Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blood Moons Rising by Mark Hitchcock

Much is being written about the four “blood moons” (lunar eclipses) taking place in 2014 and 2015. Their significance was discovered by Mark Blitz in 2007 and made popular by John Hagee in a book he published last fall (see my critical review of Hagee's book here).

Hitcock agrees with much of Hagee's views of the end times (such as pre-tribulation rapture) but thinks Hagee misinterpreted some Scripture and drew wrong conclusions from history. “My view,” Hitchcock writes, “is that much of what people are saying today about blood moons is based on speculation and a misinterpretation of Scripture.”

He reviews what he believes Scripture says about the end times, examines the historical evidence for the blood moons prophecy, and then draws conclusions.

Here are the dates of the blood moons of 2014-2015:
  • Passover (April 15, 2014)
  • Tabernacles (October 8, 2014)
  • Total solar eclipse (March 20, 2015)
  • Passover (April 4, 2015)
  • Tabernacles (September 28, 2015)

Hitchcock notes that the blood moon theory is built upon four main ideas. 1) God uses the heavens to give signs to humanity. 2) The scientific fact of four blood moons in 2014-2015 falling on the Jewish feasts of Passover and Tabernacles. 3) Scripture mentions the moon turning to blood in conjunction with the end times. 4) When the four blood moons fell on Jewish feasts in the last 500 years (three times), something significant happened regarding the Jews.

He looks at what prophetic signs are and their significance. He takes us through the feasts in Leviticus 23, reviews where the eclipses are visible and the significance of that, looks at each of the Bible passages mentioning signs in the heavens and the end times, and finds problems with Hagee's conclusions.

He then looks at the past events associated with previous tetrads, noting that in two cases the historical events preceded the tetrads and in the third case preceded all eclipses but the first one.

Hitchcock reminds us of the detrimental effects resulting from previous declarations of dates for Christ's return (such as William Miller – 1844, Jehovah's Witness founder Charles Russel – 1914 and eight more dates, Edgar Whisenant – 1988, Harold Camping – 1994 and 2011). He notes the danger of assigning “significant” events to particular years (one can find an event of significant for practically every year), and his concern that proponents of the blood moon theory will find something in 2015 to validate their claim.

He also reminds us that Christians are always to be ready for the Lord's return. One reason – because we cannot know when that will be. “Date setting is futile and foolish,” he writes. We are not to get caught up in speculation about end time events.

Hitchcock has written a well researched response to Hagee's speculation. I highly recommend it. My only caution is that Hitchcock is a proponent of the currently popular pre-tribulation rapture end times theology. Readers need to be reminded that in the history of the Christian church, other views of the end times were held. Hitchcock bases much of his critique of Hagee upon his own belief that the (secret) rapture could happen any moment. While a (secret) rapture is not part of my end times theology, I do heartily agree with most of Hitchcock's critique of Hagee and do recommend this book.

Mark Hitchcock graduated from law school in 1984, thinking his career was set. He received a call to ministry, however, and went to Dallas Theological Seminary, completing a master's degree in 1991 and a doctoral degree in 2006. He has been the senior pastor of Faith bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma for over twenty years. He has authored more than fifteen books related to end times prophecy. He and his family live in Edmond, Oklahoma. Find out more about him and his books at http://marklhitchcock.com/.

Tyndale House Publishers, 224 pages. Publisher's product page.

I received a complimentary egalley of this from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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