cherry picking blood red moons

This article is a longer version of one printed in The Testimony (the issue with the article in is available here [PDF]). All of the sections are (ever so) slightly enlarged in this web edition, but it you want to skip to material that wasn’t in The Testimony at all, scroll down to, or search for, the section headed ‘more reasons to doubt’.

This article points out some problems with the ‘blood moons’ theory. It demonstrates that the theory ignores information that disproves it.

Generally speaking, when it’s claimed that someone has discovered (or been divinely given) the key to unlocking a coded message from God,1 we should probably be sceptical. It wasn’t long ago when someone claimed to have work out the “Bible Code”, ‘a hidden code in the Bible that appears to reveal the details of events that took place thousands of years after the Bible was written’.2 But when similar “codes” were shown to also be in secular books – like Moby Dick, for instance3 – the “Bible Code” hype died down.

In 2001 Harold Camping predicted that “Judgement Day” would happen ten years later, on May 21st 2011, followed by the end of the world on October 21st of the same year. He claimed to have worked this out using a ‘mathematical system based on numbers that appear in the Bible’.4 Of course, 2011 came and went and another bogus (if well meaning) theory was assigned to the rubbish pile – but not until it had duped people into donating their life savings to the cause of spread Harold Camping’s message.5

Most recently, we find ourselves in the midst of something being termed the “Blood Moons phenomenon”. Simply, the idea is that whenever there is a series of four total lunar eclipses in a two year period (called a tetrad6), and those eclipses coincide with Jewish festivals, something world changing happens:7 perhaps ‘a major political development’ occurring to the Jewish people,8 or a major war, or economic crisis.9 These tetrads are ‘heavenly signs’,10 God’s ‘heavenly billboard’,11 ‘heavenly messages from our Creator’ that need ‘decoding’12 – and in the last few years, so it goes, some people have managed to decode them.13

What are we to make of these claims? This article investigates the “Blood Moons” theory, concluding that it is another mistaken (if well meaning) attempt to find and solve supposed secret codes related to God’s plan for the world. There are a number of points on which the “Blood Moons” theory stumbles, but we’ll initially limit ourselves to three (bad science, bad maths, and bad reading of scripture).14

don’t believe the hype

First off, a note about the term “Blood Moons”. This is a non-technical phrase being used as shorthand to refer to tetrads of total lunar eclipses that coincide with Jewish feasts. Using the term in this way ‘has no technical or astronomical basis’.15 It doesn’t seem to have a basis in folklore, either.16 In fact, ‘the use of the term Blood Moon to describe a lunar tetrad is of recent origin’17 – its origin is probably with the people who claim to have first “discovered”18 the “Blood Moon” theory, Mark Biltz19 and John Hagee.

You can understand why the term might be used. The phrase “Blood Moons” sounds dramatic, as if part of the significance of these tetrads is that during them the Moon turns red. After all (so it goes), the Bible tells us significant events happen when the Moon turns red. However, calling these groups of four moons “Blood Moons” is a bit sensationalist – it attempts to make something normal sound extraordinary. A red moon is not peculiar to these tetrads. It’s a relatively common occurrence for the Moon to look red. For example, whenever the Moon (or the Sun, for that matter) is nearer the horizon, it is most often redder than when it is higher in the sky,20 so people might describe it as a blood moon. Or, ‘a great pumpkin’ moon21 – which, admittedly, isn’t quite as dramatic as “Blood Moon”.22

Another time the Moon will appear red23 (and, therefore, could be described as a “blood moon”) is during an eclipse. ‘The full moon nearly always appears coppery red during a total lunar eclipse. That’s because the dispersed light from all the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets falls on the face of the moon at mid-eclipse. Thus the term blood moon can be and probably is applied to any and all total lunar eclipses’.24

In and of itself, then, a moon that is red is not particularly special (even during an eclipse). In fact, it’s an entirely normal, relatively frequent occurrence (and calling it a “blood moon” doesn’t change its normality). If the Moon looking red – i.e., a “Blood Moon” – was a sign that God had timed a dramatic event to recently or shortly happen, then it says too much. There is potentially a “Blood Moon” every time the Moon is low in the sky. And there is a “Blood Moon” every time there is a lunar eclipse. Knowingly or not, the phrase “Blood Moon” is being used sensationally. “Blood Moons” occur often and nothing significant happens. We should probably expect the same this time round.

It seems that the “Blood Moon” theory cherry picks25 the data it wants (the Moon is red during these tetrads!) and rejects data that doesn’t fit its thesis (the Moon often turns red – there is often a “Blood Moon” – and yet nothing significant happens).

less of an epiphany, more of an apophany

The “Blood Moons” theory is a case of apophenia. Apophenia is the ‘experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data’.26 ‘We humans love to see patterns, and sometimes this habit works against us, making us see them where none exists’.27 Advocates of the “Blood Moon” theory say that it is the patterns of previous “Blood Moon” tetrads that lead them to expect something significant to be heralded or triggered by this tetrad.

I’m just saying there’s a good chance there could be a war with Israel … I’m also saying there’s a good chance there could be economic calamity. And I’m basing that on the Bible and patterns.28

Whenever we witness a series of four Blood Moons, known as a tetrad, that coincide with Jewish feasts, a major political development often occurs to the Jewish People.29

However, when you review the data it becomes apparent that there isn’t a pattern to base predictions on.

The following table30 lists the eight tetrads that fell on Jewish festivals in the last two thousand years.31 The dates (AD) of their years are given, followed by where the historical event (if any) that is supposedly related to the “Blood Moons” fits into the tetrad sequence:

Years of tetrad

Where event fits in tetrad sequence

162-63

No significant events

795-96

No significant events

842-43

event occurs between third and fourth eclipses of tetrad

860-61

No significant events

1428-29

event occurs sometime in first year of tetrad, but unsure where in sequence32

1493-94

event occurs a year before first eclipse of tetrad

1949-50

event occurs a year before first eclipse of tetrad

1967-68

event occurs between first and second eclipses of tetrad

When we review the date like this, we can see that no pattern presents itself. This brings into question whether the tetrads are reliable messengers, whether there is actually a code to be unlocked. You cannot analyse and draw conclusions from a pattern that doesn’t exist.

If we were to overlook this, however, things still aren’t good. The most repeated pattern is in fact no event. If we were to follow the historical pattern of the lunar tetrads in 162-63, 795-96 and 860-61 then, with this current tetrad, we shouldn’t expect anything significant to happen. From this alone we can see that there is not much evidence in support of the idea that ‘Whenever we witness a series of Blood Moons, known as a tetrad, that coincide with Jewish feasts, a major political development often occurs to the Jewish people’.33

It seems curious to me that, in some presentations of the “Blood Moon” theory, the particularly problematic tetrads – that is, the ones in which no significant events occur – are not mentioned. Mark Biltz mentions them in his book, but only fleetingly.34 John Hagee omits them altogether (along with those sometimes connected to unimportant historical events), starting his presentation from the 1493-94 tetrad.35 Another presentation of the theory skips over all but the last two (which have been connected to the most dramatic historical events).36 Perhaps I shouldn’t, but sometimes I wonder if this was done in order to avoid the damage the other, more boring tetrads do to the theory. Either way, these boring tetrads destroy the idea that the tetrads are signals to important events.

