Saturday, April 4, 2015, a total lunar eclipse will happen that aligns with the Hebrew calendar holy day of Passover. The eclipse will be visible over most of the United States, but not in Jerusalem.
The eclipsed moon will also not be visible because of daytime from the Atlantic Ocean to Iraq and western Russia. It will be visible as a partial eclipse with only a few minutes of totality in the predawn sky in mountain west America.[i]
Details from NASA of the April 4, 2015 Lunar Eclipse.[ii]
The eclipse is the third total eclipse of a tetrad of four eclipses that began last year and ends this fall.[iii] The lack of visibility of this eclipse is one of many reasons why I would assert that the tetrad of four eclipses during 2014 and 2015 does not rise to a “gold standard” as far as being a key last days’ sign and wonder. However, taken individually, this particular eclipse has several interesting features.
Book of Mormon Gold Standard for Signs and Wonders
The fulfillment of the prophesies of Samuel the Lamanite of the signs of Christ’s birth and His death and resurrection constitute in my opinion instances of a true gold standard of signs and wonders from God. The angel told Samuel that these magnificent signs would be sent “to the intent that [the people] might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men …” (Heleman 14:28)[iv]
Exact Calendar Holy Day Alignments
The signs of Christ’s birth, crucifixion and resurrection were exactly aligned with the Hebrew and other sacred calendars within a quarter-day.
Christ’s birth occurred on Passover on the Hebrew calendar the evening before April 6, 1 BC. Astronomer John Pratt’s research has detailed the many holy day alignments that occurred on that date with sacred calendars all the way from the Sacred Round on the Native American calendars to the Mercury calendar.[v]
The Crucifixion day, Friday, April 1, 33 AD, was aligned with the sacrifice of the Passover lambs in Judea, with their holy day of the Passover feast celebrated that evening.
The Resurrection day, in the early morning on April 3, 33 AD, likewise was exactly aligned with the Hebrew and other sacred calendars. This date has even more alignments with sacred calendar holy days than the birth day of Christ.
Calculable Celestial Events
These signs included celestial events that are calculable. A lunar eclipse, turning the moon red occurred on the Lord’s crucifixion day, April 1, 33 AD. As Christ’s body was being placed in the tomb, the rising moon was eclipsed by the earth’s shadow making it appear blood red.
In the year before His birth, Christ’s conception was accompanied by the closest conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in history during June of 2 BC. Like the lunar eclipse, these alignments of the planets can be calculated and many were predicted, observed and recorded in ancient times.[vi]
Unpredictable But Scientifically Understood Signs
This next level of sign and wonder characteristics is where a sign happens that cannot be easily predicted but is generally understood scientifically. An example of this would be a volcanic eruption, earthquake or tsunami such as the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland or the 2011 Pacific Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Japan.[vii] The signs of Christ’s birth and crucifixion in America are above and beyond this scientifically understood but hard to predict level.
European and world air travel was disrupted for weeks when this minor volcano in Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull, erupted putting deadly ash into the upper atmosphere that clogs jet engines. The severity of this eruption was classified as one on the seven levels of the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) scale.[viii]
Surprise Miraculous Signs
Along with calendar alignments and planetary alignments, what is especially impressive about the signs prophesied by Samuel and witnessed by the population throughout the Nephite and Lamanite countries is the “above and beyond” additional signs for which we have no clear scientific explanations.
The Star of Bethlehem appeared in the sky at the birthday of Jesus, the Babe of Bethelem. It was impressive enough to become the guide for the wise men to find the Savior in Bethlehem. In America, the night of Christ’s birth was a night with “great lights in heaven” (Helaman 14:3) so that “it shall appear unto man as if it was day.” No convincing natural scientific explanation of either miracle is available.
The Crucifixion day before Christ’s Resurrection included the three hours of darkness over all of the earth while Jesus was upon the cross. In America, earthquakes, storms and destructions prevailed for three hours followed by three days of thick darkness over the entire area. Cities were burned, sunk into the sea or buried by mountains. Earthquakes lasting three hours instead of a few minutes are beyond current scientific knowledge.
During the hours of darkness, Christ’s voice enumerated the destructions of many cities “that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them.” (3 Nephi 9:11)
He then invited those remaining to come unto Him. “O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?” (3 Nephi 9:13)
Caption: When Jesus Christ visited the Nephites in Bountiful, the whole face of the land had been changed by the signs of the Crucifixion of the Savior.[ix]
Calendar alignments, calculable celestial signs, plus amazingly timed planetary and astronomical miracles: All these characteristics happened with the signs and wonders witnessed in America during the Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Blood Moon Tetrad: Is It Really a “Gold Standard” Sign?
