Blood Moon Fulfilled: Four Blood Moons Debunked
The Four Blood Moon Prophecy is a prophetic theory popularized in Four Blood Moons by John Hagee and originated with Mark Biltz, It states that a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, with six full moons in between, and no intervening partial lunar eclipses is a sign of significant things to come. Hagee points out that the eclipses in the tetrad coincide with the Jewish Feasts of Passover and Sukkot. Hagee and Biltz argue that the “rarity” of a tetrad is strong evidence a major change is about to happen for the nation of Israel and/or the Second Coming of Christ.
Since the first century AD, there have been 62 tetrads, eight of which have coincided with the feasts of Passover and Sukkot. Since the Jewish Calendar is lunar, their months begin with the first appearance of the crescent of the new moon. From this point, the fifteenth day of the month would coincide with a full moon every month. According to Leviticus 23, Passover is the fifteenth day of the first month and Sukkot begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. Thus, the Jewish feasts of Passover and Sukkot always take place twice each year on a full moon and always six months apart. So the fact that eight out of 62 tetrads coincided with both Jewish feasts is not that abnormal because lunar eclipses can only happen on full moons, one-sixth of which coincide with these two Jewish feasts.
Hagee’s book Four Blood Moons would be less suspenseful if it were called The Four Lunar Eclipses, thus illustrating that these total lunar eclipses are a naturally recurring phenomenon. Total Lunar Eclipses are regularly occurring events, hardly a unique and unusual signal to all the world as Biltz and Hagee imply. In fact there will be 85 total lunar eclipses in the twenty-first century.
April 14, 2015 is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 a series known as a tetrad. A tetrad is when a group of four consecutive lunar eclipses are all total eclipses, occurring at approximately six month intervals. The total eclipse of April 15, 2014, will be followed by another on Oct. 8, 2014, and another on April 4, 2015, and another on Sept. 28 2015.
Once again, these total lunar eclipses are normal. These are not rare events. Additionally, these eclipses are not visible from all parts of the earth. Would not God demonstrate an unordinary and universal sign to all if He were communicating to the world?
Before we properly exegete the Scriptures cited by Hagee and Biltz to build their cases, let’s consider the other tetrads of 1492, 1948 and 1967, which they say correspond to the most important dates in all of the history of the nation of Israel:
- The expulsion of Jews from Spain took place in 1492.
- Israel’s War of Independence War took place in 1948.
- The Six-Day War took place in 1967. (source)
Biltz and Hagee don’t go to the Bible to prove their case about the specific signs of lunar and solar eclipses but they consult the Jewish Talmud. Resorting to the Jewish Talmud demonstrates how unbiblical the Blood Moon Prophecy really is. One article citing Biltz’s work states:
The reason for this can be traced to the Jewish Talmud, an important Jewish text used to define religious Jewish law and Moses’ five books known as the Torah. Tractate Sukkah 29a indicates that if the moon is in eclipse, it is a sign of wrath that will come upon Israel while solar eclipse of the sun is a bad omen for the world. In the case of a blood moon eclipse, the Talmud adds that: “If its face is as red as blood, (it is a sign that) the sword is coming to the world.” In summary, Lunar Eclipse = bad omen for the Jewish people and Israel; Blood Moon = sword coming; Solar Eclipse = bad omen for the world. (source)
While the lunar eclipse is described in the Talmud as negative signs for Israel, Hagee and Biltz link them to the 1948 independence of Israel and the Six-Day War of 1967, which are celebrated historic events in Israel’s history, not bad omens. Why are some of the tetrads denoting good events for Israel like the victory of the Six-Day War, while others bad events like the Spanish Inquisition?
Another problem is that the 1493–94 tetrad occurred after the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain and discovery of the New World. Why would God send the sign after the event actually occurred?
Likewise, the 1949–1950 tetrad occurred after the re-establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. In no way do these tetrads serve as signs then as Hagee and Biltz are treating them today.
