The surging interest in the “blood moons” phenomena as a possible heavenly sign of the end times has been an unprecedented boon to a Christian group that focuses on Israel.

Jan Markell, founder of Olive Tree Ministries, told WND that the original research done by pastor Mark Biltz is spiking her ministry’s Web traffic after drawing a record radio audience.

“The most popular radio program of my 14 years on air was the program I did on the blood moons last year,” she said. “Christians want to understand this. We had hundreds of orders for CDs of that program. We have never seen such a profound interest in any other topic.”

She said the blood moon phenomena shouldn’t be ignored.

“The Bible tells us to look to the signs in the Heavens and particularly in a last days’ context,” she said. “They have been significant to Israel in the past. They could be significant to her in 2014 and 2015. I know many evangelicals are putting this phenomenon down and even writing books against the blood moons, but I am not as skeptical. If God tells us to watch the ‘signs of the times,’ why should we dismiss the blood moons as some are?

On the other hand, she said, some fear it’s another Y2K scare.

“I think I would acknowledge that we can’t know for sure that these are of end-time importance, but they could be; and let’s be watching.”

Biltz, the author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” has had to adjust to a deluge of media requests.

“I didn’t expect this kind of reaction, but I was hoping for this kind of reaction! It has been absolutely crazy; the book has taken off like a rocket … and I’m flying all over the U.S., and interviewed on national TV,” said Biltz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash.

Biltz has been featured on the “Jim Bakker Show,” “Sid Roth’s Supernatural” and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. He also will speak at the Orlando Prophecy Conference, sponsored by Prophecy in the News.

It is a dizzying pace for a small-town pastor who’s never sought a national stage. His research several years ago into astronomy as it relates to Bible prophecy thrust his name to the forefront.

Biltz said he discovered the biblical parallels to solar and lunar eclipses six years ago.

“I explained this to some leaders who inquired about it, and then it all exploded in 2008. Now it’s magnified so much more; things are snowballing.”

Biltz outlines in his book how past eclipses have coincided with momentous events related to Israel. But what has accelerated interest in the subject is the implication for the future.

Epic turns

When Biltz realized his research was pointing to the fact that “blood moons” had fallen on feast days and major historical happenings, he was amazed. In fact, the phenomenon had occurred at epic turns for the worldwide Jewish community: In 1492 it was the expulsion of Jews from Spain; 1948 and the establishment of modern Israel; and the crucial Six Day War of 1967, when a miraculous Israeli victory over regional neighbors set the stage for Israelis to populate the biblical heartland.

Another series of eclipses will occur within the next year. With intensifying international pressure on Israel and saber rattling by sworn enemies like Hezbollah, Biltz believes the world could be on the cusp of more seismic geopolitical shifts.

“It came to me the other day, like a flashing red signal tells you to stop: in Joel where it says sackcloth and turn to blood, the scenario is about dividing the land. I believe these warning signals are not to divide [Israel’s] land,” he said.

In the Bible, prophecies signal a time at the end of world when the nations will rise against Israel.

“Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” (Joel 3:14-16)

Israel currently is negotiating with the Palestinians to establish a separate state in talks brokered by the United States. The final status agreement would include dividing Jewish communities in the West Bank, historically known as Judea and Samaria.

With Biltz’s book soaring up the bestseller charts, others aren’t as sure that the blood moons phenomenon points to end-times events.

Todd Strandberg and Terry James are co-founders of the world’s largest Bible prophecy website, RaptureReady. They are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

“I will admit that the way this blood moon thing is presented has some strange, apparent applications that have been made by some to upcoming Jewish events,” said James.

“However, I’m always extremely skeptical of extra-biblical suppositions – e.g. Y2K, the Mayan predictions, etc. I’ve chosen to just watch and see rather than join the hoopla.”

Strandberg has a similar view.

“I really don’t have much of view on the blood moons. Since these events happen on a regular basis, it’s hard to know if one is any more special than the next. I know John Hagee is a big promoter of an upcoming blood moon cycle. Dr. J.R. Church talked of ones in the ’90s.”

Biltz is aware of outright criticism of his project, but he maintains that his research is sound.

“The thing I’d like to stress is, I don’t think [critics] understand what I’m trying to say. I don’t control an eclipse. I’m not setting dates – I don’t control the calendar.”

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