The World Will End Soon! Again!

end of the world hageeI enjoy writing books, but the marketing part isn’t my strength. I sit at the feet of the master when I marvel at the work of John Hagee. He declared in 2013 that the world would soon end and that only his book Four Blood Moons had the details. (Why didn’t I think of that?)

Of course, that didn’t happen. I’m sure he knew it wouldn’t happen. But why let that stop you? The Bible makes predictions that didn’t come true, so Hagee was applying a proven formula. If I could just get past my darned compulsion for honesty, who knows what I might accomplish?

In his book trailer, Hagee said:

I believe that the heavens are God’s billboard. That he has been sending signals to planet earth, and we just haven’t been picking them up. . . . God is literally screaming at the world, “I’m coming soon.” The coming four blood moons points to a world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015.

What the hell is he talking about?

The phrase “blood moons” is taken from Joel 2:30–31: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Hagee interprets “blood moons” simply as lunar eclipses, since the moon in total eclipse usually looks dark red.

Hagee’s four blood moons refer to eclipses at the start of the Jewish festivals of Passover and Sukkot (also called the Feast of Tabernacles), twice each, all in a row.

You might think that this is an incredible coincidence, but remember that these two holidays start on the day of a full moon by definition, and lunar eclipses can only happen during full moons. There are 2.3 lunar eclipses per year out of 12.4 full moons per year. (If more than two lunar eclipses per year sounds high, remember that they don’t last long. If the eclipse is happening during the day in your part of the world, you obviously won’t see it.)

That any particular Passover or Sukkot begins with a lunar eclipse isn’t surprising, though four of these eclipsed holidays in a row is much less common.

Hagee puts on his prophet hat to interpret. He says that in the past five centuries, there have been three such coincidences, and each has happened during an important event in the life of Israel. He said, “This is something that just is beyond coincidental.”

Time for audience participation

See if you can guess what three events are most important in the life of Israel since the fifteenth century. Guess what God rearranged the heavens to tell us.

Got your answer? Let’s see how you did.

And the first instance of a blood moon is . . .

We start in Spain in 1492. For this date, Christian history typically points to the end of the eight-century-long expulsion of the Muslims from Christian Spain. This “Reconquista” ended with the fall of Granada on January 2, 1492.

But no, Hagee says that God was focusing on the expulsion of Jews from Spain. The Edict of Expulsion was issued on March 31, 1492, and it gave Jews four months to leave. An estimated 100,000 Jews or more were forced to leave.

One small problem is that Hagee’s first blood moon didn’t happen until almost a year later (Passover, on April 2, 1493).

Remember that the “four blood moons” take about 18 months to play out (starting with a Passover and ending two Sukkots later). So God’s celestial exclamation point took place in slow motion after the problem had already come and gone.

Example two

Next up is the establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948. Okay, that sounds like a big development.

However, we have yet again the small problem that Hagee’s first blood moon didn’t happen until almost a year later (Passover, on April 14, 1949).

Example three

The last one was the Six-Day War, June 5–10, 1967. God must’ve been paying attention this time, because the first blood moon had already happened (on Passover, April 25, 1967).

But why this war? Since independence, Israel has had lots of conflicts. In particular, why not the Yom Kippur War in 1973? That war was a surprise, and there were more Israeli casualties.

And what about the Holocaust? How does this not make the list?! Israel lost less than 1000 dead and 4500 wounded during the Six-Day War. In the Holocaust, six million Jews were killed.

God was apparently also unmoved by any of the anti-Jewish pogroms. In Ukraine, for example, as many as a quarter million Jews were killed after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Let’s be clear, too, that the idea of “blood moon” = natural eclipse is Hagee’s invention. More importantly, the idea that eclipses occurring on Jewish holy days is meaningful in a cosmic sense is an invention. As is the idea of four in a row (instead of two or seven, say). The Bible mentions the moon turning to blood; it says nothing about four of them. “Four blood moons” is a marketing concept, not a biblical concept.

But we’ve just begun to laugh at Hagee’s expense, and there’s too much nutty stuff for one post.

To be continued.

When you get the urge to predict the future, 
better lie down until the feeling goes away.
— Forbes magazine (1978)

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 12/6/13.)

Image credit: Lene Melendez, flickr, CC

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Raging Bee

    Not AGAIN!!!

  • GubbaBumpkin

    The great thing about end-of-world books and movies is the potential for sequels.

  • guerillasurgeon

    Oh well, time to get a few old clothes out on the front lawn again. Just to make them think they’ve been left behind.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The last time I tried that, I got it backwards. Instead of simulating the clothes left behind, I simulated the naked guy ascending into heaven.

      Whoops.

    • Snowflake

      You are fun.

    • Otto

      Dumb a quart of salt on top just for effect.

