Some Comments on 'Four Blood Moons' by John Hagee, Part 1 of 4 Parts
by Karl Kemp
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I will always quote from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted. When I quote from John Hagee, he quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV). Sometimes I'll include comments in the middle of quotations using brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make them more obvious. I am going to put this paper on several Christian article sites. They do not permit footnotes, italics, underlining, bold, most dashes, or small caps.
Abbreviations: cf. means "compare"; e.g., means "for example"
1. INTRODUCTION...... page 2
2. MATTHEW 24:15, 21, 22, 29-31...... 4
3. JOEL 2:30-32...... 13
4. REVELATION 6:12, 13...... 14
5. SOME TECHNICAL DETAILS REGARDING THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS IN 2014 AND 2015 AND THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE IN 2015....... 16
6. A FEW PROBLEM AREAS...... 19
7. FROM NOW ON WE WILL BE DEALING WITH SECTION 3 OF HAGEE'S BOOK, THIS SECTION IS TITLED "THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS" (pages 171-246)...... 23
8. HAGEE'S CHAPTER 12. "THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS AND TWO FEASTS" (pages 171-181)...... 23
9. HAGEE'S CHAPTER 13, "THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS OF 1493-94" (pages 183-195)...... 24
10. HAGEE'S CHAPTER 14. "THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS OF 1949-50" (pages 197-207)...... 25
11. HAGEE'S CHAPTER 15, "THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS OF 1967-68" (pages 209-221)...... 26
12. HAGEE'S CHAPTER 16, "THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS OF 2014-15" (pages 223-246)...... 26
13. A FEW SIGNS OF THE IMMINENT (VERY SOON) RETURN OF THE LORD JESUS AND THE RAPTURE THAT WILL PROVE TO BE A LOT MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN THE FOUR TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSES AND THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 2014, 15...... 28
1. INTRODUCTION. I have respected John Hagee's ministry over the past thirty years, or so, and I still do (I believe he is a sincere, Bible centered, evangelical Christian minister who is zealous for the things of God), not that I have agreed with him on every detail. For one thing, he has always taught the pre-week rapture, and I have always taught the mid-week rapture. That difference will be obvious in this paper. It is very important for us to rightly divide/interpret the passages of the Bible that deal with the end times, but we cannot allow these differences to divide Christians.
The primary reason I was motivated to write this paper on Hagee's new book, "Four Blood Moons" (Worthy Publishing, 2013), is that he presents the viewpoint that the quite unusual four total lunar eclipses (a tetrad of "four blood moons") that will coincide with the Jewish feasts of Passover and Sukkot (Tabernacles) in 2014 and 2015 (on April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and September 28, 2015), in combination with the total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015, will fulfill the prophecies of Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20 about the moon being turned into blood and the sun being darkened. He also says that those eclipses will fulfill the prophecy about the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light of Matt. 24:29.
On pages 49-51, under the heading "The Shemittah Year," Hagee makes the point that the fact that 2015 will be a Shemittah year makes it all the more special. "Shemittah is the Sabbatical year, which occurs every seventh year. 'Shemittah' is 'Shabbat' (the Sabbath) for the land of Israel: the land 'rests' in a fashion, similar to the way the Jewish people rest every seventh day (Leviticus 25:4). ... This we know: things are about to change forever."
I'll include a sentence from Hagee's page 44 (also see his pages 18-20), "The Bible clearly describes both blood moons and a solar eclipse in Joel 2:30-31 and Acts 2:19-20, and Jesus confirms them in Matthew 24:29 saying, 'Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.' " I strongly disagree with Hagee's interpretation regarding the darkening of the sun and moon (or the moon becoming like blood) in these super-important prophetic verses. A big part of this paper will be devoted to discussing Joel 2:30, 31 and Matt. 24:29 in its context with Matt. 24:15, 21, 22, and 30, 31. We will also discuss Rev. 6:12, which prophesies that "the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair and the whole moon became like blood." (Hagee didn't mention Rev. 6:12 in this book.) There is widespread agreement that Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20; Matt. 24:29; and Rev. 6:12 all refer to the same event when the sun will be darkened and the moon will become like blood (or darkened). I won't discuss Acts 2:19, 20 in this paper because the apostle Peter was quoting from Joel 2:30, 31 in these verses and the same interpretation applies.
"The history of the world is about to change forever, and God is sending us messages on His high-definition billboard by speaking to us in the heavens - using the Four Blood Moons; the question is...are we listening?" (page 25). "He didn't just do this one time - but Tetrads [four consecutive blood moons] linked to Jewish history [significant events in the history of Israel have taken place during, or near the timing of, the blood moons that fall on four consecutive feast days of Passover and Sukkot (Tabernacles)] have happened only three times in more than five hundred years. AND IT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN FOR A FOURTH TIME [in 2014 and 2015]" (page 42). (I capitalized the sentence that Hagee had in italics, since I cannot use italics in this format.)
