Opinion

Don’t be Led Astray By Another Blood Moon Prediction

It’s a constant battle. Millions of Christians are preoccupied with the last days. Changes in weather patterns, earthquakes, wars, Mideast squabbles, goings on in Russia, Europe, and China. You name it, and it’s been used as an end-time sign.

You would think that by now people who fall for these types of predictions would have learned their lessons.

To escape the hardships of reality, some people turn to drugs and alcohol. Other people just drop out. In evangelical circles, there are many who embrace an end-time paradigm that will rescue from the unknown and the evils of the day. Escape in a “rapture” is a comfort to those who assess world conditions.

Some use last-days-talk to scare people into the kingdom. “Repent and believe or you’ll miss the rapture. Antichrist is alive somewhere in the world today. The world can’t go on much longer. Jesus is coming soon.”

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We are once again being treated to last days madness:

BIBLICAL prophecy suggests the end of days is due this month as the Earth is set to witness a rare blood moon – doomsday preachers have claimed. Preachers believe passages from the books of Acts and Revelation suggest the blood moon will accompany an ever-approaching end of days. The 21st century’s longest lunar eclipse will last almost two hours on July 27 and the moon will have a spectacular red tinge. While stargazers enjoy the dazzling phenomenon, doomsdayers will be preparing for Armageddon.

The theory was originally made famous by Christian ministers John Hagee and Mark Biltz who said the ongoing “tetrad” – four consecutive lunar eclipses which began in April 2014 with six full moons in between – is the indicator of the end of earth as described in the Bible in Acts 2:20 and Revelation 6:12. (DrudgeNow)

There have been numerous stellar phenomena in the past few years that prophecy “experts” have claimed were and are signs of the end. These types of events have been going on for millennia. There’s nothing unusual about them, and that includes so-called blood moons and lunar and solar eclipses.

Lunar and solar eclipses can be charted. We know when they’re going to happen. That’s not how Bible prophecy works. It’s the unexpected in prophecy that makes it prophecy.

For example, in 1504, while Christopher Columbus was shipwrecked in Jamaica, the Spaniards were having a tough time trading with the natives for food. Their food supply was fast coming to an end, and the natives were becoming tired of the hawk bells and trinkets that Columbus’ crew were trading. Columbus knew he had to take drastic measures. He told the natives that if they did not keep his crew supplied with food, his God would get angry and make the moon “die.”

Coming to the admiral’s rescue was Johannes Müller von Königsberg (1436-1476), known by his Latin pseudonym, Regiomontanus. He was a highly regarded German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. Before his death, Regiomontanus published an almanac containing astronomical tables covering the years 1475-1506.

Regiomontanus’ almanac turned out to be of great value, for his astronomical tables provided detailed information about the sun, moon and planets, as well as the more important stars and constellations to navigate by. After it was published, no sailor dared set out without a copy. With its help, explorers were able to leave their customary routes and venture out into the unknown seas in search of new frontiers.

Columbus, of course, had a copy of the almanac with him when he was stranded on Jamaica. And he soon discovered from studying its tables that on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, 1504, a total lunar eclipse would occur, beginning around the time of moonrise.

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Just moments before the end of the total phase Columbus reappeared, announcing to the Arawaks that his god had pardoned them and would now allow the moon to gradually return. And at that moment, true to Columbus’ word, the moon slowly began to reappear, and as it emerged from the Earth’s shadow, the grateful Arawaks hurried away. They then kept Columbus and his men well supplied and well fed until a relief caravel from Hispaniola arrived on June 29, 1504. Columbus and his men returned to Spain on Nov. 7.

With this brief background, we can make some sense of the blood moon language quoted by Peter at Pentecost. Note that the words in ALL CAPS are direct quotations from the Old Testament, in particular, the book of Joel that blood moon advocates use to push their end-time theories on an unsuspecting public:

“‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE HEAVENS ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE Lord SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE Lord WILL BE SAVED’” (Acts 2:17-21).

Peter makes it clear that these events were taking place in his day: “This is what was spoken through the prophet Joel” (2:16; Joel 2:28-32). The “last days” were the last days of the Old Covenant that was passing away (Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 9:26). Why would he quote a passage that didn’t have anything to do with his present audience?

Notice that Joel does not prophecy that the moon will be “like” blood but that it will actually be “turned … into blood.” Even blood-moon advocate John Hagee notes that “the moon does not actually turn to blood, but it does appear blood-red.”1 Neither Joel nor Peter says the moon will “appear blood-red.” That’s not a sign since red-looking moons are not unusual.

From what we know of how the Bible uses sun, moon, and stars in numerous contexts, nothing physically happens to the sun, moon, and stars. The sun does not go dark and stars do not fall from heaven to the earth even though the Bible uses this type of language (Isa. 13:10; 24:23; 50:3; Ezek. 32:7; Matt. 24:29; Rev. 6:12).

Predicting that the moon will be turned into blood is making a theological point based on Israel’s sacrificial system. James B. Jordan gives one of the best explanations:

[T]he turning of the moon to “blood” points, I believe, to something particularly Jewish: the sacrificial system. If they will not accept the blood of Jesus Christ, the final Sacrifice, then they themselves will be turned into blood. They will become the sacrifices…. That is what the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was all about.

But Joel is issuing a warning. Those who listen can escape. “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh will be delivered; for ‘on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape,’ as Yahweh has said, even among the survivors whom Yahweh calls” (Joel 2:32). Just as Isaac escaped death on Mount Zion because of the substitute ram that God provided (Genesis 22:14), so those who trust in the Lamb of God will escape the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Such is Joel’s warning, reiterated by Peter on the day of Pentecost [Acts 2:19-21].

The religious leaders who chose Barabbas (Mark 15:6-15; Matt. 27:15-23; John 18:39-40) over Jesus and Caesar as their king (John 19:15) brought this blood-judgment upon themselves and those who were led astray by them:

When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified (Matt. 27:24).

Forty years later, the city of Jerusalem experienced one of the most bloody wars in history when the Romans sacked the city, dismantled the temple, set the city on fire, and left behind a river of blood.

  1. Four Blood Moons (Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing, 2013), 19. []
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