  • Michael Neville

    All these end-of-times prophets either ignore Mark 13:32-33 or interpret it to be about the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE:

    But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. (NIV)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Are you so new to the Faith®, brother, that you don’t know that the Good Book can be made to say anything?

      1 Thessalonians 5:2–3 says: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.… Destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman.” This makes your point, but the very next verse overturns it: “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.”

      This is the angle that Brother Harold Camping used to prove without doubt that the Rapture would be 5/21/11.

      And sure enough, it came. Without a doubt.

      • Otto

        Ahhh…the Big Book of Multiple Choice

      • Greg G.

        Remember when I said I would pay you back on 5/22/11? Well, I got raptured.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Dang. But there’s an upside: I now have proof of heaven!

      • Michael Neville

        I remember 5/21/11. I had a root canal that day.

        • Otto

          I had a Harold Camping bingo card where you filled in spaces depending on the excuse for the rapture not happening…I got Bingo.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I know a guy who knows a guy who was computing square roots in Panama that day. COINCIDENCE?!

      • Snowflake

        Gin can help you say anything also, and is more fun.

    • Otto

      I would be afraid to ask but how can the fact that the Son does not know what the Father knows jive with the concept of the Trinity?

      • Greg G.

        The Trinity has been arguing about that for a couple of seconds and that’s why the rapture is 2000 years late.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Please remember to distinguish D[ivine s]econds from mere earthly seconds.

      • Michael Neville

        It’s a mystery, just like everything else connected with the Trinity.

        • Otto

          Ah…the Catholic response…that is why I am not one any longer…lol

      • Bravo Sierra

        It works a lot like those childhood memories that I keep suppressing. My ego and superego doesn’t know what my id knows.

      • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

        Well, he was fully human and fully divine. At that point on earth it was the human side that was showing. I think there is some debate on whether the Son knows it in heaven now, or if one day the Father will just tap him on the shoulder and say “Son, this is it. The big day. Hope you’re ready.”

        (full disclosure: no guarantees on this answer, as my former denomination didn’t believe the Trinity anyway…)

        • Michael Neville

          Just for curiosity’s sake, were you a Mormon? They’re the largest non-trinitarian denomination I know of.

        • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

          No, Christadelphian. With a world-wide membership of 30 – 50 thousand worldwide it was clear that we had the Truth and were correctly on the narrow way, and that most people we talked to would never have heard the name and would stumble on it. :)

          [it’s actually bad Greek for “brothers in Christ”, and has nothing to do with dolphins].

        • Michael Neville

          You’re the first (ex-)Christadelphian I’ve come across. I use that sect as an example of Christians who don’t accept the Trinity but otherwise I know little about it.

        • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

          Well, I heard tonight from my brother that he mentioned at a Christian school not believing in the Trinity, and someone responded “Does that mean you’re not a Christian?”

          It is true that some definitions of Christianity require the Trinity. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was the original belief…

        • epicurus

          It’s delphian friendly

        • Kingasaurus

          They actually came to my door once. Is the door2door stuff that common for them?

        • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

          In some areas, maybe, but not in mine. I’ve never done it myself, nor been in a church where it was done.

        • Greg G.

          Some visited shortly after I moved into my house about 11 years ago. I invited them and served some ice water. They shared their views, I shared mine, and they never came back. I’m wondering if they ever went back to church.

        • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

          Well, one of the criticisms I heard from time to time was that as a community we were too insular, and if we really had The Truth we would want to go out and spread it to others rather than dropping a leaflet in their letterbox and expecting them to come to us. Obviously some Christadelphians somewhere have taken that view on board.

          Maybe it was a once-off?
          Or maybe the experience was unproductive (and/or scary) enough that it became a once-off?

        • Greg G.

          Sorry, I lost track of the topic and didn’t read upthread far enough. I forget what denomination they were from but it was not Christadelphian.

        • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

          You restore my faith in the insular Christadelphian stereotype.
          😉

  • Snowflake

    Gosh, this stuff is just so weird.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      What’s completely unfathomable (for me anyway) is how people let them get away with it. It’s been over a year since the frightening 4 blood moons have come and gone, and John Hagee keeps blundering along, not tarred and feathered, as you’d think would be appropriate. Or stoned to death, as the Old Testament demands of false prophets.

      • Snowflake

        I guess it’s a good thing he lives in America. Tarring and feathering or stoning to death is frowned upon.

        • Greg G.

          When Pence becomes president, he may try to bring back stoning.

        • Snowflake

          Well, that will work in this situation.

        • epicurus

          And probably stoning for getting stoned

        • Otto

          Do you think it would work…;)

        • Kevin K

          If Pence becomes President, I’ll get stoned.

        • Greg G.