In addition to these three significant historical events for the nation of Israel, Biltz found other tetrad events which also coincided with the Jewish feast days, but there was no known historical significance attached to them.
Thus, the Four Blood Moon prophecy is very problematic and inconsistent.
Chris White asks the question, “If Biltz and Hagee are really suggesting that God uses these tetrads as a means of communicating to Israel about coming events, where were the warnings about the far greater and far worse events the Jewish people have faced?” White continues,
Why didn’t God warn them about the Holocaust, or 70 AD, or the expulsion from Rome, or the following persecution? What’s more interesting to me is what you have to leave out in order to believe this theory. Why did God pick the Spanish Inquisition to warn them about and nothing else? And if this was a warning, why did it come a year too late for anyone to do anything about it? (source)
Critics have also pointed out that three out of the four eclipses are not even visible to Israel. Dr. Danny R. Faulkner of Answers in Genesis points out that a “sign” which nobody can see is hardly a sign at all! He says,
There also is a question of from what portion of the earth one ought to view these eclipses for them to constitute a sign. One might think that Jerusalem would be a key site, but the first three total lunar eclipses in 2014–2015 won’t be visible from there, and only the beginning of the final eclipse will be. One must ask whether a sign that few people notice is much of a sign.
Though many people have experienced a partial solar eclipse, most of them had no idea that anything was going on. This is because unless a partial eclipse is very close to being total, the sun is not appreciably dimmed. Not actually witnessing these events but instead just knowing that somewhere some sort of solar eclipses are happening seems to fall far short of being specific and spectacular signs of end times. (source)
I spoke to a friend in Israel today who told me he couldn’t even see the eclipse because it took place in the daytime. This supposed sign to Israel was not even visible to anybody in Israel unless they were watching it on the internet or something. How can it be a sign for Israel if it didn’t even show up to anybody in Israel?
It is highly unlikely that the Jewish Feasts would continue to serve as a sign when the New Testament Scriptures clearly demonstrate how they have served their purpose in foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah and have thus been fulfilled. Paul the Apostle always diminished the ordinances and Jewish Feasts of the Old Covenant Law as a shadow. He wrote:
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Colossians 2:16-19)
Paul used very forceful words to the Galatians when he said,
But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. (Galatians 4:9-11)
Quoting from Jeremiah 31, Paul said to the Hebrews:
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:12-13)
That being stated, let’s consider the Scriptures referred to by Hagee and Biltz for their Blood Moon Prophecy. They point to Genesis 1:14 which says,
God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years (Genesis 1:14)
This simply means that the lights of the sun, moon and stars are for signaling days, years and seasons such as Spring, Summer, Fall and WInter. But Hagee and Biltz suggest that the coming blood moons are signifying that something is about to change, that it’s the end of the age, that the Rapture and the Second Coming are imminent.
This may be the case. But does the Bible ever point to a series of total lunar eclipses as signs of anything? The Last Day is certainly nearer than when we first believed. But we will demonstrate that God never intended to communicate to the world by blood moons when Jesus would return. Even Jesus said that He did not know the day or hour but only the Father:
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:32)
Hagee and Biltz cite Joel chapter 2 and the Apostle Peter’s sermon on Pentecost in Acts 2. Were the prophet Joel and the Apostle Peter prophesying of a future event in 2014 and 2015?
And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said,
Among the remnant whom the Lord calls. (Joel 2:28-32)
In the book of Acts, we find the Apostle Peter’s quotation of Joel’s prophesy in context:
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’ (Acts 2:1-21)
Notice Peter said, “this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” In other words, Peter the Apostle said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost that Joel’s prophesy was fulfilled. Peter was not forwarding Joel’s prophesy on to our day but said it was fulfilled.
