Break out your Moon Pies because it’s almost here! What’s almost here you ask? It’s a triple feature starring the Moon. On January 31, 2018, there will a Super moon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse all in one night! Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t know what any of those things are?” Don’t worry because I will explain all of it to you, but I also want to tell you something even more interesting about this amazing lunar event. It will occur on the Hebrew holiday known as TuBShevat. Again, you are probably saying, “Tu Be what?” Yes, I get it. Read on and prepare to be “schooled” on why this is very, very intriguing.
Let’s start with the Super moon. What is a super moon? Is it the moon wearing a cape and saving the world? NO! That would be fun, but actually a super moon occurs when the moon is at its closest approach to earth while in orbit. To be more specific, the moon’s orbit is not circular. It is an elliptical orbit because of certain forces pulling on it, such as gravity. Because of this, the orbit of the moon each month is never exactly the same. Thus, there are certain months when the orbit of the moon will bring it closer to the earth than other times. This is the case with super moons. The moon isn’t bigger, it just LOOKS bigger because it is closer to our planet. This is called being at PERIGEE. Since the moon will be full when this occurs, it will look big and beautiful, or as some would say…..SUPER! Also, because the moon is closer, it appears much brighter.
Has this happened before? Yes- in fact it happened on January 2, 2018. Maybe you noticed it? To me, the moon looked very big and bright, kind of like a giant light bulb. A super moon also occurred on December 3, 2017. A super moon is also happening on January 31, 2018. Having three in a row is rare. The last time there were three super moons in a row was in 1866.
Interestingly enough, not all super moons are the same. Because the moon’s elliptical orbit changes from month to month, not all super moons are equal in their distance from the earth. For instance, the closest super moon occurred on NOVEMBER 14, 2016- this super moon is the closest the moon has been to Earth since JANUARY 26, 1948. The super moon of January 1948 happened four months before Israel declared itself a nation on May 14, 1948. The November 14, 2016 super moon occurred six days after the Presidential election. What I find interesting is that our President, Donald Trump, has actually recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This is astounding because no U.S. President has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. They have all skirted the issue, and of course, kept the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. But not Trump- he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. One of the closest super moons occurs the year Israel is re-established as a nation, and the next CLOSEST one occurs the year a President is elected who recognizes their capital. Coincidence? I don’t think so and I don’t think the January 2018 super moons are a coincidence either. Whether you like Trump or not, this one move made by him has prophetic significance. Where this is all going I do not know for sure. I can only hope the U.S. will never back any peace deal (two state solution) that involves Jerusalem in the future. Jerusalem is the Lord’s city!
Things are heating up for Israel and Jerusalem right now. And just so you know, the moon is a sign for Israel. Why? Because Israel follows the lunar calendar, or Hebraic calendar. The rest of the world follows a sun calendar (also known as the Gregorian calendar). As you probably know, the United States had a SOLAR eclipse back on August 21, 2017. Solar eclipses are signs for the nations. (Read my blog Total Solar Eclipse for more info on that).
So, as I said before, we had one super moon on January 2 already. But, we have another one coming on January 31 and here’s where we get the “triple play.” Some astronomers are calling it the SUPER BLUE BLOOD MOON. I explained the super moon part of this. Now I’ll explain the “blue” part. This moon is also a blue moon. Whenever two full moons happen in a calendar month it is called a blue moon. Haven’t you ever heard the expression, “once in a blue moon”? Having two full moons in a row in the same month doesn’t happen often. That’s where the expression comes from. If it rarely happens, you say, “once in a blue moon.”
Now I’ll explain the third part of the equation- the blood part. This super blue blood moon on January 31 is also a TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon and earth form a straight line. In this path, the earth gets between the sun and the moon. Consequently, the earth will block direct sunlight from reaching the moon. The Earth’s shadow will be cast on the moon. The Earth’s atmosphere will refract the light of the Sun and this light will be seen as a deep orange/red on the moon. Keep in mind the moon does not have its own light and the Sun is its source of light. During a total lunar eclipse, the moon will have a reddish color because it is now reflecting the refracted light that passed through the earth’s atmosphere. Total lunar eclipses are not a common occurrence, especially when coupled with a blue moon/ super moon at the same time.
Not everyone will see the total lunar eclipse though. It will be visible in North America, or the Hawaiian Islands before sunrise on January 31. If you live in the Middle East, Indonesia, Asia, Australia or New Zealand the eclipse will occur after sunset on January 31. As far as the U.S. is concerned, some areas will see the eclipse, while others will not. The Western U.S. and Hawaii will get a better view. They will see the eclipse from start to finish. The Eastern time zone, however, will have a difficult time seeing the eclipse because it begins at 5:51 a.m. ET, as the moon is about to set in the western sky- but that means it’s getting lighter in the east. The Moon enters the outer part of the Earth’s shadow at 5:51 a.m. EST, but it will be hard to detect. The moon will take on the reddish tint around 6:48 EST, but then the Moon sets in under half an hour (according to NASA).
