Total lunar eclipse. October 17, 2014. (Photo by the author.)
With a beautiful total lunar eclipse on slate for Saturday, April 4, old earth creationist John Hagee has resurfaced with revived claims of prophecies in the skies. I wrote about Hagee earlier this year, debunking his claim that a tetrad (series of 4) “blood moons” was a sign from the heavens that something significant was about to happen in Israel.
This time, Hagee is back with a movie. “Four Blood Moons”1 rehashes the false claims the pastor made in his book by the same name. The film opened with a special one-day release on March 23 and returns for an encore on April 9. Based on the movie’s trailer and interviews with Hagee, it doesn’t look like the creationist has added anything new to the claims I’ve already debunked. So I’d like to just hit the highlights here. For a thorough point-by-point refutation of Hagee’s claims, complete with references (NASA tables of solar eclipses, information on the Hebrew calendar, the pastor’s historical mistakes, etc.), please see my article “Oh Bloody…“.2
To review: the pastor claims that major events in the history of Israel are linked to total lunar eclipses occurring on the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot. The pattern that he sees goes something like this:
- Tragedy knocks on the door of Israel and/or the Jewish people.
- Miraculous victory is somehow snatched from the jaws of defeat.
- (1) and (2) are announced in the heavens by a tetrad of “blood moons” (total lunar eclipses) that magically occur during one of two Jewish holy weeks.
Hagee’s conclusion: divine intervention in Israel, proven by an invisible hand controlling the positions of the sun, earth, and moon.
As I explained in (excruciating?) detail in my earlier piece on this subject,2 Hagee is wrong in nearly every way imaginable:
1. Holidays on the Hebrew calendar are tied to lunar phases because humans designed the calendar that way. Periodic adjustments are made to the calendar–by humans–to keep seasons (and, as a result, religious holidays) “aligned”. It’s no accident that the sun, moon, and earth are lined up in a certain way on a given Jewish holiday. People constructed the calendar in that manner–and they go to a lot of trouble to keep it from changing, even periodically adding a temporary month to keep the holidays from drifting out of alignment.
2. Major events cited as miraculous by Hagee do not actually coincide with “blood moons”. He apparently never bothered to check an almanac of eclipses. His 1967 “Six Day War” example is a great illustration. Yes, it was triumph from tragedy for Israel. Unfortunately for the good pastor, there was no lunar eclipse on Passover or Sukkot in ’67. Oops.
3. In fact, most major events in Israel’s history don’t occur anywhere near an eclipse. If the heavens are being used as a signalling device, it’s broken most of the time. I offer as evidence the Yom Kippur War of 1973. If ever Israel turned tragedy into triumph, wouldn’t beating off the overwhelming surprise attack in 1973 be a prime example? Where were the holiday eclipses? Answer: there weren’t any.
4. Hagee’s command of history is shaky at best. For example, America wasn’t “discovered” by Columbus as Hagee claims–there were already people living there when the explorer arrived. In any event, he wasn’t the first outsider to arrive in North America. And, while credence could be given to the minister’s claim that the United States became an eventual safe haven for the Jewish people, it certainly didn’t remain that way for the millions of Native Americans who died at the hands of European settlers.
And, dare I mention… there was no Passover/Sukkot eclipse in 1492?
John Hagee gets it wrong again.
Other than the simple truth that eclipses actually happen, John Hagee doesn’t even try to get his story straight. And, for some reason, his followers eat his nonsense up. It’s a shame that an event that’s beautiful and wondrous in its own right has to be linked to superstition and fear, and that those who follow Hagee won’t take the time to fact check him.
While not as awe-inspiring as total eclipses of the sun, lunar eclipses are still a treat–and visible from a larger portion of the earth’s surface than their solar counterparts. To check visibility of the April 4 eclipse from your area of the world, NASA provides a nice map.3 Sky & Telescope magazine offers up a brief article on the eclipse along with timetables.4
Lunar eclipse photography by the author. Copyright (c) 2015 Mark Aaron Alsip. All rights reserved.
“John Hagee at Podium” from Wiki Commons, by owner Christians United for Israel. Released into public domain by owner. Image owner does not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.
Note: to avoid increasing search engine exposure for quack web sites, I use the DoNotLink service to obfuscate URLs. You have my promise you’re being redirected to the web site indicated in the title 🙂
(1) Four Blood Moons (Movie Official Page–Facebook)
(2) Oh Bloody…
(3) Total Lunar Eclipse of 2015 Apr 04 (NASA)