The reason a bevy of justifiably smug journalists was camping on Harold Camping’s front lawn on May 21, 2011 is because yet another of the preacher-cum-radio-broadcaster’s predictions of rapture had misfired.
One would think that after his failed prediction of 1988 Camping’s popularity as an authority on date-setting would have waned. If not then, perhaps after his 1989 repeat performance. Incredibly, his credulous followers remained obdurate about Camping’s abilities to pinpoint an event the Bible says is impossible to predict. When he suddenly appeared to the salivating pack of reporters on his lawn Camping explained that his prophecy must have been fulfilled in a “spiritual” way (preterist much?) but that he foresaw the literal coming of Christ happening on October 21, the same year.
Anyhoo… The reason for this trip down memorable mishap lane, is that it’s about that time of the millennium again, so we are faced with a new date-setting phenomenon at which to furrow our brows. This time the mania for rapture takes on slightly more of a lunatic hue. I mean that fairly literally.
The “blood moon tetrad” is the latest prophecy to make the rounds on social media.
Admittedly, I can’t wax eloquent on its finer details, but as I understand it the prediction is elastically derived from the prophet Joel’s words that reoccur on Peter’s lips in his Pentecost sermon of Acts 2:20 “the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.”
Obviously that verse must be referring to the blood moon tetrad. What’s that, you ask? It’s only the most rare event in the history of history. Kinda.
A blood moon tetrad is when four consecutive lunar eclipses, with six full moons in between, but no partial lunar eclipses interfering, happen to coincide with Jewish feasts. Got that? The first in the series was during last year’s Passover: April 15, 2014 (a possible portent of death and taxes?) and sported a deep red coloration. The crimson imbuement is caused by Rayleigh scattering and is not at all uncommon with eclipses, but still. Red. Like blood. Very cool.
The other eclipses presented themselves dutifully during the Feast of Booths on October 8, 2014, then again at the following Passover on April 4 (also the date of Martin Luther King’s assassination, just saying).
And here’s the good part: the final climactic eclipse will be during the Feast of Booths on September 28. Yup, this very month.
Tetrads are gratifyingly rare, but by no means historic. There have been 62 since Jesus’ first advent, and eight of them have coincided with two Jewish feasts.
What do we make of this? Pastor Mark Biltz, pastor and author John Hagee, and apparently enough readers to make his book on this topic a bestseller, have taken this to be a cosmic omen of Christ’s return or the end of the world as we know it.
This is reminiscent of the Mayan calendar’s 2012 prediction (proven wrong in 2012 in case you haven’t noticed), and like Camping’s pertinacious predictions, and like every other prediction of Christ’s return—ever. Methinks there will be some embarrassed blushing on September 29. If it’s me who’s wrong, I’ll write a retraction.
If only the Bible had something to say about this stuff. Oh wait…
Mark 13:32-33 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”
Luke 21:7-8 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.
When someone presents you with a date that Jesus will definitely return, you can go to your calendar, circle that day, and mark it as “not today.” But then go read 2 Pet 3:11 and remember that any reminder that Jesus is coming back should make us ask “…what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness”? Even when that reminder is a well-meaning crazy person predicting the unpredictable.