Monday, March 24, 2014

Four Blood Moons: It's Called Lunacy for a Reason

Lunacy - Def. "originally referring to temporary insanity attributed to changes of the moon." Cf. Old English "lunatic," literally "moon-sick."

I'm sure John Hagee is a fine Christian and a great pastor. I have enjoyed hearing him preach a few times on television. However, Mr. Hagee's newest book Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change makes a case that the author may be suffering from a form of temporary insanity.  Christians who believe what John Hagee is proposing without thinking for themselves, could find themselves afflicted with the same disease.

Mr. Hagee believes that something terrible, but ultimately triumphant, is about to happen to the nation of Israel due to the four total lunar eclipses  that will occur in the northern hemisphere during 2014 and 2015.  These four eclipses, called by astronomers a tetrad, occur on April 15, 2014, which is Jewish Passover; on October 8, 2014, which is the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles; on April 4, 2015, which is (again) Jewish Passover; and on September 28, 2015 which is (again) the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles.

Contrary to what Hagee would have the reader believe, lunar eclipses aren't that special. There are at least two to five lunar eclipses every year. Likewise, lunar tetrads (total lunar eclipses that occur six months apart, with no partial lunar eclipses in between) also occur frequently. There have been 62 tetrads since Christ. The last one was in 2003 and 2004, and there will be a total of 8 lunar tetrads in this century (2001 to 2100).

Hagee writes that what is rare is that this lunar tetrad is occurring on Jewish holy days. Well, maybe. Since the times of Christ, there have been eight tetrads that have occurred on Jewish Passover and the Festival of Tabernacles. Think about this for a moment though. If the first total lunar eclipse of a tetrad happens to occur on Passover (15 Nissan on the Hebrew calendar), it is guaranteed that the second total lunar eclipse will occur the Festival of Tabernacles (15 Tishri on the Hebrew calendar) because the Hebrew calendar is lunar, and the Festival of Tabernacles is exactly six lunar months after the Festival of Passover.  So it is also guaranteed that the third and fourth lunar eclipses of a tetrad will occur on those same Hebrew festival days the following year.  Again, the lunar tetrad falling on Hebrew holidays is not as rare as Hagee would like you to believe. Here are the eight that have occurred since Christ.

1. AD 162-163
2. AD 795-796
3. AD 842-843
4. AD 860-861
5. AD 1493-1494
6. AD 1949-1950
7. AD 1967-1968
8. AD 2014-2015

Hagee writes that every time a tetrad occurs on Jewish feast days something traumatic  and 'world-changing' happens to Israel. He gives three examples. First, in 1492 Spain expelled the Jews and Christopher Columbus discovered America, giving the Jews a place to go. Second, in 1948 Israel became a nation again. And third, in 1967 Israel won the Six Day War and captured Jerusalem. In a moment I will absolutely destroy Hagee's conclusion about "traumatic things" happening to the Jews and the nation of Israel every time a lunar tetrad occurs on Hebrew holy days. For now, just think about this: Israel wasn't even a nation the first six times a lunar tetrad occurred.

Yet, Hagee concludes that something traumatic, but ultimately triumphant, is going to happen to Israel during 2014 and 2015, an event that 'will change the course of world history.' More to the point, Hagee believes the "rapture" will occur, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus Christ will return to earth because the prophet Joel said,
"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Joel 2:31).
Now, while being kind to Mr. Hagee as a brother in Christ, and writing as one who also believes in the full inspiration of Scripture, I would like to show you why the premise of Hagee's book is speculative at best, and pure lunacy at worst.

7 Reasons Why the Premise of John Hagee's Four Blood Moons  Is Potential Lunacy

(1). Anytime Jewish literature describes the fall of a government or nation, apocalyptic language is used. This highly symbolic manner of writing, with language like, “the sun was darkened, the moon would not give her light, and the stars shall fall," is the way the Hebrew prophets described how God would come in judgment upon a nation. The Old Testament refers to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC (Isaiah 13:10-13) in this manner. Likewise, Egypt's collapse in 590 BC (Ezekiel 32:7-8) and Judah's fall in 586 BC (Zephaniah 1:14-16) are described with this stellar apocalyptic language. The sun going dark and the moon turning to blood is biblical symbolic language describing the fall of a nation by the judgment of God, not literal astronomy.

