SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FOUR “BLOOD MOONS?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
Since 2008, but especially during the last year, there has been much discussion in “Christian” (?) circles about “blood-moon prophecy.” The four total lunar eclipses of 2014 and 2015, and their connection to Jewish feast days, has led some to speculate that these “signs in the heavens” are a message from God. It is hypothesized that, in light of these events, something highly significant will occur in relation to the nation Israel. Some have gone so far as to say that these astronomical phenomena may indicate that Jesus Christ is returning soon.
Is there any merit to these claims? What should we believe? Dear friends, it is always important to remember that we need to believe the Scriptures instead of best-selling “Christian” paperbacks. It is always important to remember that we should not believe and parrot idle speculation that really has nothing to do with the Bible. We must read the Scriptures if we are to be Bible believers, so let us let us see what the Scriptures say about the 2014–2015 tetrad of blood moons, if anything at all.
WHAT IS A “BLOOD MOON?”
A lunar eclipse, occurring only during a full moon, happens when part of Earth’s shadow is cast onto the Moon. The lunar surface is thus darkened. During a total lunar eclipse, all of Earth’s shadow covers the Moon. As sunlight passes through Earth’s atmosphere, it is reflected onto the Moon’s surface, and that causes the Moon to appear copper or deep red in color. This lunar appearance is aptly called a “blood moon.” It is a most beautiful sight (you can search for “blood moon” images on the internet).
HOW DID THIS “BLOOD-MOON PROPHECY” START?
Two books published within the last year have promoted the idea that God may be speaking to us via the 2014–2015 four total lunar eclipses. Well-known pastor John Hagee from Texas wrote “Four Blood Moons” and lesser-known pastor Mark Blitz in Washington State authored “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs.” Scripture passages that are used to support this “blood-moon prophecy” include Genesis 1:14, Joel 2:31, Matthew 24:29-30, Luke 21:25-28, and Acts 2:19-20. These verses have been used to urge people to be aware of “signs of things to come” with regards to the total lunar eclipses of 2014–2015. Some have gone so far as to say that Jesus Christ could possibly return in conjunction with these events.
Observe the following advertisement for Hagee’s work:
“It’s rare that Scripture, science and history align with each other, yet the last three series of Four Blood Moons have done exactly that. Are these the ‘signs’ that God refers to in His Word? If they are, what do they mean? What is their prophetic significance? In this riveting audio book, Pastor John Hagee explores the supernatural connection of certain celestial events to biblical prophecy—and to the future of God’s chosen people and to the nations of the world. Just as in biblical times, God is controlling the sun, the moon and the stars to send our generation a signal that something big is about to happen. The question is: are we watching and listening to His message?”
Dear friends, should we look for “signs in the heavens” in 2014 and 2015 as indications of God’s impending wrath? Are these “signs” of Israel’s soon-victory over her enemies? Are these lunar events a sign of Jesus Christ’s soon return? We will better analyze these claims.
THE BLOOD MOONS OF 1949–1950, 1967–1968, AND 2014–2015
When Israel became a nation in modern times on May 14, 1948, it is said that Ezekiel 36:24 was fulfilled (while we will address it more fully later, this is an incorrect conclusion according to the rightly divided Word of God, since we are living in the mystery program, not the prophetic program). Four total lunar eclipses (a tetrad of blood moons) were associated with May 14, 1948—April 13, 1949 (Passover); October 7, 1949 (Feast of Tabernacles); April 2, 1950 (Passover); and September 26, 1950 (Feast of Tabernacles).
Around the Six-Day War of June 5-10, 1967; there were four blood moons associated with this time—April 24, 1967 (Passover); October 18, 1967 (Feast of Tabernacles); April 13, 1968 (Passover); and October 6, 1968 (Feast of Tabernacles). The Six-Day War resulted in Israel capturing the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
I gathered quotes of John Hagee and Mark Blitz from various online news sources, in order to critically analyze some of their claims in this brief study. Let us look at some of these quotes now.
“Does God use the sun, moon and starts to communicate with us? Does He use the heavens as His own personal, high-definition billboard to announce things to come? According to John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church, a New York Times bestselling author, founder of John Hagee Ministries and Christians United for Israel, the answer is yes. In an astonishing new non-fiction book, ‘Four Blood Moons,’ Hagee draws on scripture, NASA science and recorded history to explore the significance of astronomical events and to caution believers of a momentous, upcoming series of lunar events that may directly impact not only the nation of Israel but possibly all of mankind.”
