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Matthew Henry – Commentary on 2 Peter 2

Chapter 2

The apostle, having in the foregoing chapter exhorted them to proceed and advance in the Christian race, now comes to remove, as much as in him lay, what he could not but apprehend would hinder their complying with his exhortation. He therefore gives them fair warning of false teachers, by whom they might be in danger of being seduced. To prevent this,

  • I. He describes these seducers as impious in themselves, and very pernicious to others (v. 1-3).
  • II. He assures them of the punishment that shall be inflicted on them (v. 3-6).
  • III. He tells us how contrary the method is which God takes with those who fear him (v. 7-9).
  • IV. He fills up the rest of the chapter with a further description of those seducers of whom he would have them beware.

2Pe 2:1-3

  • I. In the end of the former chapter there is mention made of holy men of God, who lived in the times of the Old Testament, and were used as the amanuenses of the Holy Ghost, in writing the sacred oracles; but in the beginning of this he tells us they had, even at that time, false prophets in the church as well as true. In all ages of the church, and under all dispensations, when God sends true prophets, the devil sends some to seduce and deceive, false prophets in the Old Testament, and false Christs, false apostles, and seducing teachers, in the New. Concerning these observe,
    • 1. Their business is to bring in destructive errors, even damnable heresies, as the business of teachers sent of God is to show the way of truth, even the true way to everlasting life. There are damnable heresies as well as damnable practices; and false teachers are industrious to spread pernicious errors.
    • 2. Damnable heresies are commonly brought in privily, under the cloak and colour of truth.
    • 3. Those who introduce destructive heresies deny the Lord that bought them. They reject and refuse to hear and learn of the great teacher sent from God, though he is the only Saviour and Redeemer of men, who paid a price sufficient to redeem as many worlds of sinners as there are sinners in the world.
    • 4. Those who bring in errors destructive to others bring swift (and therefore sure) destruction upon themselves. Self-destroyers are soon destroyed; and those who are so hardened as to propagate errors destructive to others shall surely and suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
  • II. He proceeds, in the second verse, to tell us the consequence with respect to others; and here we may learn,
    • 1. Corrupt leaders seldom fail of many to follow them; though the way of error is a pernicious way, yet many are ready to walk therein. Men drink in iniquity like water, and are pleased to live in error. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the people love to have it so.
    • 2. The spreading of error will bring up an evil report on the way of truth; that is, the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. The Christian religion is from the God of truth as the author, leads to true happiness in the enjoyment of the true God as the end, and works truth in the inward part as the means of acceptably serving God. And yet this way of truth is traduced and blasphemed by those who embrace and advance destructive errors. This the apostle has foretold as what should certainly come to pass. Let us not be offended at any thing of this in our day, but take care that we give no occasion to the enemy to blaspheme the holy name whereby we are called, or speak evil of that way whereby we hope to be saved.
  • III. Observe, in the next place, the method seducers take to draw disciples after them: they use feigned words; they flatter, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple, inducing them to yield entirely to the opinions which these seducers endeavour to propagate, and sell and deliver themselves over to the instruction and government of these false teacher, who make a gain of those whom they make their proselytes, serving themselves and making some advantage of them; for all this is through covetousness, with a desire and design to get more wealth, or credit, or commendation, by increasing the number of their followers. The faithful ministers of Christ, who show men the way of truth, desire the profit and advantage of their followers, that they may be saved; but these seducing teachers desire and design only their own temporal advantage and worldly grandeur.

2Pe 2:1-3

Men are apt to think that a reprieve is the forerunner of a pardon, and that if judgment be not speedily executed it is, or will be, certainly reversed. But the apostle tells us that how successful and prosperous soever false teachers may be, and that for a time, yet their judgment lingereth not. God has determined long ago how he will deal with them. Such unbelievers, who endeavour to turn others from the faith, are condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on them. The righteous Judge will speedily take vengeance; the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. To prove this assertion, here are several examples of the righteous judgment of God, in taking vengeance on sinners, proposed to our serious consideration.

  • I. See how God dealt with the angels who sinned. Observe,
    • 1. No excellency will exempt a sinner from punishment. If the angels, who excel us vastly in strength and knowledge, violate the law of God, the sentence which that law awards shall be executed upon them, and that without mercy or mitigation, for God did not spare them. Hence observe,
    • 2. By how much the more excellent the offender, by so much the more severe the punishment. These angels, who had the advantage of men as to the dignity of their nature, are immediately punished. There is no sparing them for a few days, no favour at all shown them.
    • 3. Sin debases and degrades the persons who commit it. The angels of heaven are cast down from the height of their excellency, and divested of all their glory and dignity, upon their disobedience. Whoever sins against God does a manifest hurt to himself.
    • 4. Those who rebel against the God of heaven shall all be sent down to hell. There is no place nor state between the height of glory and the depth of misery in which they shall be allowed to rest. If creatures sin in heaven, they must suffer in hell.
    • 5. Sin is the work of darkness, and darkness is the wages of sin. The darkness of misery and torment follows the darkness of sin. Those who will not walk according to the light and direction of God’s law shall be deprived of the light of God’s countenance and the comforts of his presence.
    • 6. As sin binds men over to punishment, so misery and torment hold men under punishment. The darkness which is their misery keeps them so that they cannot get away from their torment.
    • 7. The last degree of torment is not till the day of judgment. The sinning angels, though in hell already, are yet reserved to the judgment of the great day.
  • II. See how God dealt with the old world, even in much the same way that he dealt with the angels. He spared not the old world. Here observe,
    • 1. The number of offenders signifies no more to procure any favour than the quality. If the sin be universal, the punishment shall likewise extend to all. But,
    • 2. If there be but a few righteous, they shall be preserved. God does not destroy the good with the bad. In wrath he remembers mercy.
    • 3. Those who are preachers of righteousness in an age of universal corruption and degeneracy, holding forth the word of life in an unblamable and exemplary conversation, shall be preserved in a time of general destruction.
    • 4. God can make use of those creatures as the instruments of his vengeance in punishing sinners which he at first made and appointed for their service and benefit. He destroyed the whole world by water; but observe,
    • 5. What was the procuring cause of this: it was a world of ungodly men. Ungodliness puts men out of the divine protection, and exposes them to utter destruction.
  • III. See how God dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah; though they were situated in a country like the garden of the Lord, yet, if in such a fruitful soil they abound in sin, God can soon turn a fruitful land into barrenness and a well-watered country into dust and ashes. Observe,
    • 1. No political union or confederacy can keep off judgments from a sinful people. Sodom and the neighbouring cities were no more secured by their regular government than the angels by the dignity of their nature or the old world by their vast number.
    • 2. God can make use of contrary creatures to punish incorrigible sinners. He destroys the old world by water, and Sodom by fire. He who keeps fire and water from hurting his people (Isa. 43:2) can make either to destroy his enemies; therefore they are never safe.
    • 3. Most heinous sins bring most grievous judgments. Those who were abominable in their vices were remarkable for their plagues. Those who are sinners exceedingly before the Lord must expect the most dreadful vengeance.
    • 4. The punishment of sinners in former ages is designed for the example of those who come after. “Follow them, not only in the time of living, but in their course and way of living.’ Men who live ungodly must see what they are to expect if they go on still in a course of impiety. Let us take warning by all the instances of God’s taking vengeance, which are recorded for our admonition, and to prevent our promising ourselves impunity, though we go on in a course of sin.