(2). John Hagee falsely calls the lunar tetrad occurring in 2014 and 2015 four blood moons. These four lunar eclipses are not blood moons at all! They are simply full moons that are eclipsed! Hagee wrongly calls them "blood moons" in order to bring Joel 2:31 into play and act as if Jesus is coming as Messiah over Israel after "the moon turns to blood." Astronomers who hear Christians call the next four lunar eclipses "Blood Moons" will rightly think we ignorant of astronomy. Truth be told, we are mostly ignorant of the Bible.

(3). When the prophet Joel wrote "The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Joel 2:31), he was describing the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel for their rejection of His Son. National judgment on any people in rebellion to God is often described as "the dreadful day of the Lord." Joel's prophecy, referred to by Luke in Acts 2:20, was a prediction of the "great day of the Lord" against Israel, the day when God judged the nation by destroying Jerusalem, the Jewish Temple and scattered the people (AD 70). God brought to an end the Old Covenant, formally ushered in the New Covenant (agreement) where people of every nation, race, family and language group find peace with God through faith in the person and work of His Son. Listen to the great Hebrew linguist and Baptist theologian John Gill commentary on Acts 2:20 and Joel's prophecy:
"The sun shall be turned into darkness"... as at the death of Christ, by a total eclipse of it: "and the moon into blood," as at the opening of the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12) "before that great and notable day of the Lord come": when he shall come in power and great glory, as God did a few years after this (AD 70), to take vengeance on the Jews, and destroy their nation, city, and temple; in which there was a display of his greatness, and power, and which was awful and terrible to them, as in Joel it is called "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (see Gill's note on Matthew 24:29 also).
 (4). Hagee attempts to prove that every time a tetrad occurs on Jewish holy days, something 
happens to the Jews and Israel. That's simply not true for a couple of reasons. First, the Jews were scattered for nineteen centuries and Israel did not exist as a nation. NOTHING happened to the Jews or the nation of Israel during the years of the first six tetrads. Hagee tries to suggest that Spain "expelled the Jews" in 1492 and that was this was a 'traumatic and terrible' event. However, astronomers tell us that the actual tetrad occurred on Passover and Tabernacles in 1493 and 1494, not 1492. The Jews were expelled from Spain a full eighteen months before the first lunar eclipse of 1493/1494 tetrad even began. Second, there are only two tetrads that fall on Jewish holy days during Israel's time as a nation (since 1948). Interestingly, Hagee makes the same dating mistake when he speaks of Israel's "traumatic" war for independence. Israel was declared a nation and went to war in 1948, not during the lunar tetrad of 1949/1950. Hagee's error of misstating the actual date of astronomical tetrads seems intentional. He must misstate the dates of previous tetrads in order to convince readers that his prophecies in Four Blood Moons are reliable. However, fudging facts to prove an argument is not scientific or ethical.

(5). One of my favorite Bible series I taught at Emmanuel Enid was "Portraits of Christ: The Feasts and the Festivals of Israel." I know enough about Jewish calendaring and the holy days of Old Covenant Israel to know that the priests watched the moon from the mountains of Israel to declare new moons (months), holy days, and other events by blowing the shofars. In other words, the moon was eyeballed by the priests of Israel! Interestingly, the lunar eclipse tetrad of 2014/2015 will not be visible from Israel! We Americans seem to think the world truly revolves around us. Smile. One would think if a special occurrence in the lunar cycle (a tetrad) were important to Israel, they could at least see it!

(6). Hagee's use of the term blood moons for the upcoming lunar eclipse tetrad is utter deception. A tetrad is four successive total lunar eclipses with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months. Hagee's book is about a tetrad, but he's calling it four blood moons. There are NOT four blood moons occurring in 2014 and 2015. A blood moon can only occur in the fall. The twisting of science to conform to one's alleged presuppositions of Joel 2:13 (the rapture, Armageddon, the return of Christ as Messiah of the nation of Israel, etc...) is pure deceit. Of course, this is done in order to convince people that "the moon turning to blood" before the "day of the Lord" (Jesus' return), and that Jesus return is going to happen in 2014/2015. We've heard these same kinds of predictions on the return of Jesus in times past (88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988), and there will be additional false prophecies regarding the "return of Christ" in the future. What's unfortunate is Christians never take the time to think through these silly predictions for themselves.

(7).  The great theologian John Brown once wrote:
"A person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the  Christian economy, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens." (John Brown, vol. 1, p. 170).  
Amen, John Brown. I stand with you in promoting Christ, His mercy and grace, and the incredible blessing of living in a world built on the principles He taught--the Christian economy as you call it.  Love your enemy. Do good to those who abuse you. Be merciful and kind, seek justice for the sake of others, forgive those who have wronged you, and remember the poor, the fatherless, and the widows. What kind of world would we live in if we all took seriously the establishment of the Christian economy in our spheres of influence?

