In the early morning hours of April 15, 2014 the western hemisphere looked skyward as the moon went dark. For those of you that aren’t familiar, a full lunar eclipse occurs when the moon, earth and sun are aligned so that the earth causes a shadow to fall on the moon.
These events occur every few years, although it is possible to have more than one in a year.
This particular lunar eclipse was pretty special because it launched the beginning of what astronomers call a tetrad. In the next year and a half, we will experience four total lunar eclipses. If you want to see the next couple, mark your calendars for October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.
Not only was this the beginning of a tetrad, it was also a “blood moon.” A quick search on Instagram (#bloodmoon) will you give you a pretty clear idea of how his this eclipse got its title. The science behind it is pretty fascinating. As the moon passed behind the earth, the sun’s rays were refracting through the earth’s atmosphere causing a red glow to be reflected off the moon.
In the last 5000 years, scientists (based on some math that’s over my head) have been able to determine there have been 3,479 full lunar eclipses. As I mentioned earlier, a tetrad occurs when there are four consecutive full lunar eclipses with no partial lunar eclipses in between. Which, in the last 5000 years has happened 142 times, with only 62 happening in the last 2,000 years.
What I find most interesting is the four nights this current tetrad will occur are Jewish festival days. These special Sabbaths hold huge significance for the Jews. These “blood moons” will all fall on Passover (in the spring) and The Feast of Tabernacles (in the fall) for the next two years.
The Passover Feast (Pesach), lasting seven days, commemorates when the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt over 3,300 years ago. We find the original event in Exodus 12. Here, the angel of death passes over the houses of the Israelites who have marked their door frames with the blood of a lamb and instead kills the firstborn of those who have not marked their doors (the symbolism here is over-the-top incredible and awe inspiring. It brings new meaning to the description of the Messiah in Isaiah 53 being like a lamb led to the slaughter. In fact, Jesus was crucified on Passover, not on Good Friday.) Then in Leviticus 23, we find the commandment to keep the Passover and the guidelines for how to do so.
The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), also lasting seven days, is a week long celebration. During the feast, Jews will construct booths, or Sukkahs, to remember how they slept in booths while they traveled from captivity in Egypt to salvation in the Promised Land. The Feast is also to commemorate the fall harvest. For the Jews, the Feast represents the restored relationship between God and Jews. It is also believed Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles (not Christmas) possibly in a Sukkah. Which gives new meaning to John 1 when the gospel writer proclaims the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us. Here, the word dwelt and tabernacle are the same word. The verse very literally reads, “Jesus became flesh and tabernacled among us.”
Again, the guidelines for following the Feast of Tabernacles are found in Leviticus 23.
Before going further, I want to say this; study the Feast of Tabernacles. The connection between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Second Coming of the Messiah are astounding.
Back to the blood moons and our current tetrad.
So, why does all of this matter?
A History of Significance
Well, as I said before, this tetrad will occur on important Jewish Festival days. Out of the 62 tetrads which occurred in the last 2,000 years, this will be the ninth time the four full lunar eclipses have occurred on Passover and Tabernacles.
Here are the last couple tetrads on Feast Days and the events tied to them.
In 1428-29 and assembly of Jews gathered in Florence, Italy to gather funds to give to the Pope in return for his protection.
In 1493-94 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella sign an edict to expel all the Jews from Spain. Recently, articles have been surfacing pointing to Columbus being a devout Jew. And as we all know, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
In 1949-50 Israel had just become an internationally recognized nation again after 2,000 years, moving back into the promised to Abraham, a Patriarch to the Jews.
In 1967-68 Israel fought the 6 Day War with some of its Arab neighbors. The result of the war was a massive Israeli victory including retaking the ancient capitol of Jerusalem. In a bewildering move, however, Israel returned the Temple Mount to the Arabs. The Dome of the Rock sits there today.
Is this the end of the world?
If you were to stop reading this article right now and do a quick google search for “blood moons,” or “tetrads,” you’ll get a whole bunch of noise claiming this tetrad will lead to the end of the world and the second coming of the Messiah.
This is absolutely not the case. It’s very clear when you study the book of Revelation there must be a Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
And right now, the Dome of the Rock sits on top of the temple mount. Historians believe it sits in the space where the courtyard of the old temple would have been. Interestingly, the temple in Revelation is described as not having a courtyard saying, “it will be a place for the gentiles (any non-jews.)” Check it out in Revelations 11:2.
It’s hard to know what will happen this year in regards to the tetrads being linked to important events in Jewish history. If I had my guess, it’ll be related to the temple in Jerusalem. The last two tetrads were the recapturing the state, then the capitol. The logical next step would the temple mount.
There’s a prophecy in Ezekiel 37 where God goes to the prophet Ezekiel and leads him to a valley of dry bones. He then prophesies to the bones telling them to come a alive again. The next images are the bones becoming skeletons, then being covered with flesh and tendons. They are becoming people again. Much like Israel becoming a nation again. However, Ezekiel must speak to the wind, representing the spirit of God, separately and tell it to enter the these newly resurrected bodies.
In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God was said to reside in the Holy of Holies, which was the most sacred room of the temple.
All Eyes on Israel
Genesis 1:14 reads this way, “And God said, “Let there be lights in the vaults of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years…”
From the outset of creation, God set the sun and the moon in the sky for them to be signs to us. For thousands of years, Jews have marked their calendar months based on the sighting of the moon in Jerusalem; which is why we can’t know the day and the time of the second coming. There are two possibilities for when the moon can be sighted based on the clarity of the skies.
As it is, we can’t guess the exact date, but it is becoming more and more clear to me these events will take place during the fall festivals culminating at the Feast of Tabernacles where Jesus will once again tabernacle with us.
And what’s more, Jesus makes the claim in Matthew 24 that the generation who sees Israel become a nation again will not taste death before He comes back. I’m not exactly sure what He means by a generation, but at the very least, those born in 1948 are now 76 years old.
It very well could be close to the end of the age, as they say.
Which is why we should turn to the Scriptures to seek and to know and turn our eyes on Israel which will once again become the epicenter of the world in the near future.
“The sun will be turned to darkness and and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” – Acts 2:20
For more reading and a more in depth study on the Feasts, Check out Mark Blitz’s book, Blood Moons.