On the fourth day of creation, God made the sun, moon, and stars. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day” (Genesis 1:14-19).
The Hebrew word for “sign” is “ot” (Strong’s H226). The KJV translates Strong’s H226 in the following manner: sign (60x), token (14x), ensign/s (2x), miracles (2x), and mark (1x) for a total of 79 times in the Old Testament. Most of these “signs” in the Old Testament refer to the signs and wonders that God did when he sent the 10 plagues against Pharoah and the Egyptians during the time immediately before the exodus by the children of Israel from Egypt. The ninth plague or sign was when God caused darkness over the land of Egypt for three days. It was so dark it could be felt and no Egyptian left their abode. This was definitely a supernatural event from God, as no solar eclipse lasts that long.
There are several biblical verses that mention heavenly signs. One is found in Jeremiah 10:2: “Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.” Another one is found in Isaiah 7:10-11: “Moreover the Lord spoke again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask for a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.”
One of the greatest heavenly signs or miracles in all of the Bible occurred during the time of Joshua. “Then spoke Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand you still upon Gibeon; and you, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day” (Joshua 10:12-13).
There are many passages of scripture in the Old Testament that refer to the darkness of the heavenly bodies as a “sign” of the Day of the Lord before Jesus returns to the earth, such as Isaiah 13:10, 24:23, 60:19-20; Joel 2:10, 31, 3:15. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come”(Joel 2:31). These passages could be the result of a supernatural event from God (like the ninth plague of Egypt was). However, in the natural realm, the sun goes dark when there is a solar eclipse and the moon appears (blood) red when there is a lunar eclipse. Solar eclipses only occur when the moon is in the new moon stage and lunar eclipses only occur when there is a full moon.
Regarding Genesis 1:14, the Hebrew word for “season” is “moed” (Strong’s H4150). The KJV translates Strong’s H4150 in the following manner: congregation (150x), feast (23x), appointed (12x), time (12x), assembly (4x), solemnity (4x), solemn (2x), days (1x), sign 1x), and synagogues (1x) for a total of 223 times in the Old Testament. In this article, we will mostly be concerned with some of the seven Feasts of the Lord as described in Leviticus 23. A “moed” or “feast” is a holy congregation that is appointed at a particular time (season) of the year and is determined by the Hebrew lunar calendar.
The first of every month was to occur on the new moon. “ Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 81:3-4). The Hebrew word for “new moon” (and by implication a month) is “hodes” or “chodesh” (Strong’s H2320). The KJV translates Strong’s H2320 in the following manner: month (254x), new moon (20x), monthly (1x), and another (1x).
“He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knows his going down” (Psalm 104:19). Once again, seasons means “appointed times” such as the Feasts of the Lord. Nisan 1 (in the spring season) is the start of the ecclesiastical calendar and Tishri 1 (in the fall season) is the start of the civil calendar. Nisan begins the counting of months and Tishri begins the counting of years.
Although Nisan 1 isn’t a Feast of the Lord, it is important nevertheless as it is always observed and celebrated every year. The Tabernacle of the tent of meeting was erected and arranged on the first day of the first month (Nisan 1) in the second year of the exodus from Egypt. Tishri 1 is the first day of the seventh month of the ecclesiastical calendar and also the 5th Feast of the Lord known as Rosh Hashanah or Trumpets.
The two Feasts of the Lord that begin during the middle of the months, when the moon is full, are Unleavened Bread which occurs on Nisan 15 (the 1st day of the seven-day Feast), and Sukkot or Tabernacles which occurs on Tishri 15 (the 1st day of the 7-8 day Feast). The Jews call Nisan 15 the Passover, as they have combined Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
An eclipse is a natural phenomenon that occurs when one heavenly body such as a moon or planet moves into the shadow of another heavenly body. In some ancient and modern cultures, solar eclipses were attributed to supernatural causes and were regarded as bad omens. The Talmud tells us that the solar eclipse is a sign or omen for the Gentiles, who base time on the solar calendar, and a lunar eclipse is a sign or omen for the Jews, who calculate the duration of the months (and Feast days) according to the cycles of the Moon.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on Earth that either partially or fully blocks the Sun’s light in some areas. This happens when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are aligned, coinciding with a new (dark) moon phase. This alignment occurs approximately every six months.
A solar eclipse can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world. As such, although total solar eclipses occur somewhere on Earth every 18 months on average, many people never witness one because so much of the Earth’s surface is water. A total solar eclipse usually only recurs at any given place once every 360 to 410 years.
The Sun goes completely dark during a total solar eclipse. It is only partially obscured when there is a partial eclipse. When the Sun appears as a very bright ring (ring of fire), or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon, it is called an annular solar eclipse. A hybrid eclipse is a rare type of solar eclipse that changes its appearance from annular to total and back. Solar eclipses usually only last for 2-10 minutes.
What if the same place on the planet had two solar eclipses in under six months? That's what will soon happen in southern Texas. There are to be two consecutive solar eclipses, separated by nearly six months, in 2023 and 2024. Their point of intersection will occur in south Texas. There will be an annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023, and a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, in which both travel across many states in the U.S. See a map at Where to stand in Texas to see 2 solar eclipses in under 6 months | Space
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow (the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon), causing the Moon to be darkened. Instead of light hitting the Moon’s surface, Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. This can only occur when the Moon is full. This makes the Moon appear red (thus the name “blood moon”). Lunar Eclipses usually only last for a few hours. Total lunar eclipses are relatively rare, while partial lunar eclipses occur at least two times every year. A penumbral eclipse is so faint it is sometimes unnoticeable. A lunar eclipse can be viewed from a large area of the world. Approximately one-sixth of all lunar eclipses will occur during Passover or Sukkot (Tabernacles) on the calculated Jewish calendar.