According to Hagee, tetrads of blood-moons have occurred on the Hebrew feast days of Passover and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) only three times in the last 500 years. In addition to the 1949–1950 and 1967–1968 blood moons, Hagee points out that four blood moons in 1492–1493 on Passover and Feast of Tabernacles: “This signified the beginning of the fall of Spain following the expulsion of the Jews a year earlier and was God’s announcement to the world that ‘the mantle of prosperity had thusly been placed on the shoulders of the infant nation that would become the United States’ since it became a refuge for the Jewish people.”
Hagee wrote that four blood moons would be seen in 2014–2015 around the times of Passover (April 15, 2014 and April 4, 2015) and Tabernacles (October 8, 2014 and September 28, 2015). Between the first two blood moons and the last two blood moons—on March 20, 2015—there will be a solar eclipse on the Jewish holy day Rosh Hashanah. According to Hagee, is there a prophetic significance? “Over the last 500 years, these lunar events all falling on holy days were an announcement of a time of tears and tribulation that ended in tremendous national triumph for the Jewish people. There are no solar [or] lunar accidents; every heavenly body is controlled by the unseen hand of God to send signals to humanity of coming events.”
As a side-note, while doing research for this study, I learned that some “blood-moon prophecy” advocates had speculated that Israel would fulfill various Bible prophecies in 2013 or 2014 regarding her enemies. You notice that these years are now past. Do you ever remember hearing such news in 2013 or 2014 about Israel gaining any victories over her enemies? The Middle East battle rages on even today!
THE QUESTIONABLE NATURE OF THE “BLOOD-MOON PROPHECY”
As stated earlier, quotes of John Hagee and Mark Blitz were gathered from various online news sources, in order to critically analyze some of their claims in this brief study. We will look at more of these quotes now.
- “In ‘Four Blood Moons,’ Hagee cautions that while no one knows the mind of God, the anticipation of these events does tell us that God is getting ready to change the course of human history.” (The reader will note that while “no one knows the mind of God,” the “blood-moon prophecy” proponents frequently talk as if they are speaking on God’s behalf and talking as if God were moving them. They quote Bible verses to support their claims, and yet they confess that they really do not know what God is thinking!)
- In this group, we hear about “blood moons” and a “possible connection to an imminent return of Jesus to Earth.” (They safely state that their claims are possibly related to Jesus Christ’s return, but they never say it with any certainty. Despite all the publicity that we need to listen to their information, there is a chance that Jesus may not come when they speculate. In other words, their information may very well turn out to be worthless. If it is, will they refund all of their consumers of their hard-earned money wasted on their books, CDs, and DVDs?)
- The aforementioned preacher, Mark Blitz, known for his book “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” was quoted as saying: “All these signs, coming together at one time, are potentially the culminating signals that God is closing this chapter of human history. This could be the final curtain call before the Great Tribulation mentioned in the Bible.” (“Potentially” and “could be” are key words that they are not preaching Bible, but idle speculations meant to hype gullible Christians and get them to buy books and other media. It is such a shame that there are economic incentives in publishing “Christian” bestsellers that are not necessarily God’s truth. What did the Lord say in Matthew 23:14? “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”)
- “People of Earth will be watching the skies in 2014 and 2015 for possible harbingers [omens, indications] of the return of Jesus.” “The pastor is now sounding the alarm about what the celestial events could mean for our immediate future here on Earth.” “Four total lunar eclipses happening the next two years herald possible war in the Middle East as well as global economic collapse.” (Again, while heralded as the “Word of God,” an “anointed message from God,” it is idle speculation. They are linking events with passages the Bible does not. We will address it more fully in just a few moments.)
- Mark Blitz claimed that he used NASA’s website to discover that a tetrad of blood moons coincided with the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles in the 1900s. In addition, he claimed that lunar eclipses foretold and coincided with the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple in A.D. 70. “Biltz stresses what makes the coming events so startling is the fact they’ll take place during the Feast of Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in consecutive years. An image from the ‘Blood Moons’ DVD shows the dates of lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 coinciding with two major biblical feasts. “This has happened only eight times over the last 2,000 years!” Biltz said. “And the last two times these occurred on the Jewish holidays there was a war in the Middle East regarding the nation of Israel. These are patterns and historical facts that cannot be disregarded. The Jewish Talmud records that total lunar eclipses are indicators or omens for the nation of Israel.” (Bold emphasis mine.)
