Bloody Moons and Other Distractions
"How can a young man cleanse his way by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word," Psalm 119:9. "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee," Psalm 119:11. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," Psalm 119:105. "Jesus prayed to the Father, to sanctify them in truth, Thy Word is truth," John 17:17. "For the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God shall stand forever," Isaiah 40:8.
Before we get started let's take a few moments to pray. I just remembered another prayer request to deal with today. We will have a few moments of silent prayer and then I will open in prayer. Let's pray. Father, we are so very grateful that we have You to turn in times of need. We know that You know our request long before we ever articulate them. It is Your desire for us to come before You in prayer exercising our faith and our dependence upon You. Father, we continue to pray for all those on our prayer list. We pray especially for those recovering from cancer. We pray particularly for George Meisinger this evening and also for Lori Robinson and for the things that she needs and for Your care for her family. We pray for the success of this bone marrow transplant and her recovery. Now Father, we continue to pray for this church, for our outreach, for opportunities to proclaim the gospel to those around us, and to take advantage of opportunities to emphasize the truth of the Scriptures. Father, we pray for us tonight as we think through these issues in Your Word that we might be able to think clearly and precisely and accurately handle Your Word. We pray this in Christ Name, Amen.
Tonight I want to do something a little different. Normally we have been covering dispensations and covenants and we will eventually deal with eschatology, but sometimes current events just sort of overwhelm circumstances. And last night, of course most of you are aware of the fact that we had an eclipse last night, a lunar eclipse, known as a blood moon, and there is a lot of speculation about the significance about this blood moon. There are some popular books that have been written about this and talking about how the blood moon relates to the return of Christ as a sign of the times.
Just this last week my wife, Pam, was at the hairdresser where her hairdresser decided to tell her all about it. She wasn't asking her questions; she was telling her all about it. Then over the last couple of weeks I have received some requests via email from some pastors. I heard that Pastor John Hagee was interviewed several times over the weekend about the blood moon on Fox News; and so all of this creates an environment for a lot of discussion and a lot of questions. In fact somebody emailed in a question or asked a question last night: has Robbie covered anything on the blood moons yet? So I decided yesterday after watching the news that I needed to address this.
We live in a time of tremendous insecurity and uncertainty. A time of a lot of political changes; a lot of political shifts; a time of economic uncertainty and a lot of economic weakness; and for the last forty or fifty years there has been more and more of an increase in speculation about the proximity of the return of Christ. Ever since the Jewish state that was reestablished in 1948, and then Jerusalem was re-conquered in 1967, there has been sort of a cottage industry of prophesy prognosticators that have sprung up making numerous unfounded predictions related to Biblical prophesies and the end times. Some of these have been half right; some of them have been three-quarters right; some of them have just been half baked. But they gain a lot of attention; so we have to evaluate many of these particular claims.
In light of the economic uncertainties right now, along with the rise of terrorism, the conflict of cultures, the continued slide into apostasy and paganism in the West, along with many other problems, the business of doomsday predictions has become big business. You can find companies that sell everything that you need from survival gear to underground shelters. Some polls have indicated that 25-40% of Americans believe that we are living in the end times; whatever that means to them. As a result, we find that people are looking for answers; so books that talk about end times from Hal; we are all familiar with Hal Lindsey's best seller, The Late Great Planet Earth. In fact, I know of at least one person in the congregation here who was saved through Hal Lindsey's book; probably something like 35-40 million in print now. Hal was good in a lot of ways, but there is a certain amount of speculation in The Late Great Planet Earth where people thought that based upon his calculations that the last generation would be forty years. It would either begin in 1948 with the re-establishment of the Jewish state or it began in 1967 with the conquest of Jerusalem. Then if you back seven years off of that for the time of the rapture, then the rapture would have occurred at least by 2000.
Well, we are all sitting here now in 2014 and it did not happen. That does not give credit to Biblical scholars and Biblical scholarship. So we have had a lot of people who have continued to do investigations in a lot of areas of Biblical prophesy and a lot of this has been very, very good. Scholarly investigation has led to some remarkable discoveries historically in the last twenty years. Grant Jeffrey was instrumental in the discovery of the document Pseudo Ephream written about the 5th or 6th century AD, which clearly talked about a pre-tribulation rapture of the church; showing that many critics that had claimed that the pre-tribulation rapture was a doctrine imbedded by John Nelson Darby in the 1830s were wrong.
