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Astronomical Eclipse Data and Israel's Feasts

response to Danny Faulkner regarding the blood moons


Astronomical Eclipse Data and Israel’s Feasts

A full lunar eclipse can often result in the moon appearing red or orange, and sometimes even a deep red.  When an eclipse producing a red moon occurs at the time of one of Israel’s feasts, it is referred to as a “blood moon,” in part because of the blood sacrifices that these feasts often entailed.  Both lunar and solar eclipses can been accurately predicted as well as charted in the past.  For example, the NASA eclipse website has a complete listing of 5000 years of eclipse data.  The following discussion is based on these data

An event that is already rare astronomically is for 4 full Lunar eclipses to occur in succession. Usually, a number of partial eclipses occur between the times of total Lunar eclipses. Even more remarkable is for such a tetrad of Lunar eclipses to occur on Jewish feast days (whether visible from Israel or not), thus gaining the name ‘blood moons.’

This Lunar tetrad event on Jewish feast days will only occur once in this century, in 2014-2015. The tetrad event only occurred twice in the last century: in 1949 & 1950, then in 1967 & 1968. In each case, the 4 total Lunar eclipses occurred in succession on the Feasts of Passover and Tabernacles two years in a row. The dates were 13th April & 7th October, 1948 and 2nd April and 26th September 1950. The second tetrad occurred on 24th April  & 18th October, 1967; then 13th April  & 6th October, 1968. It is interesting that the first tetrad of Lunar eclipses in the 20th century occurred immediately after Israel became a nation on 14th May, 1948, and the second tetrad surrounded the return of the Old City of Jerusalem to Jewish control on 7th  June 1967.

Total Solar eclipses are not common. In 1967, there were two total Solar eclipses, namely on 9th May and 2nd November. When Solar events like this are linked with total Lunar eclipse tetrads, the chance of this happening is extremely low. Under these circumstances, it may be that the Lord is calling to our attention the significant event in His Program and for the nation of Israel which occurred that year. There is something similar for the formation of Israel in 1948. On 20th May 1947 there was a total Solar eclipse, with the next eclipse being annular. An annular eclipse is essentially the same as a total Solar eclipse except that there is a very small ring of light from the Sun around the outside edge of the Moon which is blocking the rest of the Sun’s light. This annular eclipse occurred on 12th November 1947. Then in 1948 there was another annular eclipse on 9th May, just before the birth of the state of Israel, with another total solar eclipse on 1st November 1948.

The tetrad occurring in this century begins on Passover April 15th 2014, followed by Tabernacles October 8th 2014; then Passover April 4th 2015 and finally on Tabernacles 28th September 2015. The first Solar eclipse occurs on 1st Nisan (March 20th) 2015, and is total. The second is on Rosh Hashana (September 14th) 2015, and is partial. So there is a culmination of significant astronomical events in September 2015 with a partial Solar eclipse for Rosh Hashana just a few days before the key day of Atonement September 23rd, and followed a few days after by a total Lunar eclipse on the Feast Of Tabernacles.

There were no lunar eclipse tetrads in the 1800's or the 1700's or the 1600's, though there were some related events in the 1500's which we will also come to in a moment.

If we go back further in time, the only total Lunar eclipses associated with Jewish feasts were 2nd April, 1493 (Passover), 25th September, 1493 (Tabernacles) followed by total lunar eclipses on 22nd March 1494 (Passover) and 15th September 1494 (Tabernacles). This tetrad may well be associated with the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. On July 30th of that year, the entire community of some 200,000 Jews was forcibly evicted, forced to convert to Catholicism, or murdered. Tens of thousands of refugees died in the process. The whole scheme was the brainchild of one man, the head of the Spanish Inquisition, Father Tomas de Torquemada.

In the period 1491 to 1493 there were eight solar eclipses associated with the Jewish expulsion from Spain. The sequence began with an annular eclipse on 8th May, 1491, followed by a total eclipse on 2nd November that same year. These were just a few months before the actual Jewish eviction order was published. Then in 1492 an annular eclipse occurred on 26th April and 21st October. In 1493 a total eclipse occurred on 16th April and a partial eclipse on 10th October. In 1494 a total solar eclipse occurred on 7th March, with a partial eclipse on 30th August. These solar eclipses in 1493 and 1494 were associated with the tetrad of total Lunar eclipses that also occurred in those years.

It is for these reasons that a number of people of various faiths are wondering if there will not also be some significant event or series of events primarily concerned with Israel, or perhaps the entire world, near the time of the coming tetrad.  Jesus told us no man would know the day or the hour of His coming.  However, if we check the Old Testament we find in Joel 1:7 the reference to Israel as both a vine and a fig tree.  Jesus appears to pick up this symbolism when He speaks of the end times: 

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:  As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.”

Israel became a nation in a day, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 66:7-9.  The fig tree put out its leaves.  It was growing again.  Does God also use astronomical events as signs?  Jesus tells us to watch for them as there will come a time when “the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”  This is a clear reference to Isaiah 13:10, which refers to the “day of the Lord,” – “a cruel day with wrath and fierce anger.”

Immediately after the mention of the fig tree, and then saying we would know the end is ‘right at the door,’ Jesus concludes, saying, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”  The reference is to the generation that sees the fig tree begin to leaf – the generation that saw Israel born in a day.  That’s us.  This is the time.

November, 2013

Blood Moons and Danny Faulkner:

Response to Danny Faulkner on Blood Moon occurrences

There is, currently, enormous interest in a number of quarters regarding something called a Tetrad which will be occurring this year and next.  A blood moon is the name given when a full lunar eclipse ends up giving the moon a blood red appearance.  This itself is not that rare an occurrence.  However there is something happening in these two years which is rare:  four blood moons in a row, with no partial lunar eclipses in between them.  This is a Tetrad.  What is even more interesting and rare is that this Tetrad is occurring in both years on the first day of Passover, the first Jewish feast of the year, and then again on Sukkot (also known as Tabernacles), the last Jewish feast of the year.  This type of Tetrad, occurring on these dates, is extremely rare. 