I love the nation of Israel. It is a democracy in the middle of Islamic totalitarianism. However, the only hope for Israel and this world is for individuals in these various nations to become followers of the true and eternal King, to learn to live at peace with all men, and to love others the same way Jesus has loved us. Yet, John Hagee, has declared:
"When all is said and done, the flag of Israel will be flying over the walls of the city of Jerusalem when Messiah comes, and it's going to be forever. And every nation that rises up in judgment against Israel God will punish and punish severely."
Mr. Hagee, our time as followers of Jesus might be better spent telling others about the love of God in Christ, and not blindly supporting the nation of Israel. It seems that the New Covenant Scriptures attributes the judgment of God in terms of our treatment of His beloved Son. Do I trust Him, or do I despise Him? Do I love Him, or do I hate Him? It is far better to make a sinful soul at peace with God through a faith relationship in Jesus Christ than it is to muster support for the nation of Israel. Nations come and go. Kingdoms rise and fall. Christ's Kingdom is the only eternal one. God calls those who love and trust His Son "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His special possession, so that we might declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light" (I Peter 2:9).

We live in a changing world. Something catastrophic may happen to Israel and/or America during 2014/2015, but it's not the result of blood moons or God's judgment. God judges individuals on the basis of whether or not they trust in His Son. The only favored nation now is "the holy nation" of people from every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue who have received Christ as Lord and Savior. Our praises of Jesus to a people living in darkness are never enhanced by the proclamation of false prophecies. My hope is that this little blog might save just one person from the lunacy of Four Blood Moons.


Dr. Steve Davis said...

Thanks for the commentary, too many people are falling for this type of lunacy

Mrs. Webfoot said...

My Bible school OT prophets prof. said very wisely that those who study prophecy should not prophesy. Many fine teachers have fallen into that error.

Thanks for the post.

Wade Burleson said...

That's a good one, Mrs. Webfoot

Marg said...

Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I have a close friend who is quite taken with the "four blood moons" phenomenon. Now I have some info I can add to the discussion.

Tom Parker said...

Why do folks who have a platform like Hagee love to stir up fear in believers?

Surely he knows better.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Mr. Hagee believes that something terrible, but ultimately triumphant, is about to happen to the nation of Israel due to the four total lunar eclipses that will occur in the northern hemisphere during 2014 and 2015.

"When the Moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars..."

These four eclipses, called by astronomers a tetrad, occur on April 15, 2014, which is Jewish Passover; on October 8, 2014, which is the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles; on April 4, 2015, which is (again) Jewish Passover; and on September 28, 2015 which is (again) the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles.

And since the Jewish Calendar is a LUNAR calendar, a lot of its feast days are probably on full moons. And since lunar eclipses can only occur on a full moon, I'd expect Jewish feast days to have a much higher chance of a lunar eclipse.

But all this gets thrown under the bus of END TIME PROPHECY!!!!! THIS IS IT!!!!!!!!!!

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

P.S. Feast of Tabernacles comes about six months after Feast of Passover. At that point, the earth/moon system is on the other side of the sun, and the orbital planes of earth and moon would re-align. I'd expect lunar eclipses around six months apart. Once a lunar eclipse falls on a (full moon) Jewish feast day, I'd expect the remainder of the eclipse series to fall on feast days that are spaced out like Passover and Tabernacles.

Anonymous said...

Another book by Hagee? So what else is new. It's called "cashing in" by us in the real world. I would not walk across the street to either see the guy or hear one of his so-called sermons.

Tom said...


The problem that we have is interpretation of scriptures and the present interpretations that are held dear from my understanding obscure the actual intent of the passages concerned. Joel 2:31 is one such passage because the language is symbolic yet we miss it and apply a literal understanding as to what is said.

The other problem we have is the time reference to Joel 2:31. It is my view that this passage is providing a sign for the end of the Millennium Age which is easy for me to perceive while others struggle with that timeframe, but we have to go to the start in Genesis 1 to be able to see the meaning that is embedded within this verse.