Since then numerous other scholars, such as, Bill Watson at the pre-tribulation study group for the last couple of years has provided a vast amount of documentation that English Puritans in the mid-16th century held to a pre-tribulation rapture. As a result of the scholars at the pre-tribulation study group as well as Dallas Theological Seminary, the Master Seminary out in California, Baptist Bible Seminary, and other institutions, a lot of solid Biblical scholarship has helped clarify issues and solve some problems in studies. Many Biblical passages related to prophesy are understood more clearly now.
Unfortunately, through the explosion of mass media, the internet, Youtube videos, which you can find anybody saying anything, the waters related to Biblical prophesy have been extremely muddied by their speculations and inconsistent systems of hermeneutics. I just want to know why is it that somebody that is a popularizer of Biblical truth can't interpret the Bible consistently. There is just something about that. If you don't know, that is one of the reasons that the pre-tribulation study group was founded originally; it was to bring the popularizers, the radio preachers, people like that; people who were writing the bestsellers together with the scholars to try to help the scholars become better at communicating the message and let those who were good at communicating the message get the message right. It really hasn't done that; although it has helped in many other areas.
But the point is as we go through the years and people are looking for answers; they want something to give them hope, some sort of stability; you also have people who write a lot of books that sort of, and I don't mean this for everybody who is a popular risk, but they sort of cater to the market that is looking for some sort of sensationalist speculation about the future. So, whenever anything new comes along, it is not wrong because it is new; but when people make claims that have never before been taught, we need to learn how to carefully analyze these claims. The way to do that is that when those claims are based on the Scripture that we need to know how to accurately study the text of Scripture to see if it supports what they are actually saying. And so we now have this claim that this event of the blood moons, there will be four blood moon eclipses over the 18 months that that signifies the coming of Jesus Christ a second time is somehow near.
Now, if you did not see it last night I have this video that Barb helped me put together today on the blood moon, this is NASA's video on the blood moon eclipse last night. This is not really, as we will see in minute, not really new phenomena, but these things have been going on for quite some time, as we will see. Now the claim that is made today by several different people and has become quite popular is that these blood moons signify something about the Second Coming of Christ. The claim is that these tetrads, which are a group of four blood moons; that these tetrads fulfill prophesy from various statements in Scripture.
Now one of the things that distinguish this particular tetrad that began last night, that is the first; there will be three subsequent ones. These all fall on Jewish Feast Days, religious Feast Days on the Jewish calendar:
Passover this year, 2014
Succoth or Tabernacles in the Fall, 2014
Passover again next year, 2015
And then Succoth again the next year, 2015
And this is why it makes it significant, because it falls on Jewish holidays.
In addition to that, there is a claim that 2015 is a sabbatical year. Every seventh year in the Jewish calendar was a sabbatical year and the claim is made that 2015 is a sabbatical year and something incredibly significant has happened on each of the previous sabbatical years going back to at least 1967. So the short version of the claim is that this highly unusual series for four blood moons, this tetrad, has occurred only a limited number of times in history and each has been around a time that something incredibly significant has happened in relation to the Jewish people or the modern state of Israel. Further the claim is made that these heavenly signs are predicted in the Bible and that these events are precursors to the final events of God's time table for the human race.
Now some of you will think that you know the answer to this and you are probably right. Others of you may think that this is just a distraction; why are we even paying attention to this? And you are just being impatient. Others are curious and interested to know what the claim is and what the Bible teaches. Let me remind all of you that as we go about the business of life we are going to discover that there are people around us who have heard about this; people you work with, people in your families, people in your neighborhood who have heard about this; and their going to bring this up in conversation. We need to know how to answer that. There are going to be people who get out on the internet and are searching for answers and they are going to run across this message. So it is important for us to cover this and I just intend to do this in just one nice one shot message this evening.
Now this claim is a relatively new or recent development. The most popular book that is out is a book by John Hagee, who is pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. It is now #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. Actually, Hagee got the start on this by reading a book by a pastor from Tacoma, Washington, by the name of Mark Biltz. His book is Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs. He is the first one to discover this correlation between the blood moons and Jewish holidays. When this is happened that things have happened that are significant for the Jewish people.