But maybe the pattern of the “No significant events” tetrads isn’t the pattern we’re supposed to be following this time. Maybe we’re supposed to expect the current tetrad to play out along the lines of the one in 842-43. But that might not be right either. Who knows? There is no pattern for us to base anything on.

On the other hand, if ‘we follow the historical pattern of the lunar tetrads in 1493-1494 and 1949-1950, then we should have expected a monumental event in Israel the year before the blood moons began to appear, which would have been 2013. Or if we follow the pattern in 1967-1968, some great event should occur between the first and second blood moons, that is, mid-2014’.37 But all of these dates have passed. That would already make the current “Blood Moon” tetrad a damp squib.

It seems that the “Blood Moon” theory cherry picks the data it wants and rejects data that doesn’t fit its thesis (i.e., “Blood Moons” tetrads can occur and nothing significant happens).

too literal, or not literal enough

The “Blood Moon” theory is based around passage in the scriptures where the Moon is said to be ‘darkened’ (or similar) or ‘turned’ to ‘blood’ (e.g., Isa. 13:10; Joel 2:30-32; 3:15; Luke 21:11, 25; Acts 2:19-20; Rev. 6:12).38 There are potentially two ways of approaching these passages. As John Stott says in his commentary on Acts 2:19-20:

It is possible to understand these predictions either literally as upheavals of nature … or metaphorically as convulsions of history (since this is traditional apocalyptic imagery for times of social and political revolution).39

In a footnote, John Stott lists the following passages as examples of times when the image of the Moon being turned to blood is being used metaphorically: Isaiah 13:9ff.; 34:1ff.; Ezekiel 32:7ff.; Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25-26; Revelation 6:12ff. These are the types of passages relied on to support the “Blood Moon” theory when, in reality, they are passages in which ‘traditional apocalyptic imagery for times of social and political revolution’40 is being used.

N. T. Wright concurs with this second way of understanding the passages about the Moon being turned to blood, etc. Writing about Matthew 24:29-35, where the Lord Jesus quotes Isaiah 13:10 (‘For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.’), he says:

What does this mean?

For Isaiah, and for those who read him in the first century, the one thing it didn’t mean was something to do with the actual sun, moon and stars in the sky. … This language was well known, regular code for talking about what we would call huge social and political convulsions.41

More recently he has written:

When Isaiah spoke (in chap. 13) of the sun being turned into darkness and the moon into blood, his readers knew that he was talking about the catastrophic fall of great world powers, in this case Babylon. … Jeremiah used end-of-the-world language to describe the fall of Jerusalem [in chap. 4] …

Here again readers of the New Testament have made the mistake of forgetting … that language about such things as sun, moon, and starts falling from heaven was about what we would call political events.42

If this is the case, then the “Blood Moon” theory falls flat even before it leaves the starting gate.

However, even if we were supposed to take such language literally, the “Blood Moons” theory doesn’t get far before it meets an obstacle it can’t surmount. In the Biblical descriptions, there are a variety of “signs in the heavens” that come together as a package: as well as mentioning the Moon becoming dark, Isaiah, Joel, and Ezekiel also talk about the Sun and the stars being darkened (Isa. 13:10; Joel 2:10; 3:15; Ezek. 32:7-8). In Luke the Sun and stars are mentioned along with the Moon (21:25). The phrase ‘the powers [dunamis] of the heavens’ (referring to the Sun, Moon, stars, planets and/or comets, etc.?43) is also used, and it says that these things ‘will be shaken’ (v26). God says something similar in Isaiah: ‘I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place’ (Isa. 13:13). Finally, all of these ideas are echoed in Revelation (6:12-14): not only does the Moon become ‘like blood’, but also the Sun becomes ‘black as sackcloth’ and the stars fall to the earth; there is an earthquake (with ‘every mountain and island’ being ‘removed from its place’), and even the entire sky vanishing ‘like a scroll that is being rolled up’.

In the Biblical descriptions, these things happen as a package – the Sun goes dark and the Moon goes dark and the stars go dark and there are earthquakes all during the same period; the same day, even (Isa. 13:6,9,13; Joel 3:14)!44 – and yet the “Blood Moon” theory cherry picks the references to the Moon (and occasionally, and fleetingly, the Sun) and says these are the ones giving us ‘signals’. If it is to be taken literally at all, what the Biblical descriptions present is far more supernatural and strange than what the “Blood Moon” theory does. This is what one commentator says about the dramatic language in Matthew 24:29:

[Jesus] speaks of significant celestial phenomena in language reminiscent of Old Testament passages but without specifically quoting them (e.g., Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:10). The most striking thing is that neither the sun nor the moon will give any light: the whole earth will lie in darkness. With that is joined disturbance in the stars, for they will fall from heaven … That the stars will fall means that starlight is affected as much as is sunlight and moonlight. There is to be no source of light here on earth in that day.45

When the “Blood Moon” eclipses happen, it is only darker on the night side of the earth, and, even there, the stars still give their light. For the “Blood Moon” theory to come at all close to the Biblical descriptions, it would have to demonstrate that, at the same time as all the lunar eclipses it has identified as significant, the Sun and all the stars also went dark, the ‘heavenly bodies’ (Luke 21:26, NIV) were shaking, and there were earthquakes as well. Again, it seems the “Blood Moon” theory cherry picks the data it wants (a darkened Moon is mentioned in the Bible in relation to significant events) and rejects data that doesn’t fit its thesis (in these passages a darkened Moon is mentioned as part of a package including other phenomena). The “Blood Moon” theory falls far short of what is actually in the Biblical descriptions.

summary

The “Blood Moon” theory cherry picks the data it wants (a darkened Moon is mentioned in the Bible in relation to significant events. The Moon is red during these tetrads! Significant things happened in or around “Blood Moon” tetrads in the past!) and rejects data that doesn’t fit its thesis (the Moon often turns red – there is often a “Blood Moon” – and yet nothing significant happens. A tetrad of lunar eclipses can coincide with Jewish feasts and nothing significant happens. A darkened Moon is mentioned in the Bible as part of a package including other phenomena, all of which need to happen at the same time).

conclusion

Those are three reasons (and there are others46) why the “Blood Moon” theory isn’t any good. It turns a blind eye to information that defeats its thesis. It was probably always well-intentioned, but it’s another misguided and mistaken theory that should be consigned to the rubbish pile along with the others.

Perhaps the last thing to say is that it’s probable people will look over the years around this current tetrad, point to events and say those were the ones the current so-called “Blood Moons” were signalling. However, you could do this with any period of time, “Blood Moons” or none.47 It’s another case of cherry picking data that fits with the theory (“Look, there have been crises in or around the same period of time as this tetrad!”) whilst ignoring the data that defeats it (there have been – and will be – many crises during times when there are no tetrads).

