By: Mark Hitchcock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.
In 2014 and 2015 we will experience lunar events which are drawing the attention of many people. There will be four occasions in which a blood moon (which is a full lunar eclipse in which the moon turns an orange or red color) will occur on the same date as a Jewish feast. This series of four blood moons has happened three other times in the past five hundred years. On each occasion, significant events have occurred in Jewish history in the years surrounding the events (though not precisely in the window of the four blood moons). As this next set of events draws near, speculation has arisen about whether or not there will be another historical event relevant to either Israel or the larger world.
Mark Hitchcock has written Blood Moons Rising as a response to the recent discussion of these events as popularized by John Hagee. Hagee has popularized this theory based on the teachings of Mark Blitz of El Shaddai Ministries. This view has received some attention in the media lately, and may receive more attention as the time of the four blood moons passes. According to Hitchcock, Hagee claims that “This is the hand of God orchestrating the signs in the heavens. The final Four Blood Moons are signaling that something big is coming…”1 Additionally, Hagee claims that America may be facing judgment if they do not repent.
The past three series of four blood moons occurred as follows: The first series was in 1493 and 1494, near the time of the Jews being expelled from Spain in 1492. The second of these series occurred in 1949 and 1950, just after Israel again became a nation again in 1948. The final occasion was in 1967 and 1968; the Six Day War in Israel occurred in 1967. Hagee’s claim about America’s future is based on the fact that 2015 is a Sabbatical year for Israel, a year in which Israel was supposed to allow the land to rest without planting in the Old Testament. Since Israel ignored this command, they were exiled to Babylon. Hagee applies this judgment to the United States, and cites events in the past which correlate to the Sabbatical years leading up to 2015 (the 2008 stock market crash, the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, as well as other events leading back to at least 1973). Hagee does not give specifics on what he believes will happen, other than to say “This we know: things are about to change forever.”2
A discussion about these theories raises many questions, such as: What is the Biblical basis for these views? Are these events necessarily being linked to end times, or just “a big event”? How often did four blood moons occur before five hundred years ago? Did significant events occur during those previous series? Is it a stretch to attribute the historical events to each time period since two of them only occurred in the years surrounding the events, and not on the same years as the blood moons? Are some making the claim that the fourth such event will be the most significant? Why is the commandment and judgment of Israel’s sabbatical years being applied to the United States? Why is 2015 cited as the year something will happen although 1948 and 1492 were not Sabbatical years? Is this theory a type of “date setting” about end times?
Hitchcock addresses many of these questions in his book. In addition to discussing the theories involved with these events, Hitchcock’s book also provides: a summary of several approaches to end times prophecy; an in depth look at the Biblical passages associated with the claims; and, a proposed chronology of end events based on a pre-tribulation and premillennial eschatology. Based on this framework, Hitchcock states that the blood moons events do not fit into an eschatology based on any Biblical prophecy.
None of the verses quoted to support this theory mention four blood moons. The entire blood moons prophecy is based on something the Bible never specifically predicts. The Bible does mention the moon turning to blood in connection with Christ’s return, but it never mentions four blood moons, let alone four blood moons in conjunction with the Jewish feasts of Passover and Tabernacles.
Hitchcock’s examination of five key passages used to build the blood moons theory leads him to conclude:
Let me reiterate that I do believe in signs of the end times. I believe there are legitimate signs today that point towards the coming of Christ, and I have no personal ax to grind against the blood moons prophecy or is proponents. Nevertheless, I think a fair, contextual reading of the five biblical passages used to support this view shows its sizeable shortcomings.
I have not read Hagee’s book and I am cautious about saying how well Hitchcock has represented his view. My interest is studying the Scriptural basis for this theory rather than evaluating Hitchcock or Hagee. Many world events are occurring which could fit a setup of the conditions for the end times events to occur: Israel has been re-established as a nation, the countries surrounding Israel continually threaten its existence, and it would not be surprising if imminent events result in more stage setting.
Each generation has looked to events of their time and hypothesized on how those events could fit into Biblical prophecy. Scripture teaches that the Rapture could happen at any time; if Rapture or some other significant event does occur soon, it will not necessarily be because of these lunar events. It is likely that an event in 2015 or soon thereafter will occur which some may attribute to this theory. On matters of end time prophecy, I take a skeptical footing and decide to ask many questions; Scripture is the authoritative filter for discerning the veracity of any claims. My responsibility is to obey God and remain busy until the end; I like to remind myself of the sage advice I was given as I began studying eschatology, “Be ready for anything.”
Additional Note: I am not familiar with the beliefs of Mark Blitz or El Shaddai Ministries beyond the mention in this book. Supposedly, Blitz is the one who originally formalized this theory. A comprehensive look into this theory should include Blitz’s view; my purpose in this piece is to review Hitchcock’s book.
Thank you to the people at Tyndale House Publishers for a copy of this book for review.
1. Hagee, Four Blood Moons, 237.
2. Hagee, Four Blood Moons, 51.