Here is a table from my April 2014 article showing key facts about the four blood moons of 2014 and 2015.[x] Particularly, after having looked at the amazing list of characteristics of the signs of the Lord’s first coming as manifested in America and in the Holy Land, this tetrad certainly would not be in the same class with them and is not a “gold standard” level of last days’ sign.
Date UTC time Hebrew date Visible in Jerusalem?
Tue 15 Apr 2014 7:48 am 15 Nisan No. 9:48 am (local) daytime
Wed 8 Oct 2014 10:52 am 14 Tishri No. 12:52 pm daytime
Sat 4 Apr 2015 12:03 pm 15 Nisan No. 2:03 pm daytime
Mon 28 Sep 2015 2:47 am 15 Tishri Yes. 4:47 am before sunrise
If the tetrad is to have prophetic import for the state of Israel as publications have claimed, the three times that it cannot even be seen in Jerusalem ought to lower its evaluation score as an applicable sign. Only the fourth eclipse will be visible in Jerusalem. The second of the four eclipses does not align on the feast of Tabernacles. The fact that all four eclipses are visible in America might increase the probability of their being signs that apply in the new world rather than the old world.
And, with all these problems, these eclipses perhaps should be evaluated individually instead of asserting that all four eclipses must be considered as a single great sign.
Equinox Solar Eclipse
A recent email from John Pratt commented on the alignment of the total solar eclipse two weeks ago with the spring equinox.
“Today, [March 20, 2015], there is a total solar eclipse over the arctic on the very day of the spring equinox. One article says that hasn’t happened since 1662.
That may be more important that any connection it might have to the much-hyped blood moon tetrad.”[xi]
March 20, 2015 total solar eclipse as viewed in the Faroe Islands.[xii]
Current Lunar Eclipse Visible in Utah
John Pratt’s comments on this third lunar eclipse of the tetrad are also very interesting.
“I have tried to avoid all of the hype about the four Blood Moons because to me much of the focus has been misdirected, implying that it is a sign for Israel. Three of the four lunar eclipses (including the one this Saturday) are not even visible in Israel, which to me indicates that whatever meaning it may have is not associated with that part of the world. Those three eclipses, however, are all visible in the United States.
“This upcoming third ‘Blood Moon’ is a very interesting lunar eclipse. After about an hour and a half of partial eclipse, it will be full for only about five minutes centering on 6:00 a.m. MDT this Saturday, 4 Apr 2015. It will then go into a partial phase again until sunrise.
“On the sacred calendars Saturday is Passover on the Hebrew Calendar and Sunday is Easter (Wave Offering). Moreover, Sunday is Easter on our Gregorian Calendar and on the Enoch Calendar. A more rare coincidence is that it is also Easter on the Priest calendar (1 Jachin), the same day as that of Christ’s resurrection. Saturday is the holy day 7 Eagle on the Sacred Round. So it is a sacred weekend for reasons other than the eclipse.
“The Passover meal (Seder) is eaten on Friday night, at which time President Obama will be in Utah for the first time.
“And of course it is LDS General Conference that weekend.
“I can’t tell you what it all means, but thought you’d like to know what is going on at that time and where there is a lot of activity,”[xiii]
The Book of Mormon Standard: Superlative Signs and Wonders Fulfilling Prophecy
After the voice of the Savior detailed the destructions in America caused by the signs of His death, Mormon makes this comment:
“And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets.
And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared—
“And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness.
“And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets.” (3 Nephi 10:11-14)
As we look forward to the signs of His coming in our day, why not use the Book of Mormon as our guide as we weigh the significance of the many signs and wonders that are and will yet come to pass, also in fulfillment of prophesies of the holy prophets?
[i] “April 4, 2015 – Total Lunar Eclipse,” timeanddate.com, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
“This Total Lunar Eclipse or “Blood Moon”, is on April 4, 2015 and will be visible in most of North America, South America, Asia and parts of Australia. The Moon will be totally eclipsed (totality) for about 5 minutes. From beginning to end, it will last for 3 hours and 29 mins. This is the third eclipse in the 2014–2015 tetrad.”
“Total Lunar Eclipse on April 4, 2015 (United States),” www.vercalendario.info, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
Information on Salt Lake City: Penumbral, Partial, Total (there is a brief total eclipse phase).
SLC: Penumbral eclipse begins 03:01
Partial eclipse begins 04:16
Umbral eclipse begins 05:58
Max eclipse begins 06:00 <<< brief total eclipse
Umbral eclipse ends 06:03
Partial eclipse ends 07:43
Penumbral eclipse ends 08:59
Lead illustration: Wikipedia commons, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
[ii] “NASA Lunar Eclipse Catalog,” April 4, 2015 eclipse.
[iii] Ronald P. Millett, “Are the Four Blood Moons a Significant Last-days Sign?” Meridian Magazine, April 9, 2014.