There is one moon left in the current tetrad, so this article may be coming a little late! But hopefully, if nothing else, it will help us prepare for next time. In the future, when another “Bible Code”, End of the World, or “Blood Moon” type of theory appears, we would do well to meet it with scepticism and think clearly about the argument it presents. Often it doesn’t take long to realise there is nothing behind them.

And, of course, the Lord’s call still remains:

… be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. … That slave whose master finds him working when he comes will be rewarded. [Mat. 24:44,46, HCSB]


more reasons to doubt

The article above is more or less the same as the one in The Testimony. What follows are additional reasons to doubt the “Blood Moon” theory, along with some additional information related to that in the original article.

“don’t believe the hype, it’s a sequel”

Earlier, we saw that there was a certain level of hype generated about the “Blood Moon” theory. We focused particularly on the phrase “blood moon” itself and saw that it was being used (knowingly or not) in a sensationalist way. This isn’t the only thing that has been inflated, however. There is also some potential hype — or, at least, popular misunderstanding — about the connection between the lunar eclipses and the Jewish feasts they coincide with.

If you’re like me, when you first hear about lunar eclipses falling on Jewish feast days it can sound rather exciting (especially if the eclipses are referred to as “Blood Moons”). “Isn’t that amazing, that things are lining up like that!” However, it really is no surprise that the Jewish festivals coincide with lunar eclipses (as Mark Biltz admits48); after all, the Jewish calendar is lunar. ‘Passover is always marked by a Full Moon, and a lunar eclipse always coincides with a Full Moon by definition, meaning it cannot occur at any other phase’.49 The feast of Tabernacles is also marked by a full moon and occurs six months after Passover.50 Since a tetrad is ‘four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons)’, ‘in a lunar tetrad that begins on the Passover the second, third, and fourth lunar eclipses will always fall on the days of the Jewish feasts’.51 There ‘is nothing particular extraordinary about these holy days coinciding with a full moon’.52 Realising this at least partly deflates the suggestion that something special is happening when lunar eclipses occurs on a Jewish feast day, even if you call the eclipse a “Blood Moon”.

scrabbling around through the history books

In the main article we saw that, of the eight lunar tetrads that coincide with Jewish feasts, three of them (those in 162-63, 795-96 and 860-61) were not connected with any significant event in history, which brings into question whether the “Blood Moon” tetrads can be regarded as messengers. 37.5 percent of the time when we are lead to expect they will pour forth speech and reveal knowledge it turns out they don’t actually have anything to say after all. This, I expect, is not how God works. Rather, it seems we see more evidence that the tetrads (even when they coincide with Jewish feasts) aren’t of any particular significance.

But what of the other five, those that are said to connected to historical events? Do the historical events stand out as particularly significant?

When we turn to the events the other five tetrads are supposedly linked to, we see much the same as before. Mark Biltz says one of the tetrads was connected to the Treaty of Verdun (August 843),53 something which, in the words of one historian, helped ‘make the condition of the Jews more fragile’54 in parts of western Europe, or, as Mark Biltz puts it, ‘adversely effected all the Jews in the realm’.55 Another of these tetrads is linked to a convention of Jews in Florence in 1428.56 According to historian Roberto Salvadori, the conference in Florence followed ‘two other conventions held in Bologna (1416) and Forlì (1418). All these were prompted by Jewish concern over the mendicant religious orders’ increasingly violent anti-Jewish preaching and were aimed at obtaining protection from the then-reigning Pope, Martin V’.57

The last three tetrads Mark Biltz links to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella’s edict to expel all Jews from Spain (the Alhambra Decree, issued 31st March 1492), the founding of the nation of Israel in 1948, and the Jewish taking of Jerusalem in 1967.

When compared with these three events, those of 843 and 1428 seem a little out of their league. No doubt those two events were significant for the Jews whom they immediately affected, but they don’t seem on the same scale as the Alhambra Decree, the founding of the modern nation of Israel, or the capturing of Jerusalem. One might be left asking, if the tetrads ‘that coincide with Jewish feasts’ often (?) happen when ‘a major political development … occurs to the Jewish People’, why these (major?) events of 843 and 1428 and not those of, for example, 1821, 1859, 1881, 1903, 1905, 1906, 1918, 1919, and 1941 to 1945?58 Why these events and not the destruction of Jerusalem, or the expulsion from Jerusalem, or the expulsion from Rome? (Some of these were certainly more ‘major’ than the Treaty of Verdun and the conference in Florence combined, and, one would say, more significant than the Alhambra Decree.)59 Of course, we can’t claim to think like God or understand all his ways, but if the “Blood Moons” are in fact delivering messages from him to us, then it is a rather unclear message, and one that appears to require people to occasionally scrabble around through historical records to identify something that God may have wanted people to pay attention to, but which everyone missed at the time.

I may be wrong, but to my mind it seems that this is another instance of cherry picking — focusing on one set of evidence to the exclusion of all other evidence. In this case, the evidence is that the majority of all tetrads are inconsequential; three out of the eight tetrads that fall on Jewish feast days are also inconsequential (so inconsequential that they are often skipped over in presentations of the “Blood Moon” theory); two of the five remaining tetrads seem glaringly insignificant when their supposed historical event is compared to other events God could have chosen to ‘coincide with, or be triggered by, a series of Blood Moons’,60 leading us to question their validity. This leaves us with only three historical events that might have been signalled by tetrads of lunar eclipses. There turns out to be not much evidence in support of the idea that ‘Whenever we witness a series of Blood Moons, known as a tetrad, that coincide with Jewish feasts, a major political development often occurs to the Jewish people’.61

falling like ninepins

On a very few occasions, then, a tetrad of lunar eclipses happens near important events in the history of the Jewish people — on perhaps three occasions (although in a moment we’ll see even this idea is also a little suspect); the other times tetrads occur nothing particularly significant seems to happen. This is not presenting itself as a pattern for us to be looking out for in order for us to receive a sign from God.

We’ll narrow our focus down again now to look at the three remaining tetrads. As we saw before, some of the tetrads supposedly connected to historical events occurred after the event. Unfortunately for the “Blood Moon” theory, it is those connected with the Alhambra Decree (1492) and the founding of the nation of Israel (1948) — two of the three potential “Blood Moon” tetrads that are said to be linked to events of any major significance — that occur after their historical events. These tetrads and the events they are supposedly connected to don’t connect particularly well:

  • The tetrad supposedly a sign connected to the Alhambra Decree of March 1492 began the following year, in April 1493.
  • Similarly, the tetrad supposedly a sign connected to the founding of the nation of Israel in May 1948 began the following year, in May 1949.62

To put it mildly, this stretches the idea that these events coincided with, or were ‘triggered by, a series of Blood Moons’.63 You couldn’t have been expected to notice these connections (and, in fact, no one did).