There is an article that came out today in the Washington Post, "Blood Moon Sets Off Apocalyptic Debate Among Some Christians." They talk about mostly what I have already said. They say, "A string of books have been surrounding the event with authors referring to a Bible passage that refers to the moon turning into blood. Then they quote from Joel 2:31." They go on to write, "In the New Testament (NT) Acts 2:20 echoes the same doom." Actually, Acts 2:20 is a quote of Joel 2:31. And then they write, "Recent books capitalizing on this event include: Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz; Blood Moons Rising Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons by Mark Hitchcock.
Mark Hitchcock is a member of the Pre-Tribulation Study Group; and if you want to read something that goes into a lot more detail that would be a book that I recommend. He has really written it for people who know zilch about Biblical prophecy. So it is very, very basic and he goes through a lot of material again and again. But Mark is a great scholar; he is an adjunct professor at Dallas Seminary. I have known Mark for a number of years and he does an excellent job. He is critiquing this whole position. The third book they mentioned is Four Blood Moons, Something is About to Change, by Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee. Then they go on to report that it is now #4 on the New York Times Bestseller List and #80 on USA Today's Bestseller List. He has spent 152 days in Amazon's Top 100 Books. So a lot of people are reading Hagee. He is getting a lot of press and there are some important differences between the two men and their approaches.
The first problem, I want to talk about Mark Biltz for just a second; he has two basic problems. First is, he is involved in date setting. Date setting is clearly contrary to Scripture. Matthew 24:36 says, "But of that day and hour," referring to the Second Coming not just the rapture, but the Second Coming, "of that day and hour no one knows not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." And then in Matthew 25:13, "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man is coming." Now even with the events that precede the Second Coming of Christ, there should be some sort of ability to guess. But Jesus is talking about the Second Coming in both of those passages, not the rapture. He indicates that even the hour and the time that that occurs is not known. So that is Biltz's first problem. He has some other theological problems, but I am not going to get into that or critique those. I'll just point out the second problem, which is that he predicts that next year, because of these four blood moons, that next year is the year, 2015, that Jesus will return.
Now the problem with that is that the Bible teaches that several things have to occur before Jesus Christ returns as the Second Coming. The rapture of the church has to occur; the antichrist has to be identified; the rise of the ten nation confederacy has to occur. Israel will rebuild the temple that is the temple during the tribulation period; that will take place. The abomination of desolation will take place half way between the Tribulation and then there has to be the campaign of Armageddon. There is just not enough time for all of that to happen between now and 2015. So he is just dead wrong. Now that is not Hagee's view. Hagee's view is that this indicates something radical that is going to change in relationship to Israel.
One other thing that I do want to point out in relation to Biltz; a guy by the name of Dr. Faulkner has written an excellent article on the blood moons on the Answers in Genesis (AIG) website.* In his summary he writes; I thought this was interesting because it says something about why this gets so popular. He said, "Mark Biltz has an engaging style and judging by the response of those in attendance on the videos, he has put a lot of videos out on YouTube and other video sites, he makes a very persuasive case for his audiences. However, most of those in attendance know little if anything about the circumstances and appearance of lunar and solar eclipses. So they are easily impressed. Biltz makes two key observations:
1. First he notes the coincidences of these eclipses with major Jewish festivals.
2. Second he points out that these four eclipses are in a row, admittedly bringing together such factors is rare though not unique. But there is no suggestion that these eclipses will be otherwise exceptional. The Biblical passages refer to the dimming of the sun, Matthew 24:29 and Joel 2:31, and the moon turning to blood in Joel 2:31, speak in very apocalyptic terms emphasizing frightening things that men experience. The timing of the eclipses that Biltz draws attention to while interesting, falls far short of the sort of signs that will cause the heavens to shake.
Now Hagee has also written about this and his main point is not that this indicates that the return of Christ; he is not date setting at all, but he does use the same basic information that Biltz does. He is primarily saying that the blood moons portend something radical that will occur in relation to Israel and the Jewish people.