The term “last days” from Joel’s prophecy and reiterated by Peter is interpreted by most evangelical scholars including Biltz and Hagee as the last days when Jesus will return. But the Bible speaks of the last days as the time in which the apostles lived.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (1 Peter 1:20)
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. (1 Jn. 2:18)
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
Either the last days refer generally to the church age or more likely to the end of the Old Covenant Jewish era. It is obvious that the apostles Paul, Peter, and John all agree that they were living in the last days, last times, last hour, and end of the age. These phrases are not used in the same way to denote the Second Coming as Biltz and Hagee argue.
More importantly, the Old Testament prophecies of the “last days” pointed to the Messiah and the New Covenant era of the church as the apostles demonstrated under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
A case in point is Joel’s prophecy which also spoke of the “last days” and was declared fulfilled by the inspired Apostle Peter on Pentecost.
It is obvious that Joel and Peter were not referring to the blood moons of 2014-2015 or any other event of our generation. So what exactly was Joel’s prophesy and Peter’s declared fulfillment referring to? Based upon the fact that the fulfillment was in the generation of Christ and the Apostles, a couple interpretations have been proposed.
Some have thought that the sun being turned to darkness was a reference to what happened on the day Jesus was crucified. When Jesus died on the cross, we read in Mark’s Gospel:
Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. (Mark 15:33)
This darkening of the sun is even confirmed in secular history. Dated around 52 AD, Thallus was one of the first secular writers who mentioned Christ. Julius Africanus is one writer who made an offhand reference to Thallus which confirms the Gospel account that darkness fell upon the land during the crucifixion of Jesus. He wrote:
Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun– unreasonably, as it seems to me unreasonably, of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was at the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died. (Africanus. Chronography, 18.1)
While Jesus was being crucified, there was a three hour darkening of the sun, a universal sign visible to all throughout Roman Empire. This had occurred 53 days prior to the day of Pentecost, and all who were present at Pentecost were familiar with that event.
But the accompanying elements of Joel’s prophecy do not all seem to relate to the death of Jesus upon the cross such as, “wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. . . and the moon into blood.”
However, we find the same type of apocalyptic language found in many OT passages which referred to the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army. In a proclamation against Babylon, the prophet Isaiah wrote his “burden against Babylon” saying:
Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
To lay the land desolate;
And He will destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine. (Isaiah 13:9,10)
Jeremiah the prophet also prophesied of Babylon’s imminent invasion of Israel saying,
The whole land shall be desolate;
Yet I will not make a full end.
For this shall the earth mourn,
And the heavens above be black,
Because I have spoken.
I have purposed and will not relent,
Nor will I turn back from it. (Jeremiah 4:27,28)
Ezekiel also prophesied about the judgment of Egypt in his day saying,
When I put out your light,
I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark;
I will cover the sun with a cloud,
And the moon shall not give her light.
All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you,
And bring darkness upon your land,
Says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 32:7,8)
Like these references to celestial calamities, Joel’s prophecy quoted by Peter appears to be the typical figurative apocalyptic language of the OT prophets to describe events of God’s judgment upon nations through physical destruction from invading armies. Notice Joel chapter 2 is full of similar references:
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:
A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong,
The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any such after them,
Even for many successive generations. …
The earth quakes before them,
The heavens tremble;
The sun and moon grow dark,
And the stars diminish their brightness.
The Lord gives voice before His army,
For His camp is very great;
For strong is the One who executes His word.
For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible;
Who can endure it? (Joel 2:1,2,10,11)
Mark Biltz cites some of these same references in the prophets which we have just read in order to build his prediction that the Second Coming of Christ will coincide with the final eclipse of the tetrad. But in context, the OT prophets were referring to God’s judgments against specific nations during specific times in history.
Once again, Peter the Apostle said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost that Joel’s prophesy was fulfilled. Thus Joel was prophesying that soon after the sign of the Holy Spirit being poured out on “all flesh” Israel would face the judgment of God through the invading Roman armies in 70 AD. This apocalyptic and figurative language is typical of OT prophets when speaking of the imminent judgment of God.