Genesis 1:14-19: - (14) God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, (15) and let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." It was so. (16) God made two great lights - the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night. He made the stars also. (17) God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, (18) to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. (19) There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day. The NET Bible®,

If we can see the connection that the great Light, i.e. the sun, in the Sky represents God’s Word over the world and the lesser Light, i.e. the moon represents the counterfeit religion of Satan which is only allowed to come to the fore once more when Satan returns to the face of the earth after he is released from the Abyss along with the conglomeration of the four heavenly host beasts of Daniel 7:1-12 and also described in Daniel 7:19ff acting as one four facetted beast.

The Greater Light will become darker when the great falling away/rebellion occurs after the “people” enter into a solemn seven year covenant with Satan to become “God like” by entering into his “Joy.”

As regards to the Lesser light becoming red, Jesus foretold of this in Luke 19:11-27, when He said that when Satan returns to the face of the earth, he will make the following request: -

Luke 19:27: - But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.'"

At this time, the lesser light will become Red in Joel 2:31, with the Blood of the Saints as prophesised.

Because of the lack of understanding people have been looking for eclipses were the moon turns red in colour as it passes into the shadow of the earth for a short time/little while.

For me, this comes down to faulty interpretation and understanding and even then I must question my own interpretation and understanding as to whether or not it reflects the meaning/understanding that God intended.

I personally do not agree with the significance of the “Blood moons” as Hagee has written about based on my expressed understanding above and as such I would consider that he may be guilty of misleading some of the congregation of God who drink in all of his words as truth, but then I also know that I am not perfect in respect to the views that I may hold as well. Perhaps we all should be slower in pointing the finger at the understanding/views of other people when our own views and interpretations can be considered to be just as questionable and probably just as misleading for God’s congregation as well.

We all need to be very careful particularly with the End Times perspective when the great judgement begins.


Tom Ross

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

I just realized something:

"Four Blood Moons" would make a good title for a D&D scenario or D&D campaign.

Mrs. Webfoot said...

Headless Unicorn Guy, Four Blood Moons would be a good name for a rock group.

Anonymous said...

Why would you take so much time to write this blog post much less read that book?

raswhiting said...

Pastor Burleson, Thank you for taking the time to read the book and to write the post. THis was informative and helpful.

Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that Mark Biltz predates Hagee with this idea in a book similarly titled.

Anonymous said...

More on John Hagee:

Muff Potter said...

Good piece Wade. I recall that shortly after the 9/11 tragedy happened, Chuck Missler's book on secret and arcane Bible Codes was all the rage amongst folks who buy into this stuff. I like your reasoned and level headed approach to this area of Biblical study.

Unknown said...

I love your common sense approach to Faith! wish you were in Texas.

Dave in Denver said...

Statistically, partial lunar eclipses happen at a rate of about two per year. Total lunar eclipses happen about once every year and a half. To have four total lunar eclipses in a row (with no partial eclipse in the run), all four within two years .. and that all four fall on a Jewish Feast day is a huge stretch of statistical probability. And your position that blood moons can only happen in the Fall is completely incorrect. It is no wonder Christians are looked down on so much by secular scientists when we cannot get basic science facts correct.

M. Joy said...

I tire of the authors of these end times books. Have we learned nothing over the years? Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, John Hagee. Even Billy Graham for years has been predicting signs of the end times (I remember back in the 80's when he was predicting the Cold War would trigger Armageddon - we see how THAT turned out) His book Storm Warning was reprinted 20 YEARS after it was first published. Now you can find that book in the bargain bin. Guess the storm wasn't as close as he thought. The bottom line is, all these authors have become millionaires by fear mongering. Money changers in the temple, I say.

Anonymous said...

I Read this is another article

It’s common to hang superstitions on blood moons, citing their concurrence with Jewish religious holidays.

The first one in this tetrad fell on Passover; the current one falls on the lesser known holiday of Sukkot, four days after Yom Kippur.

But that’s no reason to go loony over cosmic coincidences — because there are none here.

The Jewish calendar is an ancient lunar one, and holy dates are set, on purpose, to the precise clockwork of the moon’s phases.

They’re the same predictable ones that make it easy for modern-day astronomers to exactly calculate blood moons.

21cwisdomnuggets said...

Thank you sir for the biblical clarification.God bless.

Anonymous said...

Blood moons being relevant or not...the author sounds a bit anti-Semitic to me...

Anonymous said...

Please leave Hagee alone, his objective is to make and extra dime and he has overachieved already

Doug Webber said...

The interpreters took scripture too literally, and it has nothing to do with astronomy. The Blood Moon prophecy is symbolic, for an alternative interpretation that takes it into context of the entire passage of Joel see The Spiritual Meaning of the Blood Moon Prophecy