The Blood Moons, Feasts of YHVH, and the Shemitah Year

Tonight, Sunday, September 28, 2015, the final blood moon in the 2014-2015 tetrad will occur over the evening sky. In this (longer) post, I hope to explain the importance and history of these blood moons.

A Sign to YHVH’s People
In Genesis, YHVH set the precedent that the sun, moon, and stars are to be signs or signals to us of the times and seasons in which we are living.

And Elohim (God) said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years, and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it came to be so. And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars. And Elohim set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And Elohim saw that it was good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19

He made the moon for appointed times; the sun knows it’s going down. Psalm 104:19

What is a Blood Moon and Why is it Important?
A blood moon is when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon. And the sun is shining through the atmosphere of the Earth and casts up on the moon a red shadow. And so the moon appears to be red.

Such moons appear several times in scripture.

In the book of Joel, God says there will be “wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire…the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

In Acts, the Apostle Peter repeats that verse from Joel. And the book of Revelation says that during the Great Tribulation, “the moon will become like blood.”

A tetrad is when 4 total lunar eclipses happen back-to-back in a short amount of time. Although single blood moons happen fairly regularly, a tetrad of moons appearing so closely together is extremely rare. There have only been a handful of tetrads that have occurred over the past 500 years.

Even more rare is when a tetrad of blood moons all coincide with the Biblical Feasts. Since the time of Yeshua, only 7 of these kinds of tetrads have occurred. And in the past 1,000 years, only 3 other such tetrads have occurred — we are currently in the 4th tetrad occurrence — and there will not be any more tetrad blood moons on Biblical holidays in our lifetime. According to many rabbinic and Biblical scholars, these tetrads always signify turning points in Jewish history.

The current tetrad of blood moons is as follows:

Passover (April 2014)

Sukkot (September 2014)

Solar Eclipse (March 2015)

Passover (April 2015)

Sukkot (September 2015)

*Note: traditionally, the moon represents judgment for Israel and the sun represents judgment on the nations*

The Feasts
Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month Nisan – the first month of the Biblical year. This feast day commemorates the Lamb Sacrifice in Exodus where the Angel of Death passed over Israel while the firstborn in Egypt were slain. It also is the same day the Lord Yeshua (Jesus Christ), our lamb sacrifice for sins, was crucified.

While in Egypt, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a perfect lamb without defect and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes.

When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, the Word tells us that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for their bread to rise, so they did not add leaven (yeast) to their bread. In commemoration, during Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason Passover was called the feast of unleavened bread in the Torah or Old Testament. Instead, matzo, flat unleavened bread, is eaten during Passover.

As believers, we celebrate this as time of freedom from our sins that were covered by blood of Yeshua. The story of Passover and Yeshua’s sacrifice are stories of redemption, restoration, and forgiveness. But they aren’t separate. The sacrifice of Yeshua is another layer or a continuation of the one started all those years ago in Egypt. Through Yeshua we see the fullness of YHVH’s plan being accomplished.

Yeshua, the blameless, spotless Lamb came to earth and was our Passover sacrifice so that we could be restored to our Heavenly Father. He redeemed us from a life apart from Him and from the sin that keeps us in bondage.

Biblically, Shavuot (Pentecost), Pesach (Passover), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) are the 3 Feasts of YHVH which were required to be celebrated in Jerusalem.

Sukkot (Tabernacles)
The feast of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is a joyous feast day while Yom Kippur is one of the most solemn of Holy days. Sukkot is a feast day with a festival atmosphere. It marks a season of rejoicing. Sukkot means booths and refers to temporary dwelling places the Jews gather into during this holiday. Most Christian Scholars believe the “Feast of Sukkot” is the feast that will mark the second coming of Yeshua when He returns with His saints on white horses at Armageddon.

During Sukkot, we are instructed to sleep in sukkahs or tents/booths under the stars in order to remember when our ancestors were delivered by YHVH’s Mighty Hand out of Egypt and slept under the stars. YHVH, Who is our covering, is seen as the sukkah Who stands over and protects us. Sukkot is also known as the “Wedding Feast.” For believers, we know this as the “Wedding Feast of the Lamb” that we will celebrate at a future Sukkot.

Blood Moons in History
The following dates are when four blood-red TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred during the Biblical Feasts of YHVH. While other partial solar and lunar eclipses occurred during this time, only TOTAL lunar eclipses have been included.