So, as we get into this, the first question we need to address is the question of: what is a blood moon? A blood moon is a name that is given to a certain kind of lunar eclipse where the earth comes between the sun and the moon as you see in this diagram. It puts the moon into the shadow of the earth. As this is occurring, because the light from the sun passes through the earth's atmosphere and gets refracted and the blue light gets taken out and the red light continues; the red light casts its light upon the moon and so it gives the moon a sort of a orange or red hue. This is what causes the orange or red effect on the eclipse. So the green through violet short wave length light gets taken out and then the longer wave length light hits. That is the same thing that happens when a sunset looks orange or red. It is the same kind of dynamic as the atmosphere filters out some of the light.
Now complete or total eclipses are relatively rare; during the 20th century there were a total of 229 lunar eclipses of all types, but only 81 were total eclipses where the moon was completely obscured by the earth's shadow. The rest were partial eclipses. In this century, the 21st century, there will be 228 lunar eclipses and 85 compared to 81, 85 total eclipses. So they are not as rare as… Question asked: … answer… just where the earth happens to be in relation to the moon. Is there a reason why it doesn't happen all the time? It just has to do with the angle of where the moon is in relation to the earth when this occurs.
Danny Faulkner in the previous article I mentioned, AIG points out that there will be 85 total lunar eclipses in the next century. He talks about since the time of Christ there have been a total of 87 of these tetrads. So it is not that rare. In the next century, the 21st century, we should have eight tetrads. Biltz's points out that there are a number of these that occurred that fell on Jewish Feast Days in the years 162-163, 795-796, 842-843, 860-861, 1428-1429, but nothing significant happened historically in relation to Israel on any of those. The ones they emphasize are the last four, which occurred in 1493-1494, 1949-1950, 1967-1968, and 2014-2015. So this seems to be this amazing coincidence that these four blood moons all occur on Jewish feast days.
Now Faulkner again points out that this shouldn't be a surprise to people because Israel's calendar was based off of a lunar calendar; so because of the fact that the beginning of these periods of feast days are always identified by a full moon; and since Passover is always determined by its proximity to the full moon, it would be common that there would be a full moon and an eclipse at Passover the same as with Succoth. This is not unusual. So when Hagee and others come along and say that this is a unique event in history that science, history, and the Bible have aligned in a unique convergence pointing irrefutably to the significance of the four blood moons as prophetic omens of coming events. My problem with this is that they are basically reading more into this than it warrants.
Here is a chart showing how an eclipse occurs. You have sunlight here when you have a new moon, which is when the Jewish calendar begins it is the first quarter, first time you see the moon after a new moon, then the new moon is between the earth and the sun and it is dark. Then as it comes around two weeks later you will see the full moon. This is when on the 1st of Nissan, the first month in the Jewish feast calendar; the 14th Nissan is when Passover is. By then you are having a full moon and you can see the full moon, but if the full moon is passing into the earth's shadow that is when you have a lunar eclipse. So he (Faulkner) is looking at these. These are the four blood moons: April 15 and October 18, 2014, then there is going to be a solar eclipse in the middle, next March, on March 20, 2015 (see slide); then Passover next year a partial eclipse near Rosh Hashanah and then at Succoth on the 28th (April, 2015).
Now the first eclipse that is mentioned; here is a chronology in a chart form, Passover, Feast of Tabernacles (see slide). This total solar eclipse on March 20 next year (2015) will be total and Faulkner points out though that the eclipse path of this eclipse is North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and that the only land areas that will observe it are the Pharaoh Islands and Salvbard. If these are signs for all mankind to see signifying the return of Christ, the point is, nobody is seeing; nobody is there to see this eclipse, in the path of the eclipse. That raises the question again, can it really fulfill its function as a sign?
So the question then that we need to address gets us into the text, and that is, does the Bible predict blood moons as a sign of the end times? What exactly does the Scripture say? So if science, history, and the Bible are coming together, we see that science somewhat discredits this in terms of their claims that this is so unique. We will at the end look at the historical claims, but for now we want to look at the Biblical claims. In the Scripture we see that many times Jesus speaks of the "signs of the times." So there is nothing wrong with looking at signs, the Bible itself talks about it. Jesus says in Matthew 16:2-3 in challenging the Pharisees regarding not being aware of the First Coming. The Pharisees had asked for a sign from heaven and Jesus said, "When it is evening you say it will be fair weather for the sky is red; and in the morning there will be a storm today for the sky is red and threatening. Do you not know how to discern the appearance of the sky? Or do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky but you cannot discern the signs of the times?
