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Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Faith | 2 comments

Will Something Big Happen in September?

Will Something Big Happen in September?

This September, there are a couple of topics that are probably going to take up a lot of space on your social media newsfeed. Blood moons and harbingers of judgment. You may find yourself wondering what to make of all the prophesies and predictions that will be twittering about on your social media streams. An understanding of hermeneutics, the basic principles of Bible interpretation, will serve you well though this month, as well as the rest of your life.

The Blood Moons

This is a subject you may have seen on your newsfeed. According to End-times preacher John Hagee, the author of “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change,”  Acts 2:19-20 contains a warning that a set of four lunar eclipses, or “Blood Moons”, occurring on or near festivals in the Jewish liturgical calendar shows that the end is nigh upon us.

And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day” (Acts 2:19-20).

While reading posts on your newsfeed by the end-times social media mavens, ask yourself, what do other verses and books of the Bible say about this passage? Read all of Acts chapter two and pay attention to what Peter says in verse 2:16 “…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” Also compare the passage to Luke 23: 44-45, “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.” 

Peter quotes the prophet Joel in reference to alarming signs recently seen in the skies of Jerusalem at the time Christ was hung on the cross. Darkness fell over the city, and people where frightened. He proclaimed that the signs they saw in the sky and the disciples miraculously preaching in foreign languages (tongues) was a sign that the prophesies of the Messiah were being fulfilled. Jesus Christ had come to bring salvation!

A plain reading of the text shows that if you are looking for the meaning of the bloody red moon or the darkening of the sun, look no further. Joel’s prophecy about the blood moon has been fulfilled, according to Peter. The regularly occurring lunar eclipses described as signs by John Hagee are not what the prophet or the apostle were talking about. They were talking about something very unique that happened on the day Christ was crucified. Apologist Chris Rosebrough has done a couple of good podcasts about the book here and here.

The Nine Harbingers

As September 13th draws closer, the subject of harbingers of judgment will no doubt appear in your social media stream. Writer Jonathan Cahn, author of the fictional book The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future implies that Isaiah 9:8-11 reveals a set of nine harbingers that have been set into motion that are leading America toward God’s judgment on the country. September 13, 2015 is an especially important date because, at that time, the Jewish Sabbatical year begins.

The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars. Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together” (Isaiah 9:8-11).

To Cahn, the fallen bricks and sycamore trees represent the ruins of the Twin Towers in New York City on 9/11. The stones and cedar trees symbolize the defiant vow of Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (and by extension America) to rebuild in spite of God’s judgment through the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

When interpreting the Bible, keep in mind the Apostle Peter’s admonition, First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). In short, if only one teacher “discovered” it, that’s a major red flag!

Paul also warned Titus, “pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth (Titus 1:14).

Listen to another good podcast that talks about the fallacy of seeking hidden mysteries in this passage, here.

To be sound in your interpretation of the scriptures, be careful to avoid reading into the text what is not there, reading the word “trees” and interpreting them as sky scrapers, for example. Guard against thinking with anachronisms, like the idea that America has a covenant with God similar to the one He initiated with Israel. America does not have a covenant relationship with God, Christians do.

If everything mentioned in the Bible can also be considered a symbol or code that only a select few “prophets” can understand, then the Bible could be used to say anything.

As Paul told Timothy, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). 

So is this the end? Will September 13th bring a great shaking? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, we should all remain faithful to the Lord. The Bible does teach that Americans–and everyone else who sins–are already under God’s judgment. (Romans 3:9-20)

But as for the end of days, Jesus said, “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son–except the Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

Basic Hermeneutic Principles:

  • Know the literary genre of the passage you are reading.
  • Understand what the passage meant to the original readers.
  • Look for the context of the passage.
  • Let scripture interpret scripture. Check to see what other verses and books of the Bible say about the same thing.
  • The plain meaning of the text is usually the proper interpretation.
  • Do not rely on allegories, codes or otherwise hidden devices to interpret the Bible.
  • Be careful to avoid reading into the text what is not there (Eisegesis Greek: ἐξήγησις).
  • Guard against thinking with anachronisms when interpreting the Bible.
  • Become familiar with the Bible’s use of literary devices. Read, “How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth” by Gordon Fee

About The Author

Chris Forbes
Chris Forbes http://www.ChrisForbes.org

Chris Forbes is a frustrated ex-comic, indie film marketer, & co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits.” As an Oklahoma-based communication strategist he has also worked with various organizations within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Chris Forbes has blogged 11 posts at wordslingersok.com

  • Terry

    Hey, Chris, while I appreciate your desire to look steadfastly at the testimony of scripture and the caution to not read something into it that is not there, I do believe we must be careful not leave out what is obviously there.
    I agree with most of what you have written in this article so I will not labor on all the points made. I do however take exception to the specific reference to “the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood” in Acts 2:20.

    You are saying that this was fulfilled at the crucifixion, if I understood you correctly. I would suggest that you look at the context again. This is Pentecost and this passage is in reference to the “actions” of those disciples after they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The quote from Joel is easily seen that it refers to the Holy Spirit and His work in the believer in those previous verses, Acts 2:17 and 18. The rest is yet to be fulfilled. Yes the sun did refuse to shine at the crucifixion but we cannot say that the moon turned to blood (whatever that may truly mean). I would suggest that verses 19 and 20 are yet to be fulfilled according to that last phrase in verse 20, “the day of the Lord.” I think we have reference to that in Revelation 6:12.
    Now you may be one of those that interprets all of Revelation as historical and not prophetic and if that is the case, you will not agree with this and in that case, we will have to agree to disagree.
    Thank you and God bless,
    Terry Beals

  • Heather

    As much as I agree about guarding against false teaching, I am extremely disturbed by your article that misrepresents Jonathan Cahn’s ministry.

    So where do you stand on judging another’s ministry with inadequate information? You’re obviously okay with telling us to be wary of the false teacher, but what about the careless writer who grossly distorts a powerful ministry that has much value and relevance to our society and Christian walk? Obviously you do not know much about what Cahn teaches because you try to simplify and condense his very intricate, complex teaching into a few sentences. Inaccurate to say the least. Not once does he ever compare a tree to a skyscraper, yet you imply this. And I’m sorry, have you never learned The Pledge of Allegiance? Did you miss the part where we “pledge” ourselves under God? One synonym for covenant is pledge, and yes, our country was dedicated to the Lord upon it’s inception.
    And about that part about codes and mysteries? If you haven’t realized it yet, our God is a supernatural God. He does have the right to hide mysteries from us, and He doesn’t always speak plain English. Jonathan Cahn is a Messianic Jew and has a completely different understanding of some things because of his background. You can’t interpret the Bible, especially some of the prophecy and ignore the culture and tradition it is steeped in. We westerners have to be very careful not to puff up in pride and think we have it all neatly translated and figured out.

    I could go on and on, but rather, I’ll let God defend his own prophet. Something DID begin to happen in September and the consequences WILL be felt now and throughout the next year.

    From now on, please don’t write about that which you don’t know. And be very careful not to criticize another man of God, distorting his teaching, just because you don’t agree.

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