The Blood Moon Tetrad

Blood moons. From WND/Mark Biltz.
Blood moons. From WND/Mark Biltz.

About midnight Pacific time tomorrow night (April 14th/15th, 2014), a total lunar eclipse will occur. As the moon is engulfed in Earth’s shadow, it will become a mesmerizing shade of molten crimson, hence the name blood moon. As an added bonus, the Red Planet, Mars, will be loitering nearby in dazzling brightness as April 14th marks the day it’s been closest to the earth in six years.

We had gorgeous weather here in western Washington today with temperatures at just about 70 degrees. The weather forecast says the weather will remain warm and clear tomorrow, so it doesn’t look like we’ll miss this celestial event like we often do because of clouds or rain.(Update: now they’re saying it’s going to cloud up.)

If you don’t live in the Americas, Australia, or New Zealand where the eclipse can be seen, you can watch the eclipse at sites like There will undoubtedly be some excellent pictures posted there as well as at similar sites like The latter site has a visibility map and says that this lunar eclipse won’t be a true red:

The color of Earth’s shadow, and thus the color of the eclipsed Moon, depends substantially on the amount of volcanic ash and other aerosols floating in the stratosphere. According to atmospheric sciences professor Richard Keen of the University of Colorado, the stratosphere is clear. This means the eclipse will be not “blood red,” but rather bright orange. 

Lunar Eclipse by Robin Samiljan. From
Lunar Eclipse by Robin Samiljan. From

At NASA’s eclipse page they feature a well-researched article by Fred Espenak explaining the details of this astronomical phenomena. He explains that besides tomorrow’s total lunar eclipse, there will be another October 8th, and two solar eclipses this year besides. Of particular relevance is the section on tetrads:

The lunar eclipses of 2014 are the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses – a series known as a tetrad. During the 5000-year period from -1999 to +3000, there are 4378 penumbral eclipses (36.3%), 4207 partial lunar eclipses (34.9%) and 3479 total lunar eclipses (28.8%). Approximately 16.3% (568) of all total eclipses belong to one of the 142 tetrads occurring over this period (Espenak and Meeus, 2009). The mechanism causing tetrads involves the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit in conjunction with the timing of eclipse seasons (Meeus, 2004). During the present millennium, the first eclipse of every tetrad occurs sometime from February to July. In later millennia, the first eclipse date gradually falls later in the year because of precession.

Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli first pointed out that the frequency of tetrads is variable over time. He noticed that tetrads were relatively plentiful during one 300-year interval, while none occurred during the next 300 years. For example, there are no tetrads from 1582 to 1908, but 17 tetrads occur during the following 2 and 1/2 centuries from 1909 to 2156. The ~565-year period of the tetrad “seasons” is tied to the slowly decreasing eccentricity of Earth’s orbit. Consequently, the tetrad period is gradually decreasing (Meeus, 2004). In the distant future when Earth’s eccentricity is 0, tetrads will no longer be possible.

The umbral magnitudes of the total eclipses making up a tetrad are all relatively small. For the 300-year period 1901 to 2200, the largest umbral magnitude of a tetrad eclipse is 1.4251 on 1949 Apr 13. For comparison, some other total eclipses during this period are much deeper. Two examples are the total eclipses of 2000 Jul 16 and 2029 Jun 26 with umbral magnitudes of 1.7684 and 1.8436, respectively.

Table 6 gives the dates of each eclipse in the 8 tetrads occurring during the 21st century. The tetrad prior to 2014-15 was in 2003-04 while the next group is nearly 20 years later in 2032-33.


Back in February I was reading this piece, Blood-Moons Fall Out by Joe Kovacs on WND. Among other things, it discusses how a local pastor realized that each of the lunar eclipses in the 2014-2015 tetrad falls on a major Jewish holiday:

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, WND published a story titled “Rare phenomenon to shake Planet Earth.”

The story focused on a cycle of four upcoming lunar eclipses, also called blood moons because of the color the moon often appears when it becomes darkened.

Mark Biltz, an American pastor with El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash., used NASA’s Eclipse Website to correlate the celestial events with God’s holy days mentioned in the Bible, discovering the four blood-moon eclipses in 2014 and 2015 actually coincide with the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles.

In this article, Biltz says:

One morning, as I was praying, a thought popped into my head: Why don’t I compare the dates of the eclipses on the NASA website to the dates on the biblical calendar? When I did, I was shocked to find that all four eclipses – over both years – fell on the biblical holidays of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. I just about jumped out of my skin.

