The matter of the “Blood Moon Tetrad” has taken on a life of its own over the past year. For those who may not be aware, a full lunar eclipse is sometimes referred to as a “blood moon” because when the shadow of the earth completely blocks the sun’s direct rays, the moon takes on a reddish or red-orange color, for the same reason that sunsets are also frequently this color (due to refraction of light by the earth’s atmosphere).
A blood moon tetrad is when there are four consecutive full lunar eclipses with no other intervening eclipses. And, interestingly, as they have sometimes in the past, all four full lunar eclipses fall on Jewish feast days (Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles) in the spring and fall of 2014 and 2015.
Because of this, many prophecy teachers have suggested that biblical prophetic passages referring to the sun being darkened and the moon turning to blood (eg., Joel 2:30-31) could find their fulfillment during this current blood moon tetrad (which also includes a full solar eclipse). (I have has addressed this issue extensively in another article on this website, so I won’t go into refuting this notion here.)
Suffice it to say, in The Mystery of the Shemitah, as have others, Jonathan Cahn suggests there may well be a connection between the blood moon tetrad (and solar eclipses) and the supposed Shemitah of 2014-2015. Apart from the many biblical problems with this theory, one of the greatest concerns is the practical consequence of this quasi-date-setting (which is done with the perfunctory caveats that this might not be connected with biblical end time events in order to avoid the charge of date-setting).
The immediate problem is that if people think the Rapture or the beginning of the Tribulation or the Second Coming of Christ is directly connected to these completely natural events, then they don’t have to be concerned with the idea that the Rapture could happen at any moment—which, given human nature, means that some won’t be prepared and will be caught off-guard. For those who are caught off-guard and haven’t trusted in Christ for salvation, they will enter into the Tribulation and experience the worst cataclysmic events this world has ever seen as God pours out His wrath.
Then the longer term problem is that if the blood moons, solar eclipses and Shemitah pass without anything happening, how many will completely turn their back on anyone who teaches on prophecy—or turn their back on the Word of God altogether? We could well be in the last days, or even the last hours of the last days—but God’s timetable is not the same as ours, and Christ could come at any moment—before, during or after the blood moon tetrad.
Furthermore, history shows that when dates are suggested for the end of the world, the Rapture, Armageddon, etc., there are those who become so caught up in it that they quit their jobs, get rid of everything they own, and just wait for the end to come. Even more tragically, as happened with at least one person because of the date-setting of Harold Camping, some may commit suicide.
This may be one reason why Jesus told his disciples that no one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels or the Son of Man himself (Matt 24:36, 44Mark 13:32).
Discernment Tip: Think. Think biblically and think logically—because the two aren’t at odds for the believer.
The Lord has given us His word to know and understand what He has done in the past, what He is doing in the present and what He will do in the future. He has also given us a brain and the ability to reason. So, let’s put this altogether and consider just three things about the blood moon tetrad biblically and logically:
The present blood moon tetrad is a completely natural and predictable event. NASA has calculated the precise location and the exact timing (to the second) of every lunar and solar eclipse for thousands of years in the past to thousands of years into the future. Since Jesus is the Creator, that means He is the one who established this precise timetable and geometry of the orbits of the earth, moon and sun in the very beginning. Then how is it that He couldn’t have figured out the mystery of the Shemitah and its convergence with the blood moon tetrad long before Cahn and Biltz did? Yet, He told his disciples, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
The wording of Joel 2:30-31, (and quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:19-20)) suggests that the darkening of the sun and the moon turning blood red are simultaneous events. However, if Cahn and Biltz are right about the present blood moons being fulfillment of this prophecy, there is a problem: full solar and full lunar eclipses can only occur exactly two weeks apart, because during a solar eclipse, the moon is between the earth and the sun, and during a lunar eclipse, the earth is between the moon and the sun.
Consider all the times that the Lord used nature as a warning of judgment or as the judgment itself—for example, in the past there was Noah’s flood, the plagues of Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea by a wind, and Joshua’s long day when the sun stood still. Then there are all of the cataclysmic events in nature described in the book of Revelation. Although they involve God using nature, none of them were / will be merely natural, predictable events. Each was / will be supernatural, even though done using nature. If they had been purely natural and completely predictable, then they would never be recognized as coming directly from the hand of God.
_________Lack of Documentation
Although The Harbinger was classified as a work of fiction, Jonathan Cahn stated in an interview with Brannon Howse in 2012 that his book was 90 percent fact and 10 percent fiction. Also, in the lead-in to the book, Cahn wrote: “What you are about to read is presented in the form of a story, but what is contained within the story is real.”18
Given that it is “mostly real,” a particular problem with The Harbinger is that very few of the author’s assertions and fact-claims are documented. Because of this, a tremendous amount of primary research was needed to do the necessary fact-checking to any degree. As it turned out there were many problems, not the least of which was the author’s very selective use of historical facts and statistics in order to make his case (as was thoroughly documented in this reviewer’s book, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?).
However, The Mystery of the Shemitah is not a work of fiction at all—it is non-fiction. Unfortunately, Cahn bombards the reader with dozens and dozens of assertions and fact-claims concerning historical events, economic trends, financial statistics, and includes many graphs depicting the course of the stock market—all with absolutely no citation of sources of any kind. This is a significant issue for many reasons, not the least of which is that with the overwhelming success of The Harbinger, it is unlikely that many, if any, of Cahn’s readers will ever take the time to do the necessary fact-checking themselves.
It is inconceivable that a non-fiction book with so many fact-claims would be published with no documentation. The standard, even for college-level papers, is that if there are facts that are not common knowledge (i.e., the Grand Canyon is in Arizona; George H.W. Bush’s son was also a President of the United States), then the source of those facts must be cited in footnotes or endnotes and the paper must also include a full bibliography. For a best-selling author and a major publisher to release something like this into the marketplace with no citation of sources raises serious ethical questions, if not worse.
