For centuries prophecy writers have been predicting prophetic events based on a whole host of supposed end-time indicators. The latest prophetic speculation centers around four “blood moons” — called a “tetrad” — that will occur in 2014/2015.
There’s nothing new about speculating on prophetic matters. When Israel became a nation again in 1948, prophecy speculators claimed that the final generation before Jesus’ would “rapture” His church had been born and that within 40 years of that 1940 date, the “rapture” would take place. Hal Lindsey popularized this claim in his 1970 book The Late Great Planet Earth. The late Chuck Smith did as well.
Dave Hunt (1926–2013), who believed that Israel’s national reestablishment was the time indicator for future prophetic events,1 lamented that Lindsey’s prophetic recklessness had a negative effect on many Christians:
“Needless to say, January 1, 1982, saw the defection of large numbers from the pretrib[lational rapture] position. . . . Many who were once excited about the prospects of being caught up to heaven at any moment have become confused and disillusioned by the apparent failure of a generally accepted biblical interpretation they once relied upon.”2
We are coming up on 66 years beyond 1948, 26 years past the 1988 predictive “rapture” date, and we’re still here.
What are blood moons and what do they have to do with Bible prophecy? The reddish color of the moon takes place during a lunar eclipse when the earth is between the sun and the moon at the proper angle and the earth’s shadow falls on the moon. Of course, the moon does not turn red. Most times the moon is bright white or yellow. The moon does not have any light of its own. It’s reflected light and its angle in relation to the earth and sun determine the color of the relection.
So what happens during a full lunar eclipse and the resultant blood moon?
“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.”
Those who point to “signs in the heavens” are often very selective in their prophetic attributions. They only see significance when they can find events they claim are significant to them. For a sign to be a prophetic sign it must be actually prophesied, unusual, and the people need to have some idea why it’s a sign at the time it appears.
One of the first people to find prophetic significance with the blood moon tetrad is Mark Blitz:
“Mark [Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Puyallup, Washington] found that we have had blood-red moons on the first day of Passover and the first day of Sukkot on back-to-back years seven times since 1 A.D. Three of these occurrences were connected to 1492 (the final year of the Spanish Inquisition), 1948 (statehood for Israel and the War of Independence), and 1967 (the Six-Day War) — some of the most significant days in Jewish history.
“The others were in 162/163 A.D., 795/796 A.D., 842/843 A.D. and 860/861 A.D. We don’t have any historical connections for these years at this time, but we do know of significant Jewish persecution during the eighth and ninth centuries.”
The two full lunar eclipses occurred in 1493/1494 and 1949/1950. Why did the lunar eclipses appear after these events? In biblical terms, a sign takes place at the time of or before the prophetic event, not after.
My next article will deal with what the Bible says about blood moons since it’s the Bible that’s being appealed to by Blitz, John Hagee’s new book Four Blood Moons, and the usual crop of end-time speculators.