A rare astronomical event set to take place this week could herald the “end of days,” according to some who have been following the “blood moon” phenomenon, with a number of Evangelical leaders even linking the celestial event to the US embassy move to Jerusalem.
As the moon rises on Friday, the longest lunar eclipse of this century will begin, offering skywatchers the chance to view over four hours of the moon crossing the Earth’s shadow with close to two hours of complete eclipse.
As well as being abnormally long, this eclipse, like most lunar eclipses, will appear a deep red with the sun’s rays entering through the earth’s atmosphere to project a blood-like glow onto the moon.
Some Christians believe the celestial event could mark the start of disaster, based on a passage from the biblical Book of Joel, which reads: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes.”
The internet is awash not only with astronomical technicalities explaining the rare occurrence but also with prophetic forecasts, from cataclysmic catastrophes to the Rapture.
According to popular American evangelical pastor John Hagee, the blood moons are historically linked with a time period “that begins with a tragedy and ends with a triumph” for the Jewish people.
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Hagee claimed that in each era, “there’s a sense in the world that things are changing and God is trying to communicate with us in a supernatural way.”
Hagee’s predictions gained traction in 2014-15 when each blood moon in a tetrad — a series of four lunar eclipses in two years — all fell on Jewish holidays: on April 15, 2014 (Passover); October 8, 2014 (Sukkot); April 4, 2015 (Passover), and September 28, 2015 (Sukkot).
According to Hagee, Spain’s expulsion of its Jews and discovery of the New World in 1492, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and the Six Day War in 1967 were the previous three times the blood moon tetrad occurred.
Hagee related the history of the phenomenon and potential future occurrences in his book “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change,” which he also turned into a motion picture in honor of the 2015 event.
Needless to say, the world did not end.
But Friday’s lunar eclipse has reignited Evangelical interest in a possible link between the event, the Jewish state, and the apocalypse.
In an online sermon titled “Prophecy Alert: Blood Moon Is Rising,” the popular US Evangelical Pastor Paul Begley said he believes the eclipse is a sign of the “end of days,” specifically because it comes in the same year that the US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“We are in the era of the apocalypse. And this blood moon, which will be the longest blood moon of this century, is happening in the 70th year of Israel being a nation,” he said. “It’s happening in the 70th year that Jerusalem has been declared the eternal city of God.”
In May, Hagee delivered the closing benediction at the ceremony marking the US embassy’s historic move to the Israeli capital.
Whether Hagee, Begley and others’ predictions come true or not, the eclipse will be visible over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas on Friday, July 27, for approximately 1 hour and 43 minutes. In Israel the partial eclipse will begin at 9:24 p.m., with the full eclipse visible from 10:30 p.m. and reaching its maximum at 11:21 p.m.