A number of people have been discussing it.  One of them is Mark Biltz, founder of El Shaddai Ministries.  There is a You Tube video in which he discusses this Tetrad (we have only watched Part 1). Barry has also discussed it above.

Danny Faulkner is an astronomer and Professor of Astronomy.  We expect reliable information from him regarding astronomical topics.  However, his article regarding the Tetrad and the Jewish feasts appears to be not quite on target. 

Barry has been asked to respond to this article and the following is his response.  What we have found interesting over the past ten years or so, however, is that whenever Barry appears to be ‘for’ something, Danny presents criticisms and/or denials regarding that subject.  This has included Danny’s denial of the astronomical events related to the birth of Jesus, the evidence of massive plasma and electromagnetic interactions in the cosmos, and now the Tetrad’s possible significance.


From Barry:

In his layman’s summary Faulkner points to comments by Mark Biltz who is the founder of El Shaddai Ministries. Biltz correctly noted some unusual coincidences and suggested that a similar set of circumstances will be occurring in 2014-2015. The proposition is that a set of 4 full Lunar eclipses occurring on Jewish feast days (Passover and Sukkot) two years in succession in the past has usually coincided with some significant occurrence associated with Israel.  On occasions, a total solar eclipse also occurred in association with these events, as I have shown above.

The implication is that, given these unusual coincidences, one might expect something of importance to happen regarding Israel in the 2014-2015 period, since these eclipses usually appeared to happen around a significant event. Many seem to feel that these upcoming eclipses will mark the return of Christ at Tabernacles 2015. However, the succession of blood moons on Jewish feast days does not uniquely require that as the only possibility, only that some key event regarding Israel is involved.

With that in mind, we look again at Danny Faulkner’s article. He correctly states that: The moon’s orbit precesses in an 18.6-year period, so the eclipse seasons shift about 20 days earlier each year. The result is that the possibility of lunar eclipses happening around the times of Passover and Sukkot (which are six months apart) repeats roughly half of this 18.6-year period. For instance, in 1995–1996, there were four lunar eclipses (not all were total)—two that fell on Passover and the other two within a day of Sukkot.”

Notice carefully that Faulkner stated explicitly that not all eclipses were total. So the occurrence of four Lunar eclipses around Jewish feast days in 1995-1996 does NOT qualify for the blood moon sequence that Biltz is talking about.  Faulkner goes on to ask the question “Isn’t it unusual to have a Lunar eclpse on the same day as Passover or Sukkot?” He responds to his question by saying No, it’s really not that unusual.” He then gives further astronomical information. However, in so doing he is sliding under the fact that we need (1) a total Lunar eclipse at Passover and Sukkot and (2) these total eclipses come two years in succession and (3) there are no partial lunar eclipses in between. This sequence IS unusual, and Faulkner is apparently trying to minimize this important fact. Indeed, he leaves the impression that this set of eclipses happens frequently when it does not.

He then proceeds to illustrate recent eclipses coincident with Passover and Sukkot by listing the 37 Lunar eclipses in the 20th century that coincided with Passover and Sukkot. At a casual glance one might be excused for thinking that Mark Biltz has made a mistake, until it is realized that (1) not all of these eclipses were total and (2) the total eclipses only occurred in the feast days for two years in succession (as the Biltz proposition requires) on two occasions in the 20th century. Those occasions were 1949-1950 and 1967-1968. The first of these was related to the formation of Israel as a nation and the second related to the return of Jerusalem to Jewish control after 2000 years. Both events are the subject of prophecy.

In contrast, Faulkner states: “Therefore, again, the coincidence of lunar eclipses with these two observances is more common than Biltz realizes.” From his presentation, one might conclude that Faulkner is trying to deliberately cloud the issue by ignoring the two basics of the proposition, namely that all four eclipses had to be total and that there were four consecutive total eclipses on feast days. This set of circumstances has indeed only occurred twice in the 20th century, a fact which Faulkner tries to disguise (it did not happen for several hundred years previously, as well, as Biltz notes). However, we can go further. Faulkner has deliberately omitted the two total eclipses in 1967 from his list and only included the 1968 pair. To see this deliberate omission, one only has to check Faulkner’s Table 1 with the NASA eclipse site.

This is inexcusable as Faulkner was well aware from what Biltz stated that this was one of the two occasions in the 20th century that this tetrad (group of four) of total eclipses occurred on the feast days. Far from being an oversight, this omission was plainly deliberate as it was part of the sequence pointed out by Biltz that Faulkner was responding to. It seems from this that Faulkner is following an agenda of his own and ignoring uncomfortable facts.

Finally, Faulkner similarly attempts to downgrade the importance that Biltz attaches to the total solar eclipse on the first day of the Jewish religious year on 20th March 2015. In Table 2 Faulkner lists the 19 occasions when there was a solar eclipse at the beginning of the Jewish ceremonial year in the 20th century. It only needs a glance at that table to show that Faulkner is again acting deceptively. Of those 19, only two eclipses were total, yet he implied that all 19 held the same significance and so the proposition by Biltz was invalid.

He concludes by saying “knowing that somewhere some sort of solar eclipses are happening seems to fall far short of being specific and spectacular signs of end times.” In saying this, Faulkner is downplaying the effects of world-wide media coverage of such events which allows the population of the entire earth to tune in and watch the celestial display. He is also appears to be deliberately subverting the research of Biltz and others in order to follow his own agenda.

Barry Setterfield
March 28, 2014


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