Hagee started his chapter 1 quoting Luke 21:25, 27-28 (NKJV); I'll include verse 26: "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 waves roaring; (26) men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. (27) Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (28) Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
Hagee isn't saying that we will necessarily be here to see the four blood moons, or the total eclipse of the sun in 2015, or any other signs, because (as he says on pages 66 and 244, for example) "the Rapture could happen at any moment." This is the typical pre-week viewpoint. Hagee would agree with the typical pre-week rapture viewpoint that the words of Luke 21:27, "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory," don't refer to the Lord's coming for us and the rapture, but for His coming at the end of the seven years in what they typically call the second coming, or second advent. In this book Hagee interprets Christ's coming with "the clouds of the sky and with power and great glory" of Matthew 24:30 of His coming at the end of the seven years (see his pages 66, 90, 163, 164). From the pre-week rapture point of view the rapture takes place before (pre) the seven years begin.
It seems clear to me, and to very many others, that the words of Luke 21:27 (and Matthew 24:30, and quite a few other verses) about Christ's "coming in a cloud with power and great glory" definitely include His coming for us and the rapture (along with His coming to judge the world and to do some other things). It is important to note that "the signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars" and the other things that are mentioned in Luke 21:25, 26 are signs of Christ's coming for us and to judge the world. (I should mention that the sun, moon and stars will be darkened by a third, one way, or another at the sounding of the fourth trumpet of the book of Revelation [Rev. 8:12].)
Our full "redemption" that Christ mentioned in Luke 21:28 will become a reality for us when Christ comes in a cloud with power and great glory (as pictured in Luke 21:27) to glorify us and rapture us to Himself in the air (cf., e.g., Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:50-57; and Phil. 3:20, 21), which He will do, I believe, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. This full "redemption" will take place for us at the time of our glorification and rapture, not at the end of Daniel's 70th week, but it will take place after "the signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars" and the other things that Jesus mentioned in Luke 21:25, 26.
Two reasons why those holding the pre-week viewpoint are forced to deny this natural interpretation are because it doesn't fit their view of imminence (that nothing has to take place before the Lord Jesus comes for us and the rapture [see Hagee's page 66]) and because Matthew 24:30, in its context, is after the abomination of desolation of Matthew 24:15, which will take place in the approximate middle of the seven years, and after the short "great tribulation" of Matthew 24:21, 22. We will discuss Matthew 24:15, 21, 22, 29-31 next in this paper.
2. MATTHEW 24:15, 21, 22, 29-31. See Parts 2 and 3 of my paper on Matthew chapters 24 and 25 and Article #s 2-5 in my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; these articles are available on this Christian Article site. (Those papers are also available on my internet site; Google to Karl Kemp Teaching.) Matthew chapter 24 is not discussed in a separate chapter in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture: A Verse-by-Verse Study of Key Prophetic Passages," but passages from this chapter are discussed quite a bit in the book; see the listing of passages discussed at the front of the book. The mid-week rapture is discussed in some detail in the 360 page book, and there is a fold-out chronological chart at the back of the book. The book is available on my internet site and at amazon.com.
MATTHEW 24:15. "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)." I'll comment briefly on the word "therefore" at the beginning of Matt. 24:15. This word builds on the preceding verses and shows that the abomination of desolation will take us beyond "the beginning of birth pangs" that Jesus spoke of in verse 8. I'll read verse 8, "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs." The change comes at the abomination of desolation. At that time things will really begin to shake. The abomination that will lead to great desolation will take place when Antichrist enters the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, stops the sacrificial offerings, and demands that he be worshipped (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; and 2 Thess. 2:3, 4).
Daniel 9:27 shows that the abomination will take place in the middle (approximate middle) of Daniel's 70th week, but I believe Dan. 12:11 enables us to see that the abomination will take place some thirty days (a month) before the precise middle of the seven-year period. I'll quote Dan. 12:11, "From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished [at the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation] and the abomination of desolation is set up [I would translate "is initiated," or the equivalent, instead of "is set up"], there will be 1,290 days."
Based on Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Rev. 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; and 13:5, we expect Dan. 12:11 to say 1,260 days (three and one-half years, forty-two months, or a time, times, and half a time) if the abomination of desolation is to take place right in the middle of the seven-year period known as Daniel's 70th week. But it says 1,290 days. The 1,290 days will end at the end of the seven-year period when Antichrist (and his followers) will be removed from the scene by the Lord Jesus (see Rev. 19:19-21, for example).
It is important to understand that the Hebrew word ("chatsi") translated "middle" in Dan. 9:27 is frequently used in an imprecise sense, and I believe that includes Dan. 9:27. For example, in Ex. 12:29; Judges 16:3 and Ruth 3:8 "chatsi" is used of the middle of the night, which is very imprecise terminology, and in Psalm 102:24 the Psalmist prays that he may not be taken away in the midst of his days, which is also very imprecise terminology.
