Megachurch pastor John Hagee is not the "discoverer" of the pattern of blood moons, according to news reports from WND.
The Christian publication points to pastor Mark Blitz as the one who received the revelation and has sent a demand letter to Hagee. The letter asks for a public apology and re-edits for the film Four Blood Moons.
"We asked for two reasonable actions in a legal demand letter: a re-editing of the "Four Blood Moons" movie to remove the offending quotation from Hagee in which he suggested he had discovered the phenomenon; a clear unequivocal public statement that Biltz had, indeed, discovered the blood moons anomaly," said Joseph Farah, the publisher of Biltz's book and the producer of the movie version, wrote in a Sunday column. "But, so far, Hagee's representatives have declined even to discuss those demands. Instead, they have acted like the offended party, claiming WND and Biltz have mischaracterized the facts."
As proof of its case, WND offers excerpts from Blitz's 2014 book, Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, of how he started researching the blood moons phenomenon in 2008:
"I had read all the Bible verses in Isaiah, Joel, the Gospels, and Revelation where the text talks about the moon turning to blood and the sun to sackcloth. I began to ponder the possibilities of tying the eclipses mentioned in the Bible to the possible coming of the Messiah. Because I love science and astronomy, I decided to look into the future occurrences of eclipses. I remembered that NASA has a list of eclipses that covers 5,000 years, so I went to the website to see what interesting observations I could find. I noticed that there were four total lunar eclipses in a row in 2014 and 2015."
"Mark Biltz has given Hagee the benefit of the doubt for too long. He overlooked a grave slight by Hagee in the way he handled his book—not crediting Biltz as the man who discovered the blood moons phenomenon. Instead, Hagee flattered Biltz as a 'Bible scholar' and suggested that it was a mere question by Biltz that set off his own discovery," said Joseph Farah, the publisher of Biltz's book and the producer of the movie version, said in the article.
"The truth is Biltz had thoroughly researched and presented the blood moons, and Hagee brought nothing new to the subject—treating it, comparatively, in the most superficial way in his own book. But now Hagee has crossed a bridge too far by claiming in his movie that he is actually the discoverer of the blood moons phenomenon. This is one of the definitions of plagiarism—misrepresenting the work of someone else as your own."
Charisma News obtained letter Ari Morgenstern, a spokesperson for Hagee, wrote to WND. The letter outlines six errors in response to the WND articles "Mega-Pastor Hijacks 'Blood Moons' Discovery," and "Hagee Hit with Demand Letter Over '4 Blood Moons."
According to Morgenstern, the errors are: (1) an allegation that Hagee asserted he was the "discoverer" of the four blood moons phenomenon; (2) an allegation that Hagee does not credit Biltz for his relevant efforts; (3) an implication that Hagee took the term "God's billboard" from Biltz; (4) an allegation that Hagee used inaccurate dates in his discussions of previous tetrads (5) an implication that Biltz is not prominently featured in Hagee's Four Blood Moons film; and (6) an allegation that Hagee supports so-called dual-covenant theology.
Biltz told Charisma News he freely gave away the blood moons revelation by appearing on numerous programs. In 2012, when Hagee visited his congregation Biltz says he shared his information figuring he would help get the word out. Other books based on Biltz's studies credited him with the discovery.
"When [Hagee's book] came out I had mixed feelings. He acknowledged my existence and as being a nice guy but never came out and said that I was the one who discovered it and was the one who gave him everything on a silver platter. It was more like he thought all I did was ask a question that spurred him on in his discovery. Then when he was making the movie I was asked to be in it and thought great maybe this time he will give me credit," Biltz told Charisma News.
"I flew down to Florida and did about an hour of filming describing how I discovered it and told John Hagee all about it. That was left out of the film. It was disappointing again to never hear him say that I was the one who actually discovered it and gave him all my information. I believe he is finally saying he was not the discoverer but it would be nice just to hear him ever unequivocally say that I was the one who discovered it and gave him all my information not just that he knows I exist and was one of many who led him on this journey."
Nevertheless, Morgenstern said WND is obligated to correct the errors.
"Under normal circumstances, given their complete inaccuracy, I would expect both pieces to be removed with the publisher's apologies, but as [Joseph] Farah is the driving force behind this narrative, the publisher of the outlet that posted the pieces, and WND has not even bothered to provide readers with the name of the author of the pieces, we've strayed quite far from normal circumstances," Morgenstern said.
"While these facts clearly call into question WND's objectivity, they pale in comparison to the conflict of interest associated with Farah's apparent financial stake in advancing this false narrative. Not surprisingly, in the piece, WND repeatedly advertises and links to purchase options of Biltz's relevant book and film—which as the WND piece mentions, Farah is, respectively, publisher and producer (relevant screenshots are available upon request)."
Farah is standing his ground.
"I think we have presented Hagee and his team with a simple, inexpensive and honorable way to do the right thing for Mark Biltz, his book, his movie and his reputation," he said. "We both pray he will, sooner rather than later, accept our plea for relief."
Troy Anderson contributed to this story.
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