Blood Moons

Blood Moons

In April, we posted an article on the first of four successive total lunar eclipses, known as the lunar tetrad. The first blood moon eclipse in a series of four occurred on the night of April 14, 2014. The next one will be be visible starting tonight, October 7th and will last through the night until early tomorrow morning.

Scientifically speaking, a "blood moon" is a total eclipse of the moon. This happens when the moon passes into the shadow of the earth so the sun’s rays are not directly hitting it. Because of the earth’s atmosphere, there is some light that still strikes the moon, giving it a red color.

This blood moon is taking place at the start of the Jewish Feast of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). The Feast of Sukkot begins at sundown on October 8-10. This feast is known as one of the pilgrimage feasts mentioned in the Book of Leviticus. It’s meant to commemorate the 40 years spent in wilderness of Sinai. Throughout this time, Jews observe the Sukkot by building and dwelling in temporary shelters, much like the Israelites did during their wandering in the desert.

Sukkot or Tabernacle is a temporary booth or shelter.

The Bible also refers to this feast as “The Feast of the Ingathering” due to the origin of Sukkot being agricultural. Moses instructed all Israel to gather during Sukkot every seventh year for a reading of the Law. (Deuteronomy 31:10-11). King Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem on Sukkot (1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 7). And the Sukkot was the first sacred occasion observed after the return of Babylonian captivity (Ezra 3:2-4). This feast always had a wide attendance throughout history.

Tonight is the second in a series of four blood moon eclipses. For North America the total lunar eclipse happens in the early hours before sunrise on October 8th. For New Zealand, Australia and Eastern Asia, the total eclipse is seen after sunset on October 8th. A partial lunar eclipse can be seen before sunrise, October 8th, from much of South America, or after sunset, October 8th, from western Asia.

If you plan on viewing the blood moon, keep in mind that during the eclipse the moon looks to be full all through the night. That is not necessarily the case. There is a well defined instant when the moon turns full. This is defined by astronomers as the exact point when the moon is farthest away from the sun. That instant happens on October 8, 2014 at 10:51 UTC. (Universal time). In the US that places the precise time of full moon on October 8th, at 6:51 a.m. EDT. The next blood moon will be on April 4, 2015 on the Feast of Passover, if the Lord tarries.