So, this leaves us with one tetrad. The first of the series of four eclipses was on 24th April 1967. The Six-Day War started on June 5th; Jerusalem was taken by the Jews on 7th; the war ended on 10th. The second eclipse was on October 18th of the same year. The third and fourth lunar eclipses then occurred on April 13th and October 6th 1968. In this scenario, the first eclipse occurred 43 days before the Six-Day war started, or 45 days before Jerusalem was captured. This might correspond to someone’s definition of a tetrad of lunar eclipses “coinciding”, or even “triggering”, a major event, but it is a lone occurrence. To reiterate, the evidence is that the majority of all tetrads are inconsequential; three out of the eight tetrads that fall on Jewish feast days are also entirely inconsequential; two of the five remaining tetrads seem glaringly insignificant when compared to other events God could have chosen to ‘coincide with, or be triggered by, a series of Blood Moons’;64 two of the three remaining tetrads are subsequent to the events they are connected with or supposedly trigger (so aren’t terrible good signs or triggers)! So we have one. It hardly seems that ‘Whenever we witness a series of Blood Moons, known as a tetrad, that coincide with Jewish feasts, a major political development often occurs to the Jewish people.’65 When you do a little checking, it turns out the “Blood Moon” theory doesn’t have any substance to it. The phenomenon is not phenomenal.

“the number you have dialled has not been recognised”

Another problem with the idea that the tetrads have been giving humans messages from God is that the signs have been missed, the messages have gone unheard, throughout the majority of history. People didn’t connect the tetrad of 842-43 to the Treaty of Verdun. People didn’t connect the tetrad of 1428-29 to an assembly of Jews in one part of Europe; they didn’t connect the eclipse of 1493-94 to the Alhambra Decree of 1492; and so forth. The messages went unheard. And we can’t lay the blame for this on the people of the time, or even on their lack of possessing the “secret” to “unlocking” the “Blood Moon” “code”. Put simply, the messages when unheard because the tetrads went unseen. The message wasn’t heard because the message was communicated poorly. A total lunar eclipse, of course, happens at night, with the Earth directly between the Moon and the Sun, so is not seen by the people on the day side of the Earth – the vast majority of people would have no knowledge of it, or that it was part of an (apparently crucial) tetrad of eclipses. Not only that, but the majority of people who did see the eclipses would then be totally unaware of the events the eclipses were supposed to be acting as signs for. The messages failed.

Mark Biltz agrees that the (supposed) signs were ‘missed by everyone’ because ‘the connections were not made until I discovered them in 2008’.66 Not only is this sounding decidedly gnostic, but it is also unlike the “signs” mentioned in the Bible. In the Biblical descriptions they are unmissable (e.g., Luke 21:25-26). In the “Blood Moon” theory, all of the signs so far have been entirely missed. The “Blood Moon” signs are also unlike the Biblical descriptions in the following ways:

  • In the Bible, those “signs in the heavens” that could be described as signalling historical events for people to look out for are unexpected, unusual phenomena. They bring terror because they are strange (Luke 21:11,25-26). In contrast, the astrological events the “Blood Moon” theory is based around (i.e., tetrads of lunar eclipses) are entirely expected (at least in recent history) and usual.
  • In the Bible, those “signs in the heavens” that could be described as signalling historical events for people to look out for precede major events. In contrast, the “Blood Moon” signs sometimes signal nothing at all.
  • In the Bible, those “signs in the heavens” that could be described as signalling historical events for people to look out for precede those events. In contrast, those “Blood Moon” signs that have been connected to an event sometimes come after the event they are supposedly signalling.

In his book, “Blood Moon” advocate Mark Biltz says that, because he’s unlocked the secrets of the “Blood Moons”, ‘this time we have a forewarning of what my come’.67 But a sign that points to … nothing (as with the tetrads of 162-3, 795-6 and 860-1) gives forewarning to … nothing! And a sign that comes after the event (as with the supposed signs of 1493-94 and 1949-50) also gives no forewarning. It’s not surprising that they were missed.

things happen all the time

As noted briefly at the end of the original article, there is also the problem that many major events happen in the world all the time. And if we are limiting our focus to things that happen to Israel, or the Jews, many events happen to them all the time also. ‘[S]omething remarkable always happens somewhere in the world when events like [a tetrad] occur. That’s just the way the world is – blood moons or not’.68 In this regard, it is far too easy – like shooting fish in a barrel – to assign an event to a tetrad of total lunar eclipses. The “Blood Moon” advocates could select any number of events that happen around the time of a tetrad (especially if we’re surveying a floating five year period) and claim that the tetrad refers to that. It can become so easy that it becomes meaningless to say that the tetrads are signs – they can end up indicating everything.

As we heard before, in an interview in 2014 Mark Biltz said that, because of the tetrad currently underway, he believed that ‘there’s a good chance there could be a war with Israel … I’m also saying there’s a good chance there could be economic calamity’.69 Even without the current tetrad, it wouldn’t be taking too much of a risk to say “There’s a good chance there could be a war with Israel”. And there already is economic calamity. The tetrads are pointing at nothing we don’t already know. They become meaningless as ‘heavenly messages’ that need ‘decoding’.70

In fact, Mark Biltz is already pointing to events that are happening or have occurred in the last few years and saying that these are the things the so-called “Blood Moons” were/are a sign of. In an interview, he said:

After the first blood moon, we’ve had the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, we’ve had the advance of ISIS, a two-month war between Israel and Gaza, the Ebola plague, the overthrow of Yemen, upheaval in the Middle East, and economic meltdowns coming.71

However, any year (or period of five years or so, if we’re to be as flexible as people are with assigning events to the “Blood Moons”) is littered with events that could be seized upon and said to be connected to a tetrad, should one occur with enough proximity. Had the tetrad occurred in or around 2003, for example, “Blood Moon” advocates could just as easily said the astronomical event was connected to (any number of) historical events. It’s a simply a matter of taking your pick (or maybe just choosing them all).

In no particular order, here are some events that occurred in 2003:72

Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including the first Israeli astronaut.

A bushfire kills 4 people and destroys more than 500 homes in Canberra, Australia.

Belgium legally recognizes same-sex marriage.

US Airways Express Flight 5481 crashes at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing all 21 people aboard.

The Waterfall rail accident occurs near Waterfall, New South Wales, Australia.

The War in Darfur begins.

Two car bombs rocked Istanbul, Turkey, leaving 61 people dead and over 700 more injured.

Iran signs additional protocol to nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

India and Pakistan reach cease-fire in Kashmir.

China, the DPRK, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan hold talks to solve the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

The White City of Tel Aviv was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

SARS ravages 32 countries and regions.

British Airways Flight 223, a Boeing 747–400 flying from London Heathrow to Washington Dulles, is escorted into Dulles Airport by F-16 fighter jets, after intelligence reports of terrorists trying to board the jet and use it in a terrorist attack.

Parmalat is first accused of falsifying accounts to the tune of USD $5 billion, later admitted by founder Calisto Tanzi; observers call it “Europe’s Enron”.

Libya admits to building a nuclear bomb.

Roadmap peace plan for the Middle East released and postponed.

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake devastates southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing tens of thousands and destroying the citadel of Arg-é Bam.

Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives inside Madrid’s busy Chamartín Station.

PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits near San Simeon, California.

SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first supersonic flight.

President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit

A blast in the centre of Moscow kills six people and wounds several more.

Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigns following weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.

In Tbilisi, Georgia, opponents of President Eduard Shevardnadze seize the parliament building and demand the president’s resignation.

A magnitude-8.0 earthquake strikes just offshore of Hokkaidō, Japan.

Estonia approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

Latvia approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

The death of prisoner Hassan Evan Naseem sparks a day of rioting in Malé.

In England, the Local Government Act 2003, repealing controversial anti-gay amendment Section 28, becomes effective

A suicide bombing on a commuter train in southern Russia kills 44 people.

The Israeli military reveals it developed a secret plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein in retaliation for the Scud missile attacks on Israel during the Gulf War. The plan was called off after five commandos were accidentally killed while training for the mission.

In Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 Iraq war are killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.

A suicide-terrorist attack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, kills 17 people.

Hilltop 26, an illegal Israeli settlement near the city of Hebron, is peacefully dismantled by the IDF.

The Cedar Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, kills 15 people, consumes 250,000 acres (1,000 km²), and destroys 2,200 homes around San Diego.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Maxim restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa, Israel: 21 Israelis, Jews and Arabs, are killed, and 51 others wounded.

Hurricane Juan makes landfall in Nova Scotia.

The pinnacle was fitted on the roof of Taipei 101, a 101-floor skyscraper in Taipei, allowing it to surpass the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur by 50 meters (165 feet) and become the World’s tallest highrise.

The Staten Island Ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi collides with a pier at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, killing 11 people and injuring 43.

The Indian Ministry of Defence announces its purchase of Phalcon early warning radar systems from Israel. The contract is worth 1.2 billion US dollars.

President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada is forced to resign and leave Bolivia.

Israeli warplanes strike inside Syrian territory.

China launches Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.

During a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 300 others.

Nearly 200 people die in the Daegu subway arson attack in South Korea.

An estimated eleven million people around the world take to the streets to protest against the looming war with Iraq

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is officially renamed Serbia and Montenegro and adopts a new constitution.

The Spirit Rover is launched, beginning NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission.

Eleven support towers on Kinzua Bridge collapse after being hit by an F-1 tornado.

The Second Congo War concludes with 2–5 million deaths since 1998.

A severe heat wave across Pakistan and India reaches its peak, as temperatures exceed 50°C in the region.

Europe launches its first voyage to another planet, Mars.

A double suicide bombing at a Moscow rock concert kills the attackers and 15 other people.

The Czech Republic approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

500,000 Hong Kong people march to protest Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23, which controversially redefines treason.

Poland approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

A female suicide bomber detonates a bomb near a bus carrying soldiers and civilians to a military airfield in Mozdok, a major staging point for Russian troops in Chechnya, killing at least 16.

Prometea, the first horse cloned by Italian scientists, is born.

Dewey, the first deer cloned by scientists at Texas A&M University, is born.

An earthquake hits northern Algeria killing more than 2,000 people.

In Casablanca, Morocco, 33 civilians are killed and more than 100 people are injured in the Casablanca terrorist attacks.

Slovakia approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic is sentenced by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to 11 years in prison.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 Attacks, is arrested by CIA and ISI officials at a home in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Malta approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

In Haifa, 17 Israeli civilians are killed by a Hamas suicide bomb in the Haifa bus 37 massacre.

Rowan Williams is enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

Zoran Đinđić, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated in Belgrade.

Lithuania approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26.

A suicide truck-bomb attack kills at least 60 at a government compound in northern Chechnya.

A major severe weather outbreak spawns more tornadoes than any week in U.S. history; 393 tornadoes are reported in 19 states.

Beijing closes all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus.

The Treaty of Accession is signed in Athens admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.

U.S. troops in Baghdad capture Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner the Achille Lauro in 1985.

The United States announces the withdrawal of troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, and the redeployment of some at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

Hungary approves joining the European Union in a referendum.

U.S. troops capture Baghdad; Saddam Hussein’s regime falls two days later.

The Arab League votes 21-1 in favour of a resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of U.S. and British soldiers from Iraq.

Invasion of Iraq by American and British led coalition begins without United Nations support and in defiance of world opinion

Slovenia approves joining the European Union and NATO in a referendum.

A passenger bus hits a remote-controlled land mine in the Chechen capital, killing at least 8.

The deadliest traffic accident to date in Hong Kong occurs.

Sudan Airways Flight 39, with 116 people on board, crashes in Sudan; the only survivor is a two-year-old boy who subsequently dies as a result of his injuries.

The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional.

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” the 5th book of the series by J. K. Rowling is published worldwide in English

The ELN kidnaps 8 foreign tourists in the Ciudad Perdida in Colombia; they demand a human rights investigation and release the last hostages 3 months later.

A rocket explosion kills 21 at the Brazilian rocket complex in Alcântara, Brazil, due to the premature ignition of a solid rocket booster.

In a referendum Sweden rejects adopting the Euro.

The United Nations lifts sanctions against Libya after that country agreed to accept responsibility and recompense the families of victims in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

In Fallujah, US forces mistakenly shoot and kill eight Iraqi police officers.

Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh dies after being assaulted and fatally wounded.

Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, is assassinated in a terrorist bombing, along with nearly 100 worshippers as they leave a mosque in Najaf.

A 6.4 Richter scale earthquake occurs near the Greek Ionian island of Lefkada; 24 are injured.

An electricity blackout cuts off power to around 500,000 people living in south east England and brings 60% of London’s underground rail network to a halt.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.

A car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq kills the agency’s top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.

A Hamas planned suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem kills 23 Israelis, 7 of them children

Sixteen people are injured after two bombs explode outside a tax office in Nice.

Widescale power blackout in the northeast United States and Canada.

Members of 101st Airborne of the United States, aided by Special Forces, attack a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay, along with Mustapha Hussein, Qusay’s 14-year old son, and a bodyguard.

NATO takes over command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, marking its first major operation outside Europe in its 54-year-history.

A heat wave in Paris results in temperatures rising to 44° C, leaving about 144 people dead.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK – 38.5°C in Kent . It is the first time the UK has recorded a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

A car bomb explodes in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.

A group of 321 Filipino armed soldiers called “Magdalo” took over the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center in Makati City to show the Filipino people the alleged corruption of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration

The United Nations authorizes an international peacekeeping force for Liberia.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah fires artillery toward Israeli border posts. It was the first such exchange in eight months

Ethiopia experiences worst famine in 20 years (20 million affected).

People under threat of famine across Africa:

Zimbabwe: 7 million

Malawi: 3.2 million

Sudan: 2.9 million

Zambia: 2.7 million

Angola: 1.9 million

Eritrea: 1 million

Plus around 7.3 million across Swaziland, Congo, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Lesotho and Mozambique

The Elections for the 16th Knesset are held in Israel. The result is a resounding victory for Ariel Sharon’s Likud.

