Published Date: January 19, 2019
The word salvation is about as loaded a word as you can get in Christianity. “Are you saved?” “Do you have eternal life?” “Do you know where you are going when you die?” These are central questions that Christians, especially we Evangelical Christians, associate with salvation. And these very same questions have been asked by Christians for hundreds of years as we have sought to spread the Gospel around the world.
The Blood Moons, however, are quite new to the lexicon of Christianity. While they took the Christian prophetic world by storm in 2014, they might have remained completely ignored by the Orthodox Jewish world were it not for Tuly Weisz and Breaking Israel News, whose editorial approach seemed to be not “why to cover it”, but “why not”? Tuly was the very first Orthodox Rabbi who I ever found writing about the blood moons, and that was in the Spring of 2014 at the time of the first of the Four Blood Moons.
Letting go of the Blood Moons
I became aware of the Four Blood Moons in January of 2013, a full year before they began. I felt called to study these strange blood moons with vigor and purpose as strong as any other call that I had ever experienced in my life. Yet, a mere six months later, by the “Ninth of Av” in 2013, I would have an encounter with God that would redirect me even further. In the weeks following that experience detailed here, my heart slowly, carefully and resolutely decided to give up on, and let go of, all my research and discoveries regarding the blood moons. I cancelled my book plans, began to look for those to whom I might pass along my research, and resolved not to make a single dollar on these moons personally. By Fall, I had changed my focus to instead travel to Jerusalem to find Orthodox Jews for whom I might be able to use my business skills to “be a blessing to the Jewish people” as alluded to in Genesis 12:3.
“I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Genesis 12:3 (TIB)
It was on the walls of Jerusalem in January 2014 that I met Gidon Ariel at a Christian prayer conference put on by Christine Darg. Gidon had been invited to advise Christian intercessors how to pray as “watchmen on the walls”. During that prayer time, while still standing on those walls, he shared his idea for what would become Root Source. I then heard the Holy Spirit say of Gidon, “That’s your man”, so I figuratively grabbed onto his cloak in January 2014, and helped him launch his vision. I was happy to be his consultant behind the scenes, but that was not enough for him; he wanted a full-fledged partner. For weeks he kept insisting this until I finally took it to prayer and realized that God was speaking through him. I relented and we spent the next year preparing and launching Root Source as partners.
All the while, I carried my blood moons discoveries in my heart, occasionally mentioning them to Gidon. He listened but said little. Once everything was working on our website and our teachers were in place, it was time to start our marketing in earnest. Gidon and I met with Tuly Weisz to see if his company Israel365 could help us market Root Source. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this was the very same Rabbi who one year earlier was the first Orthodox Jew to have ever written about the Blood Moons!
What a joy it was for me to now also share with Tuly the idea that the Blood Moons were not a sign of harm to Israel or the world, but a sign of good to Israel and the Jewish people! I wondered if Tuly might want to use my research? Gidon then said:
“The Blood Moons could be a great marketing idea for Root Source!” He then looked at me and said, “Why don’t you create some video lessons on the Blood Moons?”
I immediately responded with two objections:
“But, Root Source is Israeli Jews teaching Christians worldwide, and I’m not a Jew! Wouldn’t they rather hear about this from you rather than from me?” I then added, “Also, I have promised God I would never make any money on the Blood Moons.”
Gidon smiled and said, “You won’t be like a regular teacher. We won’t charge for your material. We will give your teachings away for free, and in the process you can tell other Christians about Root Source!” I really had no comeback to this, and I had to agree in my heart that this sounded like a great marketing idea.
Tuly suggested that Israel365 develop a companion ebook as well, and that they market our free lessons to their large email list. Years later I learned that the Blood Moons 101 ebook was based on a massive PowerPoint presentation that had been compiled by Donna Jollay.
We ended up releasing six lessons on the Blood Moons back in the Spring of 2015. They were a hit, and many people were being transformed and encouraged by that message. After that success, Gidon came to me again and said, “Let’s work on a book together, that combines your ideas and mine.” Two years earlier I had let go of my book idea, but now here was Gidon asking me to join him! Thus, Israel FIRST! was released in the Fall of 2015 covering the Blood Moons, the Shemitah, the promises in Genesis 12:3, and the Jubilee. (We just published a new book on the Jubilee called Jubilee NOW! Final Edition.)
The Blood Moons – What they Meant to us in 2015
Our published message in 2015 regarding the Blood Moons went like this:
The Blood Moons are not a sign of trouble, but rather a cause for celebration. Rather than standing on the ground, look up at the sky and proclaiming, “Those Blood Moons are significant because they fall on feast days” we need to be looking down upon the Earth and saying “Those feast days are significant because of the Blood Moons.” Gidon then wrote down his personal view that they were a sign that the Jewish people needed to change their mind about Christians who were repenting for the sins of their past, a piece we wrote about in the first ever Studio See column: Gidon Called it Right: Turning and Returning. Gidon and I were in agreement that the Blood Moons seemed to be a sign of God’s covenant to return His people to the land of Israel. Some video lesson viewers then pointed out this verse to us:
“His line shall continue forever, his throne, as the sun before Me, as the moon, established forever, an enduring witness in the sky.” Selah. Psalm 89:37-38 (TIB, emphasis mine).