What Jesus is saying is that they should have been paying attention to the signs to know that the Messiah was coming at that time. Again, in other places Jesus talks about different signs related to His Second Coming. That is what much of the Olivet Discourse is talking about in Matthew 24:4-29. Even though no one knows the exact day or the hour there are certain things Jesus says indicate that the Second Coming is near. But we have to remember that these are signs related to the Second Coming, not related to the rapture, which is a signless even that comes at least seven years before the Second Coming.
Now when we look at these blood moons; let me go back to that slide a minute. When we look at these blood moons (see slide) the April 15th blood moon that we just saw last night is visible mostly in North and South America and it lasted from 75-80 minutes. The one that coming this October will be visible in Western and North America, the Pacific Islands, Eastern Asia, New Zealand and Eastern Australia, so mostly the Pacific Realm. The eclipse will last for an hour. On April 4th, the one that comes a year from now on Passover (2015) will be visible in Asia, Australia, the Pacific and the Americas for a total of 3 hours and 29 minutes; though the full eclipse in the center of it will only last for five minutes. On September 28th, Succoth of 2015, the eclipse will be visible from Asia, Australia, the Pacific and the Americas for a total of 3 hours and 20 minutes; the eclipse proper lasts for 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Did you notice when I mentioned Israel in the Middle East? See these are primarily signs for the whole world, but mostly for Israel and the Middle East. And yet, none of these blood moons or the solar eclipse are going to be visible in the Middle East at all. So how can they be a sign in the Middle East? So let's go back and look at our passage. Joel mentions this in a couple of key passages: Joel 2:10 "the earth quakes before them the heavens tremble the sun and moon go dark." Notice the sun and moon both go dark. If the sun grows dark what is the moon going to do? Remember the moon is bright only because it reflects light from the sun. So if the sun goes dark the moon is going to go dark. Joel 2:31"The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD." So there is a reference to the timing of this in terms of the day of the LORD. Joel 3:15 "The sun and the moon will grow dark and the stars will diminish their brightness."
Okay, as we look at this, we recognize that Joel is a Book about the coming day of the LORD. And Joel predicts in Joel 1 that there is going to be a locust plague that comes that basically devastates all of Israel as God brings judgment upon them. In Joel 2 that locust plague is used as an analogy of an end time army that will destroy Israel at the time of the day of the LORD. This is the army of the antichrist in the end times. So Joel 2:30-31 talk about that end time event in relation to the great and terrible day of the LORD. God says, "I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth. So it is not just something happening in the heavens; there are also going to be other things that happen at the same time in the earth." There will be blood; it speaks of violence and bloodshed and war and fire and pillars of smoke. This is a picture of massive destruction.
At the same time there is going to be cosmic cataclysm. The sun shall be turned into darkness. So it is going to impact the sun itself. We learn from studying from Revelation that during the tribulation period the sun's light will be diminished by a third. And so these heavenly catastrophes also indicate the sign that the coming of the LORD is near. Now in Joel it says that this will happen before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. Now the term "before" isn't a very precise term. "Before" can mean three, four, five years before. It is not an immediate term. The reason I say that is that basically the Hebrew is lefnei, just before or prior too; but in Malachi 4:5 God says, "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD." Well this happens during the first half of the seven year tribulation, the first three and a half years, so it is not necessarily an immediate before. But the context here when compared with other passages indicates that the sun is turned to darkness and the moon into blood just prior to the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
Now the Scriptures talk about the day of the LORD, which is probably an extended period of judgment including much of the tribulation period and may go on into the millennial kingdom. There is a lot of debate and discussion on that, which I'll cover in another time; but for right now we have a broad sense for the day of the LORD. But the great and awesome day of the LORD is specifically tied to the Battle of Armageddon; that final event in the very final stage of the seven year tribulation just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. So I believe the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD is referring to when Jesus comes, destroys the armies of the antichrist, destroys everyone who opposes Him, rescues the Jewish people from the attacks of the antichrist, sends the antichrist and the false prophet into the Lake of Fire and sends Satan and the fallen angels into the abyss.
