NASHVILLE (BP) -- Televangelist John Hagee's prediction that a series of "blood moon" lunar eclipses signals a "world shaking event" is a misinterpretation of the Bible, two Southern Baptist professors said.
Hagee's prediction "ignores" a common style of writing in the Bible known as "apocalyptic literature" that "frequently contains cosmic imagery" to describe significant spiritual events. In apocalyptic literature such figures of speech are not meant to be interpreted "in a literalistic manner," Ben Merkle, associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., told Baptist Press.
|"The wise course of action is not to speculate about various 'signs of the times,' … but rather to keep your spiritual house in order…." |
-- Bruce Gordon, Houston Baptist University
A rare sequence of four consecutive complete lunar eclipses -- known as a tetrad -- began April 15 and will conclude in September 2015. There were no tetrads between 1600 and 1900, though several will occur in the 21st century. A complete lunar eclipse is called a "blood moon" because the earth blocks direct sunlight from striking the moon, leaving the moon illuminated by refracted light which gives it a red hue.
Hagee, founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, drew on biblical references about the moon turning to blood and said the tetrad signals an approaching event of major cosmic significance. This tetrad is especially significant, he said, because each eclipse will occur on a Jewish holy day: April 15, 2014 (Passover), Oct. 8, 2014 (Feast of Tabernacles), April 4, 2015 (Passover) and Sept. 28, 2015 (Feast of Tabernacles). Previous tetrads coincided with expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, Israel's statehood in 1948 and the Six Day War in 1967, Hagee said.
National media outlets reported Hagee's prediction, including USA Today, CNN, the Houston Chronicle, the New York Daily News and Christianity Today.
Hagee has a history of making controversial statements, as when he suggested Hurricane Katrina was an expression of God's wrath toward New Orleans. He also holds to "dual covenant theology," the belief that Jews can be saved by keeping the Old Testament "Law of Moses" unlike Gentiles, who must trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Hagee, 73, said he has been preparing for the tetrad for years and published a book titled "Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change." An accompanying online television special aired April 15.
In a sermon posted on YouTube, Hagee quoted Joel 2, Acts 2 and Mark 13 -- passages that speak of the moon being "darkened" or turned "to blood" -- and claimed Christians would be foolish not to view the tetrad as a sign from God. Read More