Immediately I ran to my computer and pulled up NASA’s website to look up other times when there have been four consecutive blood moons, which are total lunar eclipses, where the moon appears blood red. NASA calls four total blood moons in a row a tetrad, and they list their occurrences. I noticed there weren’t any in the 1600s, 1700s, or even the 1800s. The last time there was a tetrad was back in the 1900s, and to my amazement, they also fell on the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles.

When I noticed the years these phenomena occurred, my mind began reeling. The last two times there were four blood moons in a row, they happened, first, right after Israel became a nation in 1948, and then again when Israel retook Jerusalem in 1967. I started doing a hallelujah dance. It was as if I had just found treasure buried in the sand. My heart was racing a hundred miles an hour as all those key Scriptures about the signs in the heavens, God’s feast days, and the timing on the biblical calendar flooded my mind.

“God said in Genesis 1:14 that He created the sun and moon and stars for signals on His feast days,” said Biltz. “Now I had a key to unlocking the code.”


Historically, different cultures have ascribed different names and meanings to lunar eclipses. Abdul Siddiqui lists some of them at PolicyMic. Tomorrow night’s moon is known as the Full Pink Moon in Native American culture (see Full Moon Names on the Old Farmer’s Almanac site).

Changes in the heavens are of particular interest to some in the Christian faith because the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles Paul and John told us to keep an eye on the sky in anticipation of Jesus’ return to earth.

Joel 2:31:

The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

Matthew 24:29:

“Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘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.’”

Luke 21:25-28:

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Acts 2:17-21:

In the last days, God says…    

I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

Revelation 6:12-14:

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Revelation 8:10-12:

The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

From Wikipedia
From Wikipedia

These are just some of the clues the Manufacturer’s Handbook gives us. While Jesus said that no man knows the day or the hour He’ll return, He did to be on our guard because there will be warning signs. Just after that passage in Luke, Jesus used the example of a fig tree to say, “hey, you’ll know when it’s getting close.”

Many believe the fig tree symbolizes the nation of Israel, which became a nation again in 1948 and regained Jerusalem in 1967. In that passage Jesus said the generation after the fig tree wouldn’t pass until all these things were fulfilled, which is why so many Christians believe that He will return within 40 to 70 years of those dates (the length of a generation has been hotly debated).

So to have this current lunar tetrad falling on two Passovers and two Feasts of Tabernacles is, to some, more proof that we are in that generation. Add that to the political unrest, natural disasters, persecution of Christians and Jews, and many other signs including negotiations revolving around Israel… More and more our world resembles what the 66 books of the Bible, written over 1500 years, in three or four languages, by people from all walks of life, describe in unison: a place headed toward a dramatic end and a new beginning for those who choose it.

Pastor John Hagee, who published a book detailing his thoughts on the blood moons last year, pointed out that more recent tetrads have coincided with major events involving the Jews:

The first Tetrad since the Middle Ages, in 1493, saw the expulsion of Jews by the Catholic Spanish Inquisition, which rocked western Europe. 

The second coincided with the establishment of the State of Israel – after thousands of years of struggle – in 1949. 

Strangely, the last one occurred in 1967 – far earlier than expected – precisely at the time of the Six-Day Arab–Israeli War.

(From the ExpressAPOCALYPSE NOW: Why a rare astrological event LAST NIGHT could herald the ‘End of Days’.)

Believe what you will about the blood moon tetrad. I believe that God speaks to us through the starry skies, as He did when the occultation of Jupiter by the moon in the constellation Aries announced the birth of His Son (see Revealing the Star of Bethlehem). He told the Israelites that the sun and moon and stars are not to be objects of worship, but like a traffic signal or waving red flag or great lighthouse, we should pay attention to what goes on above us.

How much significance the blood moon tetrad has remains to be seen. It is a kick that this first eclipse is happening on Monday (named after the moon) and Tuesday (which is named after Mars). April 14th is always Look Up at the Sky Day too. Personally I’m with Gandhi on this one: When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator… No matter what we do or don’t believe, it should be breathtakingly beautiful to bask in the blaze of tomorrow night’s ocherous orb and its cochineal companion.

A full moon lunar eclipse seen in Karachi, Pakistan on 12/10/11. From CNN (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images).
A full moon lunar eclipse seen in Karachi, Pakistan on 12/10/11. From CNN (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images).


All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible…People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, he meant that we were to lay eggs. –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


The soundtrack for tonight’s eclipse:


©2014 H. Hiatt/ All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/


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