THE THEOLOGICAL ENGINEER
Blood out of a (Moon) Rock
Are upcoming lunar eclipses a precursor to fulfilled prophecy?
By Jeff Laird
I've had a surprising number of discussions with people about the "blood moon" phenomenon set to begin this April and conclude in the fall of 2015. Over this time period, four total lunar eclipses will coincide with the four occurrences of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. Some claim this arrangement is a major prophetic sign. The theory is featured in bestselling books, and is being repeated by pastors, church members, and laymen alike. Examples of books are Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change by John Hagee and Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz. Is there anything to this cosmic arrangement? Is this a sign of the End of Days?
In short, no; it all too easily lends itself to the type of pop-culture superstition we're supposed to avoid. Not long ago, there was a wash of theories about the impending end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012. That deeply misunderstood and misused idea took on a life of its own, spawning books, articles, speculation, paranoia, and so forth. The current "Blood Moon" fad is extremely similar, and for similar reasons, Christians ought to stop expending time, energy, or worry on it. Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised to see the hype build as we get closer to September 28, 2015.
Before explaining exactly why I'm not buying the Blood Moon hype, here's the basics for those who haven't yet heard: The Blood Moon theory references a "tetrad", or four consecutive lunar eclipses, with no partial eclipses in between, with six full lunar months in between. The Blood Moon tetrads are those where the eclipse dates coincide with the Jewish holidays of Passover and Tabernacles. For the sake of brevity, I'll refer here to a Passover-and-Tabernacles-linked tetrad as a BME, for "Blood Moon Event", since that's the situation this phenomenon is primarily centered around.
According to the Blood Moon theory, the last three BME's coincided with major events in Jewish history: the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, the re-establishment if Israel in 1948, and the Six-Days War in 1967. The next such event begins on April 15, 2014, and ends on September 28, 2015. Blood Moon theorists combine these events with scriptural passages such as Joel 2:31 and Revelation 6:12. The end result is either a prediction of the Second Coming, the beginning of the Tribulation, a major historical event for Israel, or even the end of the world, depending on who you ask. But when we look at the nuts and bolts behind the issue, without trying to read something into it, there's very little substance to be found.
In brief, it's unwise to take up with Blood Moon hype because:
1) The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar.
By definition, lunar events are going to coincide with Jewish holidays fairly often.
2) The "tetrad" phenomenon is not unusual.
Between 0 and 2100 AD, there will have been 62 total tetrads, or about one every 34 years. The 21st Century will have eight occurrences, beginning in the years 2003, 2014, 2032, 2043, 2050, 2061, 2072, and 2090. Eight of the tetrads since 0 AD, counting 2014-15, are BME's, coinciding with Passover and Tabernacles. These will have begun in the years 162, 795, 842, 860, 1493, 1949, 1967, and 2014.
3) Recent BMEs have occurred after the linked historical event.
Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, the BME was in 1493-94. Israel was re-created in 1948, the BME was in 1949-50. The Six Days War was in June of 1967, so most of the 1967-68 BME was afterwards. At the very least, that says BME's can't be signs of something yet to come.
4) BME's don't always coincide with some significant event in Jewish history.
One could argue that three of the last four have. But not so for the 4 BME's prior to 1493. And, there was no BME coincident to either the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, or the Holocaust of WWII.
5) The 2014-2015 BME isn't visible from Israel.
Lunar eclipses of this type are just like solar eclipses: they're relative to your position on earth. So, only the very end of the September 28, 2015 lunar eclipse is going to be visible from Israel. The other three won't be observable from Israel, at all.
6) Jesus specifically ruled out predicting "the day" or "the hour."
He instructed us to be aware of signs warning us the end times were near, such as Mark 13:7. At the same time, He gave us explicit reasons to ignore any claim of specifically predicting when those events would occur, as in Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36.
Many of those who've discussed these eclipses with me have absolutely no idea where or how the idea got started, or who's putting it out there. The credentials, history, and theological perspectives of some of the major proponents are…interesting. That's a bit beyond the scope of a short article, but it's something worth considering. Any time someone claims to have suddenly "discovered" a Biblical prophecy that was hidden to all prior generations, one has to be very, very skeptical.
Given all of the above, there's no good reason for Christians to assign supernatural significance to the upcoming lunar eclipse cycle. There are enough other, clearer "signs of the times" we can focus on, rather than what amounts to Bible-flavored astrology. The worst consequence of putting faith in these pseudo-prophecies is the damage which occurs once they're proven wrong. It becomes difficult for people to separate false interpretations from the legitimate truths they branched off of. Let's not allow this Blood Moon trend to become Mayan Calendar II: Christian Boogaloo.
Jesus' statements about prophetic limitations, in particular, ought to at least knock out the more extreme claims coming from the Blood Moon camp. Taking a bubblegum-theology approach to astronomy is one thing, but searching through coincidences and star charts, looking for the date of the rapture, or some other specific end-times event, is flatly unbiblical.
Image Credit: NASA
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Current-Issues | End-Times
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