Eclipsing the Blood Moons: Part I
by Bill Lockwood
Extremely popular is the so-called “Blood Moon” theory taught by numerous so-called prophecy teachers, not the least of which is John Hagee of San Antonio. Astronomical charts show that four lunar eclipses will occur between 2014 to 2015. Sometimes the full lunar eclipse takes on a red or orange appearance. This is what Hagee calls “the blood moon.”
Hagee explains in a chart that the four “blood moons” include 1) Passover, April 15, 2014; 2) Feast of Tabernacles, Oct.8, 2014; 3) Passover, April 4, 2015; 4) Feast of Tabernacles, Sep. 28, 2015. (Four Blood Moons, 224-25). Hagee insists that “something is about to occur” in favor of the Jewish people at the fourth blood moon—the end of September, 2015. “These occurrences are not coincidental! 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” (p. 237).
What Shall We Say to These Things?
Those casting these ominous horoscopes for the world are afflicted by a particular theory which is responsible for their preachments. That theory is known as Premillennialism. Though there are minor variations given by different promoters, the scheme runs something like this. (1) The OT predicted that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom in which the Messiah would reign from Jerusalem. (2) When the Jews rejected Jesus he postponed those prophetic forecasts until He comes a second time. (3) Current conditions in the world show that that time is near upon us. (4) That saints are to be “raptured” to heaven at the beginning of a “Tribulation” period in which unprecedented wars upon the earth will occur. (5) At the height of this period Jesus will return and fight the “Battle of Armageddon.” (6) At the conclusion of these events Jesus will reign in Jerusalem during the Millennium.
In reality the entire fabric of Millennialism is entirely unscriptural. The theory is the same Jewish system of infidelity which interprets the entire corpus of Scripture after the manner of those who crucified Christ (1 Thess.2:14-16). Premillennialism is Jewish Doctrine. The ancient Jews rejected the Messiah of OT prophecy because they had interpreted its predictions in a naturalistic, literal manner. When Christ did not promise to be a military leader, making headquarters in Jerusalem, bringing Gentiles into their service, re-vitalizing their temple worship, and re-instituting David’s throne, they nationally repudiated him. He did not meet their expectations.
Judaism’s unbelief, throughout the centuries, has influenced Christianity to an astounding degree. This is particularly the case here. First, millennial doctrines themselves are Jewish misinterpretations. Eminent German church historian, August Neander, writes, “The idea of a millennial reign proceeded from Judaism. For among the Jews the representation was current, that the Messiah would reign a thousand years on earth, and then bring to a close the present terrestrial system. This calculation was arrived at, by a literal interpretation of Psalm 110:4 ‘a thousand years are in thy sight as one day.’ It was further argued that the World was created in six days, so it would last six thousand years, the seventh would e a period of repose, a Sabbath on earth to be followed by the destruction of the world” (History of Christian Dogmas, vol. 1, p. 248).
The classic work on Systematic Theology by the Presbyterian scholar Charles Hodge, substantiates this further. He offered the following as the number one objection to Premillennialism: “It is a JEWISH DOCTRINE. The principles adopted by its advocates in the interpretation of prophecy are the SAME as those adopted by the Jews at the time of Christ; and they have led substantially to the same conclusions.” Christ “disappointed these expectations: and the principles of prophetic interpretation on which those expectations were founded were proved to be incorrect” (Vol. 3, p. 862).
Ernest F. Kevan in Baker’s Dictionary of Theology (p. 532), argues the same point. “It is held that the OT prophets predicted the re-establishment of David’s kingdom and that Christ himself intended to bring this about. It is alleged, however, that because the Jews refused his person and work he postponed the establishment of his kingdom until the time of his return. Meanwhile, it is argued, the Lord gathered together ‘the church’ as a kind of interim measure.”
This basic fallacy of a materialistic view of the Christ’s kingdom is shared by Hagee and others of his premillennial tribe. The entire premise of the Blood Moon Theology is that past and future eclipses of the moon somehow coincide with the OT Jewish calendar and will be aligned with Jewish feast days and that “something big” will transpire in human history when this occurs.
But there is not one passage in all of the Bible that validates the idea that the OT Jewish feasts should be used as a timetable to determine anything future. Blood Moon Theology is without one shred of scriptural support. Furthermore, the NT shows us clearly that the OT law system was nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:14-16). And just so that no one is confused on the subject of the moon, inspired Paul even mentions “feast days, new moons and Sabbath days” as things of the past.