“On April 15, 2014, a total lunar eclipse will occur on the same day as the Jewish Passover on the Hebrew Calendar. Three other lunar eclipses will also closely align during the next two years with the Passover and Tabernacles sacred feast days. Various publications such as Minister John Hagee’s book (“Four Blood Moons: Something is about to Change”) have trumpeted this rare set of four events as a significant sign of the fulfillment of latter-day prophesy. This article will analyze these coming events double checking the claimed alignments and examining the visibility of the eclipses in Jerusalem.”
Ronald P. Millett, “Viewing Total Lunar Eclipse and More Evidence against a Prophetic Omen,” Meridian Magazine, April 15, 2015.
“[Examining further the prophetic claims of several key tetrads deemed related to the 2014-2015 tetrad,] the example tetrads of 1492, 1948 and 1967 seem to come after the events they predict. This is backwards from the prediction of key future events [as coming] after the four blood moons of 2014-2015.
Ronald P. Millett, “Second Blood Moon of Tetrad Lands on Holy Day,” Meridian Magazine, October 10, 2014.
“A widely visible total lunar eclipse will occur on October 8, 2014. This is the second of a tetrad of four total eclipses of the moon in a row, which is a fairly rare event. These four eclipses have been promoted by some Christians as a very significant latter-day sign relating to the state of Israel and the coming arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.
“Six months ago as the first eclipse of the tetrad occurred that aligned with the Passover holy day, I wrote an article entitled ‘Are the Four Blood Moons a Significant Last-days Sign?’. Although the individual eclipses might have some significance, I concluded that the alignments and visibility of the 2014-2015 eclipses have enough inconsistencies that together they are probably not a key sign of imminent last-days catastrophic events.
“This coming eclipse is an example of some of these anomalies. It has been promoted as occurring on the feast of tabernacles holy day on the Hebrew calendar. In fact, it misses that key feast by one day and will not even be visible at Jerusalem.”
[iv] “Samuel the Lamanite,” LDS Media Library, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
Arnold Friberg, “Classic Scenes from the Book of Mormon,” “Samuel the Lamanite,” Retrieved 4/1/2015.
[v] John P. Pratt, “Ten Sacred Calendars Testify of Christ, Meridian Magazine, August 19, 2015.
“Key religious events often occur on sacred calendar holy days, allowing precise dates to be deduced afterward. The life of Jesus Christ provides a compelling example.”
[vi] John P. Pratt, “The Star of Bethlehem’s Forerunner,” Meridian Magazine, November 28, 2000.
“While the exact nature of the Star of Bethlehem still eludes astronomers, the sign in the heavens of the conception of the Savior has now apparently been discovered.”
[vii] Bryan Walsh, “Why Iceland’s Volcano Is a Hazard for Air Travel,” time.com, April 15, 2010.
“What passengers couldn’t see was the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland — more than 621 miles (1,000 km) from Britain — which had spewed a toxic plume of ash high in the air on Tuesday night. Prevailing winds had pushed the ash over much of Europe by Wednesday, and while it was too high (up to 36,000 feet) and dispersed to be easily visible, it still posed a serious hazard to air travel. Volcanic ash, which is made up of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen fluoride, along with fine silica particles, may not block pilots’ sight lines, but its chemicals can wreck sensitive aircraft engines. It can also clog an aircraft’s ventilation holes, causing engines to stall.”
“2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull,” wikipedia.com, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
“The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were volcanic events at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland which, although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe over an initial period of six days in April 2010. Additional localized disruption continued into May 2010.”
Jeanna Bryner, “Tsunami Hits Japan after Massive 8.9 Earthquake,” livescience.com, March 11, 2011.
[viii] Eyjafjallajokull Eruption,” geotalk.info, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
“Volcanic Explosivity Index,” Wikipedia.org, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
This chart shows the seven level VEI and the amount of material ejected by each level. Notice how tiny the VEI #1 Iceland volcano is on this scale. Yet, the ash is so deadly to aircraft engines that very serious disruptions happened to air travel and air freight.
[ix] “Christ Teaching Nephites,” LDS Media Library, Retrieved 4/1/2015.
[x] Ronald P. Millett, “Are the Four Blood Moons a Significant Last-days Sign?” Meridian Magazine, April 9, 2014.
[xi] Justin Grieser, “Vernal Equinox 2015: Solar eclipse, supermoon kick off spring in the Northern Hemisphere,” The Washington Post, March 20, 2015.
John P. Pratt, email to author, March 20, 2015.
[xii] “See it! Best photos of March 20 solar eclipse,” EarthSky.com, March 20, 2015.
Photo: Haida Mohammed taken in the Faroe Islands.
[xiii] Dennis Romboy, “President Obama to make first trip to Utah this week as president,” Deseret News, March 30, 2015.
John P. Pratt, email to author, March 31, 2015.