All of those terms were thrown around and joined together to describe the phenomenon in the skies last night. A lunar eclipse affecting the second full moon in a single calendar month when the moon’s elliptical orbit had brought it to its closest proximity to earth.
A spectacular lunar event – or not – depending on your location.
At my place it came too late in the night to be seen at its most impressive. The peak of the lunar eclipse occurred at half past midnight, when the moon was almost directly over head. Such things are always more spectacular when they occur at moonrise, as the full moon lifts above the eastern horizon, and the angle of viewing creates the illusion of a much larger moon than when it’s overhead.
We also had some hazy cloud cover – not enough to obscure the sight completely, but enough to blur it. To us the moon looked like a dirty rust coloured smudge, and we got a much better view by watching NASA’s live feed of the event – although the NASA image showed a northern hemisphere view that was “upside down” from our Southern Hemisphere perspective.
Along with the live video feed, I noticed “live chat” was also offered to viewers. However, that “chat” had become a blur of activity where countless brief statements scrolled up the screen too fast to read. Although among the speeding comments I did catch a glimpse of an expected bible reference:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
“Blood Moons” became a popular fad in Christian circles a year or two ago, when great significance was made of the fact that four lunar eclipses would occur during that year, with some coinciding with the dates that God had given to the children of Israel as feast days. The Christian publishing industry seemed to go into overdrive with a variety of authors writing to detail the alleged prophetic significance.
Many years ago I considered the repetition of biblical references to the darkening of the sun, the moon turning to blood, and stars falling from the sky (there are several spread throughout both old and new Testaments). I made the connection between the darkening sun and a solar eclipse. I made the connection between the moon turning to blood with a lunar eclipse. I made the connection with falling stars and a spectacular meteor shower. I wondered whether there was a time ahead when all three would coincide (but recognised that the closest a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse could come together would be two weeks. A lunar eclipse happens at the time of a full moon, a solar eclipse at a new moon).
I also made the logical assumption that should those astronomical events be the way biblical prophecy would be fulfilled, then it is most likely they would be events viewed from Jerusalem and not general references to viewing events spread randomly around the world.
Will there be a time when Jerusalem will experience both eclipses and a significant meteor shower all within the two weeks required between solar and lunar eclipses? Or will the fulfilment of bible prophecy be entirely a supernatural event, where the sun goes dark, the moon turns red and stars do fall – for no natural reason at all? That God will shake the heavens and bring these things about when they are totally unexpected, and in the process confound the speculations of those who seek to exploit Him and His word for an agenda different to His.