It should also be noted that the significant events mentioned can happen before, during, or after the blood moons. While the blood moons happen at specific times we have already been given (the Feasts of YHVH), we are not given the specifics on what or when the significant event will take place.

162-163 AD: Martyrdom, Diaspora, Famine, Great Plague
Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and Sukkot in 162 – 163 AD, coinciding with some of the worst and most brutal persecution of Jews and Christians in the history of the Roman Empire. In the spring of 162 AD, the Tiber River in Rome flooded leaving destruction and famine in its wake.

Also during this time, the Antonine Plague – a plague the Roman army brought back from a war campaign in Syria — killed between five and eight million people, a third of the Roman population.

795-796 AD: Defeat of Muslim Empire by Roman Empire; Millions of Jews and Christians Martyred
Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and Sukkot in 795 – 796 AD during which time King Charlemagne of the Holy Roman Empire established a buffer zone between France and Spain, ending centuries of Arab invasions into Western Europe and halting the expansion of Islam into Europe.

The Jews were relatively free under Charlemagne and even held high positions in his court. After the death of Charlemagne, however, Catholicism took over, thereby ending much of the freedoms enjoyed by the Jews.

842-843 AD: Fall of Holy Roman Empire
Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and Sukkot in 842 – 843 AD. Shortly after the eclipses the Vatican and other cities in Rome were attacked and looted by an Islamic invasion from Africa.

Also notable during this time, the eighth Abbasid caliph and the Byzantine Emperor Theophilos (who were at war with each other) both died in 842. Shortly after Emperor Theophilos’ death, his four year old son, Michael III, took the throne (through a council of regents led by his mother, Empress Theodora). Empress Theodora quickly reversed her late husband’s ban on worshipping images and icons and reinstated the idolatrous practice as one of the “Christian principles of belief.”

860-861 AD: 2nd Defeat of Muslim Empire by Europe; Millions Jews and Christians Martyred
Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and Sukkot in 860 – 861 AD. Shortly after these eclipses occurred, the Byzantine Empire defeated Arab armies at the Battle of Lalakaon in Turkey and permanently stopped the Islamic invasion of Eastern Europe.

Also in 860 AD, Emperor Michael III (now 22) sent delegates to a council in Constantinople to clarify the issue of worshipping icons and images. The result was a period of friction between the Roman and Greek Catholics, which ended in a split between the two groups in 869 AD.

1493 – 1494: Spanish Inquisition
Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and Sukkot. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain ordered all Jewish people to leave the country.

Christopher Columbus’ diary opens, “In the same month in which their Majesties [Ferdinand and Isabella] issued the edict that all Jews should be driven out of the kingdom and its territories, in the same month they gave me the order to undertake with sufficient men my expedition of discovery to the Indies.”

At the end of July in 1492 on the 9th of Av, about 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain. Tens of thousands of refugees died while trying to reach safety. In some cases, Spanish ship captains charged Jewish passengers exorbitant sums, then dumped them overboard in the middle of the ocean. In the last days leading up to the expulsion, rumors spread throughout Spain that the fleeing Jews had swallowed gold and diamonds, and many Jews were knifed to death by robbers hoping to find the hidden treasure in their stomachs. Many other Jewish refugees, however, fled and settled in cities like Thessalonica and Smyrna.

1949 – 1950: Rebirth of Israel
Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and Sukkot. During this time frame The Arab-Israeli War took place just hours after Israel had become a nation again for the first time in 2,000 years.

On 14th May, 1948, Israel declared its independence. Less than 24 hours later, the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded the country, forcing Israel to defend the sovereignty it had regained in its ancestral homeland. In what became known as Israel’s War of Independence, the newly formed, poorly equipped Israel Defense Forces (IDF) repulsed the invaders in fierce intermittent fighting, which lasted some 15 months and claimed over 6,000 Israeli lives (nearly 1% of the country’s Jewish population at the time).

During the first months of 1949, direct negotiations were headed by the United Nations between Israel and each of the invading countries, except Iraq who refused to negotiate with Israel, resulting in armistice agreements with each country.

Accordingly, the Coastal Plain, Galilee and the entire Negev region came under Israeli sovereignty, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) came under Jordanian rule, the Gaza Strip came under Egyptian rule, and the city of Jerusalem was divided, with Jordan controlling the eastern part, including the Old City, and Israel controlling the western sector.

