‘Blood moon’ sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians

(RNS) Could a series of “blood moon” events be connected to Jesus’ return? Some Christians think so.
 A lunar eclipse from Sydney on Aug. 28, 2007.

A lunar eclipse from Sydney on Aug. 28, 2007. Photo courtesy of Peter Gaylard, via Wikimedia Commons

This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

In the wee hours of Tuesday (April 15) morning, the moon slid into Earth’s shadow, casting a reddish hue on the moon. There are about two lunar eclipses per year, according to NASA, but what’s unusual this time around is that there will be four blood moons within 18 months — astronomers call that a tetrad — and all of them occur during Jewish holidays. A string of books have been published surrounding the event, with authors referring to a Bible passage that refers to the moon turning into blood. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord,” Joel 2:31 says. In the New Testament, Acts 2:20 echoes the same doom: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord.” Recent books capitalizing on the event include “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs” by Washington state author Mark Biltz; “Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons” by Oklahoma pastor Mark Hitchcock; and ”Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change” by Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee. Hagee’s book is drawing the most attention, with his book now No. 4 on The New York Times best-seller list in the advice/how to section, and No. 80 on USA Today’s best-seller list. The book by the controversial 74-year-old founder of San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church has also spent 152 days in Amazon’s top 100 books. In his book, Hagee says something will happen to the nation of Israel due to the tetrad. The four eclipses occur on April 15 and Oct. 8, 2014, and April 4 and Sept. 28 next year. The ones in April occur during Passover, and the ones in October occur during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
(Date unknown) Jews pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Religion News Service file photo

(Date unknown) Jews pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Religion News Service file photo

This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Jewish holy days revolve around a lunar calendar with Passover beginning on the first full moon after the beginning of spring, and the Feast of Tabernacles occurring on the first full moon after the beginning of fall. Hagee writes that every time a tetrad occurs on Jewish feast days, something traumatic and “world-changing” happens to Israel. In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain and Christopher Columbus discovered America, giving the Jews a place to go. In 1948, the modern state of Israel was born, and in 1967, Israel won the Six-Day War and recaptured Jerusalem. During the 300-year interval from 1600 to 1900, there were no tetrads at all, according to NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak. This time, Hagee suggests that a Rapture will occur where Christians will be taken to heaven, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus will return to earth. Hagee planned a special televised event on Tuesday (April 15) on the Global Evangelism Television channel. But NASA does not consider tetrads as especially rare, saying in a statement that there will be eight sets of tetrads before the year 2100. The most unique thing about the upcoming tetrad is that they are visible from all or parts of the United States, NASA stated. A publicist for Hagee said the pastor was not available for an interview. “When you see these signs, the Bible says, lift up your head and rejoice, your redemption draweth nigh,” Hagee said in a sermon, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “I believe that the Heavens are God’s billboard, that He has been sending signals to Planet Earth but we just have not been picking them up.”

Greg Boyd, a pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., called the predictions a waste of time, maybe even bordering on astrology.

“You have an entire population buying into this stuff so no congregation is immune to this,” Boyd said. “It can strike fear into people, which is so unnecessary and wrong.” The Jewish holy days carry less theological significance than Jesus’ resurrection for many Christians, said Sam Storms, a pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. Any connection between the two events should carry less weight, he said. “We need to stop giving into some of these sensationalist speculations,” he said. “Maybe Christians are more gullible. One has to twist the data to make it appear as if these are the fulfillment of some biblical prophecy.” KRE/AMB END BAILEY The post ‘Blood moon’ sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians appeared first on Religion News Service.

16 Responses to “‘Blood moon’ sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians”

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  2. Zappa912

    Just crawled out of my doomsday bunker, and to my great surprise, the world was still there. Guess the blood moon did not foretell the end of the world as some thought. Oops!! Well until the next end of the world prediction, I will sit on pins and needles worrying about as much as I can. Not.

  3. Michele Joseph

    One more thing……….
    Do you feel love ?…..
    If so, prove it.

    Some very real things are not provable.
    You just have to take somebody’s word for it.

  4. Michele Joseph

    Aaaaand, you can’t state that sentence so definitely,with all those exclamation points, like a statement of fact, because it’s illogical.
    You are saying that you know absolutely,positively, without a doubt that you know nothing . You know for sure that you know nothing. And that’s something.
    That’s a whole lot of certainty for somebody who’s claiming to be clueless.
    I’m suspicious, all right.
    Or at least confused…….

  5. Denis Eble

    Or me!

  6. Michele Joseph

    Except me.

  7. Patrick

    ” ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’ “

    And who is the master of my words?
    …I am.
    I, and I, alone.
    And who is the master of Nick’s words, or Christy’s, or Denis’s, or The Bible’s, or Pope Francis’s , or Billy Graham’s, or Karl Marx’s, or The Great Big Book of Bahi’s – or anybody else on earth’s – including mine (…especially mine, in fact!)?
    …Be incredibly suspicious of all of it!
    Don’t believe any of it without real, verifiable, justification!
    We know nothing!!!
    Any of us! (including Socrates.)

