Predictions soar for end of the world this month

end is near

UTAH, United States, Monday September 21, 2015 – An increasing number of minority Christian groups have predicted that the world will end later this month when, they say, a “blood moon” will bring about an apocalyptic meteor strike and/or earthquake.

The “blood moon” in question is due on the night of September 27-28. To skywatchers, it simply refers to the copper colour the moon acquires during an eclipse, but to some end-times believers, the fourth and final eclipse in a tetrad – four consecutive total lunar eclipses, each separated by six lunar months – fulfils biblical prophecy of the apocalypse.

The first three in the series took place April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; and April 4, 2015.

The notion that a “tetrad” of lunar eclipses, with six full moons in between them, will coincide with an asteroid hitting earth was popularised by pastors Mark Biltz and John Hagee who boast huge followings in the United States. Both noted that previous tetrads had coincided with major events in Jewish history.

Hagee, founder of a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, unveiled his revelations in the book “Four Blood Moons,” which was the ninth best-selling paperback in the US in March last year and has since been made into a documentary-style movie.

In promoting the book, Hagee claimed that the tetrad was a signal being sent by God.

“The coming four blood moons points to a world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015,” he said.

The Blood Moon theory is partially derived from a passage in the Bible in Joel 2:31 which reads: “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.”

A similar reference is found in Acts 2:20: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”

Yet another occurs in Revelation 6:12: “… and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”

Some contemporary biblical theorists who follow the teachings are apprehensive that the world will end somewhere between September 22 and 28.

Hagee and Blitz’s assertions have nevertheless been debunked by scientists and sceptics.

After examining some of Hagee’s theories – including the blood moons coinciding with Jewish holidays (which is logical, since Jewish holidays are based on the lunar calendar) and significant events in Jewish history – Patheos’ Bob Seidensticker noted that the minister was vague at some points and credulous at others.

He predicted that Hagee’s prophesy would fail.

The astronomical site EarthSky.org added that tetrads, of which there have been 62 since the first century, follow natural cycles and are easily calculated. Moreover, three of the four most recent eclipses were not visible in Israel itself.

“What good is a blood moon if God’s chosen can’t see it?” wrote Seidensticker.

In the meantime, while Hagee and Blitz made their predictions amid heightened tensions in the Middle east and the possibility of a third world war, Mormon apocalypse believers are pointing to political instability and financial collapse.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, sales of freeze-dried food, flashlights, blankets and tents have soared in Utah in recent weeks as some Mormons have begun to prepare for the end of the world.

The so-called “preppers” believe the world is ending this month based on biblical prophecies, the Hebrew calendar, an unstable economy, world politics and astronomical occurrences, the Tribune said.

The Mormon apocalypse believers claim the Jewish High Holy Days that began last week will usher in a financial crisis based on the United States’ “wickedness.” They predict the full moon September 28 is the next sign the world is ending.

Some of these speculations are said to have stemmed from Julie Rowe’s books, “A Greater Tomorrow: My Journey Beyond the Veil” and “The Time Is Now.” Rowe, a Mormon mother of three, published the books in 2014 to detail a “near-death experience.” Her two books have sold more than 20,000 copies each.

Officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said they endorsed neither the books nor their teachings, however.

Overall, there has nevertheless been enough speculation in the press and on social media for NASA, which has an automated collision monitoring system, to issue the following statement:

“NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,” said a spokesperson in comments reported by Yahoo News.

“In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”

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