2Pe 2:7-9

When God sends destruction on the ungodly, he commands deliverance for the righteous; and, if he rain fire and brimstone on the wicked, he will cover the head of the just, and they shall be hid in the day of his anger. This we have an instance of in his preserving Lot. Here observe,

  • 1. The character given of Lot; he is called a just man; this he was as to the generally prevailing bent of his heart and through the main of his conversation. God does not account men just or unjust from one single act, but from their general course of life. And here is a just man in the midst of a most corrupt and profligate generation universally gone off from all good. He does not follow the multitude to do evil, but in a city of injustice he walks uprightly.
  • 2. The impression the sins of others made upon this righteous man. Though the sinner takes pleasure in his wickedness, it is a grief and vexation to the soul of the righteous. In bad company we cannot escape either guilt or grief. Let the sins of others be a trouble to us, otherwise it will not be possible for us to keep ourselves pure.
  • 3. Here is a particular mention of the duration and continuance of this good man’s grief and vexation: it was from day to day. Being accustomed to hear and see their wickedness did not reconcile him to it, nor abate of the horror that was occasioned by it. This is the righteous man whom God preserved from the desolating judgment that destroyed all round about him. From this instance we are taught to argue that God knows how to deliver his people and punish his enemies. It is here presupposed that the righteous must have their temptations and trials. The devil and his instruments will thrust sore at them, that they may fall; and, if we will get to heaven, it must be through many tribulations. It is therefore our duty to reckon upon and prepare for them. Observe here,
    • (1.) The Lord knows those that are his. He has set apart him who is godly for himself; and, if there is but one in five cities, he knows him; and where there is a greater number he cannot be ignorant of nor overlook any one of them.
    • (2.) The wisdom of God is never at a loss about ways and means to deliver his people. They are often utterly at a loss, and can see no way; he can deliver a great many.
    • (3.) The deliverance of the godly is the work of God, that which he concerns himself in, both his wisdom to contrive the way and his power to work out the deliverance out of temptation, to prevent their falling into sin and their being ruined by their troubles. And surely, if he can deliver out of temptation, he could keep from falling into it if he did not see such trials to be necessary.
    • (4.) God makes a very great difference in his dealings with the godly and the wicked. When he saves his people from destruction, he delivers over his enemies to deserved ruin. The unjust has no share in the salvation God works out for the righteous. The wicked are reserved to the day of judgment. Here we see,
      • [1.] There is a day of judgment. God has appointed a day wherein he will judge the world.
      • [2.] The preservation of impenitent sinners is only a reserving of them to the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

2Pe 2:10-22

The apostle’s design being to warn us of, and arm us against, seducers, he now returns to discourse more particularly of them, and give us an account of their character and conduct, which abundantly justifies the righteous Judge of the world in reserving them in an especial manner for the most severe and heavy doom, as Cain is taken under special protection that he might be kept for uncommon vengeance. But why will God thus deal with these false teachers? This he shows in what follows.