Beyond this, it appears that many of the facts cited by Jonathan Cahn may have come from a source that is not even recognized as legitimate by many colleges and universities. The following are a few of what appear to be some of the more obvious examples. (Note: Unfortunately, because of the lack of documentation, this reviewer had to do a significant amount of research to discover the sources of Cahn’s assertions and fact-claims.)
In each of the following pairs of screen shots, the first is from the Kindle edition of The Mystery of the Shemitah and the second from Wikipedia. (The reader may also note in some cases, not only the lack of documentation, but the similarity of wording between the book and the apparent source material.)
Concerning the use of Wikipedia as a primary source for research work, Wikipedia itself notes the following in an essay:19
Even the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has been quoted as saying the following concerning the popular website:20
To be fair, not all of the facts cited in The Mystery of the Shemitah seem to have come from Wikipedia, and yet in some of those cases, there are serious (potentially even legal) issues because of similar or nearly exact wording combined with the lack of documentation. Here is one example.
Beyond the lack of documentation for facts and figures, there are a total of nineteen graphs in The Mystery of the Shemitah, none of which have any citation for the source of the graphs or for the data used to create the graphs. The following are three graphs found in the book.
The first thing that should catch the reader’s attention is the lack of vertical scales with units for reference points. Depending on the amount of compression or expansion done on the vertical scale, such graphs, just like with statistics, can be made to support virtually any theory or conclusion if there is no scale for context. The following graph perfectly illustrates the problem, because based on Cahn’s book, one would think that the stock market fluctuations on the proposed seven-year cycle was producing economic cataclysms of profound proportions. However, as can be seen here, when viewed in the full proportionate context of the rises, as well, the downturns in both duration and amount are relatively minor.
Discernment Tip #1: Beware of an author who fails to document assertions and fact-claims when they are critical to his argument.
Interpretations in primary sources can easily be presented as facts in secondary sources, particularly when things like history and economics are involved. Therefore, the context of the original information can be vital to correctly understanding what is being presented.
An author should never leave the burden of proof upon his readers by forcing them to do the research he should have provided for fact-checking purposes.
Discernment Tip #2: Someone has rightly said that if you torture statistics long enough, you can get them to confess to anything.
Be very careful when an author uses statistics to lay the primary foundation for his theories. Statistics, like history and economics, can usually be interpreted in a variety of ways. Whenever an author bombards his readers with statistics to prove his point, this should be an immediate red flag to dig deeper to avoid being caught up in the drama of the “overwhelming evidence.”
Intentionally or not, these men are marketing “fear”—and “fear” is selling at a brisk pace in today’s troubled world.
Is this assessment too harsh? Consider this:
As noted earlier, Jonathan Cahn and Mark Biltz have recently made regular appearances on The Jim Bakker Show. The program that aired on September 16, from which the previously cited exchange between Biltz and Bakker is taken, is fifty-eight minutes long. Of that fifty-eight minutes, the entire last twelve minutes, 20 percent of the show, are devoted exclusively to promoting “survival” products and food packages. In order for the ministry to maintain 501(c)3 non-profit status with the IRS, this survival gear cannot be sold, so these things are “given away” for “donations” of up to $3,000 for a package that is supposed to feed two people for up to two years.
The video below is the ten-minute segment at the end of the September 16, 2014 The Jim Bakker Show. It is difficult to not characterize this as anything but gratuitous, shameless marketing.
Naturally, the promotion of survival products doesn’t happen only when Mark Biltz is on the program, but is part of every show. On the September 2, 2014 show with Jonathan Cahn, the survival equipment and food advertisement is in the middle of the program, which can be seen here.
These men are no less culpable than Jim Bakker, even though they are just guests. They are more than just guests—they are regular fixtures on the program. They are a vital part of the success of The Jim Bakker Show. And they are helping him to get rich by trying to create a market of fearful people and then selling products to this very market. When Mark Biltz and Jim Bakker team up to warn their audience that they have one year until the Tribulation begins—and when at least Biltz and Cahn will not allow themselves to be pinned down on the timing of the Rapture (meaning that they hold open the possibility that the church may go through it)—and then they turn around and promote these survival products with slick marketing techniques, this is nothing less than peddling the Word of God.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14-17)
Discernment Tip: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Only God knows the heart and judging motives is not our prerogative. However, when massive amounts of money are in play, it can be difficult for even the most spiritual, well-meaning people to keep their bearings—at least for a time. This is not an accusation and we can only hope that this hasn’t happened in connection with the current Shemitah / Blood Moons debacle.
__________ Closing Thoughts
We don’t know God’s timetable and so we can’t know when the Rapture will happen or when the Tribulation will begin. The Rapture could take place before you finish reading this sentence. It may happen on the Feast of Trumpets in 2015. Or, it could be long after the last lunar eclipse in the current Blood Moon Tetrad.
The only thing we know for certain is that the Rapture will take place (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and that we must be ready when it happens. Moreover, the only way to be ready for the time when all believers will be caught up to meet Christ in the air, to be with Him forever, and to avoid going through the horrors of the Tribulation as God unleashes His wrath upon the earth, is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh, became a man, and lived a perfect life in complete obedience to God the Father. He willingly offered Himself up as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men, taking the punishment we all deserve, shedding his blood as a payment for our sins, and dying in our place on a Roman cross. He offers salvation, the sure hope of forgiven sin, to anyone who will turn to Him in faith, trusting in Him and His shed blood and His sacrificial death.
And because He arose from the grave on the third day, His offer includes not only the sure hope of forgiven sin, but also the sure hope of eternal life as a free gift of God’s grace to all who believe.