Joel 2:30-31 tells us the timing of this sign. So if we are going to see a change in the sun and the moon it occurs Biblically just prior to the coming of Christ. Joel 2 talks about the fact that the earthquakes before them, that is as the armies of the antichrist move through Israel the heavens tremble, the sun and the moon grow dark because of the sun grows dark the moon grows dark. It is not a blood moon here; it just goes dark because the sun is losing its light. The stars diminish their brightness. So it is not just something that happens with the moon, there is something also happening with the sun at the same time, not six months later. And the stars are also diminishing. One of the problems that you see in the blood moon theory is you are just focusing on something that is happening with the moon.
Joel 3:15 says that the sun and moon will grow dark and the stars will diminish their brightness again. This is preceded in context by some interesting circumstances. Joel 3:12-14 (see slide) "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat." This is a judgment on the nations that occurs at the end of the tribulation period when Jesus Christ has returned. "I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the wine press is full; the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision." Notice the whole imagery here of the wine vat and the sickle and the vats overflows, wickedness is great and it is a time of judgment. It is very similar to what happens at the time that Jesus returns.
This is described in Revelation 14:14-19 (see slide.) John says, "I looked and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the son of man, having on His head a golden crown and in His hand a sharp sickle. So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried out with a loud cry to Him who had the sharp sickle saying, "Thrust in Your sharp sickle, and gathers the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are fully ripe." So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and through it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.""
So two things that we see here in Joel 2 that are important for understanding the meaning and timing:
1. First of all, as I said earlier, there are other things that are happening when the moon is turned to blood. We have blood, fire, and columns of smoke. We also have the sun being darkened and we have the stars losing their light.
2. The second thing we see here is that this is tied to the great and awesome day of the LORD. And when you compare Joel 3 with Revelation 14 you see that this is the event that immediately precedes the Second Coming of the LORD.
Now to look at a NT reference, in Matthew 24 we have Jesus answering certain questions from His disciples. They ask Him three questions (see slide.) I think they are asking the same question with three elements to it. They are basically synonymous questions: When will these things be? Jesus just said that the temple is going to be destroyed and that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed.
1. So they are saying, when will these things be?
2. And what will be the sign of Your coming?
3. And what will be the sign of the end of the age?
How are we going to know the end of the age is here and Your kingdom is going to come? And so as Jesus answers these questions He is answering the question as to what is the "sign of Your coming?" He is not talking about the rapture in Matthew 24. He is talking about the events in Israel that will immediately precede the Second Coming when He returns. He goes through this and He talks about the first various things, wars, rumors of wars, famines, and destructions, and signs in the heavens; and that is comparable to the seal judgments in Revelation 6. And then He comes and he talks about the abomination of desolation. This is when the antichrist desecrates the tribulation temple. And then that is followed, that act of the abomination of desolation, which happens halfway through the tribulation period; following that you have what is called an intensified tribulation or the Great Tribulation.
In Matthew 24:29 (see slide) we read, "Immediately after the tribulation." This is the last three and a half year period of intensified adversity during the period known as Daniel's 70th Week, which we often refer to as the tribulation. Jesus says that "immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." That sounds just like Joel 2:30-31, the same imagery. Something is happening to the sun, the moon, and the stars. The powers of the heavens are shaken. This is paralleled in Mark 13:24 where Jesus says, "But in those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light." So again, it is after the tribulation at the end of the second half of the tribulation. Luke 21:25 says the same thing, "And there will be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring." So it clearly indicates that this comes after the tribulation.
Matthew 24:26-31(see slide) explains this. Jesus warns them. People are going to tell you that the Messiah is coming. " 'Look he is in the desert!' do not go out; 'Look He is in the inner rooms!' Jesus says, 'do not believe it.' For as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together." So this is at the end of the Battle of Armageddon. And He says, "Then the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds." This is what happens after He mentions the sun being darkened and the moon will not give its light. Matthew 24:29, "immediately after the sun is darkened and the moon is darkened and the stars fall from heaven; then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven; then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
The same thing that we saw in Joel; these events occur immediately before the great and terrible day of the LORD, not a couple of years before, not seven years before; it is a unique event in history that happens just immediately prior to the Second Coming. So when Jesus comes back that Second Coming is preceded by (see slide):
1. The seal judgments outlined in Matthew 24:4-7.
2. It is preceded by the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15.
3. It is going to be preceded by the most intense period of the tribulation in Matthew 24:21, which is the period of the final bowl judgments in Revelation.
