Megachurch pastor, televangelist and author John Hagee has warned of a “world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015.” He believes that the series of lunar eclipses that will occur between now and then are predictive of major catastrophic historical events. The first “blood moon” will make its appearance on April 15. “There’s a sense in the world that things are changing and God is trying to communicate with us in a supernatural way,” Hagee told CBN earlier this year. “I believe that in these next two years we’re going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world,” he predicted.
That’s a rather unsettling prediction, one that is causing a lot of buzz among Christians and non-Christians alike.
What is a blood moon and should you be worried? Here are some facts:
1. The term “blood moon” is not a scientific term.
The website EarthSky says that to the best of their knowledge, “the use of the term Blood Moon to describe a lunar tetrad is of recent origin. It might have originated with John Hagee’s 2013 book,” Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change.
2. The technical term for the lunar events Hagee is warning about is a “lunar tetrad.”
This is defined as “four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons).”
3. The four lunar tetrads in 2014 and 2015 are set to appear during the Jewish feast days of Passover and the Feast of the Tabernacles, or Sukkot.
Hagee claims that it is rare for this lunar tetrad to occur on Jewish holy days. However, since the time of Christ, there have been eight tetrads that have occurred on Jewish Passover and the Festival of Tabernacles.
The Hebrew calendar is lunar, and the Festival of Tabernacles is exactly six lunar months after the Festival of Passover, so in a lunar tetrad that begins on the Passover the second, third, and fourth lunar eclipses will always fall on the days of the Jewish feasts. Here are the dates of the eight lunar tetrads since the time of Christ:
1. AD 162-163
2. AD 795-796
3. AD 842-843
4. AD 860-861
5. AD 1493-1494
6. AD 1949-1950
7. AD 1967-1968
8. AD 2014-2015
4. Hagee claims that every time there is a lunar tetrad something significant happens to Israel.
“In each of these blood moons you have something that begins in tragedy and ends in triumph,” Hagee told CBN. He uses the example of the Jews being expelled from Spain in 1492, and simultaneously, Christopher Columbus discovering the New World that year — a new world that would become a refuge for the Jews. However, there was no lunar tetrad in 1492, rather it occurred in 1493-1494. It’s important to consider that Israel did not even become a nation until 1948 and prior to that the Jews were scattered. And Israel is always at the center of “something dramatic” in the Middle East and on the world stage, with or without the “blood moons.”
5. The tetrad moons will not even be visible in Israel or the rest of the Middle East.
“The best views will be from the entire North and South American continents and much of the Pacific Basin, including Hawaii. Eastern Australia should get to see the second half of the show on the night of April 15, as the moon rises during totality. Europe, Africa, and central Asia, meanwhile, will miss the entire eclipse because it will be daytime in those regions at the time of the event.”
6. According to EarthSky, the moon almost always appears to be a reddish color during a total lunar eclipse.
“That’s because the dispersed light from all the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets falls on the face of the moon at mid-eclipse.”
7. Hagee uses a verse from the Old Testament book of Joel to bolster his conclusion that the impending “blood moons” are a sign from God that something cataclysmic is about to happen.
“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31). The ESV Study Bible commentary explains that universal wonders related to the day of the Lord are “unnatural events in the sky” or “war-like occurrences” on earth, such as fire or columns of smoke. Some believe that these are acts of God’s judgment upon the earth that “will still take place sometime in the future, at the return of Christ.” Other interpreters believe that the language should be understood symbolically “and that no specific literal fulfilment is intended.”
8. All natural disasters are ultimately a result of God’s judgment.
After the fall of man in the book of Genesis, God cursed the ground because of the disobedience of the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden. This disrupted the harmonious relationship that existed between mankind and nature. God had originally pronounced everything he created to be “good.” After the fall, thorns infested the ground and man was told he would work “by the sweat of his brow” to survive. Romans 8 says that “the creation was subjected to futility” and that it has been “groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” But attempting to tie certain cataclysmic events to specific individual or national sins is foolish and presumptive. While the events may indeed be a specific judgment, no one is privy to the mind of God in these matters (and for that matter, none of us are innocent). God explained this to the prophet Isaiah:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
9. Jesus warned about the signs of the “end of the age.”
First, he predicted the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and then told about the events that would precede his second coming:
And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Mark 13:7-13).
Some of these things have already happened and continue to happen as we progress through history. We will see increased escalation as God’s timer ticks down to the very end, culminating in the rapture of the church and the tribulation.
10. Jesus warned about his second coming — the rapture of the church when all Christians on the earth would be taken up to heaven.
And he also warned against anyone making predictions about when that will be:
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven (Mark 13:24-27).
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (Mark 13:32:37).
The apostle Paul also warned about that day in his letter to the Thessalonians:
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:1-13).
Will the “blood moons” usher in the end times and the return of Christ? It’s not out of the realm of possibility. King David wrote in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” God’s creation screams to us about his glory and power and majesty. Catastrophic events remind us that we live in a world we do not control. But Jesus himself warned against predicting the date of his return (even within Christianity there are different views on the order of future events). And many self-proclaimed prophets since that time have looked foolish when their predictions turned out to be wrong. The truth is, on any given day any one of us could get hit by a bus or receive a devastating diagnosis that will lead to us having to give an account to God sooner than we expected. The point of the Bible verses about the end times is to warn us, not about a specific date, but that we should be ready for that day whenever it happens. The “blood moons” should cause all of us to consider our relationship with God and whether we are ready to stand before Him.