It’s happening again. A small but vocal group is sounding warnings about a coming blood moon on September 28, 2015. A blood moon, or total lunar eclipse is not uncommon but what makes this event notable is that it occurs while the earth and moon are at their closest positions.
A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon’s perigree — the point in the lunar orbit when it’s closest to the Earth — making it appear larger and brighter than normal. The supermoon at the end of this month is expected to be the closest one of 2015, a year that will see six supermoons in all.
A lunar eclipse, meanwhile, happens when the moon passes into alignment with the Earth and sun and briefly falls into Earth’s shadow. Space.com explains that during a total lunar eclipse, the moon often turns a reddish color when it’s hit by sunlight bent by the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a phenomenon called a “blood moon.”
This natural phenomenon is being hailed as an end times sign by many who believe the date of Jesus’ return can be known. John Hagee, a well-known TV preacher is popularizing the idea that the September 28th blood moon will mark a significant event likely related to Israel. The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper is reporting that Mormon author Julie Rowe is fueling a spike in preparations by Mormons for a catastrophic event. Many connect her beliefs with the coming blood moon.
Though Rowe rarely gives specific dates for predicted events, she did describe in a Fox News Radio interview “cities of light,” including scores of white tents where people will live in the mountains and sometimes be fed heavenly “manna.” She she saw a “bomb from Libya landing in Israel, but Iran will take credit.”
The leadership of the Mormon church has distanced themselves from her teachings.
History and False Prophets
Jesus himself warned of false prophets who trumpet the end of time and his return.
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
But it seems that the date-setters will never be content with a message of constant preparation. In 1832, William Miller began publishing articles on the return of Jesus. Although he set no single, specific date he did narrow the time down to a return between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. Later, a follower of Miller declared that Jesus would return on October 22, 1834. That message went viral and people began leaving their jobs and waiting on the Lord’s return. When the 22nd came and went people went home and tried to regain some sense of normalcy. What remained of Miller’s follows eventually became the seeds of the Seventh Day Adventist church.
More recently, Harold Camping, a preacher from California predicted September 6, 1994, as the day of the end. Later he predicted that Jesus return would begin on May 21, 2011, and that the following months would be marked by increasing devastation and death. Camping said the complete end would come on October 21, 2011, and that the entire universe would be destroyed. I’m writing on September 15, 2015…enough said about that.
The Problem with False Prophets
Some may be tempted to roll their eyes and think of these people as kooks. But I argue that they are causing extreme harm. They obviously place their own selves in danger as they speak falsely but attribute the teachings to God. But these stargazers also make Christianity appear to be little more than astrology or the reading of tea leaves. They harm the message of salvation by reducing it to a message from a traveling snake oil salesman....stargazers also make Christianity appear to be little more than astrology or the reading of… Click To Tweet
The consistent message of Scripture is clear: Be prepared. Following on the heels of his warning concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus offered the parable of the Ten Virgins. Beginning in Matthew 26:1, the single, powerful message is one of preparation. We are to be a holy people who wait on the Lord. The upshot of the false teaching, whether intended or not, is to live as you will and just watch the calendar. When the right day approaches, clean up your life and welcome Jesus.
I certainly acknowledge the trouble and uncertainty in our world today, but it need not mark the end of time. Until the Lord comes we will serve him and stand against every evil attack. When he does come, we will be ready.