  • I. These walk after the flesh; they follow the devices and desires of their own hearts, they give up themselves to the conduct of their own fleshly mind, refusing to make their reason stoop to divine revelation, and to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ; they, in their lives, act directly contrary to God’s righteous precepts, and comply with the demands of corrupt nature. Evil opinions are often accompanied with evil practices; and those who are for propagating error are for improving in wickedness. They will not sit down contented in the measure of iniquity to which they have attained, nor is it enough for them to stand up, and maintain, and defend, what wickedness they have already committed, but they walk after the flesh, they go on in their sinful course, and increase unto more ungodliness and greater degrees of impurity and uncleanness too; they also pour contempt on those whom God has set in authority over them and requires them to honour. These therefore despise the ordinance of God, and we need not wonder at it, for they are bold and daring, obstinate and refractory, and will not only cherish contempt in their hearts, but with their tongues will utter slanderous and reproachful words of those who are set over them.
  • II. This he aggravates, by setting forth the very different conduct of more excellent creatures, even the angels, of whom observe,
    • 1. They are greater in power and might, and that even than those who are clothed with authority and power among the sons of men, and much more than those false teachers who are slanderous revilers of magistrates and governors; the good angels vastly exceed us in all natural and moral excellences, in strength, understanding, and holiness too.
    • 2. Good angels are accusers of sinful creatures, either of their own kind, or ours, or both. Those who are allowed to behold the face of God, and stand before his throne, cannot but have a zeal for his honour, and accuse and blame those who dishonour him.
    • 3. Angels bring their accusations of sinful creatures before the Lord; they do not publish their faults, and tell their crimes to their fellow-creatures, in a way of calumny and slander; but it is before the Lord, who is the Judge, and will be the avenger, of all impiety and injustice.
    • 4. Good angels mingle no bitter revilings nor base reproaches with any of the accusations or charges they bring against the wickedest and worst of criminals. Let us, who pray that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven, imitate the angels in this particular; if we complain of wicked men, let it be to God, and that not with rage and reviling, but with compassion and composedness of mind, that may evidence that we belong to him who is meek and merciful.
  • III. The apostle, having shown (v. 11) how unlike seducing teachers are to the most excellent creatures, proceeds (v. 12) to show how like they are to the most inferior: they are like the horse and mule, which have no understanding; they are as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed. Men, under the power of sin, are so far from observing divine revelation that they do not exercise reason, nor act according to the direction thereof. They walk by sight, and not by faith, and judge of things according to their senses; as these represent things pleasant and agreeable, so they must be approved and esteemed. Brute-creatures follow the instinct of their sensitive appetite, and sinful man follows the inclination of his carnal mind; these refuse to employ the understanding and reason God has given them, and so are ignorant of what they might and ought to know; and therefore observe,
    • 1. Ignorance is the cause of evil-speaking; and,
    • 2. Destruction will be the effect of it. These persons shall be utterly destroyed in their own corruption. Their vices not only expose them to the wrath of God in another world, but often bring them to misery and ruin in this life; and surely such impudent offenders, who glory in their shame, and to whom openness in sin is an improvement of the pleasure of sinning, most justly deserve all the plagues of this life and the pains of the next in the greatest extremity. Therefore whatever they meet with is the just reward of their unrighteousness. Such sinners as sport themselves in mischief deceive themselves and disgrace all they belong to, for by one sort of sins they prepare themselves for another; their extravagant feastings, their intemperance in eating and drinking, bring them to commit all manner of lewdness, so that their eyes are full of adultery, their wanton looks show their own impure lusts and are designed and directed to kindle the like in others; and this is what they cannot cease from-the heart is insatiate in lusting and the eye incessant in looking after what may gratify their unclean desires, and those who are themselves impudent and incessant in sin are very diligent and often successful in deceiving others and drawing others into the same excess of riot. But here observe who those are who are in the greatest danger of being led away into error and impiety, even the unstable. Those whose hearts are not established with grace are easily turned into the way of sin, or else such sensual wretches would not be able to prevail upon them, for these are not only riotous and lascivious, but covetous also, and these practices their hearts are exercised with; they pant after riches, and the desire of their souls is to the wealth of this world: it is a considerable part of their work to contrive to get wealth; in this their hearts are exercised, and then they execute their projects; and, if men abandon themselves to all sorts of lusts, we cannot wonder that the apostle should call them cursed children, for they are liable to the curse of God denounced against such ungodly and unrighteous men, and they bring a curse upon all who hearken and adhere to them.
  • IV. The apostle (v. 15, 16) proves that they are cursed children, even such covetous persons as the Lord abhors, by showing,
    • 1. They have forsaken the right way; and it cannot be but such self-seekers must be out of the right way, which is a self-denying way.
    • 2. They have gone into a wrong way: they have erred and strayed from the way of life, and gone over into the path which leads to death, and takes hold of hell; and this he makes out by showing it to be the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor.
      • (1.) That is a way of unrighteousness into which men are led by the wages of unrighteousness.
      • (2.) Outward temporal good things are the wages sinners expect and promise themselves, though they are often disappointed.
      • (3.) The inordinate love of the good things of this world turns men out of the way which leads to the unspeakably better things of another life; the love of riches and honour turned Balaam out of the way of his duty, although he knew that the way he took displeased the Lord.
      • (4.) Those who from the same principle are guilty of the same practices with notorious sinners are, in the judgment of God, the followers of such vile offenders, and therefore must reckon upon being at last where they are: they shall have their portion with those in another world whom they imitated in this.
      • (5.) Heinous and hardened sinners sometimes meet with rebukes for their iniquity. God stops them in their way, and opens the mouth of conscience, or by some startling providence startles and affrights them.
      • (6.) Though some more uncommon and extraordinary rebuke may for a little while cool men’s courage, and hinder their violent progress in the way of sin, it will not make them forsake the way of iniquity and go over into the way of holiness. If rebuking a sinner for his iniquity could have made a man return to his duty, surely the rebuke of Balaam must have produced this effect; for here is a surprising miracle wrought: the dumb ass, in whose mouth no man can expect to meet with reproof, is enabled to speak, and that with a human voice, and to her owner and master (who is here called a prophet, for the Lord appeared and spoke sometimes to him, Num. 22:23, 24, but indeed he was among the prophets of the Lord as Judas among the apostles of Jesus Christ), and she exposes the madness of his conduct and opposes his going on in this evil way, and yet all in vain. Those who will not yield to usual methods of reproof will be but little influenced by miraculous appearances to turn them from their sinful courses. Balaam was indeed restrained from actually cursing the people, but he had so strong a desire after the honours and riches that were promised him that he went as far as he could, and did his utmost to get from under the restraint that was upon him.
  • V. The apostle proceeds (v. 17) to a further description of seducing teachers, whom he sets forth,
    • 1. As wells, or fountains, without water. Observe,
      • (1.) Ministers should be as wells or fountains, where the people may find instruction, direction, and comfort; but
      • (2.) False teachers have nothing of this to impart to those who consult them: the word of truth is the water of life, which refreshes the souls that receive it; but these deceivers are set upon spreading and promoting error, and therefore are set forth as empty, because there is no truth in them. In vain then are all our expectations of being fed and filled with knowledge and understanding by those who are themselves ignorant and empty.
    • 2. As clouds carried with a tempest. When we see a cloud we expect a refreshing shower from it; but these are clouds which yield no rain, for they are driven with the wind, but not of the Spirit, but the stormy wind or tempest of their own ambition and covetousness. They espouse and spread those opinions that will procure most applause and advantage to themselves; and as clouds obstruct the light of the sun, and darken the air, so do these darken counsel by words without knowledge and wherein there is no truth; and, seeing these men are for promoting darkness in this world, it is very just that the mist of darkness should be their portion in the next. Utter darkness was prepared for the devil, the great deceiver, and his angels, those instruments that he uses to turn men from the truth, and therefore for them it is reserved, and that for ever; the fire of hell is everlasting, and the smoke of the bottomless pit rises up for ever and ever. And it is just with God to deal thus with them, because
      • (1.) They allure those they deal with, and draw them into a net, or catch them as men do fish; and,
      • (2.) It is with great swelling words of vanity, lofty expressions, which have a great sound, but little sense.
      • (3.) They work upon the corrupt affections and carnal fleshly lusts of men, proposing what is grateful to them. And,
      • (4.) They seduce persons who in reality avoided and kept at a distance from those who spread and those who embraced hurtful and destructive errors. Observe,
        • [1.] By application and industry men attain a skilfulness and dexterity in promoting error. They are as artful and as successful as the fisher, who makes angling his daily employment. The business of these men is to draw disciples after them, and in their methods and management there are some things worth observing, how they suit their bait to those they desire to catch.
        • [2.] Erroneous teachers have a peculiar advantage to win men over to them, because they have sensual pleasure to take them with; whereas the ministers of Christ put men upon self-denial, and the mortifying of those lusts that others gratify and please: wonder not therefore that truth prevails no more, or that errors spread so much.
        • [3.] Persons who have for a while adhered to the truth, and kept clear of errors, may by the subtlety and industry of seducers be so far deceived as to fall into those errors they had for a while clean escaped. “Be therefore always upon your guard, maintain a godly jealousy of yourselves, search the scriptures, pray for the Spirit to instruct and establish you in the truth, walk humbly with God, and watch against every thing that may provoke him to give you up to a reprobate mind, that you may not be taken with the fair and specious pretences of these false teachers, who promise liberty to all who will hearken to them, not true Christian liberty for the service of God, but a licentiousness in sin, to follow the devices and desires of their own hearts.’ To prevent these men’s gaining proselytes, he tells us that, in the midst of all their talk of liberty, they themselves are the vilest slaves, for they are the servants of corruption; their own lusts have gotten a complete victory over them, and they are actually in bondage to them, making provision for the flesh, to satisfy its cravings, comply with its directions, and obey its commands. Their minds and hearts are so far corrupted and depraved that they have neither power nor will to refuse the task that is imposed on them. They are conquered and captivated by their spiritual enemies, and yield their members servants of unrighteousness: and what a shame it is to be overcome and commanded by those who are themselves the servants of corruption, and slaves to their own lusts! This consideration should prevent our being led away by these seducers; and to this he adds another (v. 20): it is not only a shame and disgrace to be seduced by those who are themselves the slaves of sin, and led captive by the devil at his pleasure, but it is a real detriment to those who have clean escaped from those who live in error, for hereby their latter end is made worse than their beginning. Here we see,
          • First, It is an advantage to escape the pollutions of the world, to be kept from gross and scandalous sins, though men are not thoroughly converted and savingly changed; for hereby we are kept from grieving those who are truly serious and emboldening those who are openly profane; whereas, if we run with others to the same excess of riot and abandon ourselves to the sins of the age, we afflict and dishearten those who endeavour to walk as becomes the gospel, and strengthen the hands of those who are already engaged in open rebellion against the Most High, as well as alienate ourselves more from God, and harden our hearts against him.
          • Secondly, Some men are, for a time, kept from the pollutions of the world, by the knowledge of Christ, who are not savingly renewed in the spirit of their mind. A religious education has restrained many whom the grace of God has not renewed: if we receive the light of the truth, and have a notional knowledge of Christ in our heads, it may be of some present service to us; but we must receive the love of the truth, and hide God’s word in our heart, or it will not sanctify and save us.
          • Thirdly, Those who have, for a time, escaped the pollutions of the world, are at first ensnared and entangled by false teachers, who first perplex men with some plausible and specious objections against the truths of the gospel; and the more ignorant and unstable are hereby made to stagger, and brought to question the truth of doctrines they have received, because they cannot solve all the difficulties, nor answer all the objections, that are urged by these seducers.
          • Fourthly, When men are once entangled, they are easily overcome; therefore should Christians keep close to the word of God, and watch against those who seek to perplex and bewilder them, and that because, if men who have once escaped are again entangled, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
  • VI. The apostle, in the last two verses of the chapter, sets himself to prove that a state of apostasy is worse than a state of ignorance; for it is a condemning of the way of righteousness, after they have had some knowledge of it, and expressed some liking to it; it carries in it a declaring that they have found some iniquity in the way of righteousness and some falsehood in the word of truth. Now to bring up such an evil report upon the good way of God, and such a false charge against the way of truth, must necessarily expose to the heaviest condemnation; the misery of such deserters of Christ and his gospel is more unavoidable and more intolerable than that of other offenders; for,
    • 1. God is more highly provoked by those who by their conduct despise the gospel, as well as disobey the law, and who reproach and pour contempt upon God and his grace.
    • 2. The devil more narrowly watches and more closely confines those whom he has recovered, after they had once gone off from him and professed to be the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt. 12:45); they are kept under a stronger guard, and no wonder it should be so when they have licked up their own vomit again, returning to the same errors and impieties that they had once cast off and seemed to detest and loathe, and wallowing in that filthiness from which they appeared once to be really cleansed. Well, if the scripture gives such an account of Christianity on the one hand, and of sin on the other, as we have here in these two verses, we certainly ought highly to approve of the former and persevere therein, because it is a way of righteousness, and a holy commandment, and to loathe and keep at the greatest distance from the latter because it is set forth as most offensive and abominable.

Source: New Age False Prophet Deepak Chopra: Jesus, “not the one and only Son of God”

Are There Blood Moons Rising? with Mark Hitchcock (part 2)
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T. A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, Tom wraps a two-part series with guest, Mark Hitchcock. Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.