Hopefully, I haven’t boggled your brain with science jargon. If anything I hope I showed you these super moons are not common, and are rare. Now, I want to explain the biblical implications.
Back in 2014 and 2015 the United States did see a rare event known as a blood moon tetrad. This is also called a total lunar eclipse tetrad (four blood moons in a row). Two blood moons occurred in 2014 on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. Two more blood moons occurred on Passover and Tabernacles again in 2015. They all occurred on Feasts of the Lord, which are mentioned in Leviticus in the Bible. The blood moons in and of themselves were rare, but the fact that they occurred on Feasts of the Lord make them even more fascinating and important to pay attention to. In Genesis 1:14, it says God created the sun, moon and the stars for SIGNS and for SEASONS. But in Hebrew the word SEASONS means MOED. Moed means FEAST or appointed time. In biblical days, a FEAST day was a time to meet with God. It was an appointment. It was a day to take note of your creator and pay attention to what he would show you. If you ever have time to study the Feasts of the Lord you will see they ALL POINT TO JESUS. It is absolutely fascinating!!!!
God made the sun, moon and stars for signs and to mark his special feasts. I don’t have time to go into the details of the two feasts (Passover and Tabernacles) that coincided with the blood moons, but trust me when I say they point to Jesus Christ. They are certainly a reminder to look up and turn to Jesus. I don’t know when he will return because only God knows! But, he can certainly use the universe to remind us to hold fast to Jesus and his word. He can also remind us that major events could be occurring in the world and in Israel, and we are to be prayer warriors for our nation, Israel and a lost world.
This January 31 super blue blood moon occurs on a holiday known as Tu BiShevat. I imagine you have never heard of it. That’s because it’s not mentioned in the Bible by that name, and it is considered a minor holiday for those of the Jewish faith. Tu BiShevat is also known as the New Year for Trees. Rosh Hashanah, which occurred in September, is the Civil New Year on the biblical calendar. But, who knew there was a new year for trees?
To understand better, let’s look at the biblical meaning behind Tu BiShevat. First of all, Tu BiShevat simply means “the 15th of the month of Shevat.” It occurs on the 15th day in the month of Shevat.
This holiday coincides with the start of spring in Israel. The trees with the earliest blooming cycles will begin the cycle of their fruit bearing. By this point in the cycle the trees should have taken in all the winter rains. This water goes into the veins of the tree, which brings it “new life.” Consequently their sap content will rise, and this is why this time is marked as the beginning of the growing season for trees. This is why this holiday is called Rosh Hashanah for trees, or the new year for trees. They are beginning their fruit bearing cycles. In ancient Israel, this day was called the “first fruits of the trees.” Today in modern Israel it is customary to plant new trees on this holiday.
The first tree to show its blossoms is the ALMOND TREE. Even today it is a custom to eat almonds on Tu BiShevat. NOW HERE’S WHERE YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION. The hebrew word for almond is shakeid. This word comes from a root word that means TO WATCH OR WAKE. The almond tree is the first tree to “wake up” from its winter sleep! It is getting ready for Spring and in essence, rise with its fruit.
Do you see any connections here? If not, let me help you. Firstly, let’s understand that in the Bible, as believers of Jesus, we are compared to trees. As trees, we are told to bear fruit.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. JOHN 15, 1-8
It can’t get clearer than that! But, I could go on for a while listing verses where it says we are trees that should bear fruit. Did you notice the verses above were from John 15? Remember, Tu BiShevat is on the 15th of Shevat!
So, if we are to be like trees bearing fruit, that means we are to be doing the work of Jesus. We don’t keep Jesus to ourselves- we share him! We share him with others. There are many ways to do that, but it involves witnessing to people, helping others and actually sharing our Christian faith. How can we produce fruit if we never talk about him, or share the truth with others? How do we produce fruit if we keep our faith to ourselves? We have to be DOING something for the kingdom. There are so many people who are afraid to even say the name of Jesus in public for fear that they will sound religious! Well, I’ll tell you this- there is no power without his name! So, if you can’t share it, how do you expect fruit to come? You can do all the good deeds in the world, but if Jesus isn’t behind it, it is fruitless. Be fruitful, and do it in his name. I believe this triple super blue blood moon happening on Tu BiShevat is a reminder that we better start bearing some fruit for the kingdom.
Did you know TuBShevat is the time of year when owners of tree orchards would inspect their trees in Israel? They were checking for the beginning stages of fruit! Tu BiShevat is a time when God also checks the orchards/trees for fruit. As a nation, and as individuals, what FRUIT are we producing? We may not be taking note, but God is.
