Words of Caution regarding John Hagee’s “Four Blood Moons”

Disclaimer: I have not read John Hagee’s book about the blood moons and I have not followed the conversation very closely. However, I think some preliminary words of caution are in order.

Background:

The argument, as near as I can tell, follows a few lines of reasoning. First, the Bible speaks about the moon turning to blood and “signs in the heavens” as events which accompany the End Times. Second, when a lunar eclipse happens the moon takes on a red coloring (hence the name “blood moon”). Third, there will apparently be four blood moons in a row, which fall along the cycle of Jewish Holidays. This is, apparently, a rare event. Fifth, on occasions where this has happened in the past something significant has happened to the state of Israel. The conclusion is that we should take take this most recent event as a sign from God that something (in regards to Israel) is going to happen. That something is probably a big deal and might even be the Second Coming of Christ.

Words of Caution:

First, from my perspective this whole thing is based on eisegesis of the text (reading into the text) and not exegesis (trying to understand the original authorial intent). If you find the discussion of signs and the “moon turning to blood” a convincing argument you should ask yourself this: Did the author of those Scriptures intend for them to be read with a lunar eclipse, or four lunar eclipses in mind? Did they intend for us to interpret that text as a rare cosmological event? Such original authorial intent seems extremely unlikely to me. Imposing that event onto the text seems like a blatant anachronistic reading of the text.

Second, it seems to confuse the various ways in which God speaks. He speaks through creation and history, yes, but this speech is ambiguous and unclear. In other words, we get good data from science and history but we need to interpret it through the lens of Scripture. The “blood moon” issue flips the script. It seems to be interpreting Scripture (“moon turns to blood”) through history and natural revelation.

Third, I get worried any time I hear of a “new” way to read Scripture or a new “code” which unlocks some “hidden” meaning. I went to Amazon and perused the introduction to “Blood Moons: Decoding the Immanent Heavenly Signs” by Mark Blitz, who Hagee also mentions in the introduction to his book and I was worried, though not surprised by what I read. Blitz says that “God chose to hide His messages in the ancient Hebrew alphabet. You will find that the written Hebrew language is like a decoder ring to understanding what God is hiding.” From the context I don’t think he’s talking about the Scriptures but that God has hidden meaning within the actual letters of the Hebrew alphabet. He describes this as a code that unlocks the meaning of Scripture. Once you see the “hidden image” through the Hebrew language, you see Scripture in a whole new light. Once you see Scripture through the lens of the Blood Moons you have unlocked the secret, the code. Perhaps Blitz or Hagee develop their arguments beyond this but at face value this interpretive method is, at best, highly problematic.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but the whole affair feels more like astrology with a veneer of Biblicism. It’s interesting and un-authoritative at best and dangerous – because it teaches people to read natural revelation and Scriptural revelation in the wrong order – at worst.

We shouldn’t overestimate our knowledge of the End Times. No one knows the day or the hour. We watch. We pray. We long for His return. We strive to be ready at all times. We continue to preach the gospel.  All these things are clear because they are clearly revealed in Scripture. Be careful you don’t get caught up in the sensational.

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2 thoughts on “Words of Caution regarding John Hagee’s “Four Blood Moons”

  1. John Dubois

    Thanks for writing on it. I watched the first DVD at the request of someone at church. I told them in advance that I would do so skeptically and thus reluctantly.
    I was disappointed by the speaker’s progression and seamless transitions from certain Biblical truths (creation) to his own speculative interpretations – without making it clear to the audience that the transition had taken place. Just like you say, not faithful exegesis.
    I would also argue that the natural phenomenon that would most redden the appearance if the moon would be more than the normal reddish appearance that the moon (and sun) takes when low in the sky – more atmosphere to shine through. What would redden the appearance if the moon all night long would be an atmosphere full of smoke – something more in the context of the last day.
    I also did some research on the actual astronomy involved – and the unique event involved is simply 4 full eclipses of the moon without any partial eclipses in between. They are 6 months apart and it is called a tetrad. There have been 62 tetrads since the birth of Christ. Because Jewish holidays are based on the lunar calendar, it would be expected that the two would occasionally coincide. According to my research, that has happened 8 times since the birth of Christ. The speaker mentions the past few times that the tetrad and the Jewish holidays met up as starting in 1492, 1948, 1967, and now in 2014. Interestingly, according to astronomy, the actual start years for the past few were actually 1493, 1949, and 1968. I can’t explain why they would all be off by one year from the speaker’s – except that it is easier to find significant events in Jewish history in the years he selected. Maybe we should have been looking for something a year ago.
    What is further ironic is that 3 of the 4 eclipses are not at all visible from the holy land and the 4th is only partially so just before sunrise. I suppose that could be significant – just before sunrise and all. 😉
    I acknowledge that the speaker did specifically say that he was not predicting the return of Christ. I appreciated that. But I’m not so sure his listeners failed to catch hints nevertheless.
    God can always do what he wants, and I won’t be surprised if a number his greatest acts were accompanied by other cosmic signs, but again as you say, Jesus says that the real answers to the real and important questions are found in the special revelation of the Bible and in Jesus himself – not in the general revelation of the heavens.
    Here us a link to a sight that appears to be a secular but otherwise neutral assessment of the astronomy involved. http://earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-blood-moon-lunar-eclipses-2014-2015#.U1BiHO29Kc0

  2. stevenkopp Post author

    John,
    Thanks for the clarification on many of the details. That’s really helpful. I’m glad to know Hagee says he isn’t predicting the return of Christ. I might just be reacting to the way some people are connecting the dots: Blood moons = Moon turns to blood = Return of Christ.
    -Steve

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