"Blood Moon" visible in Barbados last April.
During a lecture I gave on lunar eclipses in 1975, several attendees - on seeing a slide image of the Moon at the total phase- expressed concern. "Did this bloody Moon not portend the last days or an apocalypse? Was it not one of the signs and wonders written about in the good Book? Should we not begin to prepare ourselves for the end?"
To all of these questions, and to the astonishment of the questioners, I answered a firm 'No'. The phenomenon was a totally natural event that occurred at least twice a year- due to an alignment of Earth, Moon and Sun and had no supernatural overtones. Nor should one extrapolate such overtones. To grasp more clearly what is going on I show a sketch below of the lunar eclipse situation:
Note the alignment (top) fixes the Sun at one end and the Moon at the other with Earth in between. The light from the Sun - on intersecting the Earth - produces a smaller, darker umbra and a lighter outer shadow cone called the penumbra. If the lunar transit is such that the Moon (as seen from Earth ) only passes through the penumbra, we have a partial lunar eclipse.
If, on the other hand, the Moon passes through the darker umbra, we have a total lunar eclipse and what is called a "blood Moon" because the luanr surface appears reddish or ochre on account of being seen through the Earth's atmosphere. Thus, we observe the Moon as seen in the photo. A special case for attention is the lunar tetrad. This marks a consecutive sequence of four lunar eclipses, spaced s ix months apart. (The most recent blood Moon occurred in April ).
As may be inferred from the diagrams, on account of the Earth casting a much larger shadow than the Moon (say when there are solar eclipses) the duration of lunar eclipses is longer, including the total phase. An entire lunar eclipse can last for hours as opposed to minutes for the solar eclipse.
Having now dispensed with the notion there is anything supernatural regarding blood Moons and lunar eclipses, it is somewhat astonishing to note that here in the year 2015, there is a United States congressman who actually believes that a so-called blood Moon prophecy determines the fate of the Middle East as well as the fate of the world, of all of us. .
Says Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia:
WHICH ones? He doesn't say but never mind, This balderdash is gaining surprising traction in conservative media, and is being adopted as legitimate by prominent figures, including Hice in Congress and the Family Research Council, the powerful social conservative lobbying group in Washington.
Ironically, as these yahoos are getting all worked up over blood Moons, we are facing a genuine catastrophe as now the pace of global warming appears on track for a 4C rise in global mean temperatures and even a 6C. People in TX may not think their 34 trillion tons of rain pouring down causing flooding the past week has anything to do with climate change - but they'd do well to rethink that. Anyone who's taken basic basics knows that a hotter atmosphere (because of greenhouse gases like CO2) absorbs more moisture - and this can be triggered to pour down when that warmer, moister air encounters much colder air - as has been spinning off the Rockies the past couple weeks (seeing our night temperatures sometimes diving to 32 F or less)
It's true that singleton events or even temporary phases of weather do not "prove" global warming, but we are talking about a trend of climate that has appreciably warmed the atmosphere over years enabling it to hold more water. More water, means more rain - depending on when and how it is triggered, whether in the NE or SW.
Anyway, we also know that mega-pastor John Hagee, the leading purveyor of blood Moon prophecy talk, is powerful in Washington, and able to command the attendance of influential conservative politicians to his events. According to Hagee here’s how the prophecy is supposed to shake out:
It was “discovered” that blood Moon tetrads that coincide with traditional Jewish feasts and holidays announce world-historical moments for Jews; and because the fate of the Jewish people determines the fate of humanity, according to fundamentalist Christians, each of these revelations signals the approach of the End Times.
Thus, a blood Moon tetrad coinciding with Jewish holidays in 1493 is said to have marked the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and the European discovery of America. Another in 1948-49 signaled God’s pleasure with the founding of the state of Israel; and the next, in 1967-68, coincided with the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, which allowed Israel to acquire Arab territory, much of which it still maintains. The occupied territory is considered prophetically necessary and in accord with Scripture by many conservative Christians.
But all of that was merely a prelude to the tetrad currently underway. The third blood Moon fell in April, and the final prophetic moon will occur in late September. This tetrad, according to the prophecy, signals the beginning of the end of the world. (Though strangely, we've yet to hear a peep from Hagee or anyone else in his camp of where the "AntiChrist" may be hanging out - and bear in mind there's supposed to be a 7-year reign before everything comes to perdition in the "Tribulation"