4. Then, fourth, immediately after that period the sun is darkened and the moon will not give its light.
Now the blood moon claim that Hagee makes is that (see slide):
"The Bible clearly describes both blood moons and a solar eclipse in Joel 2:30-31 and Acts 2:19-20, and Jesus confirms them in Matthew 24:29."
But this can't be anything related to the blood moons that we have now. In fact, I would say that what we see in these passages isn't a blood moon. It is something that is much more catastrophic that will occur. So the problems that this presents for the blood moon position is that first of all:
1. The sun is darkened and the moon is not giving its light and that happens at the same time. That is not what is happening in any of these tetrads.
2. Second, the event described in Scripture is probably a supernatural event like the star that signified the birth of Jesus. It is a supernatural event or part of the cosmic collapse of the physical universe while God is bringing His judgment on the earth; similar to the events of darkness that God brought on Egypt during the plagues and the darkness that covered Golgotha when Jesus was being crucified on the Cross.
3. The third problem is that the timing for these events is at the end of the tribulation just prior to the Second Coming, not anytime before.
4. And there are also other events that take place that are being ignored in trying to fit and force this blood moon idea into the Scriptures.
Now in the time that I have got left what I want to look at is some of the alleged fulfillment; the historical fulfillment related to these blood moons in history. Remember the first set of blood moons allegedly occurred in 1493 and 1494. The argument that is made by Hagee is stated here in this particular quote (see slide). He says that the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492; now when did the tetrad occur? The tetrad occurs in 1493. In 1492 the Jews were kicked out of Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This occurs as we will see in this timeline on March 30th of 1492. Columbus sails on his expedition later in the summer partially financed by the money that was confiscated from the Jews in Spain; then he discovers America.
Hagee's view is that they (the Jews) are kicked out of Spain, but America is discovered at the same time and eventually becomes a nation of refuge for the Jewish people, which is historically true. But his conclusion, his interpretation of this event, is that (see slide): "The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 was a world changing moment. The mantle of prosperity was lifted from Spain (which it was) and placed upon the shoulders of an infant nation that would become the United States of America. God Almighty used the Four Blood Moons of 1493-1494 as a heavenly billboard to mankind." It is a sign.
Now the trouble I have with this is that if I am driving down the highway and I am on my way downtown and I need to get off on Smith; the sign indicating the exit for Smith comes before the exit, not after the exit. If I see the sign after the exit it is no good; it is no longer a sign. A sign is something that signifies that something is about to happen, so the problem here is that the claim places the blood moons after the events.
So in terms of the chronology of the tetrad in 1493-1494 (see slide):
On March 30, 1492 there is an Edict of Expulsion
In October, 1492 Columbus discovers America
Then, in 1493, six months later, on April 2, 1943, you have Passover, the first blood moon
Then there is a total solar eclipse on September 24, 1943
Then there is the Feast of Tabernacles on September 25, 1943
The Passover on March 22, 1494
Then you have the Feast of Tabernacles on September 15, 1494
So the problem is that it cannot be a sign if it is after the event.
Now the next event, the next tetrad is in 1949 and 1950 (see slide.) Now in 1947 the United Nation (UN) voted in November 1947 to partition Israel. The Arabs rejected it. They knew that Britain would pull out. Britain had the mandate in Israel at that time; Britain would pull out on May 13 in 1948, and so the Arab-Israeli War began actually after that UN vote. The Arabs never accepted that vote. The Jews were willing to accept the partition; the Arabs never did. So that resolution never went into effect. On May the 14th David ben Gurion declared Israel as an independent Jewish state.
Now there is also a claim that I have heard; I am not sure who has said it, but the trouble is with some of these things is that as careful someone as Hagee might be to couch this in a lot of different terms to indicate that he is not stating things absolutely; people don't hear that and they go and teach it as if something is absolute. There are some people who have claimed that there was a blood moon on May 14, 1948. The problem is that David ben Gurion came out on the balcony on the building where they had met to declare the independence of Israel and he announces this to the crowds outside. In the picture you see a full moon above the building and it is not a blood moon. It is not a lunar eclipse. So that doesn't fit.
