Monday, September 28, 2015

Don't Let a Blood Moon Become a Bloody Mess

A year and a half ago I wrote a post entitled Four Blood Moons: It's Called Lunacy for a Reason. I refuted the claims of John Hagee that the four blood moons of 2014 and 2015 -- all of which were to occur on Jewish holidays -- were a sign of cataclysmic changes and the end of the world as we know it. Last night's blood moon (September 27, 2015), was the last of the four blood moons - and nothing cataclysmic has happened. I am re-posting that March 2014 article today, because we often forget that the prediction of future events based on one's biblical interpretations is a foolish proposition. Only God knows the future, Prophets of old were specifically told by God what was to happen, but any self-proclaimed prophet who inaccurately predicted the future - just once - was deemed a false prophet and stoned.  It's a serious thing to represent speaking for God. A.W. Pink wrote a letter to my grandfather years ago and told him to "concentrate on the gospels and the epistles," He encouraged my grandfather to learn how to live before delving into prophecy, lest he wind up looking more like a pagan charlatan than a follower of Christ. Good advice. Here's the re-post of my March 2014 article.:

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.


Bob Cleveland said...

I don't see a lot of difference between what Rev. Hagee claims, and astrology.

Thanks for the book review. But I must confess I wasn't going to buy it, anyway.

Aussie John said...

Great to see someone who is on the ball.

Anonymous said...

Hagee is nothing but a big mouth blowhard and you should know that by now.

Michael said...

It's all about the Shemitah and Jonathan Kahn here in Florida! LOL

Anonymous said...


This off the current subject, but wish you would post more about the IMB and their bad/good decisions. I trust what you say and I believe you and R hammer have a better outlook on all types of missions and missionaries than anyone right now. You were a great help to us about 10 years ago now to make sense of the IMB decisions back then. Went back to our country as tent maker missionaries and had a wonderful 3 years before we retired.

Former IMB missionaries to JP

John said...

Back, back, back, back, its out of here, Burleson hits another one out of the park!

Dan from Georgia said...

Let's not forget about Charisma Magazine and their website. Bunch of con artists they are!

Christiane said...

"A.W. Pink wrote a letter to my grandfather years ago and told him to "concentrate on the gospels and the epistles," "

good advice . . . the Holy Gospels and the Epistles are focused on Christ Who has told us that we know not the hour or the day

I sometimes think that people who focus on 'the end of the world' coming soon are people who fear their own death and hope for the Day of The Lord to save them from natural death . . . there seems such a desperation in such people at times, I think that they seem to need the reassurance that they will be physically spared, and it is sad because they don't understand the great power of the Resurrection in a way that brings comfort to all Christian people.

Anonymous said...

Hagee likes to rant and rave every Sunday with all the painted murals behind him so he can sell his latest book on that particular subject. It's all about the money with him and his family business. I would not walk across the street to hear one of his so called sermons.

Unknown said...

Isaiah chapters 2-4 is a key OT prophecy of the Last Days, of the work of Messiah, a time of war, the Day of the Lord, and the establishment of the kingdom of Messiah.

Isaiah 2-4 is not a prediction of the founding of the last days, but of events to occur “in the last days” of Israel.

The last days foretold by the OT prophets were present in the first century– Acts 2:15f. Peter was emphatic and unambiguous in his citation of Joel 2:28– “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”

Jesus affirmed that what the prophets foretold was being fulfilled in his day and in his ministry (Matthew 13:17f).

Peter said that the OT prophets, in speaking of the coming of Messiah and “restoration of all things” “spoke of these days” (Acts 3:23-24). Those were Peter’s days, not our days, 2000 years later.

Likewise, Paul said the end of the ages, or more specifically the goal of the previous ages, had arrived in the first century (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Hebrews 1:1 – The last days were present when Hebrews was written.

In 1 Peter 1:9-12 Peter said the OT prophets foretold the Day of salvation to come at the parousia of Christ.

So, Isaiah foretold the pivotal “last days” the time for the fulfillment of God’s scheme of redemption, and the New Testament writers all say they were living in the days foretold by the OT prophets.

But, did the day of Pentecost initiate the last days, or, were the last days already in progress when Pentecost came around.

Jesus appeared in the last days, per Hebrews.
But, Jesus appeared well before that day of Pentecost.
Therefore, the last days did not initiate the last days, but, as noted above, in perfect harmony with Isaiah and Joel’s prophecy, the events of Pentecost occurred “during” or “in” the last days.

Notice also that Jesus appeared in the last days.
But, Jesus appeared in the fullness of time, which was the Old Covenant age (Galatians 4:4).
Thus, the last days are referent to the last days of the Old Covenant Age.

Similarly, John was Elijah to herald the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:10-12). The days before the Great Day are labeled as the “last days” Joel 2:28f
Now, since John was Elijah to proclaim the Great Day, and since the days prior to the Great Day are the last days, it therefore follows that John ministered in the last days.

So, the first constituent element of Isaiah 2-4 is critical and easily established. The “last days” do not refer to the entirety of the Christian age, but, to the last days of Israel, the last days of Moses and the Law. Yeshua has fulfilled all things.

RB Kuter said...

I think that these doomsday prophet interpreters recognize the growing sense of this being an extraordinarily intense time in the world. The celebrity TV preachers see the audience anxious to having answers as to where this all will lead and when God's next step toward moving us into The Great Tribulation will take place.

People like Brother Hagee and so many others are masters at recognizing the conditions and tickling our ears with their conjecture made more convincing with the application of some Scriptural references concocted to support their premise. Primarily its entertainment with huckster overlay.

I'm mainly disappointed by the damage they do in portraying "Christians" as being fanatics running chaotically in a panic by world events rather than being those who are fearless and stable during world chaos due to their confidence in King Jesus being in control. No wonder so many lost people see us as hypocrites.

Christiane said...

I can agree, the 'doomsday' folk give poor witness to a faith that has been called to proclaim the Good News.