Q. Is the October lunar eclipse (also referred to as a “Blood Moon”) a highly anticipated event in Israel, in conjunction with the prophecy in Joel 2:31? (a prophecy repeated by Peter on the Day of Pentecost; see Acts 2:20.)

A. Short answer: No, not so much.

Long answer for those unsure what we’re talking about: Among some Christians, particularly Christians outside the land of Israel, there is tremendous interest in a series of four lunar eclipses known as blood moons. One such eclipse occurred in April 2014, during Passover. Another is set to occur in October, during the feast of Tabernacles. Then there will be two more in 2015, also occurring on those Jewish holidays.

Much of the interest is in response to a popular pastor’s book on the subject, chronicling significant events that have befallen Israel or the Jewish people during these eclipses. Much has been made of the fact that there is a series of four such eclipses back-to-back, falling on specific Jewish holidays.

However, you will not find the same level of interest or anticipation in Israel or among the Jewish community worldwide. In fact, many Christians are not at all certain that these should be taken as signs that connect with biblical prophecy. Here is why:

Lunar eclipses only occur at a full moon and it’s normal for lunar eclipses to occur within six months of each other. Jewish holidays follow a lunar calendar, with Passover and Sukkot normally occurring at or near the full moon, and these feasts are also always six months apart. So it’s not unusual to have a lunar eclipse at either Passover or Sukkot, or even at both. What is unusual is that four lunar eclipses are occurring back-to-back over two consecutive commemorations of Passover and Sukkot. But there is nothing that ties a series of four eclipses during these Jewish holidays to a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and no biblical reason to anticipate that God is orchestrating events to coincide with these eclipses.

Dr. Danny Faulkner, an astronomer with “Answers in Genesis” noted:  “There also is a question of from what portion of the earth one ought to view these eclipses for them to constitute a sign. One might think that Jerusalem would be a key site, but the first three total lunar eclipses in 2014–2015 won’t be visible from there, and only the beginning of the final eclipse will be. One must ask whether a sign that few people notice is much of a sign.” (http://www.answersingenesis.org)

So if you ask us Jews for Jesus if it is possible that something major will happen to or with Israel during these holiday eclipses, the answer is, yes, absolutely! But it is also possible that something major will happen before you finish reading this article. The title of the book that has generated much of the “blood moon buzz” is Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change. Frankly, something is always about to change, especially when it comes to Israel and the situation in the Middle East.

We know that cataclysmic events beyond our control will continue to occur as biblical prophecy unfolds, lunar eclipses or not. But what IS in our control and DOES have a scriptural basis is taking every opportunity to lovingly explain the gospel of salvation to Jewish people who will otherwise perish without their Messiah.