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BLOOD MOONS RISING
BIBLE PROPHECY, ISRAEL, AND THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS
By MARK HITCHCOCK
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Mark Hitchcock
All rights reserved.
THE FINAL FOUR?
What a time to take the news of the day in one hand and the Bible in the other and watch the unfolding of the great drama of the ages come together. This is an exciting and thrilling time to be alive.... It is not just Christians that sense something is about to happen. The world knows that things cannot go on as they are. History has reached an impasse. This world is on a collision course. Something is about to give. With increasing frequency, commentators from secular media speak of Armageddon.
—BILLY GRAHAM, THE REASON FOR MY HOPE
IN A PEANUTS comic strip, Snoopy is sitting on his doghouse, typing a novel. He begins his story the way he always begins his stories, with the words "It was a dark and stormy night."
Lucy comes by and puts in her two cents. In her assertive, blunt way, she scolds him: "That's a terrible way to begin a story. It's so trite! 'Once upon a time ...' that's the way all the good stories begin." Lucy lectures him more and then leaves.
The last frame of the comic shows Snoopy starting over on his story. This time he types, "Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night."
Snoopy's first line is an apt description of how many feel today. It's a dark and stormy night. The constantly escalating tempo of life in combination with cataclysmic natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, unrest in the Middle East, terror ism, and mushrooming financial uncertainty have given the entire world a sense of impending crisis. People today are asking questions about the future as never before—solemn, searching questions. Apocalypse is in the air. Many have a sense that the world is nearing closing time, that a day of reckoning is at hand. The words of philosopher Alfred North Whitehead are truer than ever: "It is the business of the future to be dangerous."
Some are taking drastic steps to get ready. Doomsday preparation is booming. Plans for surviving nuclear fallout, the shifting of the earth's crust, complete financial meltdown, or the final apocalypse have reached new heights, or even new depths. The Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort in Atchison, Kansas, for example, is the world's largest private underground shelter. The developers are converting an enormous underground limestone mine that covers 135 acres into square footage equal to the Empire State Building (2.25 million square feet). The luxury doomsday bunker has enough food and water to provide for five thousand people for a year. Many others are also taking precautions, albeit on a smaller scale.
Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke observed, "This is the first age that's paid much attention to the future, which is a little ironic since we might not have one." Recent polls reflect the growing sentiment that something big is about to happen and that the end of the age is approaching:
"Almost one in three Americans see Syria's recent conflict as part of the Bible's plan for the end times."
"One in four think that a U.S. military strike in Syria could lead to Armageddon."
"Nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime."
"41 percent of all U.S. adults, 54 percent of Protestants, and 77 percent of evangelicals believe the world is now living in the biblical end times."
"Nearly 4 in 10 Americans (and 65 percent of white evangelicals) believe recent natural disasters are evidence of the End Times."
Hollywood reflects the mood of the mob. The apocalypse is big business. Hollywood is churning out television series and movies based on postapocalyptic scenarios. Richard Swenson notes how things have changed in recent times: "Before the nuclearization of the modern era, much of the literature of science fiction dealt with the promise of a glorious technological future. Today such optimism is seldom seen. Forty years ago, Hollywood's futuristic movies were utopian. Now they are all apocalyptic." Here are a few recent examples.
The Book of Eli (2010)
The Road (2009)
This Is the End (2013)
World War Z (2013)
The World's End (2013)
The Walking Dead (2010)
Falling Skies (2011)
In recent times attempts to forecast the end have increased with predictions such as John R. Gribbin and Stephen H. Plagemann's The Jupiter Effect; Michael Drosnin's The Bible Code, The Bible Code II: The Countdown, and The Bible Code III: Saving the World; the panic surrounding Y2K and the year 2000; renewed interest in the quatrains of Nostradamus; and more recently the end-of-the-world predictions surrounding December 21, 2012. Following mystic Mayan prophecies, predictions of the end of the world were all over the Internet in the years leading up to 2012. While many predicted the end of the world, some in the New Age movement heralded the dawning of a new day for mankind in December 2012—an age of Aquarius. Nothing happened, which shouldn't surprise us. History is strewn with the bleached bones of prophecies and predictions that have failed the test of time.
While Hollywood and false prophets consistently miss the mark concerning the future, many signs that we see around us do point toward the end-times scenario laid out in Scripture. The Jewish people are back in their ancient homeland after a worldwide dispersion of almost two thousand years, just as Scripture predicted thousands of years ago. Peace in the Middle East is under constant negotiation, and the Middle East is center stage. Globalism and exponential advances in technology have provided the framework for the end-times global government and economy predicted in Revelation 13. Israel sits surrounded by a sea of enemies who would delight in its destruction. Russia and Iran have risen to prominence as predicted in Ezekiel 38–39, along with other Islamic nations that despise Israel. Events in our world strikingly foreshadow the biblical predictions of the end of the age. We live in the times of the signs. End-times biblical prophecies will be fulfilled right on time on God's calendar, just as hundreds of past prophecies have been fulfilled.
