See also Astronomical Signs in the Bible
At the end of this age there will be dramatic changes in the appearance of the sun and the moon. God says:
I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes (Joel 2.30,31)
This refers to the traumatic days and astronomical signs just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Exactly what causes these events is not revealed.
In recent years there has been much interest in so-called “blood moons” as caused by the earth passing between the sun and the moon (a lunar eclipse). Such events are entirely predictable, see NASA lunar eclipses. But the events prophesied in the book of Joel seem unpredictable and sudden. Moreover, unless the present astronomical order is changed, Joel is probably not describing simultaneous solar and lunar eclipses since this is impossible, link.
Let’s look at those predictable blood moons. Some believe that even predictable events like this can be used by God as a sign of His interventions in world affairs, and especially in the affairs of Israel. There is special interest in the times when four consecutive lunar eclipses are all total eclipses, an event known as a tetrad.
There are eight tetrads in the 21st century, and two have already passed, link. Moreover, history shows that when the tetrad dates are close to, or coincide with the dates of Jewish festivals (God’s appointed feasts), then this may be a special sign or warning to Israel. Sometimes very serious events happen around these dates. So let’s first consider Israel’s appointed feasts.
Israel’s Feasts and Israel’s Blood Moons
Some of Israel’s feasts clearly continue beyond the end of this age and into the Kingdom age, the millennium. So, in passing, we might ask ‘Why are Israel’s feasts often overlooked by the church?’ Take for example Pesah (Passover). God instructed Israel to keep Pesah forever:
Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance (Exod 12.14)
Of course, Christ used His last Passover meal (Mat 26) to inaugurate the New Covenant to be made through His crucifixion, and Christians celebrate this in the Easter Eucharist (Holy communion) rather than through the Jewish Passover. Are Messianic Jews to obey Exod 12.14, or are they to accept Christ as the Passover Lamb? The answer is ‘both’. Yeshua’s Supper is temporary in nature – celebrated until He comes (1 Cor 11.26) – but the Passover is celebrated in the millennium, after Christ has come (Ezek 45.21), link.
As with the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles was also decreed a ‘statute forever’ (Lev 23.41), and so we read that this feast continues into the Kingdom age, the millennial reign of Christ:
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall … keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech 14.16)
Alignment of Israel’s Feasts with Blood Moon Tetrads: Warnings to Israel?
Not all tetrads appear significant for Israel. For instance, nothing of real significance happened in Israel around the 1927-1928 tetrad, link. But then none of the blood moons coincided with a Jewish feast, link. But occasionally, all four blood moons in a tetrad coincide with the start e.g. Pesach I, or close to the start, of the feasts of Pesach (Passover) or Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
Consider the following tetrads from NASA [Format: blood moon date (Jewish feast and date)].
The 1493-1494 Tedrad
02-04-93 (Pesach 11-04-93), 25-09-93 (Sukkot 05-10-93), 22-03-94 (Pesach 31-03-94), 15-09-94 (Sukkot 24-09-94)
Here, the blood moons did not align exactly in time with the start of Pesach and Sukkot, link. Nevertheless, we can ask, ‘What happened to the Jews around this time?’ Answer: During 1492, in Grenada (Spain) the razing of the Jewish quarter was ordered by King Ferdinand, and the Church called for the expulsion of Jews from Spain. In 1493 some 37,000 Jews had to leave Sicily, and in 1494/95, Jews suffered in Poland, Lithuania and Italy, link. So this tetrad saw Europe-wide persecution of the Jews.
The 1949-1950 Tetrad
13-04-49 (Pesach 14-04-49), 07-10-49 (Sukkot 08-10-49), 02-04-50 (Pesach), 26-09-50 (Sukkot)
Here, there is near perfect alignment of blood moon and festival dates. So what happened to Israel around this time? Answer: the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War, when five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) invaded Israel. Armistice agreements were signed February-July 1949, link, resulting in the UN “Green Line” – simply a temporary, armistice line and not a border. Ever since, there have been repeated Palestinian demands for Israel to return to this so-called ‘border’.
