From April 2014 to October 2015, the world will experience an unusual phenomenon. During this time, the moon will turn blood red. This is caused by the earth standing between the rays of the sun and the moon. The atmosphere of the earth casts a red hue upon the moon giving the moon the “blood” color. But what does this mean if anything? This article will examine the possible link between the four blood moons and biblical prophecy. Do these blood moons hold any significance biblically speaking? What about the Scriptures used to purport the significance? Do they mean what they are purported to mean?
The Tetrad of Blood Moons
The four blood moons mark four times between April 2014 and October of 2015 when the moon turns blood red. This is caused by a lunar eclipse. Fraser Cain writes,
During a lunar eclipse, the Moon passes behind the Earth’s shadow, which darkens it. If you could take a look at the Earth from inside its shadow, you would see that the atmosphere around the edge of the entire planet glows red. Once again, this is because large amounts of atmosphere will scatter away the blue/green light and let the red light go straight through. During a lunar eclipse, the Moon passes fully into the shadow of the Earth and it’s no longer being illuminated by the Sun; however, this red light passing through the Earth’s atmosphere does reach the Moon, and shines on it (Cain 2008, Universe Today).
While this writer holds a great deal of respect for John Hagee, Hagee’s biblical interpretations concerning the four blood moons is questionable. For Hagee, these four blood moons represent occasions when something big happens with Israel. According to Hagee, there have only been four occasions in history when there have been four blood moons and they all correspond to big events in history. For instance, according to Hagee’s website http://fourbloodmoons.net/, over the past 500 years four blood moons occurring at a particular time has only transpired four times.
The Four Blood Moons of 1492 announced the Edict of Expulsion in which Jews were given 14 days to leave Spain forever. It was the crescendo of suffering for people who’d watched their friends get tortured on the rack and burned alive for refusing to convert to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition. Soon, however, their tears ended in triumph. That October, Christopher Columbus, funded by Jewish money and maps, found a haven for Jews around the world—America.
Following the unspeakable anguish of the Holocaust, 1948 Four Blood Moons heralded in the triumphant birth of the State of Israel. After the nearly 2000 year Diaspora, God gathered the Jewish exiles from the nations of the world and brought them home to the land of covenant as prophesied by the Old Testament Prophets God sent us a signal that history was about to change forever…and it did.
The Four Blood Moons of 1967 occurred around the Six-Day War when Jerusalem was won and reunited with the State of Israel. Today, Jerusalem is more than the country’s “undivided capital.” It’s where Christ was crucified for the sins of the world and where He will return to rule a global kingdom that shall never end. This event shows history being changed forever. God sent the revelation in Four Blood Moons.
The next Four Blood Moons begin April 2014 and September 2015. History is getting ready to change forever! ARE YOU READY?
And I will show 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 coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. -Joel 2:30-31 NKJV (Hagee 2003, fourbloodmoons.net).
There are a few problems with this interpretation. In a moment, this article will examine the biblical references mentioned by Hagee and others closely aligned with them. But first, let’s examine the instances listed. While the 1948 and 1967 blood moons do correspond with big events in the history of Israel, the 1492 reference is a bit of a stretch. While it is true that America has become a safe haven for Jewish individuals, to say that Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America directly corresponds to Israel’s history is problematic. Israel in its present state was non-existent at that period of time. In fact, it was ruled by the Mamluks until the 1500s. There was a great time of persecution of Jews in Europe and in the Middle East. In addition, it has been debated as to whether Columbus was the actual discoverer of the Americas. Nordish sailor Leif Erikson discovered the Americas earlier than Columbus in the 900s who had in turn heard about the land from Bjarni Herjolfsson. If true, this blows a substantial hole in Hagee’s interpretation of the four blood moons.
Another problem relates to the fact that Hagee only goes back 500 years in his interpretation concerning the four blood moons. Certainly other appearances of four blood moons must have existed before 1492 as the earth is at least 6,000 years old according to young earth creationist models. Therefore, the possibility certainly exists that there may have been tetrads of blood moons prior to the 1400s. Did those appearances correlate to Israel’s history in any way? If not, then why are we to suspect that this series of blood moons will indicate something big, if in fact anything at all?
Some have taken Hagee’s interpretation of the four blood moons even further than Hagee does in suggesting that the final blood moon marks the return of Christ. In Hagee’s teachings on the four blood moons, he lists Joel 2:30-31, Acts 2:19-20, and the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24. This article will now examine the context of these Scriptures in addition to Jesus’ teaching in Luke 17:22ff. Do these Scriptures suggest that the blood moons indicate anything pertaining to physical Israel?
Biblical Texts Concerning Blood Moons and End Times
The Context of the Prophecy of Joel
“And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth—blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives” (Joel 2:30-31).