Tom: Thanks, Gary. This is part 2 of our conversation, a discussion about prophecy, and, in particular, blood moons. That’s a teaching that’s come into the church, and people are excited about it, but it has raised a bit of controversy. And it should, because we have to question whether it’s biblical or not. The perspective – I don’t care who it is – whatever the person is teaching, if they claim to be speaking for the Bible, then we have a resource to check out what they’re saying, just as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11.
So my guest, as we get on with this, is Mark Hitchcock. He’s the pastor-teacher of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, OK, and the author of a number of books dealing with biblical prophecy, and in particular, that addresses this subject, is Blood Moons Rising, which we offer here at The Berean Call.
Mark, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mark: Yeah, thanks for having me back again.
Tom: You know, Mark, as we ended last week, we did mention Mark Biltz, the author of Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, and I also mentioned last week that I listened to a kind of casual debate with him over his book and your book, and I’d just like you to just briefly…tell us what [are] your primary concerns about what he wrote.
Mark: Well, I think there are several things. I guess my primary concern is with when it comes to the whole idea of these four blood moons, and there’s this idea out there that these four blood moons that are going to occur on these four Jewish feast days, and there are going to be four lunar eclipses: Passover and Tabernacles in 2014, and then on Passover and Tabernacles in 2015. So that’s a fact, but the real problem I have with that is it’s that really the handling of the Bible to come to the conclusions that he comes to. To me, when you go to the passages that mention the moon turning to blood in Joel 2 and Acts 2 and Revelation 6, and then in Matthew 24 (it doesn’t mention the moon turning to blood, but it talks about the sun not giving its light there). The problem is [that] in all of those passages – the context of those passages is either in the midpoint or the end of the coming seven-year tribulation period, and we’re not in that period yet, because the Rapture hasn’t even happened, so 2015, where they’re claiming all of this is so significant, can’t be the fulfillment of those things because of the timing and the context of those passages.
Another thing is that nowhere in the Bible are four blood moons mentioned! It just mentions the moon turning to blood. It doesn’t mention that it’s going to happen four times. So again, that’s something they’re reading into the Bible that the Bible doesn’t say.
Also, these events in the Bible of the moon turning to blood are supernatural events – they’re not natural occurrences, like a lunar eclipse. When you read the context of these passages, this is God doing this. Also when you go to Acts 2 and to Revelation 6, there are all kinds of other things mentioned other than the moon turning to blood. There’s going to be columns of smoke and all these other different things.
So they don’t take all of those other things – they just cherry pick, kind of, one thing out of there, and then see that as being fulfilled in these four blood moons in these two years.
And so, there’s just really, to me, a host of interpretive problems that you have to make this case: things they’re not…seeing in the Bible that are there, and then other things they’re reading into the Bible that aren’t there.
So I think they’ve built kind of this whole viewpoint and this whole theory and this whole construct of these four blood moons, this blood moon tetrad and how significant it is, really out of passages that don’t say anything close to what they’re building.
Tom: And now, scripturally, Mark, help me out here. Is the blood moon event – is that a one-time event?
Mark: It seems to be. Yeah, it seems to be a one-time event, and, again, you have in Revelation 6, you have a reference there to the moon turning to blood, and then, if you take the passage in Joel 2 and Acts 2 to be the end of the Tribulation, then it could be there, again, another occurrence of this same type of an event, but again, they’re not happening on…it doesn’t mention feast days; it doesn’t mention…so, again, it depends on your chronology in these passages. And some would take it that all of those passages refer to the same period of time, and others would take it that they refer to two different times. But there’s still not four different times, and they’re never really related to Jewish feast days or things like that.
So, my view would be that, yes, there’s an event kind of at the middle of the Tribulation in Revelation 6. These other passages refer to the end of the Tribulation. But, again, that would be…others might disagree on the exact chronology.
Tom: As you know, Mark, Mark Biltz, the author of Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, and also Jonathan Cahn, who’s the author of The Harbinger and The Mystery of Shemitah, are more than implying that, as you allude to, this September very well could be the time when the blood moon triggers world calamity and financial devastation, and so forth. Now what does that say about the timing of the Rapture and the biblical teaching about the Great Tribulation?
Mark: Well, I think, you know, there’s several problems with what they’re doing. One is…to me, what they’re doing is…I would refer to it as a “soft” form of date setting. And what I mean by that is they’re not setting a date and saying the Lord is coming back in 2015, but to me, the Bible doesn’t tell us that there’s going to be a great economic collapse in 2015 or there’s going to be a war in the Middle East in 2015. It doesn’t give us dates for any of these future events. And so, to me, to their credit, at least they’re not saying, “Oh, 2015 is the Lord’s coming.” But they are saying that it is the time of some other great event. And to me, that’s still date setting. And I think it’s dangerous because, again, they don’t know that from Scripture, and if what they’re saying doesn’t happen, then again, it’s this black eye for the Bible and a black eye for God, when actually, it isn’t God at all; it’s them.
So I think that’s the problem with that. But also, by saying there’s going to be all this devastation and collapse and all of this taking place, it’s almost as if they’re predicting the events of the Tribulation to begin this year with the church still here. And I think it’s a confused eschatology – I think at best a kind of confusing of end-time events. But the other thing is, they seem to often say how these things are going to happen, and they come about as close as you can get to saying that the Lord’s coming back, but then they always kind of back away from that.
Tom: Right.
Mark: And I think there’s a danger there, again, of even though they won’t go so far as to say that, to many people who are listening to them, I think you would clearly get that impression.
Tom: Well, let me give you an example. I think you’re wonderfully gracious by giving them the benefit of the doubt. And we do. We want to err on the side of mercy, and so on. But, Mark, as I’ve tracked these guys, it isn’t just what they write, but you see them on different programs, especially programs like Jim Bakker, Sid Roth, where they’re promoting their books and their ideas.
Now, let me just give you some dialogue here between Mark Biltz and Jim Bakker. This can be found at the…well, here’s the address: It starts with actually one of Bakker’s assistants, and he says, “The year of the Jubilee, which is next fall,” and then he declares, “I would suggest to you that something so great is going to happen in the world, and to America, that it’s going to call back God’s people.”
Then Biltz agrees enthusiastically, and Bakker jumps up with Biltz actually grinning approval: “Oh, people! You’d better get ready!” And Bakker then supplies his reasons why the Jews would leave the US and return to Israel: “There has to be a collapse of our economy.”
Biltz responds to Bakker’s “Am I close?” by saying, “Yes, you’re right on.” And Biltz adds that “the Tribulation is a seven-year cycle that will follow the cyclical Shemitah cycle.”
Bakker responds: “You feel like maybe we should prepare for the Tribulation?”
Biltz: “Definitely!” He then adds, “I think we have one year to really prepare for God’s coming.”
Bakker adds: “You say that right out flat! You didn’t even give a disclaimer! Now say that again.”
Biltz: “If it doesn’t begin next year, it won’t begin for seven more years. But I don’t know if we have much time.”
Then Bakker jumps up again: “We have the “Year of Food” [offer] for $550! One of these days it will be all gone. One more event – I’m telling you. We have the “Time of Trouble,” and that’s a seven-year food offer, and that’s for a donation of $3,000. That’s [7,700 (corrected)] meals.”
Mark, at least, that’s kind of a fear-mongering thing. What their motivation is, I’m not going to judge their heart, but it just seems like a promotion not only that’s not supported by Scripture, but it increases fear among people. And, you know, we’ve seen this, as you mentioned before, date setting is always wrong, with regard to the Scripture, but the outcome, the consequences – people sell their homes, people move to the country. They, you know, basically, financially…I’m not saying where their spiritual walk is, but basically working out of fear, it destroys lives, even to the point of suicides, and so on.
Mark: No, you’re right. I mean, it’s tragic, and another problem with what he said there, as you just read, is that destroys imminency.
Tom: Yes.
Mark: Because he’s saying, “Okay, if doesn’t happen now, then it can’t happen for seven more years.”
Tom: Exactly.
Mark: Jesus says we’re to be looking for the Blessed Hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior. He says we’re to be waiting up for our Savior and for His return. When someone says these things, and they don’t happen now then can’t happen for seven more years, to me, that’s problematic. And I agree with you. It is fear-mongering, and it smacks of commercialization and merchandising. And so, it’s not good, but what we see, though, and I see this time and time again, and I try to point this out to folks, is one of the real problems, and I’m aware of this in my own life, in my own teaching, error begets error.
Tom: Right.
Mark: You get one error, and then it tends to compound itself in another error and another error, and so, again, that’s why we want to go back to the Bible. And the Bible is our plumb line, it’s our standard, and what we say, we want it to be consistent with the Bible. When you get off of that, especially in areas like this, where people are…people are very susceptible in these areas. Again, I’ve said this a couple of times, but the days we live in are uncertain. There’s a lot of fear out there, and it’s easy to prey on people’s fear today. It is! And we want to give people hope. We want to tell them that Jesus is coming – that they can have their hope and their trust and their faith in Him and be delivered from the coming wrath. And that’s the message that we have for people today. When that is abused in that way, it’s sad and unfortunate.
Tom: You know, we also – thinking of the body of Christ – we want to encourage, exhort, and I’m thinking about 2 Timothy 4:3, that declares (prophetically, by the way) that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. So our exhortation, you as a pastor, a pastor-teacher, our exhortation is to get into the Word of God. Now, do you see that as a major reason, when people aren’t into the Word of God, why so many Christians are vulnerable to these blatant abuses of biblical prophecy today?