The “Blood Moon” theory taught by John Hagee and other self-proclaimed “prophecy experts” informs us that “something big” is about to occur in behalf of the Jewish people in September, 2015. This calculation is arrived at by studying the timing of the lunar eclipses during the past two years and noting their alignment with the Jewish Feasts of Tabernacles and Passover. The Blood Moon Theory, however, is totally without merit.
As an adjunct of Premillennial doctrine, the Blood Moon Fantasy is a “re-packaging” of the same old theories that have over and again been weighed in the balances and found wanting precisely because they lack biblical foundation. Premillennialism a Jewish doctrine and thereby shares the basic unbelief of the Jews. This fact alone should eliminate it from sober-minded Christians. For example, popular prophecy writer Hal Lindsey shows us that the entire millennial scheme boils down to whether the OT prophecies have been fulfilled.
“Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Had the people received Him, He would have fulfilled the kingly prophecies in their day … But when the Jewish nation rejected Christ, the fulfillment of His kingship was postponed until the final culmination of world history” (There’s a New World Coming, 30).
John Walvoord agrees. “As late as Acts 1:6, the disciples were still looking for a literal kingdom. While refused revelation concerning the ‘time’ of the kingdom, their hope is not denied, spiritualized, or transferred to the church. The kingdom hope is postponed and the new age of which they never dreamed was interposed, but the promises continued undimmed” (The Millennial Kingdom, 206-07).
Few writers have been so forthcoming. This basic tenet, however, is shared by premillennialists one and all. The prophesied kingdom of the OT was to be Jewish and promises relating to it have yet to be fulfilled.
Taking the cue from Walvoord [the kingdom hope was not ‘transferred’ to the church], the current assault against a NT fulfillment of OT prophecies is harangued as Replacement Theology. Dave Reagan of Lamb & Lion Ministries can hardly contain himself on this point. He equates this “theology” with “God invalidating His promises to the Jews” (The Jewish People: Rejected or Beloved?, 18).
So, per these writers, Jesus came “to fulfill the law and the prophets” (Matt. 5:17) but unexpectedly, the Jews rejected Him. The Lord’s intentions were thwarted and He “postponed” or pigeon-holed these plans until the future. Inspired testimony, however, shows us that the Jews never did properly understand their prophecies. Paul put it this way while in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia. “For they that dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them in condemning Him” (Acts 13:27).
Here the Jewish unbelief in Christ is shown to be grounded in the manner in which they misunderstood the voices of all of their prophets! They insisted that the terms of the OT predictions called for a physical revitalization of the Jewish state. It therefore comes with poor grace that the common thread of current prophecy writers like Lindsey, Walvoord, and Reagan is the adoption of Jewish, not apostolic, methods of interpretation.
The New Covenant
For instance, Reagan refuses the inspired explanation of Jeremiah’s New Covenant (31:31-34) which is given in Hebrews 8:6-13. “And the New Covenant, promised to the Jews in the Old Testament … and which went into effect at the death of Jesus, has been expanded to include believing Gentiles. But it remains as a promise to Israel and will not be fulfilled until the Jews turn their hearts to God and receive His Son as their Messiah” (Ibid., 17). Again, on p. 157-59 Reagan suggests that this New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 is “an unconditional eternal covenant between God and Israel…Although it was made specifically with Israel, it was extended at the Cross to be made available to any person who places is or her faith in Jesus …”
Reagan here wants it both ways. The New Covenant was made “specifically” with fleshly Israel. It will not be fulfilled until Christ comes back. But it is available from the Cross to Gentiles also who God apparently allows to horn in on Jewish promises. God did not intend Gentiles—only Jews. But God changed His mind at the Cross to allow non-Jews. But it will not be “fulfilled” until Christ returns! Who cannot see the blatant contradiction here?
What is the problem? Reagan refuses to allow the NT to interpret the passage. The “Israel of God” is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:16) and the New Covenant was always intended to be inclusive of non-Jews (Heb. 8). When Jeremiah originally stated the NC would be with “the house of Israel and the house of Judah” he intended it to be in a spiritual sense.
This is why Walvoord explains the millennial belief as not merely a construct of what may occur in the future, but the ultimate determining factor in biblical interpretation. “It is not too much to say that millennialism is a determining factor in Biblical interpretation of comparable importance to the doctrines of verbal inspiration, the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection” (Ibid., 16). The entire framework of the Premillennial structure, of which The Blood Moon Scheme functions as a room in the house, revamps the manner in which one looks at the Bible as a whole. As yesteryear scholar pointed out, the Premillennial edifice is the “offspring of rabbinical artifices” (Patrick Fairbairn, Typology of Scripture, I, 123). How strange that Blood Moons and Premillennialism should commend itself to Christian interpreters!