If we count backwards 1,290 days from the end of Daniel's 70th week (when Antichrist will be destroyed and removed from the scene), it brings us to 30 days (a month) before the precise middle of the seven year period and shows us that the abomination of desolation will take place some thirty days before the middle of the seven-year period. I believe this is super-important information.
Based on my studies, especially in the all-important book of Revelation (and especially chapters 11-13), I am convinced that the Lord Jesus will return and the rapture will take place right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. (See my book "The Mid-Week Rapture" and my paper "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture.") If the abomination of desolation were to take place right in the middle of the seven-year period, there would not be any time for the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22 to take place before the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place (right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week), which are pictured in Matt. 24:30, 31.
As I mentioned, Hagee and most Christians who hold the pre-week rapture viewpoint don't agree (can't agree) that the rapture takes place in Matt. 24:30, 31 (they say that these verses speak of His second coming at the end of the seven years, whereas the rapture took place before the seven-year period began - the pre-week rapture), even though the coming of the Lord Jesus is mentioned, and the clouds, the trumpet, and our being gathered to Him in the air. They (including Hagee; see his pages 75, 88) believe, however, that we see the coming of the Lord, the clouds, the trumpet, and our being caught up to meet Him in the air in 1 Thess. 4:16, 17.
They cannot allow the rapture to take place in Matt. 24:30, 31, because it would come after the abomination of desolation and the short great tribulation (of Matt. 24:15, 21, 22), which would mean that the rapture cannot take place before Daniel's 70th week begins. And this would clearly go against their idea of imminence: that nothing has to take place before the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place, because the abomination of desolation and the short great tribulation (and other things, including the seven-year treaty of Dan. 9:27) will take place before the Lord returns and the rapture takes place. Matthew chapter 24 and 2 Thess. 2:1-5 were the first two passages that began to convince me that the pre-week rapture viewpoint that I had been taught as a young Christian is wrong. ((2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 are discussed in the last chapter of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," and 2 Thess. 2:1-5 in Article #3 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" on my internet site; the article is available individually on this Christian article site.))
MATTHEW 24:21. "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." It is very important for us to understand the short "great tribulation"; however, from my point of view, very few do understand it at the present time. We often hear that the final seven-year period is the great tribulation, but that is clearly wrong: Matthew chapter 24 shows that it doesn't start until the time of the abomination of desolation. ("Then" at the beginning of Matt. 24:21 [and 24:16] refers to the time of the abomination of desolation.) Much more reasonable is the widespread viewpoint that the great tribulation refers to the second half of the seven-year period; however, I believe this view is also wrong: As discussed above, the abomination of desolation will be initiated a month before the middle of the seven-year period, and Matt. 24:29 shows that the great tribulation (spoken of in 24:21, 22) will be over before the mid-week return of Christ and the rapture, which are pictured in Matt. 24:30, 31. Note that 24:29 starts with the words "immediately after the tribulation of those days," referring back to the days of the short great tribulation.
I consider Rev. 9:13-21 to be the most important of the three most important cross-references that enable us to understand the short great tribulation. ((On these three cross-references, see Article #s 3, 4 of my paper "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; the articles are available individually on this Christian Article site. On Rev. 9:13-21 also see under these verses in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10. The verses are discussed in the article on Revelation chapters 8 and 9, parts 2 and 3 on this Christian article site.)) These verses describe what will happen when the sixth trumpet of the book of Revelation sounds; they speak of very intense warfare, undoubtedly nuclear (and perhaps chemical and/or biological), that will center in the part of the world that includes Israel. The sixth trumpet will sound about the time of the abomination of desolation, about a month before the rapture.
The warfare described in Rev. 9:13-21, which constitutes at least the major part of the warfare of the short great tribulation, is a war between nations; this warfare (described in Rev. 9:13-21) seems to start with an attack against Antichrist and his armies by gigantic armies coming against him (see Dan. 11:40-44, which are discussed next, especially verse 44); these armies could be as large as two-hundred million soldiers. This invasion of troops and intense warfare will certainly include staking out various claims for control of the land of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount, and other religious sites. We'll talk more about this warfare as we continue.
The nation Israel will suffer greatly during the one-month period between the abomination of desolation and the mid-week return of Christ. During this period they will apparently be reduced to a repentant remnant, ready (for the most part at least) to receive Christ Jesus when He comes, but they will not receive Him until after the rapture. ((See on Zech. 13:7-14:5 [pages 225-230 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture"]; see on Dan. 12:1 [pages 149-159], and see on Zech. 12:1-14 [pages 221-224]. Some of these verses are discussed in my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" on my internet site; see the listing of passages at the front of the paper. All of those articles are available on this Christian article site.))
