Blood Moons a sign of the end?

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Every few years or so a new apocalyptic “sign” will catch the media’s attention and lead popular Christian teachers to start to speculate about what it all means. I spend a lot of time around youth, and even though I don’t watch much TV these days, or keep up with the latest theories, I tend to hear them all from the kids. “Did you hear the world is going to end in September?” My answer is usually “Yes, I have, in fact I’ve heard that for the last 25 years.” September and October is usually the peak of the Apocalyptic fever, due to the significance of the Jewish calendars and festivals. I appreciated the false predictions of the Mayan calendar folks in 2012 as they at least shook things up a little with their December prediction of the end. I think most people were more upset they were going to miss Christmas, than they were of not being right with God, which seems to be the goal of these end time speculators (Christian ones at least). But whether their motive is correct or not, wanting people to repent and get their hearts right is a good thing. However, when truth is sacrificed in the process, it does more harm than good. Christians are seen as crazed, “the sky is falling” type of people, rather than people who are here to build the kingdom of God. Pastor John Hagee, has been the biggest proponent of the blood moon hype, writing a New York Times best seller, Four Blood Moons. What most people don’t realize is that Hagee simply borrowed his ideas from the false prophecies of another end time speculator, Mark Blitz. Mark predicted the tribulation period would begin in September of 2008 and would be followed by a seven year tribulation period culminating in the Return of Christ in 2015. Hagee seems to have taken his ideas, modified them, and now is claiming that September 2015 will be the start of “something big”, even if it’s not the end. He said earlier this year 

“Sept. 28 is the fourth blood moon in this shemitah year. I believe, in the fall of this year, America and the world will face another economic crisis, perhaps as a result of war in the Middle East or an economic crash. But there are very sophisticated people on Wall Street saying we are facing a 50 percent correction in the stock market in the near future.”

What’s it all mean? Well they’re not even sure of that. They read the Newspapers and watch TV, (and probably follow Twitter and Facebook) to get the latest news like the rest of us. However, they are constantly looking at the scriptures to try and make meaning of the news they’re watching. That’s why they rarely, if ever think outside the box in their predictions. They follow the news like the rest of us and try to follow the trends (think of it as Fantasy Football for dispensationalists). If you watch sports you know everyone “predicted” the next star, usually after that star I comes to light. “I knew it”, they retort. Well if you new it, why didn’t you put that guy on your Fantasy Football team to begin with? So, it is with these end time speculators. It doesn’t take a prophetic word from God to see the stock market is in bad shape or that there is much turmoil in the middle east. So they always go with the flow of what’s going on, tying in the bible to current events, this in turn makes the biblically ignorant Christian, who’s only gotten bits and pieces of the bible, seem like the teacher is in fact on to something. He must be, since what he’s saying the bible predicts sure seems like what’s going to happen naturally. Why weren’t microchips predicted to be the mark of the beast, prior to the advent of microchips? People assume it’s common knowledge that the bible predicted microchips 2,000 years ago, but that isn’t the case. Prior to the microchip, when the UPC labels came out, many bible prophecy teachers taught that the UPC barcode was the Mark of the Beast because of the lines in the barcode adding up to 666. However, I still think the first apple computer selling for $666 was the best case for Steve Jobs being the Anti Christ. However, that prediction failed too. The point is all the prophecy writers have20/20 hindsight, to predict their fore-site. 
Perhaps the biggest problem with the pop prophecy experts is the bible itself. Hagee again writes   

 “When the sun is eclipsed in the center of four blood moons—as is this chart—it is the warning to the whole world that something devastating is going to happen. This is an enormous message. Did Jesus say anything about this? Yes!”   

Well, actually no he didn’t. The passage he is referencing is in Mark 13
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,  and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” 

 There is a reason that Jesus starts of this passage to his disciples  “See that no one leads you astray.” We don’t have the time to address this passage here (however, I will be addressing it next Saturday at the Reformed Eschatology Conference at Sovereign Grace Community in Perris, Ca) but suffice it to say that the language being used here is meant to convey judgment, not a literal event such as Jesus surfing a cloud with sword in hand. As Isaiah 19:1 says  

“A prophecy against Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.”  

When did the LORD ride a cloud into Babylon? When he destroyed it through a foreign army for it’s transgressions is the answer. Clouds are symbols of judgement. Just as the celestial bodies, sun, moon, and symbols for governments, kingdoms and rulers. Jesus is predicting the judgment, which will come upon Israel (in 70 AD) for their rejection of him as the Messiah, not the US stock market 2,000 years later. So whether it be Hagee or another end time speculator remember they are not the first false prophets to come. The Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying:

“Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14

So John Hagee is most certainly wrong, not just on the date, but on the very notion of how to even interpret bible. It’s the blind leading the blind, and that’s always bad, no matter how you spin it. I on the other hand can give you a true prophecy concerning the signs in the sky and what they mean, and it’s true because it’s scripture itself, Jeremiah 10:1-3:

“Hear what the Lordsays to you, people of Israel.  This is what the Lord says:Do not learn the ways of the nation,  or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are  worthless.'”

So not only do we not know when the end will come, we’re told that the pagan nations seek signs in the blood moons, stars, sun, etc. This is not what the Christian is called to do. So not only is Hagee wrong, he’s actually preaching a pagan message, dressed up with Christian clothes. The false pagan religions around Israel looked to these things as signs, the people of God were forbidden from doing so. If we want to know how Jesus would respond to Hagee or to us if we asked him for a sneak peak to the end, or some sign that his kingdom would be fully culminated on earth, we need not wonder. He gave us that answer very clearly.

