Listen to Dr. Dan Hayden’s review of the Four Blood Moons Theory using the audio player below. The following is a transcription of the main points from his verbal critique:
Sometimes you think things are going to go one way, but all of a sudden it surprises you and goes a totally different way. That is my impression of this new theory of the Blood Moons prophecy. At first I thought it was going to be something special and spectacular, but I have discovered it is not quite that.
For awhile as I traveled around the country I was asked numerous times, “Have you read Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger?” (It was the topic of prophetic conversation for several years.) Jonathan Cahn, a messianic rabbi in New Jersey, took two verses out of Isaiah and applied them to the 9-11 attack on the twin towers in Manhattan, New York. But the verses were really about the Assyrians attacking the northern tribes of Israel. Cahn had found several coincidences that applied to America and I believe his conclusion was correct – that America is on the downturn and that God either is judging or will judge America. But his exposition of Isaiah was a huge stretch. Then he applied the Shmita year to the 9-11-2001 attack and also to the American 2008 financial collapse – and that was a bigger stretch. All of this contained strong evidence of mystical thinking related to the Jewish scriptures. Cahn had done previous studies using the mystical approach of the Cabala, so I was not surprised to find The Harbinger to be another product of that thinking. Yet it continues to be a popular book, now with a study guide and a movie.
I begin with this illustration because Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change is another book conceived by a messianic rabbi using the same methods of Cabalistic mysticism. Rabbi Mark Biltz of El Shaddai is the influence behind both the prophecy journalist Bill Koenig who has written on this subject, and Pastor John Hagee, author of Four Blood Moons. John Hagee is pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas that boasts about 20,000 active members. He has a television and radio ministry throughout America and in 249 nations around the world through Trinity Broadcasting Network. Pastor Hagee is also the national chairman of Christians United for Israel, which shows his strong interest in Israel and in messianic studies.
The book Four Blood Moons by John Hagee has become a best seller on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon book lists. It is all over the place; so if you haven’t heard of it . . . you will. It is the “current interest” with regard to prophetic studies. So the question is, is this another prophetic fad (a current rage in end times scenarios) or is it a legitimate concern of biblical prophecy and something we should seriously consider?
Let me first give you some definitions:
- What is a blood moon? A blood moon is simply a total lunar eclipse. It is an astronomical event where the moon appears red. It can be seen anywhere on the dark side of the earth – half of the world can see it and the other half cannot. The earth’s shadow blocks the sun’s light during a lunar eclipse, which otherwise reflects off the moon. When the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon it will turn red in the total portion of the eclipse. Sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere and is bent toward the moon, so some light is there; but the other colors of the spectrum are blocked and scattered and only the red gets through. So NASA refers to this event as the blood red moon. Eclipses of the moon are fairly common; total eclipses, or blood red moons, are less common – but more frequent than you might think.
- What is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse last only for a few minutes when the moon comes between the earth and the sun and casts a shadow over the earth – and the sun appears to be darkened.
- What is a tetrad? Tetrad refers to “four.” Lunar tetrads are four total lunar eclipses occurring consecutively within a specific interval of time. That is a very rare occurrence and when you add a solar eclipse within that tetrad interval, it is even rarer. When you add to that a tetrad linked to Jewish history (especially the feasts of Israel where it occurs on Passover and Tabernacles), that has only happened three times in the past 500 years – making it extremely rare. It is about to happen for a fourth time on April 15, 2014, which is the Jewish Passover. There will be four in the next two years (2014-2015) and that is what this is all about – the tetrad of the blood red moons.
Now, this has a connection to biblical prophecy. Joel 2:30-31 reads, And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. That is repeated by Peter on the Day of Pentecost in his sermon where he quotes from Joel 2 in Act 2:20. The other evidence of a blood red moon in Scripture is Revelation 6:12 in the sixth seal judgment – there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood (emphasis mine). That has been the spark that engendered this blaze of interest with regard to the tetrads of four blood moons.
Let me share a little bit about the theory of this prophecy. There have been only three blood moon tetrads in the past 500 years that have been linked to the Jewish feasts of Passover and Tabernacles and actually coincide with significant Jewish historical events in a two-year span:
There is also a solar eclipse within each of these tetrads, therefore the theorists assume that something big is going to happen. John Hagee says, “The sun, moon, and stars are unmistakably connected to Israel and biblical prophecy and that connection inspired this book. God will use them to light up the heavens with an urgent, top-priority message for all mankind. Everything is about to change forever.” That is a strong statement. Later in the book Hagee says, “We need a sign from God to get us back on the right track. The four blood moons just may be that signal.” As he expounds on this, he hedges what he is about to say with this claim: “When I discover a new prophetic revelation, I go to the absolute truth of the Word of God – which is the fountain of all sound biblical research and teaching.” In this statement Hagee is implying that the four blood moons revelation is absolute truth from the Word of God and that it is sound biblical research and teaching. However, I can assure you it is none of these. It is not absolute truth from the Word of God and it is not sound biblical teaching and research. I say that because of the following observations:
1. There are questionable methods in choosing the tetrads and the historical events
From 1 AD to 2100 AD there are 65 blood moon tetrads, according to the NASA Index of Lunar Eclipses. Those that have connections to Passover and Tabernacles number seven times in that period and an eighth is about to happen in 2014. That means that there have been four others previous to 1493/1494:
In other words, they chose only half of the available tetrads – no mention of the first four. In some measure, that is “cherry picking” and when it comes to research, that is not a good thing to do.
