Four Blood Moons: Could Rare Astrological Events Be Heralding the 'End of Days'??
The alignment marks the start of the 'Tetrad' - four successive 'blood-red' eclipses[AFP/GETTY ]
Mars, Earth, and the Sun all aligned last night, a rare 'opposition of the planets' that only happens once every 778 days.
But what made this event so remarkable is that it occured precisely a week before everyone on earth will see the first of FOUR dark red 'blood moons', an extraordinary event some Christians believe represents the End of Days and the second coming of Christ.
The King James Bible predicts: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD comes," [Joel 2:31].
And, according to NASA, a highly unusual 'Tetrad' - four successive total 'blood-red' lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons - will, indeed, start next Tuesday and finish on September 28 2015.
The incredible alignment has only happened a handful of times in the last two thousand years but, remarkably, on each of the last three occasions it has coincided with a globally significant religious event.
Pastor and author John Hagee, from San Antonio, Texas, has written a book on the phenomenon. He believes tonight marks the dawn of a 'hugely significant event' for the world.
He says: "This is not something that some religious think tank has put together.
"NASA has confirmed that the Tetrad has only happened three times in more than 500 years - and that it's going to happen now."
NASA has confirmed four consecutive total lunar eclipses will occur in 2014 and 2015 [NASA]
The first Tetrad since the Middle Ages, in 1493, saw the expulsion of Jews by the Catholic Spanish Inquisition, which rocked western Europe.
The second coincided with the establishment of the State of Israel - after thousands of years of struggle - in 1949.
Strangely, the last one occurred in 1967 - far earlier than expected - precisely at the time of the Six-Day Arab–Israeli War.
A spokesman for NASA said: "This is the first eclipse of the year and is well placed for observers throughout the Western Hemisphere.
"It will occur at the lunar orbit's ascending node in Virgo.
"This is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 - a series known as a Tetrad."
He added: "The frequency of Tetrads is variable over time.
"Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli first pointed out that Tetrads were relatively plentiful during one 300-year interval, while none occurred at all during the next 300 years.
"The 565-year period of the Tetrad 'seasons' is tied to the slowly decreasing eccentricity of Earth's orbit.
"Consequently, the Tetrad period is gradually decreasing.
"In the distant future Tetrads will no longer be possible."
Mr Hagee explains: "According to the Biblical prophecy, world history is about to change dramatically.
"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."
He adds: "To have four and have them fall on these exact dates is something that has to be beyond coincidental.
"What is so remarkable about these blood moons is that they specifically fulfill prophecies set out in the Bible.
"Joel Chapter Two also says the 'Day of the Lord will be as when the sun refuses to shine'.
"The really significant fact is that between these four blood moons there will be a total solar eclipse.
"Even Jesus himself, in the Book of Luke, states there 'will be signs in the sun, moon and stars' and to 'lift up your heads for redemption draws nigh'.
"There's a sequence of prophetic events that the Bible says will happen. It does not, ever, give a timeline.
"It just says 'when you see these signs' - and four blood moons is a very significant one - 'the end of this age is coming."
While NASA has confirmed the astrological validity behind some of the claims, not everyone is convinced the Tetrad means anything at all, let alone the End of Days.
Professor Gary Shogren, a former pastor who studied the New Testament at Aberdeen University, said: "You’ll never go broke predicting the apocalypse.
"An eclipse on Passover night seems wildly improbable, but we should remember that lunar eclipses only happen on full moons and that Passover by definition always takes place on a full moon. Sukkoth (The Feast of Tabernacles) also by definition coincides with a full moon.
"I thought in 2011 we all said we weren’t going to fall for this again, when Harold Camping twice missed the date of the Second Coming?