It is possible that the literal darkness that fell upon the land during the crucifixion of Jesus and the supernatural signs in the heavens which took place during the 70 AD invasion of Jerusalem by Roman armies are both in view in Joel’s prophecy and Peter’s declared fulfillment. We will look at this further in a moment, but it is clear that this apocalyptic language is typical for Hebrew prophets when it comes to God’s judgments upon nations through foreign armies.
Hagee also cites Jesus’s predictions that the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. One thing is for certain: It is impossible to have a blood moon total lunar eclipse AND a solar eclipse at the same time as Hagee is treating the passage in Blood Moons sermon. But was Jesus referring to the time of His Second Coming, or the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem? Jesus said,
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. (Mark 13:24-26)
Once again, Jesus using this apocalyptic language like the Hebrew prophets quoted before. When Jesus said, “those days,” to what was he referring? It is clear from the context that Jesus was predicting the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. In the Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13, Jesus began His discourse by His prediction concerning the destruction of the temple.
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Matthew 24:1,2).
Next, the disciples asked Jesus when these things would be, namely the destruction of the Temple of which Jesus just spoke in the previous verses. Directly following Jesus prophetic statement of the Temple’s destruction, He continued with His discourse warning the disciples of tribulation, false messiahs, earthquakes, famines, wars and persecution.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:3).
When shall what things be? The destruction of the Temple and not one stone being left upon another; these are the things Jesus had just predicted. This is what Jesus just said which initiated their question of when it would be. He is talking about the destruction of the Temple. Jesus gave many signs which would signal the coming destruction of Jerusalem such as false messiahs (Matthew 24:4,5), earthquakes, famines and wars (Matthew 24:6-8) and persecution (Matthew 24:9-14). Jesus then told the disciples of the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27):
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16).
Matthew and Mark speak of the abomination of desolation just before Jesus tells them in Judaea to flee to the mountains. However, in the parallel verse from Luke’s Gospel, Luke identifies the abomination of desolation as when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies:
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20,21)
According to Luke, Jerusalem being surrounded by armies is synonymous with the Abomination of Desolation in Matthew and Mark. This points to the fact that the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel was fulfilled in 70 AD with the Roman destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. This should come as no surprise as Jesus began the discourse by predicting the destruction of the Temple and this very thing.
But many modern evangelicals like Hagee and Biltz apply Jesus’s Olivet Discourse to the end times period immediately prior to the Second Coming incorrectly because Jesus clearly began His discourse with a prediction of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD.
Finally, Jesus described His coming in the same setting and context:
For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:27-31)
Again, a large number of these images such as the sun darkening, the moon becoming blood, and the stars falling are borrowed from the OT when there was not a literal fulfillment but the prophets spoke as though God was putting out the lights of certain kingdoms. But now Jesus speaks of Israel’s demise. Also, in support of the 70 AD fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse is the use of term “coming.” Perhaps Jesus was simply referring to coming in judgment in the destruction of the temple similar to the word of the Lord in Isaiah 19:1 speaking of God coming in judgment against Egypt.
The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it (Isaiah 19:1).
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind (Psalm 104:3).
Both the book of Acts and Flavius Josephus’ Wars of the Jews combined provide historical evidence of fulfillment of all the signs of which Jesus spoke that would lead to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. This period had earthquakes (Matthew 27:51-54; Acts 16:26), false messiahs (Acts 5:36; Acts 8:9-21; Acts 21:38) and famines (Acts 11:28). There were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome and Judea. Also, the city of Pompeii was damaged by a historical earthquake in 63 A.D.
Not only this, Jospehus also recorded celestial signs accompanying the Roman invasion of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple at the close of the Old Covenant age. Notice how Jesus said,
And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-28)
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus recorded a peculiar event accompanying the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD which could have been the fulfillment of the celestial signs and the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. He recorded,
Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. . . . So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities” (Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, 6.5.3)
Lastly, Jesus shared the parable of the fig tree:
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matthew 24:32-36).