GENESIS 1:14, RIPPED OUT OF CONTEXT
“God said in Genesis 1:14 that He created the sun and moon and stars for signals on His feast days,” said Biltz. “Now I had a key to unlocking the code.”
Blitz is sadly mistaken when it comes to Genesis 1:14. Genesis 1:14 says, “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” No Bible believer is recorded in Scripture to have ever observed a single feast day between the times of Adam and Moses. The God of the Bible sanctioned no holy feast days until Moses, some 2,500 years after creation (Leviticus chapter 23, Israel’s feasts days to hold in worship to JEHOVAH God)! Originally, the sun, the moon, and the stars were simply methods of keeping time: the word “sign” in Genesis 1:14 does not carry a miraculous-demonstration definition (that would be true once the nation Israel came on the scene beginning in chapter 12). Again, the lights in the heavens were instituted apart from any feast days.
ASTRONOMICAL SIGNS AND THE END TIMES
Someone may ask at this point, “Yeah, but the blood-moon-prophecy advocates have Scripture to prove their point. The Bible talks about ‘blood moons’ preceding and accompanying Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.” This person would be absolutely right—the Bible says astronomical events will accompany Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. It says the moon will appear blood red and also the sun will be darkened (by the way, how much do we hear about the latter part of the prophecy being fulfilled anytime soon?).
In Matthew 24:3, we read about Jesus’ famous Second Olivet Discourse: “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” And verses 29-30: “ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
Mark recorded that same sermon this way: “ But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,  And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25). Luke says in chapter 21, verse 25: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;”
The Apostle John picked up on the thought in Revelation 6:12-13: “ And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”
Centuries before Jesus spoke and John wrote these words, the Prophet Joel had written: “ 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 the terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:30-31). The Holy Ghost led Peter to quote Joel in Acts 2:20: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:”
Again, these astronomical phenomena lead up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (and notice that they occur during the seven-year Tribulation—are we living in the seven-year Tribulation? NO!). Remember, we are not looking for Jesus Christ to come back in wrath (the verses quoted above). We are looking for Him to take us home to heaven with Him before He pours out His wrath on this evil, Christ-rejecting world (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10). Dispensational Bible study prevents us from confusing ourselves with the nation Israel and her prophetic program. We are the Church the Body of Christ. Never does the Apostle Paul instruct us to look for signs in the heaven as we wait for the Rapture. Please check Romans through Philemon yourself. The Holy Spirit did not lead the Apostle Paul to instruct us as members of the Church the Body of Christ, to look for signs in the heavens. Would the Holy Spirit move anyone today to tell us that we need to watch the sun and moon for signs? (With that said, are the “blood-moon prophecy” people really speaking on behalf of the God of the Bible?)
As some have pointed out, Israel’s religious calendar is based on the Moon’s movements, so there is certainly to be lunar activity connected with Israel’s feast days. Having a full moon or a total lunar eclipse on a major Jewish feast day is not so “supernatural.” As a Bible believer, I see the total lunar eclipses of the last 500 years occurring in relation to Jews, as a coincidence. I do not seek a word from God outside of the Bible; He has already spoken and I need to read and believe what He has said in the Holy Scriptures! As a member of the Body of Christ, I will not be here on Earth when the “signs in the heavens” occurred. I, along with all the other Christians, will be serving my Lord Jesus Christ in heaven!
A FRIENDLY WORD OF CAUTION
The God of the Bible does not encourage us to keep any of Israel’s feast days in our dispensation. According to Galatians 4:9-11 and Colossians 2:16-17, no Bible believer would observe any of Israel’s religious feasts in the Dispensation of Grace. The average Jew today rejects Jesus Christ as a false Messiah, most practicing Jews being too caught up in apostate religion as most Christians are caught up in pagan religion. Dear friends, there is no merit before God today regarding holy days—so why would He use them to tell us a message? We are under grace not law (Romans 6:14-15). God is certainly not using an apostate religious system (Judaism) to communicate a message to us. We have every revelation from God in the Holy Bible. Either the Bible is complete, or it is not. If we must look at the heavens to find a word from God, then that is equivalent to adding apocryphal books to the Bible and calling them “holy scripture.” Have any of these “blood-moon prophecy” advocates realized the magnitude of the heresy they are promoting?
