Belief that the blood moons signify something extraordinary is like believing that animal migrations signify something extraordinary. They are just too regular and predictable.
We are not sure how many or how far this teaching has spread. Google turned up Pastor John Hagee first, so we will go with what we found on his web sight. The Dispensationalists have taught that the eclipses of the moon are portents of the Second Coming, or the beginning of an apocalyptic tribulation event. Supposedly, four such blood moons are coming. While this is made to sound rather ominous and warlike, these blood moons are actually a known periodic celestial appearance.
What Hagee and others are teaching:
SERMON # 2
This Sunday we continue the sermon series, “The Coming Four Full Blood Moons” in the pursuit of the Biblical meaning of the four blood moons predicted by NASA to begin in April 2014 and conclude in October 2015.
Here is what we know for sure!
1) God created the heavens and the earth and the sun, moon and stars are totally controlled by his power.
2) The story of Joshua, Hezekiah and the three wise men following the star to the location where Jesus was is Bible validation of God’s absolute control of the universe.
3) Genesis 1:14 states that God has put lights in the firmament and let them be for “signs.” The Hebrew word for “sign” is “owth” which means also “a signal.”
4) Jesus said in Mark 13:24-46, “But in those days the sun shall be darkened (eclipse) and the moon shall not give its light (eclipse) then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
5) Joel 2 and Acts 2 both state; “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness (eclipse) and the moon into blood (eclipse) before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”
Now NASA has stated a fourth blood moon series is about to appear in April of 2014. What does it mean? We will pick it up from this concept Sunday morning. See you there.
Pastor John Hagee
This is not only bad theology but, it is also bad science.
First let us explore the theological shortcomings.
The standard rules of hermeneutics require that the reader separate the literal passages from the symbolic and prophetic ones. The verses quoted by Hagee have been mixed in an irrational and specious manner.
The “I feel, I think, I believe, or the Spirit told me” form of hermeneutics that is so popular in the post modern church, is not based in sound interpretation. There is a need to establish a reasonable logical way of looking at these passages. All interpretation should be able to be tested to standard hermeneutics, without lauding or questioning someone’s spiritual state. All things are confirmed by two or more witnesses, including scriptural interpretation.
One of the oldest rules of hermeneutics is: “The Bible is its own best commentary.” That is the most accurate way to learn how to interpret prophecy. Our first search is to look at prophecies that have already been fulfilled. There are reoccurring themes and vocabulary, and turns of phrases and language patterns that can be compared or matched to other references of the same events and actual history.
Unfulfilled passages become easier to analyze and perhaps, hypothesize, as to what possible meanings are appropriate. For example, a search of the language found in Daniel concerning the beasts from the sea is a case in point. These beasts have all been fulfilled as historic imperial powers. They were Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece and Rome. A quick search for other beasts found in the bible should yield more information as to their usage as a symbols. Most beasts in the Bible are, in fact, animals. Where we find beasts described as coming up out of the sea, out of the earth, out of the abyss and being worshipped, etc. is in Daniel and The Revelation. Thus, we can reasonably conclude the beasts in The Revelation are likely to be imperial powers as well.
To answer Hagee’s five points:
1. Yes, God is the creator and controller of the universe.
2. Yes, God is the creator and controller of the universe.
3. Signs generally refer to the signaling of the seasons.
The Hebrew word for sign has 8 different uses:
- sign, pledge, token.
- signs, omens promised by prophets as pledges of certain predicted events.
- sign, symbol of prophets.
- signs, miracles, as pledges or attestations of divine presence & interposition.
- signs, memorials.
- sign, pledge of covenant, e.g. rainbow, of Noachian covenant; circumcision, of Abrahamic covenant; the Sabbath of Mosaic covenant.
- ensigns, standards.
- signs, tokens of changes of weather & times.
One decides which “sign” is meant by the context. In Gen 1 the context is the celestial orbs function which is “for signs and for seasons and for days and years”. So the “signs” were given for people to figure out a way of constructing a calendar. The “season” or rather “mo’adim”, meaning “the appointed times” , could be established. This is the same language used of the Biblical holy days, their “mo’adim” were to be be fixed.
Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. Ex. 13:10 KJV
4. Jesus used prophetic and symbolic language to warn of an enormous change regarding the kingdom being taken from the Jews and given to another.
5. Joel and Acts are also a reference to this same change that Jesus spoke of.
The moving or shaking of the celestial bodies is a common theme in the Old Testament. They follow an established pattern. The pattern showed that abnormal behaviors of the sun, moon, and/or stars implied political change.
