In ancient times, decisions about war were determined by the color of the moon. Before Enlightenment principles and modern science, village elders and chiefs determined their god’s mood by lunar phenomena’s coincidence with even more ancient festivals and feasts. The right combo signaled God’s desire for bloodshed in anticipation of his physical manifestation on Earth and the End of Days.
Oh, did I say “ancient times?” I meant a few months ago. And I meant our soon-to-be-congressman, Jody Hice, not village chiefs and elders. It might make Hice a member of a quite literal lunatic fringe.
The Rev. Hice, who, barring a Second Coming-grade interruption in the affairs of humanity, will be elected to Congress in November, is paying attention to the night sky to determine his Middle East policy. Turns out that the Middle East’s central crisis isn’t complicated at all! It’s just that everyone has been distracted by books, history, international law and notions of justice. Nah, just peep the moon, and that’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Hice explained in April, the day after the first blood moon in the four-moon cycle appeared: “It's unprecedented that you would have four blood moons, all which are falling on major Jewish holidays, feasts. I believe there’s very good reason to look at this very, very seriously… [blood moons] have preceded world-changing, shaking type events. For instance, in 1493, a similar thing occurred with these four blood moons, and that took place when the Jews were expelled from Spain. There was another one that occurred in 1949, and shortly after that Israel became a state—it was founded out of nothing. The last of these four blood moons to occur was in 1967, and of course that came during the Six-Day War between Arabs and the Israeli nation.”
An ongoing cycle of blood moons in 2014 and 2015 announced to Hice that the state of Israel would experience a “major event.” AND THEN THE GAZA WAR HAPPENED OMG BLOOD MOONS!
“It seems only right to bring that awareness out in terms of Biblical prophecy," Hice said. OK, let’s talk Biblical prophecy. We could talk international law and Israel’s contravention thereof with its military occupation of the West Bank—gained due to a series of blood moons, according to Hice—and the blockade of Gaza. We could talk Palestinian terrorism, Hamas war crimes and Israeli fear. But, no, Hice wants to talk prophecy, so let’s talk prophecy.
(Before we start: A blood moon is just a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses just look reddish sometimes. But if you’re serving up bunk mysticism, “blood moon” sounds so much more legit, I guess. Like you’re Nostradamus or Rasputin or somebody.)
Here’s the background: The blood moons are important because they’ve coincided, according to certain strains of fundamentalist Christianity, with monumental events necessary for the End Times. The world’s Jews, expelled from Palestine by the Romans in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, must all return and reform Israel as a primary condition for the End Times to commence. That’s why the creation of the state of Israel in 1949 is such a big deal. Never mind the million or so Palestinians already there at the time. The Jews had spent nearly 2,000 years away, mostly in Europe, where they suffered some of the worst abuse delivered upon a people, culminating in pogroms, Nazism and the Holocaust. Anti-Semitism was, and remains, a disease of European Christendom, not Palestinians. So, since 1949, it’s been difficult to convince Palestinians that people who’d left (albeit by expulsion) in the year 135 get to return 1,800 years later and take their land. Hice and others, though, consider 3,000-year-old scripture a land deed.
The 1967 Arab-Israeli War and its supposedly accompanying blood moons are important, because that’s when the Israeli military began its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, despite military occupations of land taken in war being patently illegal, according to international law. But the prophecy states that Judea and Samaria (the West Bank, roughly) are part of the Biblical Land of Israel, which some interpretations have extending through Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt. That’s why Israeli settlers are important to apocalyptic Christians: Each settlement further captures part of Greater Israel in precipitation of Jesus’ return.
But it’s Jesus’ return—the Christian savior, not Jewish. Once the Jewish diaspora is collected in Israel again, it exists only as a pawn in Christian eschatology. Hice gets his blood moon prophecy from Pastor John Hagee and other End Times Christians. According to these guys, all the world’s Jews have to return to Israel for the End Times to commence, per Zechariah and the Book of Revelation.
Zechariah 12 is good to the collected Jews in Israel. The enemies of the Jews are defeated and God even “smite[s] every horse of [the Jews’ enemies] with blindness.” Why the horses have to get dragged into the mix is unclear, but we can see that God is not playing around in the fourth quarter.
It’s Zechariah 13 that’s the problem. Israel is the final ghetto in Christian prophecy. In Zechariah 13, two-thirds of the collected Jews are slaughtered by God, while the remaining third is converted to Christianity. It is the total and final destruction of Judaism.
There is growing unease in Israel about the support of American far-right Christians using Israel as a means to commence the Last Days. Two chief rabbis, Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliyahu, have even ruled that Israel should not accept the deluge of money coming from U.S. Christians to move the Jewish diaspora to Israel, citing the glaring anti-Semitism in the prophecy.
The blood moon prophecy is not only a singularly mystic and archaic way to determine policy positions in 2014, when most lawmakers are consulting history, law and scholarship; it’s also ultimately anti-Semitic. Extraordinarily so. Christian prophecy requires the conversion of all people to Christianity in the End Times, but Jews are singled out as pawns who most undergo special tribulation in the service of Christians. There is simply no other way to describe this than as rank anti-Semitism.