Mega-church pastor and New York Times best selling author John Hagee has been busy selling something that I’d invite all Christians to avoid like it’s going out of style. Since October of 2013, Hagee has been warning the world about “something big” that’s about to happen to the secular nation state of Israel that will impact the whole world, and potentially bring about the end of the world by October 2015. Not only has he been preaching about it and discussing it on talk shows, he’s also now able to boast that his book, Four Blood Moons, has spent time on the New York Times best-seller list, which means that tons of Christians are soaking this stuff up.
For those who might not be aware, here’s the basic premise of what Hagee is arguing: the occurrence of four lunar eclipses called “blood moons” between 2014-2015, that also happen to coincide with Jewish holidays, is a sign from God that the end of the world is coming. Or, if not the end, at least that “something big” is about to happen in Israel that will alter the course of history. Real quickly, let’s break down where he’s getting this from:
There are a few biblical references to the moon turning red, which is the basic premise of all of this. Perhaps the chief reference cited comes from the highly symbolic, apocalyptic work of the Revelation of St. John where he writes:
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood.” (Rev 6:12, which seems to be a reference to Joel 2:30-21. There is also a similar statement in Acts 2:20.)
As a futurist, Hagee’s contention is that the signs mentioned in these passages refer to the future (not to the audience they were written to), and that the “day of the Lord” and phrases like “end of the age” refer to the future end of the world. In addition, Hagee inserts another interesting theology to further add a twist to all of it: he argues that the secular nation state of Israel is a nation that is set apart and has a special purpose for God, aka, they are God’s “chosen” people. When you combine these two things together, you arrive at the whole Blood Moon nonsense: looking to the sky to tell the future of Israel (basically, fortune telling for a nation state). The cycle of 4 blood moons Hagee writes about will complete by October of this year (2015), which means that this “earth shaking event” he has predicted for Israel must take place before that time. (Well, one would think.)
While Hagee’s theory is getting him a lot of attention in the media, and book sales have likely padded his wallet nicely, this entire Blood Moon nonsense is something I argue all Christians should completely abstain from. Here’s why I think we should all avoid it:
For starters, the Blood Moon theory has serious theological shortcomings. Perhaps the most significant is the fact that (as futurist do) it views books such as Revelation as being something that was written to us way in the future, and completely dismisses the reality it was written to 7 first century churches. Whatever Revelation means, the chief meaning is what it meant to the first century churches it was addressed to– it’s not some Nostradamus look into the future but a letter of encouragement (the genre of literature is a letter of encouragement) to those specific 7 churches. In fact, the book of Revelation says that all of the events were to pass “near” “quickly” and “shortly”, which means that any predictions were immediate predictions. They are not for 2,000 years later– because that’s neither near, quick, nor short.
Second, it overlooks the fulfillment of these things that took place in AD70. The internal evidence for both Acts and Revelation is an early dating with completion prior to AD70, when Jerusalem (particularly the temple) was destroyed by Rome, and was an “end of the world” event for Israel. (I’ve written on this topic at length previously, here and here). In short, all of the “end times” stuff we see in scripture (yes, even the tribulation) was pointing to a coming event in the lives of those the letters were written to- the “end of the age,” which was the destruction of their temple. (We see Jesus state this plainly in the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24.)
Third, as I alluded to above, when Jesus talked about the “signs of the times” in Matthew 24, it was a direct reference to the coming destruction of the temple. At the beginning of the Olivet Discourse he makes the claim that the temple will be destroyed and “not one stone will be left unturned.” His disciples then ask, “what will be the signs this is about to take place?” So, all those wars and rumors of wars and earthquakes in diverse places that will be signs of the end? Jesus directly states they are signs of the coming destruction of the temple– they are not signs for us.
Additionally, Hagee’s theology is also based upon the foundational argument that the secular nation state of Israel today is the same thing as biblical Israel, something that is dangerously false (more on Israel, here). In short, the NT teaches that God’s people are not those who are the genetic descendants of Abraham, because there is no longer a distinction between Jew or Greek. Instead, Paul taught that those who are in Christ, are Abraham’s seed– (anyone who wants in, can be in- but it has NOTHING to do with your race). Hagee’s entire philosophy is predicated on this being wrong, and that God has set apart one race of people for a special purpose- the modern nation state of Israel.
Finally, and here’s the biggest reason why Christians might want to abstain from all of the Blood Moon nonsense: it’s the sin of divination.
What is divination? It is simply trying to predict the future through supernatural means. Astrology goes hand in hand: trying to tell the future based on the behavior of celestial bodies.
What does the Bible say about it? Well, let’s just say- God doesn’t seem to be a fan. In the Old Testament is is listed as an abomination (Deut 18) and it is mentioned repeatedly throughout the OT- warning people not to listen to it, and not to participate in it. Further, in the NT (Acts 16), the disciples encounter a girl who was said to have the “spirit” of divination in her, and that her ability to tell the future was from an evil spirit. In short: both Old and New Testaments seem to view what John Hagee is doing as very, very evil.
So, here’s the reader’s digest of the Blood Moon nonsense: Hagee’s theory is based on absolutely bad theology, and the entire practice of trying to tell the future by looking to celestial bodies is forbidden. That means the best case scenario for Hagee is that he’s a false prophet, and the worst is that he’s possessed by an evil spirit. The rest of us? My advice is to not pay it any attention, and certainly don’t spend any money on the book.
Oh- and here’s Hagee getting debunked on his own TV show:
While I obviously don’t believe in fortune telling, here’s my prediction: nothing will happen, but Hagee will pull a Harold Camping and will try to explain away the fact that he prophesied wrongly.
I say we dump all of this end times nonsense, and just get busy loving the world like Jesus.