The Bible is very clear, “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). What did the Lord Jesus Himself say? “Except ye [Jews] see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Hence, Jews asked Jesus for “the sign of [His] coming, and of the end of the world” (Matthew 24:3; cf. Mark 13:4; Luke 21:7). Never does the Bible say that Gentiles look for signs, miraculous demonstrations, to learn something God is communicating. So, what are Gentiles doing looking for signs today? It makes no sense. The reason why it does not make sense is because they are using Israel’s verses, Israel’s doctrine, Israel’s program, Israel’s miracles, Israel’s mentality, and winding up in the snare of the Devil, totally ignorant of what God is doing today. They are not “rightly dividing the word of truth” as the Apostle Paul commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15. It only follows that if they confuse themselves with Israel, they will behave like Israel and look for signs. The “blood-moon prophecy” matter is nothing but a subtle spiritual trap and the Christian had better be on guard!
As God’s spokesman to us, Paul never tells us to look for “signs” of Jesus’ coming. We as Gentiles do not need signs: we have the completed canon of Scripture, the completed Bible. We do not need to look at extra-biblical sources of information regarding spiritual issues; the Bible is our final authority, not hunches, superstitions, church tradition, or bestselling “Christian” books. God is not trying to “get our attention” with events outside of the Bible (unless, of course, we are bold enough to say that the Bible is incomplete and we had to finish the “inspired” record ourselves!). What is called a “powerful spiritual teaching,” the “handiwork of God,” is nothing but apostasy in a subtle form. How we need to be vigilant regarding the Adversary’s working!
We can see that the prophecy preachers capitalizing on the “four blood moons” phenomena are not being led by God’s Spirit. They make it clear that they are not sure what is going to happen, if anything, regarding these occurrences. People caught up in this issue are still asking, “What do these signs mean?” and “Are these biblical harbingers [omens, indications] of things to come for the world and for God’s people?” They cannot tell us what these events mean, and if they cannot tell us the meanings, they are obviously just as clueless as the rest of us. Dear readers, even if it were a message from God, it sounds like God has great difficulty in communicating it. Dear friends, throughout the Bible, God’s prophecies are not so hazy, so doubtful, and so shaky. Even with the completed Bible, Christianity still gropes in darkness as to what God wants us to know. How sad! The prophecies of the Bible are specific, and to take these precious prophecies and try to force to match current events to prove the Bible is true, is to do nothing but bring disappointment about and more hostility toward the Bible, for the Bible said nothing about the events it is presumed to explain.
Blitz was quoted earlier as saying, “The Jewish Talmud records that total lunar eclipses are indicators or omens for the nation of Israel.” The Talmud is a book of Jewish rabbinical tradition. Like Christendom’s fixation on denominational teaching to interpret the Bible, the Talmud is a book being used here to interpret the Bible from the Jewish perspective! No wonder the “blood-moon prophecy” is dominated by speculation and uncertainty.
Truth be told, the “blood-moon prophecy” hype is nothing but that—“hype.” People want to sell books and make a profit. The Bible is the world’s best-selling book, so if you write about it, your book is sure to sell as well! While there are many sincere people advocating this viewpoint, it is dangerous because it removes us from God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon) and causes us to look at something else. What it comes down to is the issue of authority. Who will we believe? Preachers or the Bible? We are urged to look at Israel’s Scriptures and astronomical phenomena and see ourselves, and neither is the means whereby God speaks to us today in the Dispensation of Grace. People I have spoken with who are caught up in this matter are confused and fearful. They do not have God’s peace, they are worried about the end of the world. “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33), and the “blood-moon prophecy” camp is nothing but confusion. “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7), and the “blood-moon prophecy” camp is nothing but fear. Months ago, I talked with one woman who was so fearful because she was caught up in the “blood-moon prophecy” literature. Additionally, a Christian of three decades (someone else with whom I dealt) was utterly confused and clueless. Friends, Satan is hard at work confusing lost and saved alike, making God’s Word less clear.
Again, while many of these “blood-moon prophecy” people are sincere, desperately trying to defend the Bible as “scientific” and “accurate,” they are actually creating fear toward, confusion about, and scorn for the Bible. By the end of 2015, if nothing significant in Israel has occurred regarding these predictions, the Bible critics will have even more ammunition to use against God’s Word. There will be more ridicule aimed at the Holy Bible, more confusion about the Holy Bible, and more doubt about the Holy Bible.
Beloved, may we not be on the lookout for signs in heaven, but for shams on Earth!