1967 – 1968: Six Day War; the Retaking of Jerusalem
Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on Passover and Sukkot. During this same time, the Six Day War took place, which resulted in Israel reuniting Jerusalem. As Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria prepared to destroy the Jewish state, Israel invoked its inherent right of self-defense and launched a preemptive strike on June 5, 1967 against Egypt in the South.

The defensive strike against Egypt was followed by a counter attack against Jordan in the East and the defeat of Syrian forces entrenched in the Golan Heights in the North. At the end of six days of fighting, previous cease-fire lines were replaced by new ones, with Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights now coming under Israel’s control. Jerusalem, which had been divided under Israeli and Jordanian rule since 1949, was also reunified under Israel’s authority.

Summary of Tetrads Since Yeshua

162-163 Persecution of Jews and Christians by Rome; Famine and plague in Roman Empire

795-796 Islam’s advance into Western Europe stopped

842-843 Roman Empire and Vatican attacked by Islamic invasion

860-861 Islam’s advance into Eastern Europe stopped

1493-1494 Jews expelled from Spain; Birth of the New (Western) World

1949-1950 Rebirth of Israel; Victory over Arab armies

1967-1968 Six Day War; Victory over Israel’s Arab enemies; Reunification of Jerusalem

2014-2015 ?

Shemitah Year
To add even more significance to this time, this year marked the ending of the Shemitah year, or the year of release. According to Leviticus 25:1-4, every seventh year (the shemitah year) was a Sabbath year. In this Sabbath year, the land was to rest and all debts accrued during this time were released. But after a time, the Israelites eventually stopped observing the Shemitah Sabbath year. Jeremiah 25:4-11 tells us that the consequences were the blessings of peace and planty in the Land of Israel were removed, the destruction of Jerusalem, and eventually the captivities of Israel.

Biblically, the punishment for not observing the Shemitah year by releasing all debts and not planting the land is not limited to financial consequences – like I mentioned with Israel, war or some other consequences is also a possibility but money is the most obvious tie – however, most scholars are leaning towards the possibility of financial disaster.

September 2015 marked the end of the current Shemitah year. As I mentioned, many scholars believe that the end of the current Shemitah year will signal global financial crisis. As I’ve recently watched the DOW and stock market, China has been manipulating their yen, which in turn, causes our markets to go crazy. Recently, the DOW opened and closed at the lowest its been in quite some time. It’s extremely difficult for our markets to recover because of how the Chinese are manipulating their yen.

Grafted In
The occurrence of the blood moons on YHVH’s Feasts does not mean that the Second Coming of Yeshua will happen at Tabernacles 2015 (although, perhaps at a future feast). But the blood moons do give us a pattern of Jewish persecution/war followed by new land/blessings for Israel.

The eclipses of the sun and the moon during this past year give us dates which we cannot deny or manipulate. But I think the most important thing is to not to get too caught up on or focused on date-setting but rather the warning YHVH is sending us. Clearly, something significant is coming that He is trying to warn and/or prepare us for, but He doesn’t want us in panic or confusion. Ultimately, what we really should be focused on is the wake-up call the Lord is giving us and on preparing for what the Bible tells us is to come so that we do not become like the foolish virgins of Matthew 25.

But we won’t know the warnings of the Father unless we are celebrating the feasts.

The Bible speaks of being “grafted in” to the House of God. That doesn’t mean that we are automatically placed in some separate spiritual House of God. It literally means we become a part of Israel. Only a son/daughter will receive the blessing of the father. Only the heir will inherit from the father…to him who has ears to hear, let him hear what the spirit is saying. If we do not consider ourselves part of Israel, we are not a legitimate child and we have no claim on an inheritance.

“And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, have been grafted in among them, and came to share the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. And if you boast, remember: you do not bear the root, but the root bears you!” – Romans 11:17-18

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of Elohim, and if children, also heirs – legitimate heirs of Elohim, and co-heirs with Messiah, if indeed we suffer with Him, in order that we also be exalted together.” – Romans 8:16-17

Torah is for all those who live under the covering of YHVH, the God of Israel; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Torah is for all of Israel…even the wild branches that have been grafted into the natural olive tree.

Our natural inclination of the flesh is to avoid the law and do what we want. Our flesh doesn’t like being told what to do; we don’t want rules and boundaries. But what YHVH asks of us is that we submit ourselves to obedience to His Word and His desires. Just as a wife submits herself to her husband out of love and respect, so we too, as the Bride of Messiah, must also submit ourselves to our loving, faithful Bridegroom.

Share the joy!
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