With the certain spin, many or all of these could be identified as events a tetrad could be signalling.

… yes, earthquakes, wars, disease, relationship breakups and lost car keys are on tap to occur in 2014 and 2015 … just like during any other year. … We humans love to see patterns, and sometimes this habit works against us, making us see them where none exists. This is simply a case of the gambler’s fallacy, counting the hits at the cost of the misses.73

appendix 1
resources

Greg Boyd Discusses the Four Blood Moons Book (~7 mins)

The Blood Moon Theory DEBUNKED (2014-2015) (~12 mins)


Accompanying article: Chris White, ‘Blood Moon Theory Debunked and More‘ (3/12/13) on BPT

In conclusion, I actually agree that significant events are on the horizon for Israel, and even possibly of Biblical proportions, but to suggest that any significant events which might occur in the next couple years are in any way related to the tetrad eclipses of 2014-15 would be akin to me saying that my team won the Super Bowl because I wore my lucky Jersey.

appendix 2
presentations of eclipse and historical data

Table 1

The following table lists the eight tetrads that fell on Jewish festivals in the last two thousand years (the so-called “Blood Moon” tetrads). The dates (AD) of their years are given, followed by where the historical event (if any) that is supposedly related to the “Blood Moons” fits into the tetrad sequence:

Years of tetrad Where event fits in tetrad sequence
162-63 No significant events
795-96 No significant events
842-43 event occurs between third and fourth eclipses of tetrad
860-61 No significant events
1428-29 event occurs sometime in first year of tetrad, but unsure where in sequence*
1493-94 event occurs a year before first eclipse of tetrad
1949-50 event occurs a year before first eclipse of tetrad
1967-68 event occurs between first and second eclipses of tetrad

* It appears we are unsure when the Jewish conference was convened in 1428, so we do not know if it occurred before or after the first or second lunar eclipse of the tetrad that started that year.

 

List 1

The following list gives much the same information as the table above but includes dates of each “Blood Moon” tetrad, each eclipse within each tetrad, and the historical event (if any) supposedly related to each tetrad.

  • Tetrad years: 162-63
    Apr. 17th 162; Oct. 11th 162; Apr. 6th 163; Sept. 30th 163
  • Tetrad years: 795-96
    April 9th 795; Oct. 3rd 795; Mar. 28th 769; Sept. 21st 769
  • Tetrad years: 842-43
    Mar. 30th 842; Sept. 23rd 842; Mar. 19th 843; Treaty of Verdun, Aug. 843; Sept. 12th 843
  • Tetrad years: 860-61
    Apr. 9th 860; Oct. 30th 860; Mar. 30th 861; Sept. 22nd 861
  • Tetrad years: 1428-29
    Mar. 31st 1428; Sept. 23rd 1428; Mar. 20th 1429; Sept. 13th 1429
    Florence conference, 1428 (sometime in 1st year)
  • Alhambra Decree, 31st Mar. 1492
    Tetrad years: 1493-94

    April 2nd 1493; Sept. 25th 1493; Mar. 22nd 1494; Sept. 15th 1494
  • Founding of the nation of Israel, 14th May 1948
    Tetrad years: 1949-50
    Apr. 13th 1949; Oct. 7th 1949; Apr. 2nd 1950; Sept. 26th 1950
  • Tetrad years: 1967-68
    April 24th 1967; capture of Jerusalem, 7th June 1967; Oct. 18th 1967; Apr. 13th 1968; Oct. 6th 1968

Table 2

The following table shows the date of the so-called “Blood Moon” tetrads in relation to the historical events (if any) they are supposedly related to. It also gives the coordinates of each eclipse’s zenith and a very approximate description of the zenith’s location on the Earth.

Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD) Coordinates of eclipse zenith Very approximate description of zenith location
162-63 April 17 162 10S 10W South Atlantic Ocean, west of Angola and south of Liberia
Oct. 11 162 6N 6W Southern Ivory Coast
April 6 163 6S 96E India Ocean, west of Indonesia
Sept. 30 163 3N 22W North Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Sierra Leone and south of Cape Verde
795-96 April 9 795 8S 71W West Brazil, near Peru
Oct. 3 795 5N 93W North Pacific Ocean, west of Colombia and south of Guatemala
Mar. 28 769 5S 89W South Pacific Ocean, west of northern Peru
Sept. 21 769 1N 64E Indian Ocean, east of Somalia and south of Pakistan
842-43 Mar. 30 842 6S 55W Northern Brazil
Sept. 23 842 2N 158E South Pacific Ocean, northeast of Papua New Guinea
Mar. 19 843 1S 72E Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka
Event (Treaty of Verdun, Aug. 843)
Sept. 12 843 3s 163E South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
860-61 April 9 860 10S 171W South Pacific Ocean, north of Samoa
Oct. 30 860 6N 45E Southwest Ethiopia
Mar. 30 861 5S 49W Northern Brazil
Sept. 22 861 1N 52E Indian Ocean, east of Somalia
1428-29  Event (Florence conference, 1428)* Mar. 31 1428 7S 124W South Pacific Ocean, west of Peru and south of California
Sept. 23 1428 3S 96E Indian Ocean, off the south-western coast of Aceh
Mar. 20 1429 4S 17E Western Democratic Republic of the Congo
Sept. 13 1429 0S 8W Atlantic Ocean, south of Liberia and west of São Tomé and Príncipe, on the Equator
Event (Alhambra Decree, 31 Mar. 1492)
1493-94 April 2 1493 9S 21W South Atlantic Ocean, between St Helena and Brazil
Sept. 25 1493 5N 142E North Pacific Ocean, north of Papua New Genuine and east of Palau
Mar. 22 1494 4S 22W South Atlantic Ocean, northwest of St Helena and west of Cabinda Province, Angola
Sept. 15 1494 0N 99W Pacific Ocean, west of Ecuador and south of Mexico City, on the Equator
Event (founding of the nation of Israel, 14 May 1948)
1949-50 April 13 1949 9S 62W North-western Brazil
Oct. 7 1949 5N 47W North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of French Guiana and northern Brazil
April 2 1950 5S 50E Indian Ocean, between the Seychelles and the southern tip of Kenya
Sept. 26 1950 1N 66W Southern tip of Venezuela
1967-68 April 24 1967 12S 178E South Pacific Ocean, between Tuvalu and Fiji
Event (Jewish capture of Jerusalem, 7 June 1967)
Oct. 18 1967 9N 157W North Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Kiribati
April 13 1968 9S 72W Western Brazil, near the border with Peru
Oct. 6 1968 6N 179W North Pacific Ocean, between the Marshall Islands and Kiribati
2014-15 April 15 2014 10S 116W South Pacific Ocean, between Huku Hiva and Peru
Oct. 8 2014 6N 167W North Pacific Ocean, between Kiribati, Johntson Atoll and Howland Island
April 4 2015 5S 179W South Pacific Ocean, between Tuvalu and Howland Island
Sept. 28 2015 2N 44W North Atlantic Ocean, off the north-eastern coast of Brazil

It appears that we do not know when the Jewish conference was convened in 1428, so we do not know if it occurred before or after the first or second lunar eclipse of the tetrad that started that year.