Jesus said that in the days before His return there will be stunning signs on earth (see Matthew 24:4-28) and in the heavens (see Luke 21:25). Other biblical prophets predicted celestial signs in the heavens of Christ's second advent. Based on these prophecies, a growing number of prophecy teachers today maintain that an astronomical event in 2014–2015 is a dramatic sign in the heavens that is about to change everything—that something very big is coming that will change the world forever.
The specific astronomical sign they point to is known as a "tetrad," which is the appearance of four blood moons (lunar eclipses) falling on two Jewish feast days or high holy days (Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles). It's known as the blood moons prophecy. This view is spreading quickly, and people everywhere are asking questions about its significance. The central question is this: Is the blood moons prophecy different from all the apocalypse forecasts we have seen before? Is this another prophecy miscalculation, or could this celestial event be the most incredible sign of the times the world has ever witnessed?
According to NASA, four blood moons will appear on four Jewish feast days in 2014–2015. In the middle of the sequence, there will be a solar eclipse. Here are the times of their appearance.
These total lunar eclipses are known as blood moons because when they occur, the moon takes on a reddish hue or blood color. Many prophecy teachers, based on three past occurrences of this phenomenon and a few prophetic Scriptures that mention the moon turning to blood, believe that this tetrad of blood moons signals some impending event in Israel and America or even the end of the age. They believe this could be the final four.
John Hagee, the pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, has championed this view in his recent best selling book Four Blood Moons. Hagee's teaching is substantially derived from Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries, who was the first to discover the alleged blood moons prophecy. He appears in numerous videos on the Internet and has authored a book titled Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs. But John Hagee, with his worldwide television audience, has popularized the view and taken it mainstream. He believes that something dramatic, even world changing, is about to happen. He writes in Four Blood Moons:
This is the hand of God orchestrating the signs in the heavens. The final Four Blood Moons are signaling that something big is coming ... something that will change the world forever. But the bigger question is, are we watching and listening? ... 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?
Some are saying the blood moons are a sign of war involving Israel in 2015. Michael Snyder notes, "According to ancient Jewish tradition, a lunar eclipse is a harbinger of bad things for Israel. If that eclipse is blood red, that is a sign that war is coming. And blood red moons that happen during Biblical festivals seem to be particularly significant."
I watched John Hagee on Trinity Broadcasting Network on November 1, 2013, when he appeared with a panel of prophecy experts to say that if America doesn't repent, something drastic will occur in 2015. He didn't give any specific indication of what he expects, but he alluded to an event like the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, or the economic collapse of 2008. Hagee bases his prediction on the fact that every seven years in Israel was to be a Sabbatical year, or Shemittah, when Israel was to allow the land to rest and not plant crops. When Israel neglected this provision in the Law, there was judgment. God exiled the Jewish people to Babylon for 70 years for failing to observe the Sabbatical year for 490 years (see 2 Chronicles 36:20-21).
Hagee applies this to America and notes that the year 2001 was a Shemittah year, and 9/11 happened. Seven years later, in 2008—another Shemittah year—the economic tsunami hit America and the world, bringing the global economy to its knees. Adding seven years to 2008 brings us to 2015. Hagee asks the question:
Will America be at war? Will America's mountain of debt come crashing down, destroying the dollar? Will global terrorists attack our nation again with a force that will make 9/11 pale by comparison?
The attacks on the Twin Towers were on September 11, 2001.
The Wall Street crash was on September 29, 2008.
The next Tetrad will end in September 2015, which will include the Year of Shemittah. Will a crisis happen as before? What earthshaking event will it be?
This we know: things are about to change forever!
Hagee and others who hold to the blood moons prophecy are forecasting a national cataclysm if America fails to repent.
THE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
Four blood moons will appear in 2014–2015 and will fall on two Jewish feasts in each year—that much we know for sure. As this phenomenon bears down on planet Earth, a growing number of people are asking serious questions and even making predictions, and I expect the predictions and anxiety to increase dramatically in 2015. But what's it all really about? What's the uproar? Is there any truth to the notion that these blood moons portend ominous events for Israel, for America, and possibly even for the world? People everywhere are asking questions. Inquiring minds want to know. Is there about to be some great change or shift as some claim? Is the apocalypse upon us? The questions we face today are very real.
Does the Bible say anything about blood moons?
Are the four blood moons a harbinger or hype?
Are they signs or sensationalism?
Will America face judgment in 2015?
Is the world racing toward Armageddon?
Is there hope for the future?
In the pages that follow I hope to answer these questions and more as we consider what the Bible says about Israel, blood moons, and the end of days.
Excerpted from BLOOD MOONS RISING by MARK HITCHCOCK. Copyright © 2014 Mark Hitchcock. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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