Apocalypse now? ‘Blood moon’ prophet explains what’s behind the doomsday predictions

Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (AP)

 

It seems that every 15 months or so there’s a new prediction: the world as we know it will come to an end as foretold by the sun, the moon and the stars—or some combination of the three.

The latest emerged this week when the first of four “blood moons” captivated much of North America. An amazing spectacle: the full moon obscured by the Earth’s darkest shadow appears as red as blood.

What’s more, these events are occurring with surprising frequency that hasn’t been seen in quite some time—four in the next two years. And all of them will fall on Jewish holidays: April 15, Oct. 8, April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.

Coincidence?

Not so, say some Christian pastors who are raising the alarm that God promised that he would send signals using the sun and the moon, and we’re seeing them right now.

One of those pastors is Mark Biltz, founder of the Washington State-based El Shaddai Ministries.

Biltz’s book “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent heavenly Signs” details the clues embedded in biblical text which he says point to an unavoidable truth: something significant will happen soon.

“I’m just saying there’s a good chance there could be a war with Israel,” Biltz told me in an interview. “I’m also saying there’s a good chance there could be economic calamity. And I’m basing that on the Bible and patterns.”

The view has become popularized by evangelical pastor John Hagee, who also wrote a book that is now a New York Times best seller on the subject. (According to Biltz, Hagee first learned about the blood moons from him.)

“There’s a sense in the world that things are changing and God is trying to communicate with us in a supernatural way,” Hagee told CBN News.

So what is this all about? Your burning questions about the blood moon, answered:

Are lunar eclipses actually rare?

In the view of scientists, no, not really.

“During the 21st century, there are nine sets of tetrads, so I would describe tetrads as a frequent occurrence in the current pattern of lunar eclipses,” NASA astrophysicist and eclipse specialist Fred Espenak told Space.com. “But this has not always been the case. During the 300-year interval from 1600 to 1900, for instance, there were no tetrads at all.”

Does this mean that Jesus is coming?

Not necessarily.

Neither Hagee nor Biltz are claiming explicitly that the sign’s point to Jesus’s second coming—although Hagee has implied it in past sermons.

But its definitely among the possibilities, Biltz says.

“I’m not trying to go to the level of Y2K or the end of the world,” Biltz clarified. “I think we could see a war involving Israel. We might see the return of the lord, if he comes back.”

What about the end of the world?

No, not that either?

The crux of Biltz’ argument relies on precedent. Previous tetrads have coincided with significant events in Israel’s history.

Via Religion News Service:

In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain and Christopher Columbus discovered America, giving the Jews a place to go. In 1948, the modern state of Israel was born, and in 1967, Israel won the Six-Day War and recaptured Jerusalem.

Ok, but why do they think this tetrad is more significant than the more than half a dozen ones that will happen in this century?

Some of it has to do with the fact that it corresponds with the Jewish feast days (“These are odds that are just off the charts,” Biltz insists.).

The other part has to do with simply being prepared.

“We have red lines that we draw—political red lines,” Biltz says. “I have to think that these four blood moons are God’s red lines. His signals.”

“I jokingly say that God has more than a pen and phone in his hand. He’s going to back up what he says.”

So, should I buy my ticket for Jerusalem now?

Probably. Regardless of whether the end of time is nigh, or whether calamity is about to befall us, we know that there will be a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon occurring on Sept. 28, 2015, on the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

The moon will appear about 14 percent larger than normal, and it may even be a blood moon (we won’t know for sure until it actually happens.) If nothing else, it will be a sight to behold.

Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip
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