Archive for April, 2014

Blood Moon and Passover

Posted: April 17, 2014 in History

Blood Moon

With the blood moon all over the news (nothing makes headlines like the end of the world) I got a little curious as to just what all the fuss was about. I’ve seen plenty of lunar and solar eclipses and the fact that we’re having four in the next 24 months is hardly worth losing sleep over. It’s not like it never happened before. So I began asking around and sure enough a friend of mine was buying into it and shared her thoughts and even invited me to join in on a ritual to protect us in these end of days.

First, let’s take a look at what is actually happening, documentable events. There will be two total lunar eclipses, one on April 15 and another on October 8th. There will be two solar eclipses this year, on April 29th and October 23rd. The first lunar eclipse will be visible from North & South America. It will not be apparent to anyone in the Middle East. If you want a good seat for the annular solar eclipse in April, you’ll have to travel to Antarctica to see it, parts of Australia will get a glimpse of it. The total lunar eclipse of October will be visible in the Pacific Ocean and along the coastal areas. The partial solar eclipse of October will only be visible to North America. So as far as any Luddites sitting in Israel or other Middle Eastern countries, there will be no heavenly events to observe. They will have to rely on second hand modern communications to even know that they occurred. Not exactly the best way to send a sign to the people of Israel, at least it’s not how I would do it.

In 2015 there is a total solar eclipse on March 20th and a partial solar eclipse on September 13th, and there will be a total lunar eclipse on April 4th and September 28th. Only the very last lunar eclipse will be easily viewable by anyone in the Middle East.

So as I understand it, a tetrad is a set of four consecutive total lunar eclipses and these occur at approximately six month intervals. There will be nine sets of tetrads in our current century. There were none from 1600-1900, so it is not a regular recurring event in the human life span.

So, what’s all the fuss? The lunar eclipses all fall on Jewish holidays, April 15, Oct. 8, April 4, Sept. 28. Mark Blitz in his book, “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs” says with prophetic certainly that this is no coincidence and that something significant will happen soon. Not a very specific prediction, but one that I can agree with, something significant will probably happen somewhere in the world over the next two years and even if nothing significant does happen we can count on the press to sensationalize it.

Evangelical pastor John Hagee picked up the baton from Blitz and wrote his own book with his own predictions. “The only reason that Iran will not acquire a nuclear bomb will be that Israel chooses a military solution to that crisis,” Hagee told CBN News.

 

“I believe that if that happens, it will start a series of events that will change the course of world history,” he said. “If Israel does not, then it will still change the course of world history.”

Blitz holds nights to honor Israel in churches across America to insure that we are on the winning side in this battle between good and evil.

Which leads me back to my Christian friend and her invitation to honor Israel with a traditional Jewish Passover Seder. Her church was broadcasting the ritual over the internet and we all sat around the table with an iPad at one end and symbolic foods like horse radish and matzah in the middle. My friend doesn’t partake in alcohol, so we had grape juice instead of wine and there were other substitutions as well, but it’s the symbolism not the actual recipes that matter in the Passover Seder, my friend explained.

I won’t go through the entire ritual, but in a nutshell it was a ritual to symbolize the Jews slavery and freedom from Egypt. Each act in the ritual was intended to remind the participants of some aspect of the story.

It makes sense to use a rigid unchanging ritual as a way to pass down a people’s history from generation to generation. The ritual helps preserve the original story and prevent changes or loss of information in a world before reading and writing were common. The religious rituals served a purpose.

But I was struck by the contrast of an ancient ritual and a modern device that held access to more historical information than any one person could ever hope to acquire. In the center of the table there sat symbolic food meant to convey a story to illiterate people and at the end of the table was an electronic device transmitting the video of the story teller, and the device itself could provide a greater volume of data with a greater accuracy than the story teller, who erroneously attributed the famous painting of the last supper to Rembrandt instead of Leonardo da Vinci.

Why are we still clinging to these ancient rituals? They served their purpose in times past, but they are no longer needed any more than a village cobbler. And yet, we hang onto them and decorate them with a reverence far out of proportion to any benefit that they provide. In fact, it is our unquestioning faith in leaders of ritual and ceremony, keepers of ancient knowledge, that makes us so vulnerable to predictions of doom and blinds so many people to the proven reality of our world.

The stark contrast between the scientific prediction that an eclipse would occur on April 15th and another on October 8th, and the vague prediction of Pastor John Hagee, “we’re going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East,” kept occupying my mind as my friend tried to explain to me what was going to happen and how we needed to prepare and protect ourselves through this Passover ritual.

I politely took part in the Seder, and kept my skepticism to myself. I knew I would never change her mind or her beliefs. But the experience for me, was not the same as she had hoped for. I left, wondering how anyone could be so wrapped up in meaningless predictions and how can we as a people possible hope to move forward as long as these anachronistic rituals continue to provide a foundation for those that seek to profit from fear and faith.