Whether a sign from heaven or the butt of jokes, the “blood moon” lunar eclipse that occurred earlier this week continues to grab the world’s attention.
Hundreds of headlines appeared even three days after the eclipse, including “Apocalypse now?” in the Washington Post, “Eclipse mesmerizes earthlings” in the Star of Malaysia, “Is the second coming night?” at Catholic Online and “Jaw-dropping ‘blood moon’ awes skywatchers” at Science Recorder.
The perspectives ranged from the reverent, in a U.K. Express report on a church’s claim that the eclipse was a sign from God, to the comical, in Gail Collins’ New York Times column: “Let’s talk about something cheerful. I nominate the apocalypse.”
The eclipse early Tuesday was just the first part of a lunar eclipse tetrad, a series of four “blood moons” named for the reddish color from the filtered light that illuminates earth’s satellite during the event.
The rare tetrad has sparked a massive discussion about whether it is a sign in the heavens that bears a message from God.
The reporting sometimes stretched the claims being made, however.
For example, in the Washington Post, reporters noted that “every 15 months or so there’s a new prediction: the world as we know it will come to an end as foretold by the sun, the moon and the stars.”
Collins raised the same idea, commenting: “We survived an end-of-the-world moment again this week when a lunar eclipse made the moon look sort of reddish.”
Tech Times also referenced the “latest claim of the end of times.”
Reporting on the first of the coming full lunar eclipses, one host said: “So it’s a little eerie. There’s a lot of speculation around it. … It will be cloudy on the East Coast, so maybe the world doesn’t end for us.”
Another host added: “That’s the only thing I obtained from that piece, that the world may end tonight.”
The conversation, with hosts talking over each other, continued: “How are you going to adjust your behavior accordingly?”
“Liquid lunch? I don’t know.”
“Seize the day, guys.”
“You do that anyway.”
But Pastor Mark Biltz, author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” who appeared in the “Today” segment, told WND he’s not suggesting the world will end.
Could the eclipses be a sign of the coming of significant world events? He does believe that. Should people be paying attention? Absolutely.
In the NBC report, Biltz said: “I think the fact that we’re having this total lunar eclipse on the Feast of Passover has great spiritual significance. You go to 32 and 33 A.D. when Jeshua, Jesus, died, there are solar lunar eclipses all over the biblical holidays at that time as well.”
What is significant is that each of the four total lunar eclipses in the next two years will occur on a Jewish festival day.
The New York Daily News interviewed Pastor John Hagee, founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, author of "Four Blood Moons." Hagee believes the celestial signs are evidence of a future "world-shaking event."
In the report, he points to Acts 2:19-20, which says: "And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."
April 15 this year is Passover. Oct. 8 will be the Feast of Tabernacles. In 2015, the eclipses also are on Passover, April 4, and Feast of Tabernacles, Sept. 28.
Hagee notes that in the past, tetrads have arrived on Jewish holidays in the late 1400s, when Jews were being expelled from Spain, in the 1940s after the founding of the state of Israel and in 1967 during the Six-Day War.
Biltz agrees that current events should be closely watched.
"We are on the verge of witnessing something historic," said Biltz, who discovered the blood moons phenomenon in 2007. "This has happened only eight times over the last 2,000 years! And the last two times these occurred on the Jewish holidays there was a war in the Middle East regarding the nation of Israel. These are patterns and historical facts that cannot be disregarded. The Jewish Talmud records that total lunar eclipses are indicators or omens for the nation of Israel."
Reuters reported: "Parts of the world saw a rare celestial event on Tuesday when the Earth's shadow fell across the moon, turning it orange."
The Star said: "A rare celestial event occurred on Tuesday when the Earth's shadow eclipsed the moon in full, turning it orange, hence 'blood moon.' With a name like that, of course apocalyptic prophecies are inevitable."
The Star also added, under the mystifying page headline"Rare but common," a description of a tetrad.
"Past tetrads that coincided with violent events have given rise to the outrageous Blood Moon prophecy, formed by controversial U.S. evangelist Mark Biltz who first made the claim in 2008 that this ongoing tetrad of 'blood moons' will bring significant changes to the world."
The Malaysian reporting also accused the Christian of "profiting from unfounded speculation."
"Come on, people, it's only the moon passing through the shadow of the earth. Just take a selfie," the Star said.
Biltz discovered what has become the "blood moon phenomenon" in 2007, researching the correlation between when blood moons fell on feast days and key historical world events. He found the divine link between prophecy, heavenly signs, historical events and when they intersect.
"Blood Moons" was released nationwide March 18 and has consistently been one of the top books sold on Amazon.com. A full-length documentary produced by WND Films and featuring Biltz was also released the same day.
Biltz said that to really understand the meaning, it's important to know the seasons, feasts and calendar of the Lord.
See a NASA video:
One NASA page online was reporting nearly 26 million views, and across the country, museums were reporting crowds for middle-of-the-night openings for the viewing.
CNN reported more than a quarter million watched on Express.co.uk, and in answer to its own question about God speaking, CNN posted Kenneth Waters' commentary that said while signs may be in the heavens, Christians should look to their calling.
"Instead of looking to the heavens for signs of the future, Christians should focus on the hope and promise of the gospel message and seek to reflect Christ in word and deed," he said.
Collins' article in the Times ridiculed those who perceive any significance in a lunar eclipse.
"This is known as a Blood Moon, and, in certain circles, it was seen as the Start of Something Big," she said.
Media wishing to interview Mark Biltz about "Blood Moons," please contact us here.
See the trailer for the "Blood Moons" DVD: