Last week, on Passover eve, April 15th, there was a lunar eclipse, otherwise known as a blood moon. There has been some speculation, especially in Christian circles, about the significance of this event. It is the first of four blood moons that will occur this year and next falling on traditional Jewish Holidays, which are based upon biblical feasts. The second blood moon in this “tetrad” will occur on October 8th, which is the Jewish Sukkoth or the Bible Feast of Booths. Next year, there will be two more lunar eclipses falling on Passover and Sukkoth as well.
These are called blood moons not only because of the reddish appearance of the moon during the eclipse, but also because they call to mind several Bible verses from the books of Joel and Revelation prophesying the “coming of the Lord.” “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah.” (Joel 2:31) “And when He had opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.” (Rev 6:12)
Pastor John Hagee, an outspoken advocate for Israel, has been speaking about the possible significance of these blood moons. He believes that these signs presage climactic events for the earthly nation of Israel, such as a war with Iran. His espouses the idea that God has not finished His special dealings with earthly Israel. This end times view, popularized in the Left Behind series, stems from what I believe is a misunderstanding of Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks. Dispensationalists like Hagee misunderstand the grammar of Daniel 9:27. For a detailed explanation refer to my essay on the Real Rapture. Daniel 9:27 refers to Christ, not a future anti-Christ. This verse prophesies that Christ will put an end to sacrifice, which is exactly what He did on the cross.
Dispensationalists expect a rapture of the church prior to a literal 7 year “Great Tribulation.” They expect that during the Tribulation, the Jews will re-build their temple and re-institute sacrifices. I know that if this were to occur, it would be an insult to Christ and therefore an abomination to God. God is clear that there remains no more sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10: 12 + 26) and that He has demolished the division between Jew and Gentile in making one new man in Christ (Colossians 3:10-11). God is not a polygamist. He has one bride. He doesn’t have the Church as His bride and then an affair with Israel. The word “Israel” literally means “governed by God.” (The name given to Jacob after God kicked his butt). Followers of Christ are the true Israel.
Hagee’s concentration on earthly Israel may be clouding his understanding of what may be the greater significance of these blood moons. I contend that rather than pointing to some cataclysm relating to earthly Israel, these may be a sign of Christ’s return.
The return of Christ has been a subject of speculation since His ascension. Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour, but there will be some signs. He provides signs because He wants us to be anticipating His return. This is what Jesus Christ had to say regarding His return to this world:
But in those days, after that tribulation, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’ At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
So, Jesus connects His second coming with the sign of a lunar eclipse. The timing of the impending blood moons falling on biblical feast days is very significant. The feasts give us insight into God’s plan. They were and are a shadow of what was and is to come. The accuracy of the shadows inspired faith in the past ages and they do today as well. The feasts give us a glimpse at God’s prophetic calendar. All of the Bible feasts relate to the harvest. God is a God of order and design. He did significant things on significant days and He has revealed it in His Word. The natural harvest reveals God’s plan for His harvest of souls. Many of Jesus’ parables about the coming of the Kingdom had harvest themes.
In the Old Testament, God ordered three pilgrimages each year in which every Israelite was to go up to Jerusalem. These were: The Feast of Unleavened Bread which begins with Passover and occurs during the early spring or planting season, Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after Passover and is marked the beginning of the barley harvest, and then the feasts of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar which mark the completion of the harvest in the fall. The number “seven” in scripture is frequently associated with the theme of completeness, such as a week of creation.
The feasts of the seventh month, Trumpets and Tabernacles, are the Feasts of Ingathering. They celebrate the completion of the harvest of souls for God’s Kingdom. A blood moon falling on this specific feast ties the prophetic symbol to God’s timetable. Trumpets announce the coming of the King. The message of trumpets is, “Prepare to dwell with God, prepare the wedding feast, and celebrate the coming of the King.” Booths, or Sukkoth, celebrates dwelling with God. (See Zech 14:16.)
The fall feasts of Ingathering are yet to be fulfilled. They point to the return of Christ and His earthly Kingdom reign. The Feasts of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar start with the ten-day Feast of Trumpets, which ends on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, when the last trumpet of the feast is blown. The seventh and last trumpet of Rev. 11 is the same trumpet which is blown on Yom Kippur, the same one referred to in 1Thessalonians 4 and in 1Corinthians 15:52. The Hebrew writers of the New Testament were thoroughly familiar with God’s feast days and the term “last trump” would only have been associated with Yom Kippur.
As Creator, part of God’s nature is that He displays order and design. He does not do things haphazardly. He does significant deeds at significant times and places. He tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mt Moriah in order to prophetically reveal how He would offer His only Son, Jesus, on the same hill, 2000 years later.
At a stable in Bethlehem, a Jew named Boaz and a Gentile named Ruth united to birth the grandfather of David, who is a type of Christ, both King and Priest. God was showing that through their descendant, Jesus, He would bring forth the one new man, neither Jew nor Gentile, but one in Christ. 1000 years later Christ was incarnated in a stable in Bethlehem.
God also has done certain foundational actions at specific times, during His feast days. Passover marked Israel’s deliverance from the curse of death in Egypt. The Israelites were commanded to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark the door-posts of their homes with the blood of the lamb and it would be a sign that would spare them from judgment. Significantly, it was on Passover that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed to bring deliverance from sin and death for His people who have by faith applied the blood of His sacrifice to the door-posts of their heart. Three days after Passover, on the feast of First Fruits, Christ rose from the dead, as an offering of first fruit of the harvest of souls.
It was on Pentecost that God gave the law amidst tongues of fire on Sinai. It was on Pentecost that Ruth and Boaz were married. It was on Pentecost that God poured out the Holy Spirit upon His people, empowering them to keep the perfect law of liberty.
The Feasts portray God’s time clock. Jesus said, “open your eyes, you can tell when it’s time for the natural harvest…” Open your eyes and see the blood moons rising.
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