  8. Michele Joseph

    That sure would be a pain in the neck.
    But, there’s wisdom there.
    It just goes to show you –
    don’t kill people because they disagree with you.

  9. Patrick

    “It is not merely my opinion about there being a mistranslation – it is actually a result of the scholarship of modern experts (not me) in recent years going back to the original Koine Greek text of the NT. “
    So, Cristy, the biblical text has stood incorrect for nearly two thousand years, until “recently,” and people have lived their lives, and sometimes killed others who disagreed, based on it.
    …Hardly reassuring.
    And what evidence do we have that there are not other, similarly significant, mistranslations in there – as yet uncorrected, which might put a totally different spin on the whole thing?

  10. Christy Besozzi

    RE: Mistranslation of the Greek word in the Bible verses (New Testament – “NT”) as “end of the world” when it should read “end of the age”.

    It is not merely my opinion about there being a mistranslation – it is actually a result of the scholarship of modern experts (not me) in recent years going back to the original Koine Greek text of the NT.

    When the NT text means ‘world’, they use the Greek word ‘cosmos’ (kosmos), such as in other verses speaking of Jesus being ‘the light of the world (cosmos)” or they use another word that means land, world, or inhabited world.

    However, in Matthew 13:49 and 24:3 where it speaks of “the end of the _____”, they use the word “eon” or “aeon” instead of ‘cosmos’. “Eon” means era, age (as in time period), epoch, or specially a Jewish Messianic period.

    So… the correct translation is “end of the age” or era, epoch, etc.

    Not just a matter of my opinion; it is a fact.

    Not just my

  11. Patrick

    Translations are just the tip of the iceberg that sinks practically all of our attempts to understand one another.
    Popper said, “It is impossible to speak in such a way that one cannot be misunderstood.” – and he meant people talking in the same language! Are we all agreed, for example, on what “Sin,” or “Good,” mean? Nope. “Banana,” possibly, yes.

    “By the way, that phrase in the Bible has been more correctly translated as ‘end of the age’ not end of the world.”
    …And here above is a very apt and convenient case in point from Christy. Personally, I’d describe this as “less incorrectly” translated, myself, but no matter.
    What does matter – greatly, if you take this kind of thing seriously, is that it Makes One Hell Of A Difference to the meaning.
    And puts an entirely different spin on how people live their lives. And how can Christy be sure her chosen interpretation is the “correct” one? A difference of opinion like this can have the loonies sacrificing their children, because “God told me to.”
    Happens. As we all know.

    My advice – which will not be taken – is to regard all “texts” – especially any that claim to be “sacred,” with the greatest possible doubt, suspicion, and scepticism, until fully assured of their provenance and “factuality.”
    Which, in my case, will almost certainly be never.

  12. Michele Joseph

    I think Patrick needs extra editing from European To English.
    In my world,bean salads without lettuce are called BEANS.,
    although, I must say, it sounds wonderful !
    I must try ASAP as the American media is full of stuff that will make you a vegetarian .
    Patrick, feel free to share, because we are all becoming freaked out
    by meat.
    Further, anything involving white wine with a religious exemption is welcomed.

  13. Christy Besozzi

    There will be 3 more full lunar eclipses in the next 2 years – 1 more this year and 2 in 2015.

    See NASA’s explanation of this ‘tetrad’ of lunar eclipses: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/27mar_tetrad/

    So… will the world will end 3 more times by the end of 2015?

    By the way, that phrase in the Bible has been more correctly translated as ‘end of the age’ not end of the world.

    • Denis Eble

      Translations! So much is lost when one attempts to share thoughts and ideas from one language to another. I have non-English speaking relatives in Germany and when I write a letter to them, I must think in German, but I often fail to get the exact nuance across. Further, English has 3X more words as German which also limits my expression.

  14. Denis Eble

    Ha, Zappa! Yes, those ‘the end is near’ prophesies! How foolish. Let’s see what happens this very night with the blood red moon!!

  15. Zappa912

    I always get a big kick out of these “end of the world as we know it” predictions. So whenever I read or hear of one, I go out to my doomsday bunker with all my guns, heavy artillery, and, of course, a few well chosen weapons of mass destruction that I bought at an Iraqi garage sale some years ago. Still waiting to repel the masses that will try to steal my weapons and large cache of stored food and, of course, toilet paper. You can never tell when the end of the world will occur, so you need to be prepared for it on a moment’s notice. As I count the previous doomsday predictions which caused me to flee to my bunker, I have concluded that at least one-third of my adult life has been spent hunkered down. You can never be too careful when preparing for the end of the world. May the force be with you, and be sure to store plenty of toilet paper.

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