          If Pence does become president, He is sure to assume he as a mandate goddate. He was chosen as a poison pill so that if Trump was elected, nobody would assassinate him or impeach him to keep Pence out, but he may have underestimated how much folks would put up with. Trump got elected because hardcore Sanders voters wanted to punish Hillary, not to actually elect Trump.

        • Pofarmer

          Trump got elected because hardcore Sanders voters wanted to punish Hillary, not to actually elect Trump.

          I’m not 100% sure that’s entirely true, but, be that as it may, I think Pence is in this Flynn/Russia stuff up to his eyeballs, and Ryan has been shown to be complicit, as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a President Hatch, if the whole thing explodes.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, I think the “anti-assassination” thing is pretty clear. The only other person on the ticket who would have had a greater impact in that regard would have been Ted Fucking Cruz.

  • Greg G.

    When you get the urge to predict the future,
    better lie down until the feeling goes away.

    Forbes magazine (1978) John Hagee

    ftfy

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’m sure Pastor John appreciates your correction.

  • Greg G.

    When the last eclipse happened in 2015, I was on a flight somewhere over the North Pole. We came in from the north, under the radar. Miraculously, nobody was poisoned by the in-flight meal and we landed on time without incidence.

    • Michael Neville

      Coming in from London from over the pole
      Flyin’ in a big jet liner
      Chicks are flyin’ everywhere around the plane
      Could we ever feel much finer?
      –Arlo Guthrie “Coming into Los Angeles”

    • Otto

      You are lucky you didn’t fly over the edge of the earth and fall over into the nothingness.

      • Kuno

        Nah, the edge is in Antarctica.

        • Otto

          Hmmm…I never understood how that works.

  • kaydenpat

    So what was the earth shattering event which occurred between April 2014 and October 2015? Hagee should be forced to explain his spurious claims.

    The Bible has some harsh words for false prophets.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Why haven’t the flocked stoned him to death? Maybe they don’t respect the Good Book like I do.

    • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

      Someone in thirty years time (or whenever the next one of these comes round) will find some event within a year or two either side that fits the pattern. It will look much clearer with a beautiful hindsight view and a bit of cherry-picking.

  • epicurus

    I read Hagee’s book last year after coming across it in the public library. Pretty stupid book, but I don’t recall finding anything in it specific enough to wind up being a failed prophecy. Which is exactly the way to write that kind of book – be vague enough that no can pin you down when you’re kinda sorta prediction is wrong.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      What surprised me most was that he didn’t have some sort of wrapup, some world event during that time, to declare victory from. Perhaps he considered that but felt it wiser to just let that fiasco fade away and misdirect the flock’s attention to some new project of his–preferably something that the flock could help support with lots of money.

      • epicurus

        Yes, as I think you mentioned in a post awhile back, these guys should be held accountable for their failed predictions, instead of being allowed to just move on to the next.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Brother Camping has gone to the Lord, but I think that he should’ve reimbursed people who went bankrupt to give him money, counting on there not being a tomorrow after 5/21/11. Why was that not fraud on his part??

        • epicurus

          And Oral Roberts – I need 8 million dollars or God’s going to call me home.
          He didn’t get 8 million dollars, God didn’t call him home, and, to best of my knowledge, he didn’t refund the money he did get.

        • Mrislandliving

          I’d read that his reprobate brother, Anal Roberts, siphoned off most of the donations to an offshore account.

        • Michael Neville

          Thank you for appealing to my inner 12 year old.

  • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

    I can answer at least one of your questions: Why are 1948 and 1967 considered more important than the other Israeli wars?

    1948 was obviously the return of the Jews to the land as an official nation, as per Ezekiel 37 (forget the fact that Ezekiel 37 was probably meant to be return from the Babylonian exile, and that in 1948 the Jews had been in the process of returning as individuals for more than 50 years).

    1967 was when they took complete control of Jerusalem. This was considered the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

    Whether or not Yom Kippur war was more or less severe, I’m not sure any of the events are considered specifically related to the different prophecies. Though I’m pretty sure all three of them have been linked to Psalm 83, as will be the next big one if it comes.

    Certainly in my former denomination 1948 and 1967 were considered the big two, and that was so long before Hagee’s book was published. I’ve talked with people who were baptised around the time of the Six Day War, and there was a real fear that Christ was coming any day now and they could miss out. Given it’s coming up for its 50th anniversary in a couple of weeks, those people aren’t quite so young any more…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Helpful. But the omission of the Holocaust remains a problem, no?

      • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

        Perhaps. But I think it would usually be considered one of the key triggers for setting up the state of Israel, and thus gets included in.