 

Table 3

Below, each of the “Blood Moon” tetrads are tabularize individually, giving the dates of the eclipses and the historical events (if any) they are supposedly related to.

1. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
162-63 April 17 162
Oct. 11 162
April 6 163
Sept. 30 163

 

2. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
795-96 April 9 795
Oct. 3 795
Mar. 28 769
Sept. 21 769

 

3. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
842-43 Mar. 30 842
Sept. 23 842
Mar. 19 843
843: Event (Treaty of Verdun, Aug.)
Sept. 12 843

 

4. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
860-61 April 9 860
Oct. 30 860
Mar. 30 861
Sept. 22 861

 

5. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
1428-29  1428: Event (Florence conference)* Mar. 31 1428
Sept. 23 1428
Mar. 20 1429
Sept. 13 1429
* It appears we do not know when the Jewish conference was convened in 1428, so we do not know if it occurred before or after the first or second lunar eclipse of the tetrad that started that year.

 

1492: Event (Alhambra Decree, 31 Mar.)
6. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
1493-94 April 2 1493
Sept. 25 1493
Mar. 22 1494
Sept. 15 1494

 

1948: Event (founding of the nation of Israel, 14 May)
7. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
1949-50 April 13 1949
Oct. 7 1949
April 2 1950
Sept. 26 1950

 

8. Years of tetrad (AD) Date of eclipse (AD)
1967-68 April 24 1967
1967: Event (Jewish capture of Jerusalem, 7 June)
Oct. 18 1967
April 13 1968
Oct. 6 1968

 

Data from: M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 146-149; the relevant subpages of NASA, ‘Index of Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses’ on NASA: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LEcatalog.html; ‘Treaty of Verdun’ on Encyclopaedia Britannica: britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/625953/Treaty-of-Verdun; R. G. Salvador, The Jews of Florence (Firenze: Giuntina, 2005), p. 19; E. A. Ryan, ‘Spanish Inquisition’ (updated 27/05/15) on Encyclopaedia Britannica: britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/558090/Spanish-Inquisition; ‘Milestones 1945-1952: Creation of Israel, 1948’ on U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian: history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/creation-israel; (all websites accessed 06/06/15); Z. Shalom, Ben-Gurion’s Political Struggles, 1963-1967: A Lion in Winter (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006), p. 116




endnotes

1 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014) , p. ix-x, 159

2 M. Drosnin, The Bible Code (New York: Touchstone, 1997), p. 13

3 R. T. Carroll, The Skeptic’s Dictionary (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2003), p. 54

4 J. Berton, ‘Biblical scholar’s date for rapture: May 21, 2011’ (01/01/10) on SFGate: sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Biblical-scholar-s-date-for-rapture-May-21-2011-3204226.php (all webpages referenced were accessed 06/06/15)

5 ‘‘Rapture’: Believers perplexed after prediction fails’ (22/05/11) on BBC: bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13489641; ‘US doomsday preacher Harold Camping dies at 92’ (17/12/13) on BBC: bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25424916

6 Tetrad simply means ‘a group or series of four’ (Collins English Dictionary).

7 ‘Synopsis’ on Four Blood Moons: fourbloodmoonsmovie.com/synopsis

8 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177

9 A. Ohlheiser, ‘Everything you need to know about the ‘blood moon’ apocalypse debate’ (06/04/15) on The Washington Post: washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/03/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-blood-moon-apocalypse-debate

10 From the subtitle to M. Biltz’s book Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014)

11 J. Hagee, Four Blood Moons (Brentwood: Worthy, 2013), digital edition

12 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014) , p. ix-x

13 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014) , p. ix-x, 159

14 For others, see the ‘more reasons to doubt’ section below.

15 ‘Total Lunar Eclipse can be a Blood Moon’ on timeanddate.com: timeanddate.com/eclipse/total-lunar-eclipse.html

16 Traditionally, the only “Blood Moon” in Anglo folklore is what’s normally referred to as the Hunter’s Moon, which is specifically ‘the full Moon immediately following … the full Moon occurring most closely to the autumnal equinox’ (B. McClure and D. Byrd, ‘What is a Blood Moon?’ (27/03/15) on EarthSky: earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-blood-moon-lunar-eclipses-2014-2015).

17 B. McClure and D. Byrd, ‘What is a Blood Moon?’ (27/03/15) on EarthSky: earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-blood-moon-lunar-eclipses-2014-2015

18 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 159; J. Hagee, Four Blood Moons (Brentwood: Worthy, 2013), digital edition

19 B. McClure and D. Byrd, ‘What is a Blood Moon?’ (27/03/15) on EarthSky: earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-blood-moon-lunar-eclipses-2014-2015

20 D. Byrd, ‘Everything you need to know: Hunter’s Moon 2013’ (17/10/13) on EarthSky: earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-hunters-moon

21 ScienceAtNASA, ‘ScienceCasts: The Harvest Moon’: youtu.be/-5GauJNCRJ4 (16/09/13) at 2:21

22 You can understand why John Hagee didn’t call his book “Four Pumpkin Moons”.

23 Or orange.

24 B. McClure and D. Byrd, ‘What is a Blood Moon?’ (27/03/15) on EarthSky: earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-blood-moon-lunar-eclipses-2014-2015; cf. D. Byrd, ‘Why a totally eclipsed moon looks red’ (03//04/15) on EarthSky earthsky.org/space/why-does-the-moon-look-red-during-a-total-lunar-eclipse

25 ‘A person commits cherry picking when he focuses on one set of evidence to the exclusion of all other evidence’ (E. Caner, ‘Logical fallacies’ in E. Hindson and E. Caner [eds], The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics [Eugene: Harvest House, 2008], p. 236-8; here, p. 237).

26 B. Poulsen, ‘Being Amused by Apophenia’ (31/07/12) on Psychology Today: psychologytoday.com/blog/reality-play/201207/being-amused-apophenia; for more on the human capacity to spot patterns, even when there isn’t a pattern to find, see: A. K. Zimmermann, ‘Pareidolia: Seeing Faces in Unusual Places’ (11/12/12) on Live Science: livescience.com/25448-pareidolia.html; ‘Pareidolia: Why we see faces in hills, the Moon and toasties’ (31/05/13) on BBC: bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22686500; for a definition of an apophany, see J. D. Blom, A Dictionary of Hallucinations (New York: Springer, 2010), p. 32-33

27 D. Dickinson, ‘The Science Behind the “Blood Moon Tetrad” and Why Lunar Eclipses Don’t Mean the End of the World’ (07/04/14) on Universe Today: universetoday.com/110868/the-science-behind-the-blood-moon-tetrad-and-why-lunar-eclipses-dont-mean-the-end-of-the-world

28 A. Ohlheiser, ‘Everything you need to know about the ‘blood moon’ apocalypse debate’ (06//04/15) on The Washington Post: washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/03/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-blood-moon-apocalypse-debate

29 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177

30 For more detailed tabularisations of the data (including dates of eclipses and events), see the appendix at the end of this article.

