On the evening of September 27th/28th, 2015, the Sun, Moon and Earth will once again align in such a way that they “turn the moon to blood” in a total lunar eclipse. Of course, there will be no more blood involved in the moon’s condition than there is green cheese. But the deep red hue of a total lunar eclipse is why such an event is often called a “Blood Moon.”
Millions across North America will witness this phenomenon as the earth’s shadow obscures sunlight from illuminating the moon in our night sky. As it does, many will ask, why can I still see the moon? And why is it red?
How Do Blood Moons Happen?
To best understand why the moon is red you must imagine yourself standing on the surface of the moon. Looking up, you watch the earth move in front of the sun, casting its shadow upon you and the entire sunward side of the moon. The shadow grows until the earth has obscured almost all the light of the sun from reaching the moon.
The key word here is “almost.” While the earth conceals the sun from the moon, the glow of the sun’s corona still radiates around the earth, creating a glowing ring of bright red light in the lunar sky.
“But why red light?” you might ask. The answer is simple when you realize that the ring of light you see is all the sunrises and sunsets occurring on our planet, visible all at the same time. Since these early morning and late evening skies are often bright red and pink, the only light reaching the moon is bright red. As the lunar surface is bathed in red light, the normally bright full moon is turned into a “Blood Moon.”
What Makes This Blood Moon Special?
As interesting as this eclipse promises to be astronomically, this blood moon holds much deeper meaning for millions worldwide. Both Jews and Christians alike recognize that this eclipse will be the fourth consecutive blood moon in 18 months, or a “Blood Moon Tetrad.” What’s more, each eclipse of this tetrad falls on a Jewish Feast Holiday—a coincidence so rare that is has occurred only 7 other times over the last 2,000 years. Of particular interest to these millions of believers is that each previous Tetrad/Feast Day occurrence has been accompanied by some history-changing world events.
For example, the Blood Moon Tetrad of the year 162 ushered in the Antonine Plague, a widespread epidemic throughout Europe and the Mediterranean that marked the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. Bad for Romans, great for Christians, as this was also when their religion began its spread into Europe.
The Tetrads of the 795, 842 and 860 each saw great shifts in power and territories between the peoples of Europe and Arabia.
Still impacting us today, the Tetrad of 1493 was observed by sailors sailing from Spain to the newly discovered Americas. Virtually every facet of history shifted that year, as this the old world confronted this “New World.”
Almost 500 years later, the Tetrads occurring through 1949 and 1967 accompanied the most pivotal events in the history of modern Israel—the very establishment of the State of Israel and their milestone 6-day War, respectively.
Oh…One Other Thing
So what might the Tetrad of 2015 bring in its wake? One clue might be found in another cycle of Jewish custom unrelated to the moons; Shemittah. Shemittah is a Jewish Sabbatical observance wherein every seven years adherents elevate their thoughts, words and deeds to build their relationship with God. Wrongs and debts are forgiven, lands lie fallow, and people focus more upon their spiritual needs and less upon material pursuits.
Interestingly, over the last several decades this seven year cycle seems to coincide with a pattern of societal disruption and economic unrest, e.g. stock market crashes, recessions, energy shortages, even the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. This Shemittah ends September 13th, 2015—15 days before the Blood Moon Tetrad.
So What Does It All Mean?
Looking up at the beautiful and mysterious Blood Moon of September 28th will mean different things to different people. To some, that evening will denote nothing more than an entirely predictable astronomical event. For many others, the Blood Moon Tetrad and the end of the Shemittah year falling just over two weeks apart mean that this particular astronomical event should be taken as a sign. Millions regard this as the crucial and long-prophesied period of calamity and disruption that will precede the end of times, as foretold by the Hebrew prophet Joel:
“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, Holy Bible, KJV).
Whatever the moons and the calendars and the cycles all mean, however, is somewhat irrelevant. Whether or not the Blood Moons/Shemittah phenomenon means the end is near, a simple examination of history reveals one constant and lasting truth; Earthquakes, fires, floods, whirlwinds, drought, cyclones, storms, wars, pestilence, and disease happen, and often, in every time, season and generation. Odds are pretty good you will have to deal with at least one of these “Big Ones” at some point in time.
Even more likely, however, is the fact that one of a dozen other calamities will strike closer to home—accident, illness, job loss, divorce, death of a loved one…no one sidesteps all the trials and troubles of life.
Sorry…unless you’re still standing on the moon…welcome to earth.
September 28th will be the same as last week, the same as last year, the same as it ever was; It will be a good time to be ready. As we like to say around here, “The best time to prepare was yesterday. The next best time is today.” Because tomorrow is and ever has been uncertain, it’s always time to prepare.
How will you be watching the total eclipse? Let us know in the comments below!