In Genesis 37, Joseph tells his family of his dream that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. No scholar then, or since, has interpreted it as some kind of astronomical event. Joseph’s’ family did indeed bow to him; and the entire family came under his absolute control [Gen 43-50]. Joseph’s dream [Gen. 37:9-11] represented a change in the administration of his family, not the celestial bodies. No one would suggest that the sun literally bowed to Joseph!
The description of the fall of the Babylonian Empire uses almost exactly the same words [Is. 13:10].
Isaiah also calls the king of Babylon the planet Venus, and says he is fallen. Yet the planet is still in our skies although the empire of Babylon fell long centuries ago [Is. 14]. (See Also: Lucifer)
Stars are also used to explain the state of things when all the nations are gone and only God reigns[Is. 24.23].
The lamentation over the demise of Pharaoh is described as a darkness coming on Egypt[Ezek. 32:7]
See also [Am. 8:9; Hag 2:6,21]
It is clear from these passages, that in Biblical prophecy heavenly bodies behaving in strange and exotic ways symbolically indicates a change in the political structure, not a literal one catastrophic cosmic event. But the Dispensational futurists still insist on a literal meaning. We all need to acknowledge and learn the correct usage of symbols, metaphors, parables, etc. and their use as a literary device. They do not negate the message, but rather often form the most common of understandings among the readers. Hence, the “sky is falling, the sky is falling” from the children’s tale of Chicken Little also becomes a metaphor for calamity.
So lets look at some literal verses. There are only THREE verses in the Bible with blood red moons, NOT FOUR!.
The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. Joel 2:31
The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. Acts 2:20
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, Rev. 6:12
In the Acts passage, Peter is quoting the Joel passage and saying that it is being fulfilled in front of their eyes. So this can not be a prophecy about OUR future. It was about the fall of Jewish polity. From this moment Rome began to become less and less tolerant of the Jewish nation. As they had rejected their Messiah, God now moved to make the Roman Empire to reject them. Forty years later the temple lay in ruins, never to be rebuilt and the kingdom was fully given to the Gentiles. [See Also: Dream, dreams or see visions, and Kingdom Parables]
That leaves only the Revelation 6:12. As Historicists, we believe that Chapters 6-7 of The Revelation are about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Remember the beasts? It is interesting to note that after Rome fell, the next time period in earth’s history is called the Dark Ages. But, even if you are a good little dispensationalist and believe that the very first verse in The Revelation is to be disregarded, there is still only ONE future blood moon.
Now we will explore the Science:
There have been numerous times in our past when “blood red” moons have appeared with eclipses. The phenomenon is well known to astronomers and for that matter astrologers. Eclipses happen on a well established schedule work out by astronomers millennia ago. They surprise no one who is paying attention to the signs or has a almanac.
Lunar eclipses occur when the sun, earth and moon sit in alignment and the earth blocks sunlight from reaching the moon. Usually, we can only see the moon because it reflects sunlight. But during an eclipse, the source of light is blocked and the moon’s disk goes unusually dark. However, the moon doesn’t completely disappear since the gasses in our atmosphere act to bend sunlight, blocking the blue end of the spectrum, and allowing only the red part of the solar spectrum to get though to the moon. Sometimes this has the effect of turning the moon a deep red, often blood red color. The mechanism behind this phenomenon is called “Rayleigh scattering.”
But ecliptic moons are only sporadically blood red. They range in colors from dark brown and red to bright orange and yellow. Just how red it will appear during totality will depend on the conditions in our atmosphere. If there is a lot of dust and ash from a volcanic eruption, for example, the lunar surface may turn a dark brown, but if the atmosphere is clear, it may turn a striking blood red. It’s never easy to predict quite how it will look, so keep your eyes peeled.
Unlike solar eclipses where the moon blocks the sun from our view in only a few locations on the planet, for lunar eclipses, as long as you can see the moon then you will see the eclipse.
For further reading
Using the sun, moon, and/or stars as portents of future events is not astronomy nor prophecy, IT IS ASTROLOGY.
- During Second Battle of Syracuse (415 BC -413 BC) because of a lunar eclipse the priests suggested the Athenians put off their attack for another 27 days. The Syracusans took advantage of this, and with 76 of their own ships attacked the Athenian ships in the harbor, 86 ship were destroyed, and the Athenians were defeated.
- Columbus armed with an almanac tricked the Indians in 1514 into believing he had great powers by telling them he could effect the moon.
- Just before the Battle Of Gaugamela in 331 B.C. between Alexander the Great and Darius king of Persia there was a lunar eclipse. The astrologers of the time reported that it was a portent of Darius’ defeat.
Such superstitious non-science and practices are forbidden in the Bible [Deut 18:10-11]. And those who practice such deceptions are to be eliminated.
“You shall not permit a sorceress to live. Ex. 22:18