As the world gears up to witness "blood moon," a rare celestial event in which a total lunar eclipse turns the moon into a burnt reddish orange, conspiracy theories connecting the phenomenon to doomsday talk have emerged.
The blood moon, which occurs when the Earth, Sun and moon are in perfect alignment covering the moon from view in the Earth's shadow, has been linked by some conspiracy theorists with the End of Days and the second coming of Christ.
It is much like the hysteria surrounding the Mayan prophecy that the world was to end on 21 December, 2012.
American pastor and author John Hagee's book Four Blood Moons: Something is About To Change, which was published last year, noted the connection between the tetrad and the biblical prophecy about doomsday.
"According to the Biblical prophecy, world history is about to change dramatically," he told the Daily Express. "To get four blood moons you need something absolutely extraordinary in astrological terms. Every time this has happened in the last 500 years, it has coincided with tragedy for the Jewish people followed by triumph. And once again, for Israel, the timing of this Tetrad is remarkable."
"The first of the four blood moons will come on April 15 this year, during Passover. The second will be on October 8, at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles. On April 4, 2015, during Passover, we will have another blood moon. Then finally, on September 28, during next year's Feast of the Tabernacles, the fourth blood and final moon will dawn," Hagee added.
The King James Bible's Book of Joel, 2:31, states: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."
Adding on, a verse from Revelations 6:12, says: "There was a great earthquake. The Sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair. The whole Moon turned blood red."
However, EarthSky's Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd noted that the Jewish calendar being lunar-based would definitely have eclipses coinciding with the holidays.
"The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar," McClure and Byrd wrote. "In any year, it's inevitable that a full moon should fall on or near the feasts of Passover (15 Nissan) and Tabernacles (15 Tishri). Nissan and Tishri are the first and seventh months of the Jewish calendar, respectively. It is somewhat ironic that three of these four lunar eclipses are not visible – even in part – from Israel. The only eclipse that can be seen at all from Israel is the tail end of the September 28, 2015 eclipse, which may be observable for a short while before sunrise."