Astronomical Eclipse Data and Israel's Feasts

By Barry Setterfield
(23rd December 2012)

We are aware that the Lord said that the Sun, Moon and stars are to be for signs, and that leads on to the meaning of the names of the stars and the message that those names convey. This is examined in more detail at these links:  and

However, there is another manner in which the Sun and Moon may convey information. Consider Solar and Lunar eclipses. These come and go with clockwork regularity. Nevertheless, some strange coincidences may be noted. First, the occurrence of these astronomical events on the Feast Days or high Holy Days of Israel speak uniquely of God's fore-planning. That comment follows from the rarity of these events. Something that is already rare astronomically is for 4 full Lunar eclipses to occur in succession. Usually, many partial eclipses occur between the times of total Lunar eclipses. For 4 totals to occur in a row is remarkable astronomically. However, even more remarkable is for such a tetrad of Lunar eclipses to occur on Jewish feast days.

This Lunar tetrad event coupled with Jewish feasts only occurs once in this present century, namely in 2014-2015. That will be discussed in a moment. The tetrad event only occurred once in the last century. Those occasions were in 1967 and 1968 when the 4 total Lunar eclipses occurred in succession on Passover April 24th 1967, and Tabernacles October 18th 1967; then Passover April 13th 1968, and Tabernacles October 6th 1968. The point that is of interest in this connection is that the tetrad of Lunar eclipses in the 20th century surrounded the return of the Old City of Jerusalem to Jewish control on 7th June 1967, which itself was a fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 102:12-22 and Luke 21:24-25, 32). There were no tetrads in the 1800's or the 1700's or the 1600's, though there were some related events in the 1500's which we will also come to in a moment.

Total Solar eclipses are similarly rare. It is even rarer for there to be two total Solar eclipses in one year. In 1967, there were two total Solar eclipses, namely on 9th May and 2nd November. When Solar events like this are linked with total Lunar eclipse tetrads, the chance of this happening is extremely low. Under these circumstances, it may be that the Lord is calling to our attention the significant event in His Program and for the nation of Israel which occurred that year.

In like fashion, it is of exceptional rarity for total Solar eclipses to occur every year or so. That has only occurred consistently in the 1500's. The occasions were January 3rd and December 24th 1535; December 13th 1536; April 28th 1538; April 18th 1539; April 7th 1540; August 11th, 1542. These Solar events were complimented by 4 total Lunar eclipses on 24th May and 17th November 1537, plus 12th March and 5th September 1541. What was happening during that period? That was the precise period in which the Wall was being built which currently surrounds Old Jerusalem. You can read about the significance of the building of Jerusalem's Wall and its possible link to the Messiah’s Return in this link:

This is done on the basis of Daniel 9 from which, to be brief, it can be stated that Messiah will appear 69 periods of 7 years of 360 days (or a total of 173,880 days) after the command to build the Wall of Jerusalem. For Messiah's first coming, that command was given in Nehemiah 2:1-8 and dated as the 1st Nisan 444 BC which was the 20th year of Artaxerxes. In our current calendar that date was 12th March that year. When 173,880 days are added to that date, you arrive at Sunday March 29th, 33 AD with Passover and full Moon (plus eclipse) on Friday April 3rd. Those dates correspond to Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey as Messiah in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 with the Crucifixion later that week as foretold in Psalm 22:1, 16-18, Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9:26 etc.

The 7 year period of the re-building of the Wall of Jerusalem from 1535 to 1542 may have similar significance. The date of the command to build the wall was not recorded. However, the commands for the building of the fountains needed to refresh the workers and supply water for the building have been noted. They were all given before the command for the wall itself. Nevertheless, some of the Gates in the Wall have information about their construction available. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, who commanded that the work take place, did so as a result of a recurring dream featuring lions. The Lions Gate in the North-Eastern wall commemorates that event. It was through this gate that the Israelis gained access to the Old City to liberate it on June 7th 1967.

This is significant. In Daniel 9, the full period of 173,880 days is split into two segments, namely 156,240 days (62 periods of 7 years) and 17,640 days (7 periods of 7 years of 360 days). The Lions Gate was being built during 1539. If 156,240 days are added to that, we end up in 1967. Specifically, if the Lions Gate started construction on 20th August 1539, we end up with 7th June 1967. If we then add the remaining 17,640 days (or 7 periods of 7 years of 360 days) to the 7th June 1967, we end up on September 23rd 2015. This is the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, when the High Priest would come out of the Holy of Holies and bless the believing congregation. It is at this point that the astronomical data become of some interest.

There is a tetrad of total Lunar eclipses starting Passover April 15th 2014, followed by Tabernacles October 8th 2014; then Passover April 4th 2015 with Tabernacles 28th September 2015. However, the total Solar eclipses also feed into this. The first total Solar eclipse being 1st Nisan March 20th 2015, and Rosh Hashana September 14th 2015. So there is a culmination of significant astronomical events in September 2015 with a total Solar eclipse for Rosh Hashana just a few days before the key day of Atonement September 23rd, and followed a few days after by a total Lunar eclipse for the Feast Of Tabernacles.

In other words, for a variety of reasons, we expect something of significance to happen around this time. The prophecy in Joel 2:31 comes to mind when he says “I will turn the sun into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.” The ‘great and terrible day of the Lord’ is also referred to as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7, Daniel 12:1), the “wrath of God,” or the “indignation of God” (Jeremiah 10:10), or the “day of the LORD’s fierce anger” (Zephaniah 2:2). So these events are a forewarning that the “great Tribulation” (Revelation 7:14) is shortly to occur. And the New Testament affirms that the Rapture, the catching away of the Christians to be with the Lord, will occur before the Tribulation. This is also hinted at in Zephaniah 2:1-3. So these astronomical events have the potential to herald a major upheaval which could be world-wide, but could also be focused on events in the Mid-East.

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