There’s A Blood Moon On The Rise

red moon

The recent “blood moon” that we saw has set off many discussions about the end times, most of which are unproductive. A pastor named Mark Biltz of Washington state believes that this indicates that Jesus will come back in the fall of 2015. John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, has written a book that has given this theory a huge platform. Hagee seems to be more prudent than Harold Camping by remaining vague about what will happen. He says, with Nostradamus-like ambiguity, that the “blood moon” is a sign of important things to come. Even Rick Warren tweeted a picture of the moon with a reference to the prophetic verse in Joel.

Before we proceed we should get the relevant text.

The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.

Joel 2:31

Peter also quotes this verse when preaching at Pentecost in Acts 2:14-41.

These “blood moons” are simply lunar eclipses. They’ve happened before and quite frequently, more than three dozen times in the last 100 years. They aren’t omens of the judgment day; just awesome phenomena to watch. When we read scriptures about the moon turning blood red we are looking at something more than just lunar eclipses.

We get some clues about the meaning of Joel’s prophecy from the fact that Peter quotes it in his sermon. Some scholars believe that Peter is interpreting this prophecy as fulfilled at the day of Pentecost. There’s also the question of which day is the “day of the Lord.” Early Bible commentators believed it referred to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It could also refer to the final judgment. Some even think it could be both.

I also have a hypothesis I’d like to throw in, though it is pure speculation. I’d suggest that these heavenly signs could apply to Jesus dying on the cross. We know that there was an earthquake and that the sky went dark at that time. The Father unleashed the wrath of His justice on His Son. In a way, God also judged Israel for rejecting His Messiah. He tore the veil in the Temple and His presence was there no longer.

Everyone will be too busy freaking out to notice the moon turning blood red.

Keep in mind that a red moon (including Revelation 6) usually accompanies catastrophic events. They could be indications during, or after, a calamity has begun. The smoke from a great fire can make the moon appear to be red and so this sign may reference the destruction of war.

That’s one way I know that these lunar eclipses, which are cool to look at, probably aren’t prophetic signs. If they were then it would be a bad time in which some kind of disaster was already taking place. If these blood red moons were the ones prophesied then no one would care because they’d be too busy freaking out to notice.

The other problem with this lunatic theory is that 3 of the 4 eclipses aren’t even visible in Jerusalem, which is a deal-breaker. The prophecy is given to Israel but they can’t even see it.

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

Mark 13:22,23

Jesus told us that no one knows the day or hour so we should ignore anyone who foretells the second coming, no matter how cagey they are about it. The important thing to remember is that believers have no reason to fear because Jesus is victorious. Our responsibility is to be alert and expect the coming of our Lord.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

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7 Parallels Between Isaiah 53 And Jesus

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Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Isaiah 53:1-9

1. The first parallel that comes to mind is the birth of Jesus. It was a challenge for Joseph, Mary, and others to believe that Jesus was the messiah that was foretold in the scriptures. Later, during His ministry, we also see plenty of examples of people who struggle to accept that He was the one that Israel was expecting to deliver them.

2. When I read in verse two and three that the servant had no beauty and was rejected by men it takes me to Matthew 13:54-57 where the Jews were offended by the idea that a man as lowly as he, of no repute, could do such miraculous works and speak with such wisdom. This is where Jesus says that a prophet is not honored in his own country.

3. The parallel in verse four is much more explicit and we get it from the text itself in Matthew 8:17. The crowds brought their sick and demon-possessed and Jesus healed them all. We read that this is a fulfillment of the prophecy that God’s servant “would take up our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.”

4. In verse five we see that well-known text which explains what Jesus was doing on the cross to offer us salvation. He was beaten, tortured, and whipped for our sakes and because of that we receive healing. We are healed by His wounds.

5. The scene of Jesus’ scourging comes to mind as I read verse seven. He took His punishment, even though it was unjust and abusive. He did not fight back either. There was never a man as innocent and undeserving of any punishment as Jesus.

