In 2013, I had the special privilege to meet pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries. Pastor Mark is bright, friendly and engaging.
He expresses a unique love and support for Israel and immediately jumped on board as a partner and supporter of Heart to Heart, the virtual blood donation program I have the privilege of running from Israel. Ever respectful of Jewish tradition, we met at one of Seattle's kosher restaurants and became fast friends.
While I had heard of and been questioned about the blood moons for months before we met, I knew that Pastor Mark had a special role in the awareness of this heavenly sign. In fact, he is the one who broke the code—so to speak—in 2008, brilliantly overlaying the occurrences of blood moons dating back thousands of years—no, he's not that old; he used the NASA website—with the Hebrew calendar. His discovery is the talk among many pastors, churches and ministries, which even was the topic of conversation over Shabbat dinner in my orthodox Jewish home recently.
I am not as qualified to provide a detailed understanding of blood moons as Pastor Mark. It's clear that he's discovered something quite extraordinary, and it's essential that we pay attention. While using excerpts from his book noted below, which I devoured, I want to refer deeper questions to him and his website, where videos and books are available for those who want more background: www.elshaddaiministries.us.
Essentially, blood moons are total lunar eclipses. He writes, "During the five millennium period from 2000 BC to 3000 AD, we will experience 12,064 of one of the three types of lunar eclipses, averaging about 2.4 per year. Over a period of 5,000 years—from 1999 BC to AD 3000—there will be a total of 3,479 total lunar eclipses. Four consecutive total lunar eclipses, without any partial eclipses in between, are known as a tetrad" (p. 144).
The significance of lunar eclipses is noted in "the Babylonian Talmud, written almost two thousand years ago, and it records in Jewish thinking that whenever the sun is in total eclipse, it is a bad omen for the nations" (p. 31).
But Pastor Mark went back further, to Genesis 1:14, for the first clue that we need to pay attention to such acts of nature and when they occur: "And God said let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years," (p. 38).
What he realized is the significance of overlaying these occurrences with the Hebrew (biblical) calendar and how God is sending us His signs: "Many people believe in divine appointments, but did you ever imagine that there are scheduled ones? The creator of the universe declares that He wants to interact with us at set times" (p. 48).
However, if only looking at the world through the prism of a Western or Gregorian calendar, one misses the boat entirely: "If we are not on the biblical calendar, we lose all the significance of the totally incredible signs God is revealing to us" (p. 147).
In a presentation I was privileged to hear in Nashville before reading his book, Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, Pastor Mark explained things quite clearly. He alluded to our paying attention to this phenomenon as the "Super Bowl of human history." While refreshingly making it clear that he doesn't know what the sign means other than something big is coming, based on previous occurrences, he did cite the possibility of a prophetic war. He also observed, "In the context of the prophet Joel, it mentions twice the moon turning to blood in the context of God's warning against the nations who divide His land. I believe these could be prophetic warnings not to divide the land of Israel."
In his book, he asks, "Wouldn't you want to know in advance of a major catastrophe that would impact your life? Wouldn't you like to be told when a tornado was about to strike your house or when the stock market was about to tank? ... God always warns before He brings judgment. In His mercy, He is sending big time warnings from his heavenly billboards. You can ignore them at your own peril, pooh-pooh them and try to ride out the storm, or you can come to the dress rehearsals and be prepared for what is coming" (p. 63).
In overlaying the occurrence of blood moons and tetrads (an occurrence of four total lunar eclipses in a row with intervals of six lunations) with the Hebrew calendar, there are two primary factors to which we need to pay attention: the occurrence of these on Jewish festivals (Passover and Sukkot, or Tabernacles) and their occurrence during shemita (sabbatical) years.
There are many cases of blood moons detailed in Pastor Mark's book. All are relevant, but I want to highlight those since 1400 that have particular historical significance: "Between 1400-1500 there were four tetrads, two of which fell on feast days: 1428-29 and 1493-94. Interestingly, it was in 1428 that an assembly of Jews met in Florence to gather funds to give Pope Martin V (to pay) for his protection. And in 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed an edict to expel all the Jews from Spain.
"Between 1900-2000 there were five tetrads ... two occurred on feast days, 1949-1950 and 1967-1968. These were epic years for the Jewish people, with major prophetic implications. In 1948 Israel became a nation and in 1967 the Israelites recaptured Jerusalem. Not only do we have four blood moons in a row, with all four falling on feast days, but they also happened at a time when historic prophecies were fulfilled.
"In this century, eight tetrads will occur, but the only time they will fall on feast days is 2014-2015" (p. 148).
Rather than projecting specific events and/or doom, what's uplifting is that Pastor Mark does not make himself out to be a prophet: "I am just letting the world know a pattern exists between when eclipses have fallen on past feast days and major events that have occurred at the same time" (p. 157). In a personal email, he noted that "what is coming over the next few years will be incredible!"
In the Torah, the shemita year is "an economic reset year." All debts are forgiven and we are commanded to let the land lie fallow. This is still observed in Israel today. In that context, Pastor Mark noted, "On September 17, 2001—Elul 29, the day before Rosh Hashanah, the Dow Jones average saw its biggest drop ever: 7 percent. Seven years later, on September 28, 2008, (also Elul 29), the day before Rosh Hashanah, the Dow fell 777 points, or, another 7 percent. Now we are coming to the third and final shmitah since 1994 ... could the coming blood moons signal a third strike economically?" (p. 167).
In that same email, he observed, "Here we come to 2015 and we even have a solar eclipse on that day. Get ready, the patterns don't look good!"
While all this is very significant, at my Shabbat table recently, a Christian guest raised the subject. My daughter, intrigued but not having heard of this before, said, "So basically, every time there are these four total eclipses, something good or something bad happens to the Jewish people. In either case, blood is shed."
A close friend, pastor Todd Hadley, asked as we enter this season, what should he and his church pray for? One thing that kept coming to mind in all of this was the connection between blood moons and shedding our blood. The concepts have an indelible link to Heart to Heart, the virtual blood donation program that supports Israel's national blood center, of which he and his church have been active supporters. The program helps ensure that Israel always has the blood it needs, regardless of what may be on the horizon, and especially now with God sending clear signals that something is coming.
As we exchanged emails on the subject, he wrote, "As to what to pray for, God put this on my heart:
1. To pray that, whatever God is signaling us is coming, it be for the good of Israel and the nations;
2. To pray that even if it is good, it does not involve a loss of life, especially in Israel;
2. To pray that if there is death, that this be kept to a minimum;
3. To pray that if blood is shed, as the one thing that can heal and save all people, Israel's blood supply and the resources to protect it, are always abundant."
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