Mark: Sure. That’s the big problem we have. Really, all of these different areas. One of the areas where there’s a great lack today is in discernment. You know that. That’s what your ministry’s about. But people don’t know the Bible, and so they are susceptible to these kinds of things. And I think a lot of people know that. Again, I read these books, and they just pull a few scriptures out of some different places about the moon turning to blood and kind of weave this whole theology out of that, and again, they’re not looking at the context of the passages, the timing of these things, the source of them, how many of them there are stated in Scripture, and all of that. And people who are undiscerning – and I think, you know, people… there’s a sense with a lot of people that they want these things to be true. They read it, and they want it to be true, and they’re looking for things out there to kind of grab onto and hang onto to give them some kind of solid foundation and give them some hope. And there are people that are coming along and giving them these kinds of things.
It’s a serious thing. You mentioned I’m a pastor of a church, and James 3:1: Don’t let many of you become teachers, knowing as such you will incur a stricter judgment. We have a responsibility to handle the Word accurately and to be shepherds for people and not to come in and lead people astray.
So that’s why I write books like this. I do have a passion for God’s truth, and I have a passion for the Lord, but I also have a passion for God’s people, and when I see them being led astray by things like this, then I like to try to do what I can to try to correct the record.
Tom: And certainly where we can equip them, especially as things get more difficult. And, fellowship! So important. Like-minded brothers and sisters in the Lord who are into the Word of God. They need each other. We need each other, and all of that.
Mark, a while ago I wrote an article for The Berean Call, and the title was “Is Your Eschatology Showing?” And the point of the article was that Christians who are ignorant of the events of the Scriptures that are going to take place prior to Christ’s return, really are vulnerable, I think, to unwittingly supporting agendas that are contrary to what the Bible says will take place.
Now, eschatology – some people may not know the term, but it’s just chronology that the Bible lays out about what’s going to take place, and it’s not a mystery, is it? You know, certainly there may be some things where we’re not given all the details, but basically, the chronology is there. But these guys, it seems to me… When I say “these guys,” those who are writing these books, Mark, they couch them in “mystery.” Everything’s a mystery, like “Shemitah.” But I think that’s attractive to people. They say, “Oh, listen to this! This is secret. This is a mystery. This is esoteric.” What do you say to that?
Mark: Well, there is an allure and a seduction to things like that…you know, this new thing that’s been discovered, or whatever they are, and I do think you’ve hit on something there. There is an attraction to that, and, again, with this world we live in, people want to be in the know. If there’s something out there that can give them some special insight, they want to know about it. But, again, we go back to the Bible, the book of Revelation, the very first of the book, it’s called the apocalypsis of Jesus Christ. The word “apocalypis” means to take the veil off something, to uncover it. So, it’s a book we should understand. It’s not the covering, the hiding. It’s the uncovering, and it’s assumed that we can understand it because the very third verse – it’s the only book in the Bible with a blessing attached to it. It says, “Blessed is the one who reads, the one who hears, and the one who heeds the words written in this book, the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.”
So again, this is something we should be able to read, to hear, to understand, to obey, and so when things come, like blood moons – I think that’s why a lot of these things attract people. “Blood moons.” It sounds kind of…I don’t know, kind of creepy almost, or kind of mysterious, or… You know, “blood moons,” “Shemitah,” the whole 2012 thing was based on the Mayan calendar. So, all of these kind of things, I think, have an allure, but again, if you just go back to the Bible and see what the Bible actually says, really, as you pointed out, the overall scenario, or the template, that the Bible lays out for the end times is not really that complicated.
We all believe He’s coming back. We believe there’s going to be a final resurrection, a final judgment, there’s a heaven, and there’s a hell. That’s what we all agree on, regardless of our particular viewpoint on the end times. But there’s all these kinds of things out there, again, to kind of draw people in, and when people see these kinds of things that are new, and new discoveries, the antenna should immediately go up; the alarm button should go off, the flashing lights should go off in the mind that this is something we need to proceed and enter into with caution.
Tom: And, Mark, as you mentioned last week, we see things developing. We see the apostasy growing. We don’t see very specific prophecies being fulfilled, for example, we mentioned 1948, the restoration of the nation of Israel, and so on. You know, from my writings, I’ll take a verse like 2 Timothy 3:1-2, “Mark my words, in the last days, there will be perilous times. Men will be lovers of their own selves,” and I can apply that to a generation – the psychological generation, okay? Because it really deals with loving of self, which is what psychology and humanistic psychology teaches.
So, anyway, without locking things down, as you pointed out, we don’t know the timing of this, when it’s going to happen, but things do seem to be closer than they were. But here’s my concern. As I mentioned, if you don’t have an understanding of the chronology of what will take place according to the Scriptures – now, help me out here, Mark – the next kingdom that I see developing, according to the Scriptures, is the kingdom of the Antichrist.
So again, we don’t know when, but we see this in development, my point being that do we keep our eyes open to certain things that certainly develop that may seem good – for example, Rick Warren has his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. He’s trying to solve all the problems of the world by bringing different religions together – I mean, that’s not my idea, folks. That’s all documented. Or you have, the Kingdom/Dominionists. They believe that Christians need to take over the world before Christ can return. We have, among the young people, we have a popular group Jesus Culture, and their eschatology is Kingdom Dominionism. That’s what the lyrics of their songs – and they’re incredibly, hugely popular. So my point is that if we are not aware, at least for a heads up, if we’re not aware of the chronology of Scripture, we can buy into a program that’s working for the Adversary, not true to Scripture.
Mark: Well, no, that’s right, and you know, it is interesting, in the early church there were things about the end times that were being taught that greatly upset people. We have in the book of Thessalonians, the whole book of 2 Thessalonians – the first part of it, they’ve been sent a spurious letter, a counterfeit letter as if from Paul that they were in the Day of the Lord. That the Day of the Lord had come. And they were confused… So one of the reasons we need to understand prophecy is because we do live in days of great deception, and a lot of the deceptions are about the end times. There’s a lot of cults out there gaining great traction in people’s lives by teaching false views about the end times. Because they know people are interested in this. So that’s kind of their entrée into these things. So, it is very important – and, again, not every person is going to be a Bible scholar and understand all the intricacies of the end times, but it is incumbent upon us as believers to understand what the Bible says about these things so we don’t get pulled in and sucked into these, I would call them “fads,” that come along.
Tom: Right, and some of them have… they’re so much a part of Christendom, for example, I mentioned the article, “Is Your Eschatology Showing?” Last week I mentioned coming to Christ at the time when The Late Great Planet Earth was the most popular book, and I didn’t know about prophecy, didn’t know about the Rapture, and so on. But in terms of eschatology, my church, my former church, the Roman Catholic Church, they were amillennialists, okay? They believe we’re in the Millennium now. So that’s had an effect over millennia!
Mark: Sure it does! It does, and if you believe that we’re going to go through the Tribulation period, that has an effect now. If you believe that you know the day when Jesus is coming back, that affects the way you live now. There’s all of these things…what we believe about the future does have ramifications for now in our lives. And we need to understand. What I see today, this is really an ironic development, I would say today in churches, at least during my lifetime, there’s less being taught about Bible prophecy and eschatology by far than ever before. Less being taught, but we need it now more than ever!
Tom: Exactly!
Mark: We’re the generation that needs it now more than ever, and yet, it’s being taught less. And I do think that that is a plot of the enemy, a strategy of the enemy, to silence pastors and preachers and teachers on this. The people don’t have an appetite for it any more, and I think that again, many people will be caught short and caught unaware because they’re not being taught these things. They’re victims, really, for these kind of things that come along that create all kinds of panic and fear and so on.
Tom: Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be that way, which brings me… Mark, we’ve got just about a couple of minutes left, but here’s my question. As I mentioned to you, you’re really making a wonderful contribution by your prolific writing, and I mean prolific, folks, by informing Christians about erroneous teachings and false interpretations of prophetic scriptures, but, Mark, what would you say, in these last few minutes, to our listeners – how would it be best to help them to avoid being deceived in apostasy as it increases, seemingly exponentially in our day?
Mark: Well, I think, you know, again, the main thing is to be involved in a local church, supporting a local church where the Bible is taught, availing themselves of the resources that are out there today. Every place I can think of in the New Testament – just a few that pop into my mind here where it mentions the idea of apostasy, is in 2 Timothy 3 – a long chapter about apostasy. Of course, that’s where the passage is that says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, that a man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished for every good work.” And you have the book of Jude, you know, all about apostasy. You go down to the end, and it says we’re to be building ourselves up in the most holy faith, which again, is the study of God’s Word and the Scripture. So, when you think about the great need we have today – and, again, it’s not just to study the Bible, though, for head knowledge. We need to know the Bible and be passionate about the Bible and be passionate about living the Bible, and allowing the Bible to be transforming our minds and our lives. And that is, to me, the great defense that we have in this world today, where there are so many ideas out there – so many wrong ideas and so much false teaching. I know that doesn’t sound real flashy, maybe, to people, but I do think that to be Bereans, it is exactly what you always say, to study the Scriptures to see if these things are so. That is the great defense God has given to us in these days.
Tom: Yes, it’s available, and He’s equipped us. He’s given us not only His Word, He’s given us the Holy Spirit, and He’s given us fellowship to encourage one another in all of this.
Mark: Yeah, what I would say, it’s the Word of God, it’s the Spirit of God, and it’s the people of God. Those are three great resources that we have.
Tom: Well, my guest has been Mark Hitchcock, and Mark’s book is Blood Moons Rising, but he’s written a number of other books related to prophecy, so I would encourage one and all to check them out. And, Mark, I really appreciate so much what you contributed, and God bless you, bro, and thanks for being with us!
Mark: Well, thank you very much, and I appreciate you all and the work you’re doing, and may God continue to have His rich hand of blessing upon you and upon that ministry.
Tom: Amen!
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638. Or visit our website at the