31 Data taken from M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 146-149; the relevant subpages of NASA, ‘Index of Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses’ on NASA: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LEcatalog.html; ‘Treaty of Verdun’ on Encyclopaedia Britannica: britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/625953/Treaty-of-Verdun; R. G. Salvador, The Jews of Florence (Firenze: Giuntina, 2005), p. 19; E. A. Ryan, ‘Spanish Inquisition’ (updated 27/05/15) on Encyclopaedia Britannica: britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/558090/Spanish-Inquisition; ‘Milestones 1945-1952: Creation of Israel, 1948’ on U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian: history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/creation-israel; Z. Shalom, Ben-Gurion’s Political Struggles, 1963-1967: A Lion in Winter (Abingdon: Routledge, 2006), p. 116

32 It appears we are unsure when the Jewish conference was convened in 1428, so we do not know if it occurred before or after the first or second lunar eclipse of the tetrad that started that year.

33 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177 (emphasis added)

34 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 146-149

35 ‘Synopsis’ on Four Blood Moons: fourbloodmoonsmovie.com/synopsis The synopsis to J. Hagee’s presentation says, ‘Only three times in the past 500 years have four of these blood moons (or tetrads) occurred back to back and on major Jewish holy days’. Why only look at the past 500 years? What is it about the tetrads prior to this (except their awkwardness) that means they can be ignored?

36 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 178

37 M. Hitchcock, Blood Moons Rising (Tyndale, 2014), p. 137

38 E.g., M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 29-30; A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 176

39 J. Stott, The Message of Acts (Leicester: IVP, 1990), p. 74-75

40 J. Stott, The Message of Acts (Leicester: IVP, 1990), p. 74-75

41 T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone: Part 2, Chapters 16-28 (London: SPCK, 2002), p. 122

42 T. Wright, Simply Good News (London: SPCK, 2015), p. 107

43 NIRV translates dunamis as ‘sun, moon and stars’; NIV has ‘heavenly bodies’; CEB, ‘the planets and other heavenly bodies’.

44 C. White, ‘The Blood Moon Theory Debunked And More’ (03/12/15) on Bible Prophecy Talk: bibleprophecytalk.com/bpt-blood-moon-theory-debunked-and-more

45 L. Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew (Leicester: IVP, 1992), p. 609

46 For others, see the ‘more reasons to doubt’ section below.

47 Look back at the news from around, say, 2003, for instance. Or 2006. Or 1940. For more on this, see the additional material in the ‘more reasons to doubt’ section below

48 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 144-5; cf. 143

49 D. Dickinson, ‘The Science Behind the “Blood Moon Tetrad” and Why Lunar Eclipses Don’t Mean the End of the World’ (07/04/14) on Universe Today: universetoday.com/110868/the-science-behind-the-blood-moon-tetrad-and-why-lunar-eclipses-dont-mean-the-end-of-the-world

50 T. Prosic, The Development and Symbolism of Passover (London: T&T Clark, 2004), p. 66

51 ‘Ten things you need to know about the blood moons that begin on Monday’ (14/04/14) on Disclose.tv: disclose.tv/news/10_Things_You_Need_to_Know_About_the_Blood_Moons_That_Begin_on_Monday/102377#ixzz3bSJNBjoe (it’s telling that even a site like Disclose.tv — a site interested in ‘Hidden Truth Revealed – Secrets Declassified – Mysteries Decoded’ — thinks the “Blood Moon” theory is suspect.)

52 K. L. Waters, ‘Does the Bible predict the ‘blood moon’?’ (14/04/14) on CNN: religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/14/whats-up-with-the-blood-moons-prophecies

53 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 148

54 E. Benbassa, The Jews of France (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 202

55 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 148

56 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 148

57 R. G. Salvadori, The Jews of Florence (Firenze: Giuntina, 2001), p. 19

58 The dates from 1821-1919 are when pogroms occurred. 1941-1945 is when the Holocaust happened.

59 The potential arbitrary nature of some of Mark Biltz’s correlating of tetrads and historical events is perhaps highlighted when one considers, for example, he could have chosen a number of events in 1428 (see, e.g., F. Skolnik (ed.), Encyclopaedia Judaica: Vol. 7, Fey-Gor, 2nd edn [Farmington Hills: Thompspn Gale, 2007], p. 84,265,459), which could have qualified as equally as major as the one he selected.

60 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177

61 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177, emphasis added

62 It appears that we do not know when the Jewish conference was convened in 1428, so we do not know if it occurred before or after the first or second lunar eclipse of the tetrad that started that year. The Treaty of Verdun, signed in August 843, would have fallen between the third and fourth of the tetrad started the previous year.

63 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177

64 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177

65 A. P. White, ‘Blood Moons’ in The Christadelphian (April 2014), p. 176-178; here, p. 177

66 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 159

67 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. 159

68 K. L. Waters, ‘Does the Bible predict the ‘blood moon’?’ (14/04/14) on CNN: religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/14/whats-up-with-the-blood-moons-prophecies

69 A. Phillip, ‘Apocalypse now? ‘Blood moon’ prophet explains what’s behind the doomsday predictions’ (17/04/14) on The Washington Post: washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/04/17/apocalypse-now-blood-moon-prophet-explains-whats-behind-the-doomsday-predictions

70 M. Biltz, Blood Moons (Washington: WND, 2014), p. ix, x

71 A. Ohlheiser, ‘Everything you need to know about the ‘blood moon’ apocalypse debate’ (06/04/15) on The Washington Post: washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/03/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-blood-moon-apocalypse-debate

72 Sources: ‘2003 in Israel’ on Wikipdeia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_in_Israel; ‘2003’ on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003; J. Vidal, ‘Ethiopia’s worst famine in 20 years’ (18/04/03) on The Guardian: theguardian.com/world/2003/apr/18/famine.ethiopia; ‘Historical Events for Year 2003’ on OnThisDay.com: historyorb.com/events/date/2003

73 D. Dickinson, ‘The Science Behind the “Blood Moon Tetrad” and Why Lunar Eclipses Don’t Mean the End of the World’ (07/04/14) on Universe Today: universetoday.com/110868/the-science-behind-the-blood-moon-tetrad-and-why-lunar-eclipses-dont-mean-the-end-of-the-world; for more on the human capacity to spot patterns, even when there isn’t a pattern to find, see B. Poulsen, ‘Being Amused by Apophenia’ (31/07/12) on Psycology Today: psychologytoday.com/blog/reality-play/201207/being-amused-apophenia; K. A. Zimmermann, ‘Pareidolia: Seeing Faces in Unusual Places ‘ (11/12/12) on Live Science: livescience.com/25448-pareidolia.html; ‘Pareidolia: Why we see faces in hills, the Moon and toasties’ (31/05/13) on BBC: bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22686500

Credits: title image: “Italienische Süßkirschen” by 4028mdk09Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.