Eclipses occur in repeating cycles. A Saros is a period of exactly 223 synodic months, approximately 6585.3211 days, or 18 years, 10, 11, or 12 days (depending on the number of leap years), and 8 hours, that can be used to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon. One saros period after an eclipse, the Sun, Earth, and Moon return to approximately the same relative geometry, a nearly straight line, and a nearly identical eclipse will occur (although not in the exact same area), in what is referred to as an eclipse cycle. Due to the ellipticity of the orbits of Earth and the Moon, the exact duration and number of eclipses in a complete Saros is not constant. A series may last 1226 to 1550 years and is comprised of 69 to 87 eclipses, of which about 40 to 60 are central (i.e., total, hybrid, or annular).
When four consecutive lunar eclipses are all total (no penumbral or partials), the series is called a tetrad. In other words, it is four total “Blood Moons” in a row, about six months apart. The term comes from the Greek word tetras, which means a group of four. Tetrads are not particularly rare, although they come in interesting cycles of around 600 years. For about 300 years there are no tetrads at all. This is followed by a period of roughly 300 years where a tetrad occurs every 15 years or so.
There have been many articles and videos on YouTube lately regarding the re-appearance of the Revelation 12 constellation sign, tetrads (four total lunar eclipses in a row, separated by six months each), and solar and lunar eclipses that are believed by many to be heavenly “signs” or precursors to significant biblical eschatological events and prophecies, especially regarding Israel and/or the Rapture. Here are a couple of popular ones that many of you have probably already seen: The Revelation 12 Sign Reborn: Don't Look Up! - YouTube and *PROVING* The Revelation 12 Sign - It's about to get Supernatural By Design!! - YouTube. We will examine these theories in part II of this article.
In 2013, John Hagee wrote the book, Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change. Shortly after, in 2014, Mark Biltz wrote Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs. The books were about the upcoming tetrads, that occurred on the Feast days of Nisan 15 and Tishri 15, which were to appear beginning in April 2014, when the first total lunar eclipse was to make its appearance. There were two total lunar eclipses in 2014 and two in 2015. Both years aligned with the first day of Passover (actually Unleavened Bread) and the first day of Tabernacles. The next tetrad to do that will occur in 2032-2033.
Note: For the rest of this article, I will refer to any lunar eclipse of Nisan 15 as Passover and any lunar eclipse of Tishri 15 as Tabernacles.
The tetrad of 2014-2015 was the second tetrad in the 21st century (the first was in 2003-2004 –a non-alignment with Jewish Feast days). Hagee and Biltz believe the tetrads of 2014-2015 were the beginning of the end times as described in the Bible in the Book of Joel, Acts 2:20, and Revelation 6:12. Hagee's book did not claim that any specific "end times" event would occur but claimed that every prior tetrad of the last 500 years coincided with events in Jewish and Israel’s history that were originally tragic, yet followed by triumph.
I would think that anything significant regarding Jewish history that coincided with these Feast day lunar eclipses would be visible from Israel. However, out of the four Feast days of 2014-2015, only the lunar eclipse of 2015, on Tabernacles, was visible from Israel.
According to my research, there have been 53 total tetrads since the 1st century AD. 9 tetrads had both years in alignment with the two Jewish Feasts (Passover and Tabernacles). 9 tetrads had only 1 year that aligned with the Feasts. So, out of 106 (53 x 2) total years, only 27 years had lunar eclipses that aligned with both the Feasts of Passover and Tabernacles. Of course, this is using the calculated Metonic cycle Jewish lunar calendar (19-year cycle with intercalary year added periodically). That’s only about ¼ of the total years.
There were five tetrads in the 20th century, 1909-1910, 1927-1928, 1949-1950, 1967-1968, and 1985-1986, and two in the 21st century (2003-2004 and 2014-2015). The only years that aligned with the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles were 1949, 1950, 1967, 1968, 1986, 2014, and 2015. The next tetrad will be in 2032-2033, with 2033 aligning with the two Feasts.
The lunar eclipses within these tetrads that were visible from Israel were Passover in 1949, the two in 1950 (a total eclipse on Passover and partial on Tabernacles), a penumbral one on Passover in 1968, a total lunar eclipse on Tabernacles in 1986, and a total lunar eclipse on Tabernacles in 2015. There will also be a total lunar eclipse on Passover in 2033 that will be visible from Israel.
Does something historically significant regarding the Gentile nations occur every time there is a solar eclipse? Of course not. Likewise, does something significant regarding Israel occur every time there is a lunar eclipse (or especially a tetrad) that is aligned with either of the two full moon Feast days? I would say no, especially if it isn’t even visible from Israel. However, I believe that on rare occasions they just might, especially for the Jews. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22).
In Part II, we will discuss lunar and solar eclipses in the 21st century and their Saros cycles, and also go back in history to the time of Christ to look for heavenly signs. Also, more on the Revelation 12 sign.