Tabernacles and Passover are predictably relevant to the lunar eclipse cycles. None of the other five feasts are, because Passover occurs on the 14th of the Jewish month Nissan and Israel calculates their calendar on the moon cycles, not on the solar cycles like we do. It is always in the middle of a lunar cycle when the moon is full. The same is true for Tabernacles, which happens in the fall of the year on the 15th of Tishri, the seventh month of Israel’s calendar – again in the middle of the month. That is why there are so many tetrads that occur on these Jewish feast days.
There are also some exclusions. Whenever I do research and study I look for what is not there, which can sometimes tell you as much as what is there. Hagee is propounding that the blood moon tetrads are God’s heavenly sign warning Israel of some important event. Then why are there no tetrads for even more significant events? For instance, 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem – there are no tetrads from 1 AD to 100 AD at all. During the Jewish holocaust from 1939 to 1945 when six million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis – there were no blood moon tetrads. In 1973 during the Yom Kippur War there were no blood moon tetrads. Why not?
2. Tetrad dates do not match their historical events
The significance of these tetrads is that there were historical events that affected the Jewish people and, in some respect, the Jewish nation. I discovered that they are only approximately correlative – not exactly coincidental. For instance, the Spanish Inquisition began in 1483 and nine years later the Jews were expelled in 1492 after their wealth and property were confiscated (200,000 Jews fled Spain). Hagee says, “The expulsion of the Jews from Spain was a world changing moment. God Almighty used the four blood moons of 1493/1494 as a heavenly billboard to mankind.” However, the first blood moon wasn’t until Passover in April 1493 – so if the blood moon was a warning to the Jews, God was one year too late! The remaining three blood moons have no significance at all to the Spanish Inquisition. So, unless you consider being off by one year a divine prophecy, this is not a match.
The second tetrad was in 1949/1950. Israel’s War of Independence began when they were invaded in May 1948 and lasted for 10 months, until March 1949. The first blood moon was in April 1949, after Israel was a nation and the war was over. How could it be a warning to Israel of impending danger if it comes after everything is over? This, again, is not a match. Plus, none of the blood moons occurred on any significant date of the rebirth of the state of Israel.
The third tetrad in 1967/1968 is a little closer, corresponding to Israel’s Six Day War. In June 1967 war broke out with Arab nations invading Israel and the war lasted for only six days – ending June 11, 1967. The first blood moon was April 24 (Passover), six weeks before the war. Nothing happened with regard to Israel on April 24, nor on any of the other three blood moons, but a tetrad did correspond to that time framework.
So, according to NASA there are seven more tetrads in the 21st century, eight if you include 2014/2015. The only tetrad the theorists are interested in is 2014/2015, when they say there will be some world-changing event. Passover happens on April 15, 2014 – which is tax day in the USA. Of these four blood moons the only one that can be seen in Israel will be the last one on September 28, 2015. According to John Hagee, nothing occurs on the blood moon dates in 2014/2015. This is not the rapture, in his opinion, because he believes in the imminent return of Christ – which means He can come at any minute. Then what is it that is going to happen? Something significant in the experience of Israel and there is absolutely no suggestion as to what that is – either by Mark Biltz or John Hagee.
The conclusion of the book, Four Blood Moons, falls flat. In it is no answer or suggestion. In fact, two-thirds of the book is traditional, pre-tribulation/pre-millennial prophecy that I have heard most of my life. It is only in the last third of the book that Hagee deals with the blood moons at all.
3. The inclusion of the Shmita year
The Shmita year in Leviticus 25:1-7 says every seventh year the land needs to lay fallow and the Lord will provide in the sixth year so you will have enough. That was an important Sabbath year law and Israel spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon because they had not kept it for 490 years! Both Jonathan Cahn in The Harbinger and John Hagee in Four Blood Moons apply this law to America. It is an example of this Cabalistic mysticism. Hagee writes, “In America the judgment of violating Shmita is not linked to the land of Israel, but to our national disobedience to the Word of God.”
There was a Shmita year in 2001 – 9/11 attack; in 2008 – the stock market adjustment; and the next is in 2015 – which corresponds to the tetrad as they try to weave this all together. But what about the Shmita year in 1994? America was just as bad back then as it is now, but that year is not mentioned as they pick and choose using a mystical application to America to enhance their Blood Moon Theory. The Shmita only applies to Israel, not to America or any other nation.
