Ever wondered if G-d wanted to tell you something? Well, get ready to wonder, because the moon is going to do something over the next two years that has only happened eight times in the last 2000 years. From April 2014 through October 2015, lunar eclipses will be occurring on the Biblical festivals of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles—four full lunar eclipses in total. While that harmony of the moon and holidays may not sound all that special, the last two times this happened the Middle East experienced dramatic changes.
Does that mean this is some sort of omen we can use to predict the future? Of course not. The Bible clearly says in the book of Deuteronomy that only pagans look for such things. When G-d wants to really say something, He does so—with words. But that doesn’t mean the heavenly signs aren’t meant to catch our attention and get us praying more. Let’s look more closely.
First of all, whenever the Bible speaks of an eclipse-like event involving the moon—the moon being covered or darkened—it’s linked to judgment. While that’s still no predictor, it should get your spiritual radar up and ready. Secondly, the lunar eclipse model, in which four full lunar eclipses land on Biblical festivals, doesn’t happen much. And the last three times they did, it certainly looks like they were something of a celestial “heads up” to the world to be praying and paying attention. According to NASA, the last time it happened was in 1967-68. In the first of those years, Israel re-took the Biblical city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount region for the first time in 1900 years. The City of David back in his ancestor’s hands—sure sounds prophetic to me.
Still not convinced? Well, you have some argument on your side. The first four times this happened, in the second, eighth and ninth centuries CE, nothing special happened. So maybe 2014-2015 will be years that mean little. But then again, the pattern is just too intriguing. Here’s a deeper look at exactly what was happening in the skies in the years surrounding the previous three times it has happened: 1493-94, 1949-50 and 1967-68.
Each time, the pattern of eclipses and Biblical holidays always includes four full lunar eclipses that fall on either the day of, or the night before, a Biblical holiday. However, the holidays always run from sundown to sundown in the Bible (as opposed to the Western day, which is midnight to midnight). So technically each of the eclipses land on either the beginning of the holiday by the Biblical calendar, or they fall on the main day of the holiday, as marked by the Western calendar.
Hope you’re following along, because now the numbers are going to be flying in. In each of the past three times this has happened, as well as the upcoming set, the eclipses actually line up with Biblical festivals more than just the big four full lunar eclipses. Taking partial eclipses of the sun and moon into account, the full patterns include at least 6 eclipses on holidays.
And in the last three occasions, the first year the eclipse set began also happened to be the year something major happened. While the set of four lunar eclipses began in 1493, a partial eclipse occurred in 1492. That year, of course, was a big one. In 1492, the Spanish Inquisition drove out the Jews from Spain, while a possible Jew-lover, Christopher Columbus, just happened to pick that time to take a crew with him to the New World. Maybe he was Jewish, maybe not. Regardless, we can definitely say that 1492 changed the world forever. Another lunar alignment with the festivals saw four full eclipses occur in 1949-50, but the eclipse-festival pattern actually began with a partial eclipse in 1948. That year, Israel declared independence. It marked the first time since the Roman expulsion of the Jews in the Second Century C.E. that there was a political state of Israel. Again, a major event from a Biblical perspective.
The same pattern works with 1967—the first year an eclipse of some sort lined up with a Jewish holiday, something momentous occurred in the world. And guess which year is the first in the latest set? It’s this year, 2014.
But before we get too carried away, the eclipses in 2014-15, which include a partial solar eclipse on the Feast of Trumpets—Rosh Hashanah—do not mean that the prophecies of Joel are coming to pass. The prophet Joel, foreseeing the end times, speaks of the moon turning red and the sun going black. He also speaks of dramatic events before and after that sound a lot like the end of days prophecies in Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah and Revelation. However, it does not appear that the current world events are lining up with those prophecies yet, so the end appears to still be far away. Remember, this whole sun going dark and moon going red thing has happened before.
Still, that doesn’t mean we should ignore it. The Talmud, the primary collection of Jewish laws and traditions, says that eclipses are traditionally linked to judgment and come upon the world due to sin. Similarly, the Jewish religious website Chabad.org cites a tradition to use eclipses as a time for prayer. That’s what I intend to do. So while we shouldn’t use the sun and moon as fortune-telling devices, and regardless of whether or not the next two years end up being significant, who couldn’t use some extra fasting and praying? And if 2014 turns out to be a newsworthy year, I’ll need to be watching and ready. Will you?
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 30, 2014)
Eclipse data taken from: “Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus (NASA’s GSFC)” and “Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak (NASA’s GSFC)”.