Indeed, “this generation” (the generation to whom Jesus was speaking) did not pass away until the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple about forty years later in 70 AD. Once agin, it is exegetically inappropriate to forward these predictions to the end times of the Second Coming when the generation to whom Jesus was speaking were His contemporary disciples, many of whom witnessed the Roman invasion of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, the very judgment He was predicting.
All of this goes to show that when Jesus the Messiah, Joel the prophet, Peter the Apostle spoke about apocalyptic signs in the sun and moon, they were not foretelling eclipses of the 21st century which signaled the Second Coming. But Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit found Joel’s prophecy to be fulfilled in his own generation speaking on the day of Pentecost, and Jesus clearly described how the signs pointed to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, not His Second Coming.
Does this mean that Jesus did not talk about His Second Coming? No. Jesus did talk about His Second Coming, but He said it would come as a thief without the supernatural signs characteristic to the destruction of the Jewish nation.
In the next section of the Olivet Discourse, only Matthew recorded what Jesus said. It appears that the next portion does convey the time immediately prior to Jesus’ Second Coming rather than the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem. It corresponds to what Luke wrote in chapter 17 of His Gospel, separate from Luke’s Olivet Discourse account in chapter 21. Remember the question of the disciples was two-fold:
When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:3)
Jesus makes a clear distinction in the 70 AD events of the destruction of the Temple and His glorious appearing though the disciples may have been consolidating the events together. There are certain contrasts between the two parts of the Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24, the second of which corresponds to Luke 17:20ff separate from Luke’s treatment of the Olivet Discourse in Luke 21.
This remains pertinent to the discussion of Hagee’s blood moons because it is evident from Jesus’s teaching that there would be no signs preceding the Last Day and Second Coming as there were signs prior to the 70 AD destruction of the Temple.
For example, Matthew 24:1-35 portrays the end of the Old Covenant age and destruction of the Temple with specific signs in contrast with the ordinary descriptions in Matthew 24:36-25:46 which portrays the end times and Last Day. For instance, Jesus instructed the disciples to flee when the events happened at prior to Jerusalem’s destructions (Matthew 24:16), but to be ready at all times at the end of the world “for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42). In the first portion applying to the destruction of the Temple, Jesus knew when these things would take place (Matthew 24:4-34) as opposed to the end of the world which Christ did not know the time or hour (Matthew 24:36). He gives warning sings to the destruction of the Temple in the first part of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:4-34) whereas the second part in reference to the Second Coming will come unexpectedly with no signs or indications as in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37); it will come like a thief (Matthew 24:43). The end of the Old Covenant age will have abnormal times (Matthew 24:4-34) while the end of the world will consist of normal buying, selling and weddings (Matthew 24:38). The first part speaks of judgment on earth and second of judgment in heaven (Matthew 24:51).
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:37-51).
Nobody knows the day or hour, not even Jesus. In our day, there is often much confusion within the church concerning eschatological events because most expositors like Hagee and Biltz fail to recognize the context. Biltz has predicted that Jesus will return to Jerusalem at the last eclipse of the tetrad and keep the Feast of Tabernacles according to Zechariah 14. This presentation does not afford us the time to exegete this assertion, but we can with much certainty say that Biltz is incorrect because nobody knows the day or hour, not even Jesus!
Attempts to map out the events of the end times and Last Day prove to be fruitless distraction from the Gospel. But knowing these things will take place, we are exhorted to be stedfast and holy in order that the Second Coming does not come upon us unaware. The apostles Peter and Paul said we could be ready for that Day, not because we knew when it was going to take place by some kind of signs or blood moons, but by holy and stedfast living for Jesus today here and now.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless (2 Peter 3:10-14)
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)
Rather than eclipses coinciding with Jewish Feasts as a sign, a far greater sign of the times is that people are actually listening to false teachers like John Hagee and Mark Biltz. The Apostle spoke of a great apostasy which would signal the Second Coming of Christ. He said,
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Ephesians 5:3-5 (NKJV)
Abomination of Desolation
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C. Peter Wagner
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