What I Learned (And Did Not Learn) About The End of the World From a Blood Moon

April 16, 2014

My wife and I got up to look at the eclipse Monday night.blood-moon2-470435

Neither of us had seen a lunar eclipse before. They are scheduled so darn inconveniently. If they had them during the daytime, that would be much better for me.

The only other eclipse I remember was a solar eclipse when I was in fifth grade. All the kids and teachers stood out on the playground, holding notecards with pinholes as the cloudless sky turned an eerie twilight.

Of course, you know that there are already people, apparently thousands of them, who are making a big deal about the prophetic significance of the lunar eclipses.

Of course, any scientist will tell you that the lunar eclipses are a perfectly natural, (read: not “supernatural”) phenomenon.

But when we let ourselves easily believe in so-called prophecy, we are not just exercising our faith in something that may be very unlikely. We may actually be missing what God is actually trying to communicate to us.

Here’s what I mean.

The Secret To Being a Successful Prophet

It amazes me how quickly some people can capitalize.

An Amazon book search for “blood moons” turns up over 10,000 results. John Hagee’s Four Blood Moons is among the top results. That book has over 1,200 reviews, so a bunch of people are snapping up these books.

The thing about modern end-times prophets is that they fall into two camps.

There are the guys who make a laughingstock of themselves because they get super-specific about something – like the day Jesus is coming back. Harold Camping’s ministry crumbled before he died, because he proved himself (to most people) to be a quack.

But then there are guys who make a career out of doomsday, primarily because they keep things vague enough, with plenty of non-specificity, so that they can never be proven completely wrong.  Hell, the subtitle of Hagee’s book is Something is about to change. This is the kind of top-notch detective work that garners you a church of 20,000 and a publisher who will print any blessed thing you want to write.

A Wicked Generation Asks For a Sign

Yes, I could get as much information out of a palm reader as I could get from a Hagee prophecy. But there’s more to the modern day prophets than their habit of nonspecificity.

The big point that Hagee is making out of the eclipses is that something “earth-shattering” is going to happen, probably involving Israel. (Again, this is not a very bold prophecy. He’d be gutsier to say that nothing will happen in Israel over the next year.) Every time I see Hagee on TV, it’s Israel, Israel, Israel. You’d think we would have had our fill of divine “signs” that could mean anything. But somehow, people can always market prophesy.

What guys like Hagee misunderstand, and mislead their churches is the fact that the modern, secular, political entity which we call “Israel” is not the Israel of the Old Testament. It’s not Jesus’ Israel. It’s a product of modern men, politics and wars. Modern day Israel contains about as much prophetic value as the Canary Islands. The Orthodox Jews in Israel still understand this, because they are still praying for the Messiah to redeem Israel, just as they were 2,000 years ago.

A Beautiful, Terrifying Universe

As Cheri and I stood in the too-chilly night air, staring at the moon, we did not say much.

“It’s beautiful,” she said.

“It is,” I responded, “Though it could be bloodier.”

This is what I expected from a "blood moon."

This is what I expected from a “blood moon,” along with ominous sounding music filling the air. Something more “Biblical.”

“I agree.”

I mean, it was barely a “blood moon.” I don’t know how the “bloodiness” of the mood affects its prophetic value.

But I was reminded of when I was a child, fascinated with astronomy. It was staring at the stars as a ten-year-old, and looking at pictures of distant places, contemplating the vastness of it all that I first, and perhaps most vividly became acquainted with the “fear of the Lord.” Because the universe is a beautiful, and absolutely terrifying place.

And maybe this is what we are supposed to understand when we look at the heavens. That God is enormous enough to hold not just our world in His hands, but this whole place, yet small enough to come as a man and dwell inside us in Spirit.  Maybe we are not supposed to be obsessed with trying to decipher some code that God (maybe) has provided, but rather be obsessed with what He has spelled out clearly. And maybe we should give our little prophecies a rest and stop worrying about what might happen tomorrow, and just focus on what God is doing today.

What do you think?  Did you see the eclipse?  Do you think it has any significance?

3 responses to What I Learned (And Did Not Learn) About The End of the World From a Blood Moon

  1. Interesting take. I haven’t paid a great deal of attention to the matter, and missed the eclipse for a rather silly-sounding reason: while I was up at the time, just before 1:00 a.m., I opened the front door to find two police cars directly across the street, and didn’t want to go out in my nightgown even though I was wrapped in an afghan, and have them possibly think I was scoping them out instead of the eclipse! LOL, but true.

    At any rate, my 82-year-old mother has been reading a book on the blood moon tetrad (not Pastor Hagee’s), and has been all over the subject for days now. I like Hagee but haven’t read up on the matter enough to have an opinion either way.
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  2. Neil DeGrasse Tyson tweeted that lunar eclipses occur *somewhere* on the planet with a good deal of regularity, so consider it a “rare” event makes about as much sense as saying the same about the Olympics. Combine that with the fact that most Jewish holidays occur during a full moon, it stands to reason that a Jewish holiday will coincide with a lunar eclipse with some regularity as well.

    I have to admit that I found interesting that this “blood moon” wasn’t even visible *from Israel*, since it was daytime over there! The wannabe profits will look for any darn thing to sell books, it seems.

  3. I wonder how many people, over the course of history, believed that the world was coming to an and at a certain time?

    Loads and loads.

    But it will end. One Day. Even if it’s just ending for us (when we die).
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