A total lunar eclipse predicted to occur in 10 days has been the subject of religious conversations in recent weeks.
The fact that the April 15 eclipse is to happen during the Jewish holiday of Passover and is one of four total lunar eclipses predicted to coincide with Jewish feast days in 2014 and 2015 has several Christian religious leaders, including a local pastor, discussing its possible connection to biblical prophecy.
The Rev. Mark Hitchcock, an Edmond preacher and biblical prophecy expert, said he doesn’t believe the eclipses are related to Bible prophecy.
Hitchcock said while celestial signs and wonders are often part of biblical prophecy, the coming quartet of lunar eclipses is not among them.
Hitchcock, senior pastor of Faith Bible Church, 600 N Coltrane in Edmond, said he explains his reasoning in his book “Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel and the Four Blood Moons,” which was released in March.
Hitchcock’s book counters one written by the Rev. John Hagee, an internationally known preacher, televangelist and author, whose book about the four lunar eclipses has become a best-seller.
In “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change,” Hagee, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, asserts that something significant is about to happen regarding Israel because the blood moons — lunar eclipses — occur during the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot in 2014 and 2015.
The Rev. Mark Blitz, of El Shaddai Ministries, based in Bonney Lake, Wash., also has spoken of his belief in the ties between the lunar eclipses and Bible prophecy for Israel.
Hitchcock said he decided to write his book because numerous people began to ask him questions about the blood moons prophecy and many of his colleagues said they also were inundated with questions about the eclipses.
He said the amount of conjecture and interest in the prophecy reminded him of the Mayan calendar prophecy that predicted the world would end on Dec. 21, 2012.
“The difference in the Mayan calendar idea in 2012 was that it really was kind of outside the Christian world. This is a prediction being made by Christian pastors and Christian teachers,” Hitchcock said. “I examine the historical and scriptural information that they use and basically come to the conclusion that the conclusions they draw on this blood moon prophecy of 2014 and 2015 are not valid.”
Science says ...
Wayne Harris-Wyrick, director of the Kirkpatrick Museum at Science Museum Oklahoma, said he can’t “second-guess religious prophecy.”
However, he said it is rare to have so many total lunar eclipses visible from the same place, the United States, and back to back.
Harris-Wyrick said that, after the first total lunar eclipse on April 15, the other three are predicted to occur on Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.
He said a total lunar eclipse takes roughly four hours. He said a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves through Earth’s shadow.
The dramatic color that probably earned the lunar eclipse the term “blood moon” comes from the deep red or coppery red color that people see as the moon moves deeper into the Earth’s shadow, he said.
Signs of the times?
Hitchcock said the blood moons prophecy generally hinges on several biblical passages, including Joel 2:30-31, Matthew 24:29, Luke 21:25 and 28, Acts 2:19-20 and Revelation 6:12.
He said he sees the prophecy as similar to what he calls “date-setting” — or prophecies that set a date on the Second Coming of Christ. He said some of the people touting the blood moons prophecy have not set a specific date but are setting a specific time frame for Christ’s return, relating it to the lunar eclipses.
Hitchcock said he does think there are prophetic signs that herald the coming of the End Times. He said he believes Jews returning to Israel and the continued quest for peace in the Middle East are among those signs.
However, he said, “I just don’t see this blood moons prophecy as one of them.”
Meanwhile, two local Jewish leaders said they had not heard much about the prophecy being discussed among many Christians.
Vered Harris, rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel, said the prophecy was not something her congregation has talked about.
Ovadia Goldman, rabbi of the Chabad Jewish Center of Oklahoma City, expressed similar sentiments. He did say the blood moon prophecy as he understands it is vague, and those touting the prophecy do not seem to have clarity about what the divine message of the lunar eclipses is supposed to be.
Goldman said he is not against any prophecy that is positive in nature, and he believes God is constantly giving mankind signs in the sky.
“He’s constantly prodding us. He’s constantly inspiring us. He’s constantly opening up opportunities for us by communicating with us in different manners, so anybody that has any message, if it inspires us to do good, to move away from negativity and to see a more hopeful future, I think it’s a great thing,” Goldman said.