Here’s another thing to ponder. Remember when I said the FIRST tree to show blossoms (beginning stages of fruit) is the almond tree? Then, I said the root word for almond in Hebrew is WATCH or WAKE. The almond tree is awakening at Tu BiShevat. As believers in Jesus and trees of Jesus, we are to be FULLY ALERT to him, his plan and the Holy Spirit. We are to be aware of the times and seasons as well. Keep in mind that seasons in Hebrew means “feasts” and “appointed times.” That means we are to be mindful of the Feasts of the Lord such as Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost (also known as Shavuot), Feast of Trumpets (also known as Rosh Hashanah), Day of Atonement (also known as Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles (also known as Sukkoth). Most Christians have little knowledge of the symbolic nature of these feasts and how they foreshadow what Jesus has already done, and will do. But, I really think this is part of being “awake” because it will help you see the full plan of Jesus in this crazy world. In addition, being awake means being in constant connection with Jesus. He should be your every day routine and the most important part of your life.
Here’s some other interesting things about the almond tree in the Bible. A story from the Bible involving an almond tree is in Numbers 17. It involved Aaron, a high priest for God. Aaron had a staff, which he used to perform signs and wonders. This staff miraculously budded overnight, flowering and producing almonds. Now, why is this important? Because Aaron, the High Priest, was a forerunner to our future High Priest- Jesus Christ. His rod is a symbol for the future power Christ would possess through his death and resurrection on the cross. Before Christ, priests like Aaron were needed to make intercession for us. When Christ died, he made the ultimate intercession, thereby allowing full access to God himself.
Even more amazing is that the golden lamp stand, or menorah, was decorated with oil cups in the shape of almond blossoms. The Menorah itself is designed after a tree. Its branches emulate light and represent the light of God. Christ literally became the Menorah because he is the light of the world. He gives us the Holy Spirit (represented by the oil in the menorah). He is the Branch, and tree of life. How fitting that the cups holding the oil are shaped like almond blossoms- the first tree to awaken for spring. The first tree getting ready to bear fruit!
What’s also amazing about fruit is that Jesus is called the First Fruit. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at his coming.” 1 Corinthians 15, 20-23. Hey, did you catch the number? I didn’t even plan that! Corinthians 15 (Remember Tu BiShevat is on the 15th?) Did you notice the part where it says Christ is the First Fruit, and then it says we are first fruits as well- We are the first fruits when he returns. There will be a rapture and there will be a harvest of first fruits. When he returns at the Second Coming there will be yet another harvest. And think about this—Christ actually rose from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits. I know you think it’s Easter, but in the Bible it is called First Fruits. The Israelites had been celebrating First Fruits as a DRESS REHEARSAL long before Christ rose. God did this as a sign, so they would know when Jesus rose on First Fruits, he was fulfilling the actual feast by being the first “fruit” out of the ground! He was crucified on Passover, in the tomb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then he rose on First Fruits! These feasts are in your Bible and Christ has fulfilled the first four already. He will certainly fulfill the last three as well (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles). When he will fulfill them, we don’t know. These feasts occur every year–just like Christmas, Easter and New Year’s occurs every year.
Are you seeing the point? Some will say the super blue blood moon, and the tetrad of blood moons in 2014, 2015 are coincidence. Others will say the solar eclipse of 2017 in America, and the one coming seven years later in 2024 is also coincidence. But, if you look at where they fall on the biblical Hebrew calendar you will probably think otherwise. I don’t think it’s coincidence. It reminds me to look up- Jesus is my Savior and redemption. It reminds me to bear fruit. It reminds me to get ready for a future harvest. Jesus is called the BRANCH! He is going to return one day and it would be great to have fruit when he returns. The only way to do that is to stay AWAKE and go about our father’s business in the vineyard.
BTW, just eating Moon Pies isn’t going to cut it! They taste great, but they don’t have any fruit in them! LOL
I would be praying for our nation to produce fruit for God. (Our nation recognizing Jerusalem is certainly fruit.) But, collectively, as a nation, we have a lot of repenting to do.
Our leaders, whether we like them or not, need our prayers. They need prayers for WISDOM.
The status of Jerusalem is ESSENTIAL to biblical prophecy. Jesus will return to Jerusalem one day to reconcile the earth. Jerusalem is mentioned as God’s city more than 800 times in the Bible. We are also warned throughout the Bible that Jerusalem IS NOT TO BE DIVIDED. As this super blue blood moon occurs, I will be praying the United States stays on course with God’s plan for Jerusalem. I will be praying for our leaders to follow the Lord’s will……………………
Hebrew for Christians: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/
My Jewish Learning
Mark Biltz: El Shaddai Ministries: http://www.elshaddaiministries.us/
Holy Bible: ESV and NIV version