There is a third tetrad that occurred in 1967 to 1968 (see slide.) So what we have said basically is that 1493 tetrad was after the event. The tetrad in 1949 to 1950 was after Israel's independence, nothing significant that really happens in 1949 to 1950. In 1967-1968 there is another tetrad:
The first blood moon occurs on April 24, 1967 on Passover
Then the Six Day War occurs on June 6, 1967 when Israel takes back Jerusalem
There is another lunar eclipse, another blood moon on October 18, 1967 at the time of the Succoth or Feast of Tabernacles
On November 2, 1967 there is a solar eclipse
On April 13, 1968 you have Passover and another blood moon
And the fourth blood moon on October 6, 1968 on the Feast of Tabernacles
Only one blood moon occurred before the event of 1967. The others all happened after it. So again, it is really forcing this to be some sort of a sign. Most of the blood moons, three of the four occurred after the significant event. So, there is really not any historical documentation related to this that you can count on. So, when you go back and look at the historical data it doesn't fit the claim. It is not signifying something happening ahead of time. Both the 1493 and the 1949 events are completely after the significant event for Israel.
So on that pattern, what we would say on the basis of these four moons, is that they are signifying something that has already happened. If we are going to be consistent; not something that is going to happen in the future. So, what we see is that Biblically in terms of the Scripture where the blood moons are mentioned, I did not mention the Acts 2 passage? The Acts 2 passage occurs when Peter is quoting from the Joel 2:30-31 passage; so he is simply alluding back to that. He is not giving any new information. He is simply saying that what happened on the day of Pentecost was produced by God the Holy Spirit and it is the same kind of saying that Joel talks about in Joel 2:28-30. He is not saying that it is fulfillment at all.
One last thing I want to cover and that is the claim from Hagee specifically that there is something significant about next year because it is a shemitah year, the seventh year, the sabbatical year; and he claims that in 2015 something significant will happen because something significant has happened in every shemitah year in the past. God uses this to capture the world's attention. In order to provide documentation for this he goes back to 1973, which was the Yom Kippur War, and that was when it was the Wade vs. Roe Decision; he points out all these other decisions to indicate all these catastrophes that are taking place. He goes back and goes to 1967, which was the shemitah year, 1974 is a shemitah year.
Hagee goes forward and points out that something significant that happens in relation to all of these. But the problem is that he does not go before 1967. Nothing happened in 1960; nothing happens in 1953. There is nothing that fits earlier than then that. So he is finding what he is looking for when it is convenient for him to look for it. This is what happens so often when people are trying to use history in this way to figure out the signs of the times.
Scripture is clear that we are not suppose to be looking for these signs. In fact, when we read Scriptures, like 1 Thessalonians 4 related to the coming of Christ in the clouds for the church; and we look at passages in Revelation, what we are to be looking for is the coming of Jesus Christ; we are not to be looking at the rapture; we are not to be looking at signs; we are not to be looking for heavenly events; we are not to be looking for geo-political events. We are to be looking for the return of Christ to come in the clouds for the church and to take us to be with Him. That is suppose to be our focus. What happens when we get focused on trying to identify contemporary events with prophesy is that we often get into unfounded speculation and it becomes a terrible distraction to people's spiritual life, which is why I called this Bloody Moons and Other Distractions because it is a distraction.
I hope that answers people's questions and gives enough information to where we realize that once again these claims just really do not hold water. They don't hold water scientifically; they don't hold water Biblically in terms of the exegesis of the passages; and they don't hold water historically. It is all forced to try to come up with some kind of sensational theory. Let's bow our heads in closing prayer.
Father, we thank you for this opportunity we have to study these things this evening and to think through what the Scripture teaches and what the Scripture says. We recognize that there are going to be signs that indicate the nearness of our Lord's coming, the Second Coming. There are going to be signs in the heavens, signs in the sun and the moon and the stars, but yet these signs are not the signs that we are seeing today for they do not fit the pattern. They do not fit what has been said in the Scripture. The Scripture must always be our ultimate and absolute authority. Father, we pray that You might use this to help people understand the truth of Biblical prophesy and that You might help us to be able to use this information if this comes up in conversation with friends or loved ones or neighbors that we might point them to the truth of Scripture. We pray this in Christ's name, Amen.