It’s all fun and games…’til someone actually defines Christianity.


I’m a Christian.

You’re a Christian.

Practically everybody in America is a Christian.

Naturally then, this makes practically every politician in America a Christian (Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton included, of course).

Just ask ’em.

When they respond by saying that they’re a Christian, that can only mean one thing: They’re a Christian. More often than not, they’ll claim to have been a Christian for a loooong time (sometimes from birth, even).

So if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we have oodles and oodles of professing Christians ’round here in ‘Merica. We have bucketloads and truckloads of supposed followers of Jesus Christ here in the good ol’ U S of A.

[insert “U! S! A!” chant here]

Which makes this whole “steaming pile of a wrecked culture” thing kinda mystifying then, right? I mean, if we have all o’ these “Christians” wandering the countryside and permeating the American culture, how is it that said culture is in the midst of a headlong qualitative free-fall into oblivion that only seems to be accelerating in severity and momentum by the minute?

The answer is as obvious as it is hated by most professing American Christians. The answer is that most professing Christians simply aren’t really Christians at all. For all of the sweet vague talk about Jesus, Christianity and the like that may pour from their lips, they are actually vigorously and personally opposed to the true confrontational and corrective Gospel of Jesus Christ. Where true Christianity brings light and life to every aspect of life, their version of Christianity is just another dead religion in a box. (See: Christianity in a Box: Containing the Contagion of Obedience to Christ.)

And that, friends, is “the truth that dare not be spoken”. Proclaiming that fairly obvious, glaring, yet also very hard and convicting truth is something that you just…don’t…do.

Not in “Christian” America.

And why?

‘Cause it’s not nice.

It’s not loving.

As the world and Satan defines things like “nice” and “loving”, anyway.

You just don’t ask American professing Christians what their claim to Christ actually means in any kind of detail. You dare not challenge them that way.

That’s rude!

It’s disrespectful!

And you really don’t ask ’em to define their understanding of things – like the term “Christian” itself – directly and exclusively from [*gasp*] the Bible. I mean, how rude is that, right?

And disrespectful, too!

And ya really, really don’t ask ’em how they go about applying what the Bible says about everything in their daily lives because…well…when it comes right down to it, they just don’t care what the Word of God says in detail.

If they don’t care about what it says in the first place, they’re obviously not interested in applying what it says to anything that makes them uncomfortable or challenges their assumptions, traditions, and feelings. They’re not up for testing themselves to be sure that they’re in the faith, as the Word commands (see: 2 Corinthians 13:5), because the faith that they have simply isn’t biblical Christianity, however much they may like the sound and comfort of using that label.

They want the word or the tag of Christianity, but not as a term rooted and defined by the binding, sufficient, authoritative, and supremely loving details contained in the Word of God. No, they don’t want that Christianity. They want the one that is just a synonym for “nice”. Or “loving” Or…you get the picture.

They want the term “Christianity” as it is redefined by their own personal emotions, traditions, hopes, and desires, rather than a true biblical Christianity that is defined by the Nature of God as revealed in His Word. (See: The Rise of Mr. Potato Jesus)

So for them “Christian” means “nice”, with a purportedly deep and spiritual cherry on top.

They want to claim Christianity without seeking to know and submit to Christ as King in practice.

And if you dare point these truths out, you know what you are?