Not only were the Jewish people continuously in God’s hands, as evidenced by the moon, we revealed that every time the four Blood Moons appeared in the sky, the Jewish people had moved out of harm’s way and advanced towards their restoration as a people in their own land. The Blood Moons were a cause of celebration, which had happened in history, in the Blood Moon years of 1967/8, 1949/50, 1493/4, and also all the way back to the earlier occurrences of the Blood Moons in 1428/9, 860/1, 842/3, 795/6 and 162/3 CE.
Our biblical pattern for festive celebration was clearly defined in the entire book of Exodus! In particular, we studied the series of feasts highlighted by the Blood Moons: Passover, Sukkot, Passover and Sukkot. Just like the four Blood Moons happen over two years, so also those first four feasts spread over the first two years in the wilderness, were the critical period in which Israel was not only saved out of slavery in Egypt, but began to move towards their destination to Israel. And to top it all off, in our book we even revealed an exciting possibility that Four Blood Moons actually appeared in the sky during the first two years of the original Exodus!
That is what we thought we knew in 2015 regarding the Blood Moon. Has anything changed over the years? Yes!
The Blood Moons – What They Mean to us Today
Today, almost four years later, I only see more evidence towards our theory, not less. Therefore today, I would like to take another step forward and suggest that:
The four blood moons are not only a sign of the Exodus but a sign of the salvation of Israel.
The Fourth Blood Moon from Jerusalem (Photo: Root Source)
Such a grand statement will naturally raise some eyebrows in the Christian world, but should it? Maybe most Christians including myself have been looking at salvation in too narrow a sense. Perhaps we should consider salvation more in the ways that Jews see redemption, which is in Hebrew: geula.
Before I specifically try to make my case to Christian readers that Exodus is the story of the salvation of Israel, I would like to remind you of the many passages in the New Testament that speak of salvation in all three tenses: past, present and future. This is well-known in Christianity:
- He HAS saved us (regeneration) – Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
- He IS saving us (sanctification) – 2 Cor. 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
- He WILL save us (glorification) – 1 Peter 1:5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
And there is also the dimension of the joint responsibility between God and us for our salvation:
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13. (NASB)
Now with this larger view of salvation in mind, look carefully at the following elements of the physical story of the Exodus, and see if you cannot find many of these elements in your own theology of salvation as a Christian:
- Israel is miserable and stuck in slavery.
- God sends help, but not with immediate impact. In fact, things in Egypt get a lot worse before they get better.
- After the plagues are finished, God’s offer is much more complete — a whole new way of life and to return to the Promised Land.
- God speaks both directly through miracles, but also through men – Moses and Aaron.
- The people learn a name of God that they previously did not know.
- The people must exercise faith in God in many stages, and especially during the Passover. Their faith is tested many times.
- Death visits, but passes over the houses of people who place blood on the doorposts.
- The people begin a journey with God to learn of His ways and to have their entire way of living changed forever.
- God never relents from His promise to ultimately take them to the Promised Land.
Do you see what I am seeing? I see in each of the items above, the very same principles of past, present and future salvation as described in the New Testament — not a narrow sense of salvation, but a larger sense of salvation as detailed by Christian theologians.
If you have tracked with me so far, and can accept it, you should still have one big question left in your mind: how can we connect salvation to the Blood Moons?
How is the Exodus connected to our theory of the Blood Moons?
That question is a reasonable one. Here are my three answers.
First, the reason that Moses gives to Pharaoh to let the people go is so that they can go celebrate! They are to go celebrate a feast to the Lord after a three-day’s journey outside of Egypt!
Afterward Moshe and Aharon went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says Hashem, the God of Yisrael: Let My people go that they may celebrate a festival for Me in the wilderness.” Exodus 5:1 (TIB, emphasis mine)
Second, when God institutes the feasts in Exodus 12, and says that they will be celebrated “for all time”, (v14), He goes on to further clarify in Exodus 13:10 that they should be celebrated “from year to year”, which in the Hebrew literally means “from days to days”.
The Blood Moons come in a sequence of four consecutive total lunar eclipses over two years. The celebrations are from Passover in one year to Passover in the next, and from Sukkot in one year to Sukkot in the next. The Blood moons cover that interlocking sequence perfectly.
And finally, we have “The Four I Wills”. Before the journey ever started, God tells Moses what his ultimate purpose of the Exodus really is by making four unilateral declarations of not only his intention, but the final result. These declarations are known as The Four I Wills in Exodus:
Say, therefore, to B’nei Yisrael: I am Hashem.
- I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage.
- I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements.
- And I will take you to be My people,
- and I will be your God.
And you shall know that I, Hashem, am your God who freed you from the labors of the Egyptians. Exodus 6:6-7 (TIB)
The Jewish people even today during the annual Passover Seder meal, pour four cups of red wine to celebrate their redemption: one for each of the Four I Wills. I believe that these four cups of red wine, blood red wine if you will, parallel the four blood red moons that God placed in the sky — moons that when they happen can ONLY begin on Passover, never Sukkot. I want to acknowledge Lesley Richardson as the first Christian to explain the Four I Wills to me.
The Passover Seder is a celebration of life even while the angel of death is close at hand. It is the first organized celebration of salvation in the Bible, and I believe the Blood Moons are a further witness to God’s ultimate purpose in the salvation, which are described in the Four I Wills of the Exodus story.
Next time we hope to look beyond the aspects of salvation/redemption that we share with the Jewish people, to the places where I think we as Christians still need to grow in our own understanding of God’s plans and purposes.