann S. said…
It does say in the verse in Joel "I" will shew wonders, meaning the Lord, so maybe this doesn't refer specifically to the twin towers but perhaps President Hinckley was looking back over all the things that have been happening over the last few years - natural disasters and that sort of thing. The moon does often get a reddish haze because of a lunar eclipse, too...not to discount the other comments, but to add this as a thought/suggestion. The comment about the moon being on the Muslim flag is really interesting, too. Thanks for all these thoughts. It is so interesting to delve into the scriptures this way, and to be living in a time when you can hear the prophet say from the pulpit that scripture is being fulfilled!
Unknown said…
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Unknown said…
Sorry for the other deletions... same message as what follows. I'm new to blogging!

To understand things of the Spirit, you must seek the Spirit for answers. So please pray about this description of how the Spirit confirmed to me that Joel 2:31 was fulfilled more than a hundred years before President Hinckley gave his talk:

God gave his ancient people (and us) today the commandment to worship Him and no other god. Many of the ancient Israelites were enticed away from this commandment by the other religions of the day. Chief among them were false worshipping of the SUN and the MOON. God time and again showed His people that these religions were DARKNESS, compared to His LIGHT. In reality, HE is brighter than the noon-day sun! Joseph Smith testified to this very fact in his written experience we call the FIRST VISION. Furthermore, God's light dispelled the darkness of the Apostasy. The truths given to the world through the RESTORATION continue to outshine any other religion past or present. Hence, the first part of Joel 2:31 was fulfilled (spiritually) with the First Vision and the following events of the Restoration. The Sun (false teachings) have literally been shown to be darkness in comparison to God's revealing light.

Now stay with me... in the context of SPIRITUAL fulfillment for BLOOD. BLOOD is the symbol for The Atonement of Christ. It is in the restoration of the Priesthood that we now have the way to accept Christ's blood, His sacrifice, for us. True baptism & the ordinance of the true sacrament makes it possible for us to turn from false teachings (the moon) to blood (the ordinances of Christ's Atonement).

Incidentally, "TURN" is the Old Testament was synonomous with "REPENT".

The important thing to ask, is not has the prophecy in Joel 2:31 been fulfilled, but has it been fullfilled for YOU! Have YOU turned from the gods of this world? Have you accepted the LIGHT of the restored Gospel? Have you turned to Christ's BLOOD to heal you?

God bless... Donna
Unknown said…
P.S. The "Signs and Wonders" to all people will either be spiritual or physical. Spiritually...

Blood = Repentance
Fire = Holy Ghost
Smoke = Continuous Revelation

If the people of the earth will not accept the spiritual fulfillment of these prophecies, the Lord will seek after them through physical fulfillment... until the day comes when ALL will bow and acknowledge God's Glory and Christ's Sacrifice
Not all prophecies need to be viewed across the earth. Your statement "In fact, it is my personal opinion that we have not yet seen the fulfillment of the part about the moon into blood. Why? Because each occurrence of the moon looking red so far has been a localized event. I would expect that when we do see the moon appear as if it is blood red it will be something that can and will be seen from any vantage point on the earth."

is not necessarily a correct one. there are examples of both global and localized prophecies throughout scripture.

The best example is the new star at Christ's birth. Yes a new star did appear, as witnessed by the wise men (what scriptures were they reading?), and documented in the new testament.

In the book of Mormon, this new star was seen as "a day and a night and a day as if it were one day and no night", accompanied by a new star thereafter...

The Book of Mormon account is of the localized event (hemisphere / new world) event of what in Jerusalem was only a new star shining.

The Bible has many prophecies that apply to the whole world, and many that apply only to the descendents of Judah or the Jews

The Book of Mormon has many prophecies pertaining to the descendents of Joseph, specifically for the Church and its members, that do not apply to Judah or the Jews.

So, Joel's prophecy may be fulfilled only with localized events of Fires in Kuwait, and World trade center smoke.

It may also have some future fulfillment seen by all men on the earth, but caution... don't look past the mark, as the Jews did with Christ in his mortal ministry, or you might find he has already come and you missed the important event.
Unknown said…
Many people seem to think that President Hinckley's 2001 October Conference talk declared that the moon had turned to blood..
Let's look to context:
Moon to Blood Scriptures
Joel 2:31 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.

Acts 2:20 (quoting Joel, has slightly different wording:) “that great and notable day” Read all of Chapter 2 to get the full context.

Matt 24:29 – Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

Rev 6:12 – …there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.

D&C 29:14 – …the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven…

D&C 88:87 – For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree.

Put in context the sun darkening and the moon appearing as blood are parts of a last days major event (or series of events) that will be noticed by much of the earth, if not all.

Look at what Peter said in the 2nd Chapter of Acts.
Peter quoted the exact same Joel prophecy saying that it was being fulfilled in the day of Pentecost. I think it very likely President Hinckley was reiterating what Peter said.

President Hinckley used it the same way that Peter did in Acts Chapter 2. To say, “We are seeing prophecy fulfilled, the spirit of God is bei

Neither Peter nor President Hinckley said that the sun and moon parts, nor the great sign, had happened specifically. Not since that October Conference has President Hinckley nor any of the other Prophets or Apostles said that the sun and moon parts have specifically been fulfilled. (At least not that I could find, and I did look.)

We have to be careful about taking things out of context and making assumptions about them in that manner.

President Hinckley's talk was not about sign's of the times being fulfilled. It was to reiterate that we are living in the Last Days when the prophecies about the pouring out of the spirit are being fulfilled. Note what President Hinckley is saying as he leads up to the quoting of the scripture. He is talking about the, “tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world “ He goes on after the scripture quote to talk about that enlightenment. He clarifies, “He has brought to pass the wondrous time in which we now live. We have seen only the foreshadowing of the mighty force for good that this church will become.“

Joel's prophecy is about the days when “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” to spread the gospel to allow many people to be delivered from bondage. And in those days many great things shall occur leading up to the great and terrible day of the Lord.

If one insists on a literal “the signs of the times have been fulfilled” idea then you have to justify all of it as already happening. The sun darkened, the moon into blood, the great and terrible day of the Lord come, and the righteous delivered in mount Zion and in Jerusalem. I think it quite fair to say that all of that has not been completed. And it was not completed in Peter's time on the Day of Pentecost.

That having been said I agree with both Peter and President Hinckley. Joel's prophecies have been fulfilled in that both of these prophets of God recognized that after Christ's Atonement, Death, and Ressurection they were living in the Last Days preparing for the Second Coming of the Lord. The spirit was being poured out upon the people. We are living in those great and last days.

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