Finish article HERE

Are There Blood Moons Rising? with Mark Hitchcock (part 1)
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us. In today’s program, Tom begins a two-part series with guest Mark Hitchcock. Here’s TBC Executive Director, Tom McMahon.
Tom:  Thanks, Gary. The subject for today and next week is what some are teaching about what the Scripture refers to as a blood moon. Now, it’s generated quite a bit of excitement as well as controversy, and, as most of our listeners know, the mission of this program and The Berean Call is to compare whatever is being taught in Christendom today with what is presented in God’s Word. And on board to discuss prophecy and in particularly the current teachings regarding blood moons is Mark Hitchcock. He is the pastor/teacher of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, OK, and the author of a number of books dealing with biblical prophecy. His perspective from his book Blood Moons Rising, which we, by the way, offer here at The Berean Call, will be central to our discussion.
Mark, welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Mark: Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s great to be with you.
Tom: You know, Mark, most of your…well, I didn’t realize this…most of your two dozen-or-so books deal with biblical prophecy. Now, I have to ask you, what sparked your interest in Bible prophecy, and what value do you see in prophecy for believers-and even those who don’t know the Lord?
Mark: Well, I got interested in Bible prophecy a little bit when I was around 11-12-13 years old. That’s back when The Late Great Planet Earth came out. I’m sure many of the listeners will remember that. In May of 1970 – is when the Late Great Planet Earth. A lot of people [were] interested in that, and the youth group I was in – a lot of talk about it. At that time, it just kind of at that time…my interest was piqued, but when I really became interested in prophecy was in my early twenties. That’s when I really began to study the Bible seriously for myself, and really, it rose out of the issue that when I read the Bible, there were so many parts of the Bible I couldn’t understand, and I finally realized that if I would understand Bible prophecy, since 28 percent of the Bible was prophetic at the time it was written – that if I understood prophecy, I could understand the Bible.
So, really, my love for prophecy is my love for the Bible. And I just felt like – and I still feel that way today – if you don’t understand at least some of the basics of prophecy, there are just large portions of the Bible that remain an enigma. So that’s really a lot of my interest in it, and I do think as well that it’s very relevant today for believers. Obviously, it’s a cleansing hope that we have – a purifying hope – that we believe Jesus could come any time. It’ll change the way that we live. It helps us understand this world around us. We live in a world that’s chaotic and uncertain, and we know how the story ends when we understand the Bible. So it’s a great comfort and hope that we have.
And to me, the message for unbelievers is that Jesus could come back at any time. They need to be ready. And I think even a lot of unbelievers, a lot of secular people, have the idea that this world’s getting near closing time. And I think that Bible prophecy has a unique message, because people are innately interested in the future. They’re curious about it. And we can come in with Bible prophecy and what the Scriptures say, and we can use that to set the table, if you will, as a platform, then, to reach people with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tom:  You know, Mark, you mentioned The Late Great Planet Earth. At that time – I  was a Roman Catholic for almost 30 years – and it was at that time that I came to the Lord. And, just as you mentioned, you were 11 and 12 – well, I was in my thirties, and, Mark, I got really excited about prophecy and this thing called the Rapture because, as a Roman Catholic, forget that! You know, we were never given any kind of teaching about prophecy, although some of the so-called Saints promoted their ideas about the way things were going to happen. We had the “Secret of Fatima,” and all of those kinds of things, but nothing like biblical prophecy. And I really got excited about it, and, as I said, especially the Rapture! I mean that’s so foreign to Roman Catholicism, and especially, then, getting to know Dave Hunt and starting to work with him – you can imagine, that love for prophecy and love for God’s Word never…it just continued to grow and grow and grow.
Mark: No, that’s right. And it does. It’s such a framework for really understanding what the Bible says, and people are interested in it, and, again, we don’t just talk about things because people are interested in it, but on the other hand, if there is something that people are innately curious about that the Bible deals with and talks about a lot, and certainly we should talk about it at least some. And we don’t want to make Bible prophecy a hobby horse, or that’s all we talk about. I’m the pastor of a church, and so most of the time when I preach, it’s not on prophecy. I’ve written a lot of books on it, but I speak most of the time on things not prophecy related.
But God’s people need a well-balanced diet. Bible prophecy and eschatology and study of the end times, it’s certainly a part of that.
Tom: Now, Mark, before we get to blood moons, which we really want to get to because it’s an issue today, but I think back about prophecy and the value of prophecy – I mentioned working with Dave Hunt, and we have written about this and promoted prophecy as an incredible apologetic. Now, as you know, God declares Himself as the God of prophecy and that He alone knows the future, and that’s a criterion for being the only true God.
I was stunned going through (not recently, but over the years) going through Isaiah, and in chapters 41-48, over and over and over again, God claims that He alone knows the future, and He challenges the “gods” – that is, the demons, actually, behind the idols – to foretell what’s ahead. We also know, as you mentioned, 28 percent of the Bible foretells future events.
Now, as an apologetic, don’t you think that’s just a wonderful, incredible, tremendous proof that the Bible is indeed God’s Word? What other book can do that?
Mark: Not a thing! I mean, to me, it is the proof of the authenticity of the Bible, because, you know, people will say, “Well, the Bible changes people’s lives.” Well, other people can say, “Well, I have a book here, and it changed my life.” So that’s a subjective reference. To me, it IS Bible prophecy. That’s what God says, as you mentioned in Isaiah. He’s saying, “This is the…I’ll lay down the gauntlet here. Let someone else come and tell the future with 100 percent accuracy.
Dr. John Walvoord, who was one of my mentors at Dallas Seminary, he has a book Every Prophecy in the Bible, and he has about a thousand prophecies, and his research found that 500 have been fulfilled, and there are 500 yet to be fulfilled. Now, that’s quite a track record! A 100 percent accuracy 100 percent of the time. And only someone who is omniscient and omnipotent can tell the future. And so, to me, Bible prophecy, the fulfillment of prophecies, with great exactness – 100 percent of the time – is the ultimate apologetic for the truth of the Word of God.
Tom: Amen. Amen. Of course, on the other side of the coin, there is a down side regarding biblical prophecy, but I’m talking about its abuse. We’re going to talk a little bit about that. But I want you to give me some of your thoughts about the following – you know, just briefly or however long you want to take.
False prophecy and false prophets, Old Testament and New, and the Bible issuing really serious warnings about such things; the abuse of prophecy: what are your comments on that?
Mark: Well, prophecy is so valuable. Again, it’s this great apologetic for Scripture, and God claims He’s the only one that can do it, and prophecy – really, it’s a precious thing – that God would come and reveal to us the future – what’s going to take place. And when people come in and claim to be speaking for God and they’re not, and they abuse this prophetic gift – and, of course, they can’t really foretell the future, but they claim to be able to – then, as we’ve seen in modern times, first of all, it gives prophecy, it gives the Bible, a black eye; it gives God a black eye, because many people then think, “Oh, well, then, the Bible’s wrong!” or “Well, God is wrong!” Where actually, it’s not God who’s wrong; it’s this person, because they just went out on their own and God doesn’t speak through them at all.
So it’s very…it’s so dangerous because, again…and, of course, Satan comes in and takes what God uses, and what God has for good, and he comes in and he twists it and he counterfeits it, and he comes in to get people to where their confidence in the Bible is eroded, their confidence in God is eroded. And so Satan has used that throughout history: false prophets, false teachers, that come in to lead people astray from the truth. And we’ve seen that throughout church history.
But the Bible tells us that in the end times that’s going to proliferate even more. False prophets, false teachers. I think it’s interesting – the last book in the Bible before the book of Revelation is that tiny little book of Jude, which is about apostasy in the church. I’ve heard many people describe Jude as the foyer, or the entrance, to the book of Revelation. So it’s interesting, the placement of these books in the Scriptures as well as their inspiration – the words being inspired.
Tom: And you know, you mentioned that when you preach and teach you want to present the full counsel of God, but I think about Jude, you know, it seems that he…when he started, he said, “You know, I’d really kind of like to deal with the deeper things of God. However, I must tell you this: you must earnestly contend for the faith.” So, you’re right. It’s very important. The other thing that you mentioned about God kind of throwing down the gauntlet for the idols, the demo ns behind the idols, was to prove that they are God, too. Well, we go back to Genesis 3:1: “Yea, hath God said…” you know, and then basically, the serpent, Satan, in calling God a liar: “You will not surely die.” Well, here we have the same thing with all the proliferation of psychics and fortunetellers, channelers, mediums, astrologers, and so on – that seem to me that’s an attempt at “hey, look, God’s not the only one that can do this.”
Mark: That’s right, and there’s a lot of these things out there happening today, more and more. Because, again, I think as times become more uncertain, there’s more chaos, there’s more confusion in the world, people want even more so to know “What’s going to happen?” And, of course, the Good News is God has told us, at least a lot of what’s going to happen in the Bible. He hasn’t told us everything, but He’s told us what’s going to happen, and we can know our own destiny, and that’s the Good News. But people want more than that. They’ll reject…It’s always fascinating to me. It’s tragic. People will reject the truth of the living God, who’s given 500 prophecies that have come true – they reject that, and they’ll go after some flimsy prophecies and things out here that have no basis whatsoever. It really shows the hardness of the human heart apart from God – God’s Spirit.
Tom: Yeah. My concern is a zealousness. Some run ahead of God in applying what they think is prophecy being fulfilled. Now we know the prophecy related to the establishment of the nation of Israel – 1948. I mean, that’s clear cut. You have the scriptures to back that up. But, Mark, my concern is those who see prophecy being fulfilled in every current event, you know, even to the point – we’ll take something major, like the attack on New York City, 9/11 – doesn’t that create some problems and some issues?