4. The occurrence of solar eclipses
In the four tetrad examples above there are also solar eclipses that occur, but they are never on the same day as a blood moon like they are in the Bible. There is no association of ominous world events on the dates of these solar eclipses, but merely an assumption used to bolster the Blood Moon Theory.
What does Scripture say about the blood red moon? All Scripture references to the blood moon refer to the final day of the Lord’s judgment upon the world, called the Day of the Lord. This is a time when God will judge the world by fire as He did by water in the days of Noah. 2 Peter 3:4-14 compares Noah’s flood and the water to the Day of the Lord, which is a fiery judgment. It is a time of God’s fierce anger and wrath upon the world. Isaiah 13:9-10 says,
Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
To lay the land desolate;
And He will destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine.
There the celestial disturbance is mentioned, but it is the Day of the Lord. What is the sign that the Day of the Lord is about to begin? It is the blood moon and the darkened sun as previously referenced above in Isaiah 13, Joel 2:31 and Revelation 6:12 – plus stars falling to the earth and a great earthquake where everything geologically is moved all over the earth, even mountains. Think about it – all of this is happening simultaneously. You cannot have a blood moon and a solar eclipse at the same time – it is a physical impossibility. Yet that is exactly what happens when God does it!
Furthermore, no blood moon tetrad we have looked at has meteors and an earthquake associated with it. Lunar and solar eclipses at the same time not spread out months apart – this is a sign of the beginning of the Day of the Lord, not an incentive to look for the pre-trib rapture. What is the timing? Joel 2:31 reads, The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come (emphasis mine). In Matthew 24:29 there is another reference to the sun darkened and the moon becoming like blood immediately after the anti-Christ persecution of the people of God. So this is something that happens within the seven year period of Daniel’s 70th week. Daniel 9:27 says, He will make a covenant with many for one week (one period of seven years). The anti-Christ is going to come and will make a peace covenant with Israel to guarantee their borders. The covenant is what begins the seven years and that hasn’t yet happened. It may happen soon – within the 2014-2015 tetrad period – but it will not be because of the blood moon tetrad. It is after the tribulation; and that doesn’t begin until after half-way through the seven years.
Here is my observation: The Day of the Lord is not the same as the great tribulation, because the Day of the Lord happens after the great tribulation and it couldn’t happen in 2014/2015 because it is at least five years before it could happen. The biblical blood moon/sun darkened always refers to the same event – the beginning of the Day of the Lord. So, the darkened sun and blood red moon of the Bible has nothing to do with the blood moon tetrads; they are natural phenomena versus a supernatural occurrence when God will darken the sun and turn the moon blood red at the same time. The peace covenant of the antichrist with Israel has not yet transpired, so at least five years must take place before the biblical sign of the blood moon occurs.
As a premillennial, pre-trib, evangelical pastor who writes books on the subject of prophecy, John Hagee should have known this. Hagee says at the end of his book, “The fourth series of four blood moons is coming. God is shouting to us – something big is about to happen. However, the coming four blood moons of 2014/2015 does not mean the rapture is going to happen during that time. Why? Because the rapture could happen at any moment. What they are telling us is that God is getting ready to change the course of human history once again. He is preparing to display the next series of signs in the heavens. What is going to happen?”
He gives no answer… nothing!
Hagee continues, “The question is not about the terminal generation or when Israel’s enemies are going to attack next, the question is – are you ready to meet the Lord? Are your children ready?”
Hagee has no answer to what is going to happen. The Four Blood Moon Theory is not about the terminal generation or the end times scenario for Israel or significant events in Israel. For Hagee, the four blood moons is simply a means of getting you ready for the rapture – which he thinks could happen at any moment. For that, you do not need four blood moons. Hagee believes that somehow this astronomical sign is warning us that the Lord is coming soon, although he is not sure what it really means except that the world is going to change forever. Chris White in his Bible Prophecy Talk says, “It’s like saying my favorite team is going to win the Super Bowl because I am wearing my lucky shirt.”
World changing events could take place during the next two years, including significant events in Israel. But the Four Blood Moons Theory is a sensationalizing of biblical prophecy and doesn’t match with what the Bible actually says. It is all smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand and deception, and entertainment for the gullible. This is not serious Bible study: the events do not match, and the biblical event is still future – beyond 2015. We do not need to worry about the Passover on April 15, 2014, nor the Feast of Tabernacles next fall, nor the following year.
I am concerned that people understand the importance of biblical prophecy. But, the sensationalizing of prophecy is not beneficial to anyone when predictions are made based upon mystical thinking with regard to the Bible. We need to understand that there is a lot of sensationalizing, even from some otherwise good Bible teachers.
For further study, see Understanding the Book of Revelation.