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