6. Verse eight relates to the scene in the Temple and in Pilate’s palace after Jesus’ arrest. He did not try to avoid the punishment because He knew this is why He came and that the Lord would give Him the grace to endure. He did not dispute the charges but He did fill His accusers with guilt and shame as they realized that they were putting an innocent, if there ever was one, to death.

7. We know from the narrative of Jesus’ death and resurrection that verse nine indicates the burial tomb that was provided for Him by a wealthy man. He was unlike any man who ever lived and yet His body was laid to rest as if He was just another criminal who failed to throw off Israel’s Roman oppressors.

Introduction to Isaiah

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I’ve recently completed a study of Isaiah using the devotional, Search The Scriptures, by Alan M. Stibbs. I like it because it gets you to interact directly with Scripture. You learn to study the Bible without having to rely on commentaries, study guides, or other intermediate materials. Even with the proliferation of books that help people study the Bible people are as biblically illiterate as they have ever been, including Christians.

I wanted to share the introduction from this devotional for the book of Isaiah. There is an intro written for every book and I find it helpful to get an idea of the big picture of the book.

Isaiah, the ‘evangelical prophet’, began his ministry at the end of Uzziah’s reign, and continued through the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. A Jewish tradition, to which allusion is perhaps made in Hebrews 11:37, states that he was slain in the reign of Manasseh by being sawn asunder. He was a man of outstanding faith in God, and came to exercise a large influence upon his fellow-countrymen. He had to contend with many difficulties, for the moral and spiritual condition of the people was corrupt. The rich oppressed the poor, and reveled in wanton luxury; justice was shamelessly bought and sold. When in distress, men turned to idols; and when in danger, they sought alliances with heathen powers. Isaiah urged a quiet trust in Jehovah, as the only sure path of safety; and when, in the supreme crisis of the Assyrian invasion, his counsel was followed, it was triumphantly vindicated in the destruction of the Assyrian army.

Isaiah spoke much of impending judgment; but he foresaw also the coming of the Messiah, and the establishment of His kingdom. His interest was not confined to his own nation of Judah only. He prophesied also concerning the northern kingdom of Israel (whose overthrow he witnessed), and the heathen nations surrounding Palestine.

The last twenty-seven chapters (40-66) contain a very remarkable group of prophecies, spoken primarily for the comfort and warning of those who lived in the period of the Jewish captivity in Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar about 150 years after Isaiah’s time. It is not possible here to discuss the modern contention that chapters 40-66 are not the work of Isaiah, but of one or more prophets who lived in the period of exile, or later. The problem is dealt with in the Introduction to Isaiah in The New Bible Commentary Revised, where the arguments adduced in favour of and against the unity of the book are carefully set down and analysed. Suffice it to say here that these studies are based upon the view, not lightly held, and supported by ancient Jewish tradition, and by the writers of the New Testament, that Isaiah was the author of the whole book. He had already foreseen in the vision of 13:1-14:23 (to which his name is attached; see 13:1) and in other visions (e.g., 21:1-10; 35; 39:6) the rise of Babylon to power and glory, and then her downfall, and the release of her Jewish captives. But in these later prophecies the glad message of redemption is revealed to him in far greater fullness. He takes his stand in prophetic vision in that later age, and declares the messages which God puts into his heart and upon his lips.

The chapters fall into three main sections, each ending with a statement of the doom of the wicked (48:22; 57:20, 21; 66:24). Embedded in these chapters are four prophecies, usually known as the ‘Servant’ passages, in which the prophet describes God’s ideal Servant, and, in so doing, draws a perfect picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an illustration of a notable feature of the prophecies of these chapters, that they look far beyond the period of the return under Cyrus to the coming of Jesus Christ, and the final events of this present age. While spoken primarily to and of Israel, they have a message to all who belong to Christ. The triumphant faith in God, the revelation of God’s character, and of the principles of His working, the insight into the human heart in its sin and weakness, the ‘exceeding great and precious promises’, with which these chapters abound, these and other features make this part of Scripture a veritable mine of wealth to the Christian reader.