“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 1:7-8

Pope, Policy and Polylogism

The recent visit to America by Pope Francis has marked a very interesting phenomenon.  On one side many are trying to align themselves with the Pope, even if they’re not Roman Catholic. On the other side, many are distancing themselves from the Pope and portraying him as the renegade Pope. Most interesting to me is the Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who’s claimed the He and the Pope share similar views as if they’re like-minded. Of course, we could all find things we agree with the Pope on and things we could agree with Bernie Sanders on. However, this is a far cry from having a similar worldview, which will ultimately shape one’s policies on whatever issue or topic is. I assure you Sanders and the Pope do not have similar worldviews (as evidenced from their differences on abortion and marriage) though they may share similarities in the issue of climate change and income inequality. Conservatives on the other hand have been quick to see the Pope as liberal because he thinks earth’s preservation should be an issue for politicians to address.

The point of this blog isn’t to either side with the Pope or to disagree with him. Rather it’s to point out the “Polylogisms” in society that the Pope seemed to bring to light. A Polylogism simply means “multiple logics”, and in the context of politics we see that there are very few logically consistent politicians. But before you bash the politicians, I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t a whole lot of logically consistent non-politicians either. Economist Gary North describes the problem of polylogism this way:

Do you want the man with the gun and the badge interfering with your town and the next one up the road? Do you think everyone would be richer if there were border patrol officials with badges and guns manning the highway and collecting a percentage on everything offered for sale? No? Good. You believe in economic liberty, free trade, and the division of labor.

What about border patrol officers between counties? No? Good. You’re a free trader. What about more officers, guns, badges, and sales taxes separating state lines? No? Good; you’re a free trader. We have reached the border between our nation and the one across the invisible line. Do you want guards, badges, guns, and sales taxes? At this point, most conservatives would say, “yes.” Why? “Because that’s good for America!”It’s not good for towns, counties, and states. But it’s good for America. Why? They have no answer. They do not see the connection.

So, at the end of the day, most people don’t see the fallacy in their own thinking and in their positions. They simply see it as logical since most everyone else in their party feels the same way. Now in fairness to conservatives, many liberals will be equally polylogistic and call for open borders in the US, all while promoting tariffs and heavy taxation at home and abroad. Both parties are in a sense full of polylogisms and both are great at accusing the other of their inconsistencies. What happened with Pope Francis though was even odder. When the Pope took a pro-immigration stance, pro-life stance, and pro-traditional marriage stance (add in the environmental issues) people went crazy, going one of two ways, either highlighting where the Pope agrees with them or distancing themselves, as if the Pope was the Polylogist not them. This is not to say that the Pope isn’t polylogistic in any way. A big part of the Reformation was to curtail the superstition that had crept into the church and return it to the word of God and the divine logic within its pages. But this is a topic for another time. Suffice it to say though that neither the White House or the GOP candidates could fully back the Pope. He didn’t tow the party lines, which is very much expected in this country. Sad but true. 

Also, it’s important to note not only can multiple logics be used in similarities that people apply inconsistently. But also, uniform logic can be applied to situations that are dissimilar, with equally bad results. Liberals commit the fallacy of false equivalence in trying to point the conservatives illogical position of being pro-life and yet pro-death penalty. They assume it’s immoral and inconsistent to claim to be pro-life and yet believe in capital punishment. However, this oversimplifies the issue and assumes an equality between an innocent child and a guilty perpetrator.

The conservatives may be right in this distinction between the two groups of people, but then often has a blatant blind support for the law and prisons, turning a blind eye to the atrocities of innocent men being put to death by faulty evidence and/or a crooked DA. When those cases come up which are undeniable they simply retort “That’s just the exception to the rule.” But what if the person who testified falsely or the DA who knowingly put an innocent man in jail was forced to undergo the sentence they doled out if later proven innocent? How many overzealous DA’s and attention-grabbing witnesses would you get? A lot less I’m quite sure. But neither side wants to meet at a point where they realize the strengths of the other’s position and the weaknesses of their own. If we did that we’d have a lot better system.

Take the minimum wage laws as a final example. Most conservatives are against minimum wage laws as they believe it hurts business. Most liberals are for it as they believe they make the people on the lower economic scale more prosperous. But what if I told you that minimum wage laws were created by racists to actually help the unions and businesses keep out the lower-wage workers who were non-union and often immigrants or blacks? This is indeed the case, it wasn’t that businesses were hurt by the minimum wage, it was actually the immigrant and the poor who were hurt by the very thing liberals now claim will help them. And since we went there what about immigration? The immigration laws first started in the 1920’s which were equally as racist, designed to keep out southern and eastern Europeans. The immigration policies of today are so backward it leads to what we see before us now, which is a massive immigration problem. Those on the left simply want amnesty, those on the right simply want enforcement of outdated laws. So, liberals correctly see the faulty logic on the immigration laws and express how free trade is hindered by Republicans. Yet they go and support unions and minimum wage, which guess what? Hinders free trade.  

Maybe the Pope, helped point out that our positions aren’t as well thought out as we think. Maybe our policies need to be addressed logically and systematically in this country? Maybe, it is time for us to wake up to the polylogism that is all around us. No doubt in an election year you will hear polylogistic thinking daily. Look for it, be aware of it, now that you’ve been told what it is, you won’t be able to go a day without seeing it. There are certain candidates I like better than others, but I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. As you can see I don’t think either the right or left has all the answers. Both parties are secular and humanistic in their thinking, though both give lip service to God. Nonetheless, there will be men and women who come on TV and get cheers of applause for their polylogisms. I say “find a new candidate” if that’s the case. Hopefully, you can find one…