There is a problem with the identification of Joel’s prophecy to some point in the distant future. Joel was addressing a time in which He would “pour out (His) Spirit upon all people” (Joel 2:28). This would be a time in which “Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days (God) will pour out (God’s) Spirit even on servants—men and women alike” (Joel 2:28b-29). In fact, this prophecy has already been fulfilled as seen in the next passage of Scripture. But the yom YHWH (Day of the Lord) can refer to many things. It could indicate the final day of the Lord just as it indicated the coming of the Spirit of God. However, to use the passage of Scripture to indicate something big with Israel alone is somewhat misleading and misguided. In fact, it takes the text out of context. There is no evidence that the blood moons that Hagee suggests took place at this time. Only that the Spirit of God was unleashed upon God’s elect.
The Context of Peter’s Quotation
“And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives” (Acts 2:19-20).
The text in Acts is taken out of context if intended to refer to the end times because Peter does not relate the signs presented by Joel to predict a future point in time, but the current situation. Peter was not looking toward some future point being the end times, he was saying that the end times had already come. The end times are identified as a period of time beginning at Christ’s resurrection lasting until the return of Christ. In other words, God had stepped on the scene through His Son Jesus. The Spirit of God had come and rested upon God’s people.
The Olivet Discourse
Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven…Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. However, no one knows the day or hours when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows (Matthew 24:29-31, 35-36).
Jesus gives great insights concerning the end times in what is called the Olivet Discourse. For one, Jesus indicates that the sun will be darkened and the moon will give no light. It’s not that the moon turns red. This indicates a divine judgment upon creation. The sun will be on the verge of collapse (darken) and the moon will give no light as it receives no light from the sun.
Secondly, society will be overrun by corruption (as seen in the following passage of Scripture). People will not rejoice to see the Son of Man’s return. The world will mourn. What will this sign be? Jesus doesn’t say. But it will be a sign that everyone will recognize.
Third, Jesus suggests that He will return visibly for all to see and the angels of heaven will gather the elect from every land. Could this be what is termed the Rapture? It could if one holds to an eschatological system that allows such an event. Whatever one’s interpretation, it will be noticed that everyone will know that Christ has returned when He does.
Finally, Jesus presents a CRITICAL point. No one will know when Christ returns. No one. Everyone will see when Christ returns, but no one will know when He returns. Only the Father in heaven is privy to that information.
The End Times Teaching
The time is coming when you will long to see the day when the Son of Man returns, but you won’t see it. People will tell you, ‘Look, there is the Son of Man,’ or ‘Here he is,’ but don’t go out and follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other, so it will be on the day when the Son of Man comes…And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home (Luke 17:22-24, 28-31).
Jesus gives additional pointers in His end times teaching found in Luke 17. For one, notice that Jesus mentions that people will desire to see Christ’s coming but the time will not yet come. Jesus refers to the times surrounding His return to a time of great moral corruption much like Noah’s days and the days of Sodom. In other words, Jesus is saying, “It’s bad now…but it will get worse.” For this reason, this writer feels that the gauge of moral corruption is a far better test than the four blood moons as to when the possible appearing of the Lord.
Secondly, Jesus states that His return will be quick and thunderous. People will go about as if everything is normal. There are signs that Christ will return as listed in the previous passage, but people will not heed to those signs. People of the final time will be in love with their lives. In other words, signs will exist that the end is near, but no one will expect when the return of Christ actually transpires. Again, no one knows when this will happen…only God alone.
The Focus and Conclusion
There is nothing wrong in having a heart focused on the return of Christ. The problem really comes when one spends all their time looking to the heavens for the return of Christ. The church has a mission. If one refuses to partake in this mission, that person will have to answer on the Christian day of judgment. But many times modern Christians become like the disciples on the day of the ascension. They were looking up as Jesus entered the heavenly realm. The angels accompanied them and said, “Men of Galilee…why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go” (Acts 1:11)! While it is good to anticipate the Lord’s return, we need to remember our calling. We are called to go forth making disciples for the cause of Christ.
While Hagee presents some interesting information concerning the four blood moons and the nation of Israel, this writer is unconvinced that these moons represent what it is purported to indicate. It is very possible that God will do something big with Israel in the next few years. However, this does not indicate that Jesus will return during this period of time, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate that Jesus won’t return either. In fact, Jesus could return as you finish reading this article. Or, Jesus could return while you are asleep. The fact is that Jesus is going to return at a time when no one expects His appearance. This day will be great for the one who is an ardent disciple of Christ, but a time of great mourning for the one who is not. That is why Joel calls the day of the Lord a “great and terrible day” (Joel 2:31).
New Living Translation, 3rd Ed. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007.
Cain, Fraser. “Red Moon.” UniverseToday.com (October 23, 2008). http://www.universetoday.com/19969/red-moon/#ixzz32lgcz6dT. (Accessed May 25, 2014).
Hagee, John. (2003). http://fourbloodmoons.net/. (Accessed May 25, 2014).Click here for reuse options!
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