Mark: Sure it does, and basically that’s historicism, where people are just saying all these prophecies are being fulfilled today, and they try to go back and find scriptures for these things. But we don’t live in the end times yet, I don’t believe. The Rapture’s not occurred yet. We’re not in the end times. We see the regathering of the nation of Israel; we see apostasy in the church – these are some broad prophecies we see fulfilled. But I think we live in a time today – I call it “stage setting.” We’re not seeing prophecies being fulfilled so much as we’re seeing the stage being set, the players moving into place for the future fulfillment of prophecy in the end times. So when we try to come in and say every earthquake is a sign of the times, every tsunami that happens, things not even mentioned in the Bible – that’s when we run into trouble. And, again, that’s when I think that if people continue to try to do that, and they continue to cry wolf like that, then we can almost get to where, you know, the people in the world no longer listen to what we have to say, although we do have a true message that we want to bring.
So I think that we have to be careful about that. You can go to either extreme with Bible prophecy. There is what I call skepticism – people don’t think that it matters at all. There’s sensationalism – where everything’s a fulfillment of prophecy. And the problem is if everything’s a fulfillment, then really nothing’s a fulfillment – or a sign. And there’s the view that I hold in between, which is what I call “stage setting.” Well, we do see the stage being set, and we’re aware of these things, but we want to be careful not to point to every event as some kind of fulfillment of a prophecy.
Tom: Right. I agree with you, Mark, to the extent that we certainly see things in development. You know, I’ve had the privilege – the great privilege – of working with Dave Hunt for about almost 4 decades – 3 ½ decades – and just from that standpoint of 30-35 years or so, just observing the trends coming into the church, you can see the development of the apostasy from the time (I think it was 25 years ago) when I helped Dave with The Seduction of Christianity – well, from that time until today, things are moving exponentially. But, as you said, specifics? No. But in general terms with regard to what the Bible says, we can see it growing and growing and growing. And there has to be a religion in place for the religion of the Antichrist. And we know ecumenism – lots of things that contribute to that, we should be aware of.
Mark: No, that’s right. There’s a lot of things happening in our world today, and I do think that we see events unfolding in our world today exactly the way we should expect to see them unfolding if the coming of our Lord is near.
But again, we don’t know how soon. We don’t know how much longer this stage setting can last. And that’s why I believe we’re called upon to always be ready.
Tom: Right. I absolutely agree. Now, let’s get to your book Blood Moons Rising. Mark, what motivated you to write that?
Mark: Well, I’ve studied prophecy for a lot of years, and I love to write books about things that are happening in our world today. Again, as we talked about the stage setting, and point to some of these things that call people to be ready. But I’ve also tried to answer things that are out there that I think maybe they’re taking it too far. For instance, I wrote a book on 2012, the Bible, the end of the world, the whole Mayan prophecy – the Mayan calendar prophecy – because a lot of people were kind of wondering about that, so I wrote a book to kind of critique or debunk that – whatever word you want to use.
And then some time later, I was reading about…or rather, listening to a pastor, a preacher on television, talk about blood moons, and these four blood moons that were going to fall on Jewish feast days, and relating all of this to some great event that was going to happen, and almost saying that the Lord was going to come back that year, but then kind of hedging his bets and backing off a bit. So I began to study that, and I came to the conclusion that really it was much ado about nothing. And I heard the different pastors and preachers talking about how there’s a book came out that’s selling a lot, and I thought, Someone needs to answer this, because a lot of people are going to be pulled into this unwittingly, and buy into this and thinks that what’s being said here is true, it’s factual, it’s biblical. So I wrote the book, basically, again, just to try to give an antidote or kind of an answer to some of this hysteria that’s going on out there about these things.
Tom: For some of our listeners who may be out of the loop on this, tell us about blood moon – the blood moon phenomena. Talk about it from, first of all, physics – the astronomical side, and then how that might relate to the blood moon as it’s presented in Scripture, or NOT related to the blood moon given in Scripture.
Mark: Well, what’s stated is that a blood moon is when the moon turns kind of an orange-ish or a reddish hue when there’s a lunar eclipse. And they happen a lot. Lunar eclipses happen fairly often. But what we have in 2014 and ’15 is four consecutive lunar eclipses on four Jewish feast days. And the first one was on April 15, 2014 – fell on Passover. Then on Feast of Tabernacles that Fall, October 8, 2014, there was another one of these. Then this last spring in 2015 on April 4, there was another one that fell on Passover, and then the final one is September 28, 2015, again on Feast of Tabernacles. So this is called…many call this a lunar tetrad. In other words, it’s these four blood moons falling consecutively on these Jewish feast days. And since the first century, there’s only been eight of these that have happened, and those who believe this is an important sign, they point to the Bible, like in Joel 2 it mentions the “moon turning to blood.” They point to Matthew 24, where the sun won’t give its light there; they point to Acts 2, which quotes Joel 2. Revelation 6, which talks again about the moon turning into blood, and they say these blood moons are mentioned here in scripture, and they’re falling on these Jewish feast days, and then they go back and show the last three of these, back in 1493 and ’94, one of those happened in conjunction with the Jews being put out of Spain: the edict of the expulsion of the Jews.
One happened in 1949 and 1950. Israel became a nation in 1948.
And then they point to another one of these tetrads happened in 1967 and ’68, which is when the six-day war happened in Israel. So they’re trying to point out how there’s this historical pattern that when these blood moon tetrads happened that that’s related to significant events in Israel, and then they relate it to these biblical passages in Scripture, and then they come up with this idea that this is significant of some great change that’s going to take place. They say something huge is going to change – going to change the world forever. Again, they don’t say specifically what it is, but many of them say it’s going to be some type of war in Israel. Many of them even kind of allude to the fact possibly it could be the Lord’s coming. And so they see this as a huge issue, 2015, this watershed, or this key year because of these blood moons.
Tom: Mark, I’ve listened to you in a…not exactly a debate, but a discussion with Mark Biltz, the author of Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, and you pointed out, and I’d like you to add to that, or give us your perspective, the tetrad – these lunar eclipses. They are natural events. The verses that you gave with regard to Revelation and Matthew 24, and so on, those are supernatural events, aren’t they?
Mark: That’s right. That’s the way I take it. In Joel 2, Matthew 24, Revelation and Acts 2, Revelation 6 – the moon turning to blood there seems to be…and I think it’s clear in the context…this is something that God is doing. This isn’t a naturally occurring event. God is doing this.
The other thing that’s fascinating, it’s a supernatural event, and if you read Revelation 6, it’s not just the moon turning to blood there. Same thing in Acts 2, there’s a whole litany of other signs there as well that will take place when the moon turns to blood. It says in Revelation 6 that the sun became black as sackcloth, the moon became like blo od, the stars of the sky fell to the earth. It said, “As the fig tree casts its unripe figs, shaken by wind; the sky was split apart like a scroll when it’s rolled up; Every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” No one – I don’t hear anyone saying that that’s going to happen this year.
The other problem is the context of these passages are at the end of the Tribulation period…
Tom: Exactly.
Mark: …or the late – well, the one in Revelation 6, I would place at about the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation; the one in Joel and in Acts and in Matthew 24 I’d place near the end of the Tribulation. Well, the Rapture hasn’t happened yet, as far as I know. We’re not even in the Tribulation yet. So 2015 can’t be the middle or the end of the Tribulation. So there’s also this whole timing problem that’s difficult as well.
Tom: Yeah, and later…we’re going to do this in two parts, maybe in our next…well, not maybe, but hopefully, in our next session we’re going to deal with “signs” and pointing to signs and dates, and so on, and those equivocating on all that. So I want to talk about that, but let’s go back to…we’re recording this. It’s the end of April – April 4. It’s unique that these so-called blood moons are taking place during Passover week, but Mark, what of significance took place April 4 of Passover week?
Mark: Well, nothing that I know of… You know, it is interesting. It was the
day between Good Friday, of course, and Easter this year, it fell there, but nothing happened. So that’s been part of the problem – with these first three, nothing happened. But they’ll say, “Well, there’s the fourth one, you see, and this fourth one is going to be super moon. It’s going to be the only one of the four that’s actually visible in Israel, and so… Again, that’s kind of the way a lot of these things work is, you know, when something doesn’t happen and you keep kind of pointing ahead, but what will be interesting is after September 28 comes and goes, if nothing happens then, will they all recant then?  Will they write a book and say, “I was wrong,” and not do that again.
That usually doesn’t follow in these things, and that’s part of the problem with this. There’s a lot of buildup.
But, you know, the other thing is if you look at our world today, if I were to make a prediction at the beginning of 2015 and say, “Something really dramatic’s going to happen in Israel this year, that probably would be right, because we live in a very dangerous, very chaotic, very uncertain world. Something – I mean, the fuse has been lit, and the lid could blow off over in the Middle East at any time. So, they do, in some ways – they make these statements, and in some ways, they do have these things on their side – at some point in time, something dramatic is going to happen over there. But it won’t be because of the Blood Moon prophecy. It’s just simply be because God, on His timetable, decided for it to happen.
Tom:  See, Mark…we’ve got about two minutes left, but I want to just encourage you, because you’re presenting this stuff; you’re getting it out there to help…or to address the confusion that goes on in the body of Christ because they’re not checking things out. They’re not really doing their homework, which they should so that they’re not vulnerable to these kinds of ideas.
You know, back in 1999, Dave came out…Dave Hunt came out with a book called Y2K: A Reasoned Response to Mass Hysteria, because, as you remember back then, many in the church got on board with that. I mean, big names, especially those whose eschatology was either post-trib, they were kind of excited about it.
Mark: (chuckling) That’s right, yeah.
Tom: But you know what happened: the world…2000, the world celebrated! I  mean there were fireworks all around – Paris, London, and everywhere, and the church was just getting off – not the whole church, but many leaders were hunkering down for something. So, this is important. It’s important to exhort, encourage, our b rothers and sisters in Christ to be Bereans, to search the Scriptures and do their homework when somebody comes along with an idea that’s somewhat unique or not really laid out clearly in the Scriptures.
Our guest has been Mark Hitchcock. We’ve been talking about prophecy and about blood moons in particular. So, Mark, I want to pick up on this next week, the Lord willing, so, thanks for being with me.
Mark: Yes, thank you so much. Looking forward to our next time together.
September 2015



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