A review of ‘Signs in the Heavens: Blood moons are coming to Israel’ – a DVD by Mark Biltz


  • Reviewed by request from Ken, United Kingdom

    This presentation by Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries was filmed at the Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit, 2013. ‘Blood moons’ have been in the news of late, even making the front pages of the newspapers in the UK, and Biltz’s ideas have been used by well-known end times author John Hagee to link observations of near-space phenomena with political upheaval of eschatological significance.

    A ‘blood moon’ is caused when the earth passes between the moon and the sun. Unable to reflect the usual amount of sunlight, the moon turns red. They are fairly common, but what Mark Biltz highlights is that in 2014-15 there will be four blood moons in close succession, including one that will be seen in Israel.

    This ‘tetrad’ of blood moons will be roughly in time with the Jewish festivals of Passover and Sukkot in each year, which Mark Biltz believes is significant. Jesus’ ministry is linked with the Jewish festivals as well, so Biltz suggests there could be a link, saying “Jesus came at the Spring feasts and will return at the Autumn feasts.”

    There are several Bible references to the sun turning black and the moon turning ‘to blood’ in the end times (for example, Joel chapter 1, verse 23). Biltz builds a picture of how lunar eclipses can be used to predict eschatological events by citing Isaiah chapter 46, verse 10, which says that God ‘declared the end from the beginning’. The ‘beginning’ is therefore the Genesis account of creation, specifically Genesis chapter 1, verse 14, where the sun, moon and stars are created as ‘signs for seasons, days and years.’

    The Hebrew word for ‘signs’ can also be translated as ‘signals’. The word often translated there as ‘seasons’ can also be translated as ‘feasts’ (and is translated that way in Leviticus chapter 23). Biltz suggests the word seasons/feasts can also be read as ‘divine appointments’.

    The conclusion of this is that the Jewish religious feasts are divinely appointed ‘dress rehearsals’ of God’s interactions with human history. Mark Biltz makes a good case for this, pointing out the ‘Hallel’ sung at the Passover meal included Psalms 113-118. This group of Psalms includes the line that the stone the builders have rejected has become the capstone (Psalm 118, verse 22). If the Last Supper was a Passover meal, this line would have been sung there, and this became very important in the early church as a prophecy about Jesus’ rejection by the people and is used five times in the New Testament to describe Jesus.

    Biltz notes that Jesus is buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread and rises again on the Feast of First Fruits. In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 20, the Apostle Paul describes Jesus’ resurrection as the ‘first fruits’ of every believer’s resurrection.

    There are apparently four blood moons coming, but the one to watch out for, according to Mark Biltz, is the full blood moon, when the moon is closest to the Earth (at perigee) on Sukkot 2015. Biltz stops short of saying this is the date of Jesus’ return, although he hints that may be the date.

    There are a couple of times in the presentation when Biltz resists the urge to make too bold a statement, but he does assert that ‘something is going to happen’. He bases this on how previous lunar eclipses appear to have coincided with significant events in Jewish history, including Arab-Israeli conflicts since 1948.

    However, despite Biltz’s caution and unwillingness to make any definite predictions, the clear message of the presentation is that there will be some kind of war in 2015 that will herald the start of the end times.

    So, what’s the conclusion?

    Firstly, it has to be noted that Mark Biltz knows his stuff on Jewish festivals and the links between Jesus’ ministry and the wider context of Jewish worship and the religious calendar are worth exploring. It does help to understand some of the more obscure references in the gospels. He explains the details clearly and offers a deeper understanding of the Jewish roots of Christianity.

    There are some difficulties with the rest of Biltz’s claims, though. Some of the claims regarding the way previous blood moons coincide with Jewish history are iffy. There are also similar alignments of lunar eclipses with Jewish festivals where nothing happened. So, there isn’t necessarily a direct link between a sequence of blood moons or an event.

    Mark Biltz doesn’t claim to be anything more than a ‘watchman’ warning believers that ‘something might happen’. It feels like he is holding himself back from committing to anything definite. That vagueness is slightly disingenuous, though. To say ‘something could happen’ or ‘there may be a war’ in the Middle East does not require prophetic insights. It’s a very sad truism that the threat of war in that region is constant.

    While his background knowledge of the Bible’s context is clearly visible, Biltz’s use of the Bible is typically fundamentalist. All the parts of the Bible carry equal weight. He quotes from prophetic oracles, the poetic creation story, the Psalms, and so on. All the passages are interpreted literally (except, bizarrely, the Gospel account of the cock-crow on the night of Jesus’ arrest and Peter’s betrayal) and all are used contiguously, as if they were all written with the same aim and intent.

    The problem is that studying the Bible reveals later Biblical writers often drew on earlier sources. It’s generally accepted the Genesis account was written later than Isaiah and after the establishment of many of the festivals, so it’s hard to see how it is a prediction of the Jewish religious calendar. Also, it could well be that Jesus’ ministry ebbed and flowed along the high and low points of the religious calendar, following it rather than being predicted by it. In that sense, the feasts became ‘dress rehearsals’ because Jesus was inspired by them.

    Perhaps the biggest flaw in the Mark Biltz’s argument is about the comet Ison. This was a comet that was due to enter the corona of the sun at the end of November 2013 and when it swung back out it was expected to be one of the brightest comets ever seen. Mark Biltz believed this was an echo of the account of Josephus that talked about a ‘star like a sword’ that lasted a year. It would be a ‘heavenly sign’ that would inaugurate the season of blood moons at Jewish feasts.

    However, Ison burned up in the sun and so that one almost definite prediction that Mark Biltz made has failed to come to pass. As a bit of a non-event, Ison is therefore cautionary when considering the other claims that Biltz makes.

     

    Many thanks to Ken for the loan of the DVD.

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