        Of course, I’m not disagreeing that Hagee’s theory is cherry-picking…

  • Mrislandliving

    Here’s a presentation by Dr. Guy McPherson regarding the exponential changes that our climate/environment has been experiencing and, more importantly, what effects it will have for life on the planet. This is based on science and data, not an ancient holy book. I encourage everyone to watch it with an open mind, take notes and do further research on your own for verification.

    Messages like McPherson’s are not well received as they are contrary to the widespread “pursuit of happiness” that many of us embrace as a primary purpose of life. He warns us that enlightenment is not for the faint of heart and many will continue to ignore the exponential changes on our planet until they’re affected personally.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpNc2iS9A4M

  • wtfwjtd

    “God is literally screaming at the world, “I’m coming soon.” ”

    If god screams in outer space and he’s not really there, does he make a sound?

    I guess not.

    • Otto

      “God is literally screaming at the world, “I’m coming soon.” ”

      “I didn’t even know he was breathing hard”

      -stolen

  • susan faccone

    You know for an all powerful God he does not communicate well. Let’s be honest, Hagee has been spewing this garbage for as long as he became a pastor. I do not understand why he keeps embarrassing himself. If the keeps “predicting” and it doesn’t come to pass, that should be it. He doesn’t even follow his own Bible (surprise) because, well, read it yourself and decide. Matthew 24:36-44 declares, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come

    • Robert Templeton

      Yet, despite precisely what the book says, they continue to attempt to ‘know about that day or hour’. Most of this appears to stem from their interpretation (and I’ll just leave it at that) of the Book of Revelations sprinkled with a few of Jesus’ prognostications in the Gospels.

      One final note: If Jesus is to believed, considering that he represents their God, then even Jesus’ prediction failed – just a few sentences before your quoted scripture, he states (is made to state):

      “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” – Matthew 24:34 (NIV)

    • Odd Jørgensen

      No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…

      Which is weird, since jebus is supposed to be god too. Inconsistencies, the bible is consistent in that at least.

  • What? Me Worry?

    You’re falling behind, the frenzy has moved on, the blood moons were yesterday’s craze.The latest heavenly warning being talked about in the Left Behind crowd is the astronomical alignment that will occur on September 23, 2017. Many Fundamentalist types are sure it means that the rapture will occur on or shortly after that date.

    It pays to be ready. Buy some champagne just in case they’re right.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcivhMGN-WM

    • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

      I hadn’t heard of that one, thanks for the notification. Sounds a bit tenuous, though.

      From Answers in Genesis ( https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/what-will-happen-september-23-2017/ – nice they can be helpful sometimes):

      This means that Jupiter appears in the part of Virgo corresponding to
      her womb, along with the sun in Virgo and the moon at her feet for a day
      or two every 12 years or so. The last time this happened was in 2005,
      so why was that event not heralded for its prophetic significance? I
      suspect that it is because YouTube was very new then, having started in
      February of that year. This year, with the huge popularity of YouTube,
      it is much easier to propagate these ideas.

      (I love that Youtube comment).
      Unfortunately, the end spoils an otherwise considered article:

      Instead of setting dates, we ought to be ready for His return at any moment. Are you ready?

      • Michael Neville

        That is AIG. They’ve got to be true to their roots.

      • Joe

        Instead of setting dates, we ought to be ready for His return at any moment. Are you ready?

        How many of those who visit the site will have cancelled their golf game this weekend upon reading this?

      • What? Me Worry?

        Well details like that are a piddling impediment to firing up the rapture radar for a fundamentalist. I’m just upset that I didn’t learn about this years ago. I could have cleaned up with my very own John Hagee style fleece-the-sheep book.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’ll admit that blood moons are so last year, but it is useful (and fun) to wallow in Hagee’s idiocy.

      But I hadn’t heard about this one. Thanks for the tip.

  • RichardSRussell

    Final Exam in Comparative Religion: What have there been more of since Jesus died, years or predictions of his imminent return? Don’t bother to explain your answer or show your work.

  • Snagglefritz Sagenschnitter

    My favourite prophecy of all time – Jesus would be born of a woman – and it came true!
    https://www.thoughtco.com/prophecies-of-jesus-fulfilled-700159 (scroll down to the list – it’s #1)

    • busterggi

      Retconning – the most effective way to make prophecies come true.

  • carbonUnit

    Do they pay much attention to solar eclipses?? On the afternoon of Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the US from coast to coast, going from Oregon to South Carolina. https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html (I’m planning on being somewhere on that line that day at a cloud-free location.) Seven years later, another eclipse comes up out of Mexico, crosses the mid-section of the US then runs up along the southern edge of the Great Lakes along the northern edges of the North Eastern states. https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2024Apr08Tgoogle.html The tracks meet in southern Illinois – must be a Sign From God!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivl_zzJ_1hE

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Crossroads? I get it!