The moon is one of the symbols of creation. According to the Bible, the moon was created on the fourth day together with the sun and the stars. The main purpose of the moon was to rule over the night and shine a light on the earth.
The Bible has mentioned the moon several times in different contexts. As a symbolic object, we shall look at the different instances the moon is mentioned and its significance.
What You'll Learn Today
Creation and Providence
The story of creation is one of the most spectacular texts in the Bible. It outlines the days when the different creations came to be and their purpose.
As stated above, the moon was created on the fourth day as per the book of Genesis 1: 15-16
“and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”
Later in the book of Psalms 8:3 and 136:9, the Bible reiterates the creation of the moon about the greatness of God. The Bible tells us of God’s providence and sustenance of the moon. In Jeremiah 31:35, the Bible says that it is the LORD of hosts that orders the ways of the moon and the stars.
In the book of Job 26:9, the Bible reads:
“He covers the face of the moon, shrouding it with his clouds.”
One of the reasons why God would do so is to protect the moon. The covering was meant to hide the moon from view. In Joshua 10:12, we see God interrupting the normal course of the moon to ensure the battle that his servant Joshua was fighting comes to a successful end.
In Psalm 121:6, the Bible talks of God’s protection over his people and gives reference to the sun and the moon. It says:
“the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.”
Symbol of Permanence
Throughout scripture, God has sought to build endurance and permanence in his creation. Whether it is kingdoms of men or his kingdom. The overriding desire of God has been to establish in a long-lasting way that which he has created.
In Psalm 72:5, King Solomon makes a prayer in the form of a song or poem to himself, the king. In the Psalm, he says
“May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.”
It is a prayer for long life just as the kings of those times desired.
In Psalm 89:37, Ethan the Ezrahite makes a declaration and prayer for the Davidic dynasty that it may last forever just like the moon.
The moon was an object of worship in biblical time cultures especially around Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and other close-by countries. Biblical evidence, as well as extra-biblical texts, suggest that the Near Eastern people had worship practices linked and revolving around the moon god.
The city of Jericho was named after a moon god. The actual meaning of the name is the temple of the moon god. The book of Isaiah 47:13 points to a practice among the Babylonians where they used to consult astrologers for insights and wisdom or as part of worship.
Of course, the Bible rebukes this practice. In the words of prophet Isaiah, the Bible says:
‘All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.’
In Deuteronomy 4:19, the word of God is clear in prohibiting the worship of the moon and other heavenly bodies. The same is repeated in Deuteronomy 17:3 and Job 31:26-28. The Bible even goes forward to spell out the consequences of such worship. In the book of 2Kings 23:5, the Bible says:
‘And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and the moon, and the planets, and to all the host of heaven.’
The Moon as An Identification
The Old Testament people and even in some practices that spill over to the New Testament times, the moon was used to identify times, seasons, festivals, and everything in between. For instance, a new moon was used as a measure of time.
In Leviticus 27:6, the Bible says:
‘A boy between the ages of one month and five years is valued at five shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at three shekels of silver.’
The term one month is assigned a Strong’s number 2320 which translates to a new moon.
In Isaiah 1:14 and 1 Samuel 20:5-34, the Bible talks of the new moon festival. This is a monthly festival marked with ordinances like those of the sabbath.
It was held the day after the new moon was sighted and it heralded the beginning of a new month. Even the feast of Passover was linked to the blowing of the trumpet, an activity that took place at the new and full moon at according to Proverbs 7:20 and Psalm 81:3.
A Symbol of The Second Coming Of Christ
Several passages in both the new and Old Testaments use the moon as a sign of Christ’s Second Coming. In Joel 2:10, the Bible talks of the darkening of the sun and the moon. In Isaiah 13:10, the same signs are repeated. The Bible says:
‘The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light.’
References from the New Testament in Matthew 24:29, Revelation 6:12, and Luke 21:25, talk of the same thing, the signs of the end times with the moon either becoming bloody red or losing its light.
The Bible is so rich in astrological history and the different meanings of creation objects such as the moon. The symbolism of the moon reaches far as wide as it addresses thematic issues such as providence, permanence, worship, identification and the second coming of Christ.
There are many more moon inferences and symbols that are still unexploited. Looking for more answers? Here is our guide to leaf symbolism in the Bible.