Daniel 11:40-12:1 are another one of the three most important cross-references for the short great tribulation. Daniel 11:40-43 apparently deal with the preliminary warfare that leads up to the warfare of Rev. 9:13-21, and Dan. 11:44 apparently deals with the warfare of Rev. 9:13-21, in very brief form. The abomination of desolation will apparently take place at the time of the events of Dan. 11:41. ((Chapter 9 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," deals with Daniel 11:36-45. I recommend that, at a minimum, you read what is said under Dan. 11:40-44 on pages 137-143. Daniel 11:40-12:2 are discussed in Article #4 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture," that article is available on this Christian article site.))
Daniel 12:1 is a very significant verse for the great tribulation. For one thing, there is widespread agreement that Jesus' words of Matt. 24:21 regarding a time of unequaled great tribulation/distress, though not a word-for-word quotation, derive from the words of Dan. 12:1. ((I recommend reading what is written on Dan. 12:1 in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," on pages 149-151, 155, 156. Daniel 12:1 is also discussed in some detail in Article #14 in my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture," that article is available on this Christian article site.))
Daniel chapter 12 with Dan. 11:36-45 serves as a very strong confirmation that the rapture will take place right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. ((As I mentioned, these passages are discussed in significant detail in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." They are also discussed in Article #s 4 and 14-16 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; the articles are available individually on this Christian article site.)) The time of short great tribulation/distress mentioned in Dan. 12:1 will be over by the middle of Daniel's 70th week. Daniel 12:7 shows that three and one-half very difficult years still remain (after the short great tribulation) for these end-time saints, who will not become Christians until after the rapture (cf. Dan. 7:21, 25; Rev. 13:5, 7). Daniel 12:2 speaks of the mid-week resurrection of God's people (the believers), not that you could tell that it was mid-week based on Dan. 12:2 by itself.
Further rather strong confirmation that the time of great tribulation is over and the resurrection (and rapture) takes place in the middle of the seven-year period is provided by Dan. 12:6, 7, which speak of "the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river." This apparently refers to the Lord Jesus Christ (the Angel/Messenger of Yahweh, who often appears in the Old Testament, who is deity, God the Son, not a created angel), who is seen in an exalted position above the earth (apparently relating to His coming in the clouds at the time of the rapture), at a time corresponding with the middle of Daniel's 70th week (in that He says that there are still three and one-half years to go). I already mentioned that Dan. 12:11 helps us see that the abomination of desolation will take place a month before the middle of Daniel's 70th week (in the approximate middle of the sever-year period). To say the least, Daniel chapter 12 is a very important prophetic chapter. ((These important points are all discussed in the two chapters of my book dealing with Daniel chapter 12 and in my series "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; as I have mentioned, the articles are available individually on this Christian article site.))
Revelation 7:14 must also be considered here since this verse speaks of "the great tribulation." These words undoubtedly build on Matt. 24:21. ((Revelation 7:14 is discussed as part of a brief discussion of Rev. 7:9-17, which is a rather glorious passage, on pages 154, 155 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." These verses are also discussed in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10; Revelation chapter 7 is discussed by itself in a two-part article on this Christian article site.))
Joel 2:30-32, which we'll discuss further below, is one of the three most important cross-references that help us understand the short great tribulation. Joel 2:30 is doubly significant in that it mentions "columns of smoke." This smoke (and the dust) generated during the warfare of the short great tribulation will undoubtedly cause the darkening of the sun and moon (or the moon becoming like blood) that is pictured in Joel 2:31; Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20 (and Rev. 6:12). It is significant that Rev. 9:17, 18 mention smoke too. (As I mentioned, Rev. 9:13-21 are the most important cross-reference for the warfare of the short great tribulation.) It is significant that Joel 2:30, 31 specifically mention that the darkening of the sun and the moon becoming like blood will take place (just) before the day of the Lord begins. The day of the Lord will officially begin when God the Father sends His Son back to the earth to save and to judge. The darkening of the sun and moon of Matt. 24:29 is followed by the coming of the Lord Jesus to rapture the believers from the earth and to judge the world.
MATTHEW 24:22. "Unless those days had been cut short [in God's plans for the end of this age], no life would have been saved, but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." The "elect" are God's people, the true Christians, but the elect here certainly includes those who will become Christians after the rapture, including the often-mentioned repentant, elect, end-time remnant of Israel. Because of the intensity of the warfare of the short great tribulation (Revelation 9:15, 18 show that a third of mankind will be killed [in a short period of time], which is overwhelming, even if this third probably deals with a third of a population substantially less than the total population of the earth), there wouldn't be any people left alive on the earth if these days weren't cut short in God's end-time plans.
We will continue this paper on the "Four Blood Moons" in Part 2, starting with Matthew 24:29.
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