The 1967-1968 Tetrad
24-04-67 (Pesach 25-04-67), 18-10-67 (Sukkot 19-10-67), 13-04-68 (Pesach), 06-10-68 (Sukkot 07-10-68)
Again, there is near perfect correspondence of dates. What happened to Israel around this time? Answer: the Six-Day War of June 5–10, 1967, when the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) attacked Israel. Their goal was “to wipe Israel off the map”, but instead Jews gained full access to all of Jerusalem – the fist time in nearly 2,000 years! A few months later an Arab summit conference formulated the Arab consensus that underlay the official policies of most Arab states for the next two decades and beyond: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”
The 2014-2015 Tetrad
15-04-14 (Pesach), 08-10-14 (Sukkot 09-10-14), 04-04-15 (Pesach), 28-09-15 (Sukkot)
There is near perfect correspondence of dates. In addition, this tetrad is rather unique in that it spans a Shemittah (sabbatical) year, starting 25-09-2014 and ending 13-09-2015. This is a time of rest for Israel’s agriculture and a time for strengthening bonds with God. Since past tetrads have been difficult times for Jews, the Shemittah year is timely! When ancient Israel observed sabbatical years God provided enough food in the sixth year for three years (Lev 25.20,21)! He is still the same God who provides for those who keep mitzvot (God’s commands).
What happened around this time? Many regarded the time around Sukkot 2015 as the start of the third Intifada (Palestinian uprising) against Israel. Early October saw the start of unprovoked stabbings of Israeli citizens, link, link.
The 2032-2033 Tetrad
25-04-32 (Pesach 27-03-32), 18-10-32 (Sukkot 20-09-32), 14-04-33 (Pesach), 08-10-33 (Sukkot)
Here, only the blood moons in 2033 coincide with Pesach and Sukkot. But the time alignment is closer than for the 1493-94 tetrad. So again, this may be a crucial time for Israel and for the world. For instance, NASA says there is a remote possibility of a huge asteroid impact in 2032, and the Bible suggests such an impact in Rev 8.8. On the other hand, since 2032 is rather distant, Christ may have returned by then anyway!
For in-depth discussion, see for example Pray4Zion
For the Jewish Calendar for a specific year, see for example Calendar_1 or Calendar_2
For NASA blood moon dates, and tetrads, see for example NASA_tetrads
End-time Blood Moons
As already noted, the prophet Joel described major disturbances in the sun and the moon immediately prior to the return of Christ. Jesus also said that there will be cosmic disturbances just prior to His return to earth:
The sun and the moon will not give their light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven
No blood moon here – but look at the traumatic times just prior to this:
There was a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth
(opening of the sixth seal, Rev 6.12,13)
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood
(cosmic disturbances visible in Israel, Joel 2.31)
Do these prophecies indicate a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse? No, at least not according to the present astronomical order. The sun-moon-earth alignments are distinctly different for the two eclipses; a total solar eclipse can only happen at a new moon when the moon passes between the sun and the earth (sun-moon-earth alignment), whereas a total lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon (sun-earth-moon alignment). So, since the lunar cycle is about 29.5 days, the minimum amount of time that can possibly occur between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse is two weeks, link.
Let us assume that the current astronomical order is undisturbed and so discount simultaneous eclipses. There may be some other astronomical reason for the sun darkening and the moon turning to blood. Note that Mat 24 and Rev 6 both refer to ‘stars falling from heaven’ (meteorites?). And in Rev 8 we read of ‘a great mountain burning with fire’ being thrown into the sea, and ‘a great star falling from heaven burning like a torch’ (asteroids?). Some argue that it could be these cosmic impacts upon the earth that cause the possibly simultaneous darkening of the sun, and the reddening of the moon. Huge impacts, possibly related to the great earthquake of Rev 6, could cause massive and long-lasting atmospheric disturbances on earth. It has also been proposed that a simultaneous solar and lunar eclipse might occur in the presence of a large asteroid (or near earth object), link.