Tonight I got a peek at The Blood Moon. It sounds oh so scary. In reality it is simply a lunar eclipse where the earth casts it shadow on the full moon. Of course it is not difficult to imagine the terror of generations past. As with any natural phenomena that steps outside of the norm, a lunar eclipse may be viewed as a message from the gods, a symbol of disaster, or a sign of the imminence of the end of the world.
This particular total lunar eclipse is extra exciting because it is the last part of a lunar tetrad. A lunar tetrad simply means four total lunar eclipses occur in sequence. In this series the first occurred on April 15th, 2014. It was followed by one on October 8th, 2014 and another on April 4th, 2015. These four total lunar eclipses happen six months apart. In addition there at least six full moons between two of the total lunar eclipses in a lunar tetrad.
It is only in recent times that these rare total lunar eclipse tetrads have been called Blood Moons. While it sounds quite scary it is actually based on the appearance of the moon and has nothing to do with blood at all. The earth eclipses the full moon and direct sunlight is blocked. However rays from the sun continue to light up the moon. But the light has traveled through the earth’s atmosphere and that is what makes the moon appear to be reddish or even brownish.
Of course these are wonderful rational explanations for what would seem terrifying to anyone who didn’t know what was happening. It’s hard to imagine anyone would view these events as anything other than natural phenomena these days. However, there are those who believe these blood moons are signs of what is known as “the end times”. These end times are somehow connected to the Jewish people and some great event. Some believe a peace accord between Palestine and Israel will signify the beginning of the end. Much of this is based on Biblical prophecy; the book of Joel, Acts, and the Book of Revelation.
The fact that this coincides with the recent changes in the Catholic Church as well as the recent visits of Pope Francis to the United States and Cuba seem to add to the furor. With predictions of a great earthquake followed by disastrous tsunamis and tidal waves or a third world war we can expect the end to come very soon.
There have been eight tetrads since the first century that have coincided with Jewish holidays. The world hasn’t ended yet. Historically there have been conflicts and resolutions throughout history as well. It seems we are probably safe for a little while longer. Hopefully these won’t disappoint the doomsday criers too much.