False Predictions of Protestants and Catholics
We expect the cults to make false predictions for the Second Coming, but it is something that no true believer should ever do. We are not commanded to predict when the Rapture or the Second Coming will take place. Instead we are commanded to watch for the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 5.6). Making predictions as to the date of the Rapture can only harm the faith of true believers. It can never increase their faith.
Early Church fathers
Some of the early Church fathers believed that most of the prophecies concerning the end times had been fulfilled in their time as noted previously in Chapter 5. They eagerly awaited the return of Jesus Christ because they did not know that there were many more prophecies that had to be fulfilled before the Lords return. Here are some of their statements:
Clement of Rome said around 100 AD, Soon and suddenly shall his will be accomplished.
Ignatius said around 100 AD, The last times are upon us.
Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla (Montanism movement leaders) predicted that the world would end in their lifetime (2nd Century).
Cyprian said around 250 AD, The kingdom of God, beloved brethren, is beginning to be at hand.
Martin of Tours said around 400 AD, There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power.
Hippolytus predicted the end of the age would come in 500 AD.1
On December 31, 999 A.D. millions of people thought the Lord was about to return. Thousands crowded into the old basilica of St. Peters Church in Rome awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. Many gave their land, homes and personal possessions to the poor as an act of contrition. Some traveled to Palestine believing the Lord would return there. Everyone was disappointed. Many Europeans made the same mistake in December of 1099 and 1199. They also thought Christ would return 1000 years after His resurrection in 33 AD.
Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore, founder of the monastic order of San Giovanni in Fiore, Italy, predicted that the Antichrist would rise to power in 1260 AD. (Abanes, Richard, End-Time Visions, p. 338)
Nicolas of Cusa
Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa predicted that doomsday would take place between 1700 and 1734. (McIver, Tom. The End of the World: An Annotated Bibliography, #73)
Melchoir Hofmann announced in 1531 that the Second Coming would take place in the year 1533. (DeMar, Gary, Last Days Madness, p. 13).
The great explorer Christopher Columbus is said to have predicted the world would end in 1656. (End-Time Visions, p. 338)
Martin Luther considered the year 2000 AD as a possible end-time date before finally settling on 1600 AD (Kyle, Richard, The Last Days are Here Again, p. 192). His belief that the Second Coming would take place around 1600 is seen in this comment:
I believe that all the signs which are to precede the last days have already appeared. Let us not think that the Coming of Christ is far off; let us look up with heads lifted up; let us expect our Redeemers coming with longing and cheerful minds. (Systematic Theology, vol. 4, p. 279, emphasis added)
All those excellent and learned men whom, without doubt, God has sent into the world in these latter days to give the world warning, do gather out of the Scriptures that the last days can not be far off. Peradventure it may come in my day, old as I am, or in my childrens days. (Systematic Theology, vol. 4, p. 279, emphasis added)
Johann Heinrich Alsted
Johann Heinrich Alsted, a German Calvinist, predicted that Jesus Christ would return in 1694. He was convinced that the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) would lead to the end of the world. He came up with 1694 by taking 69 AD as the start of the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished. He then added 1,290 day-years (Daniel 12.11) to come up with 1359 AD and then he added 1,335 day-years (Daniel 12.11) to arrive at 2694 AD. He subtracted 1,000 years for the Millennial Kingdom to arrive at the year 1694 AD as the year of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (Armerding, Carl Edwin and Gasque, W. Ward. Handbook of Biblical Prophecy, pp. 30-32).
Using numbers found in the Bible to calculate the date of the Rapture and the Second Coming is a futile effort as those who have done so understand. The key to knowing the When (Rapture) is not numerology or the calculation of numbers. The only way to know when the Rapture will take place, and subsequently the Second Coming is to diligently watch the warning signs be fulfilled that Jesus, the prophets and the apostles gave us.
The powerful Puritan preacher Cotton Mather predicted the Lord would return in 1697 and then in 1716 and finally in 1736. (End-Time Visions, p. 338)
Methodist Church founder John Wesley foresaw the Millennium beginning in 1836, the same year that the Beast of Revelation was supposed to rise from the sea. (The End of the World: An Annotated Bibliography, #269)
The Shakers, United Society of Believers in Christs Second Appearing, sprang from the Protestant denomination the Quakers. They believed in celibacy and could not attract many followers. They predicted the world would end in 1792.
Hatley Frere, who brought Edward Irving into the premillennial fold, thought Louis Napoleon was the Antichrist. He also predicted that the Jews would return to Palestine and rebuild their temple in 1865 and that the Roman Catholic Church would become defunct by 1864 (Handbook of Biblical Prophecy, pp. 54-55).
The Anglican minister Michael Paget Baxter was an ardent date setter, a veritable Charles Taylor of the 19th century. In one of his earliest publications he predicted the end of the world for 1861-1867. (The End of the World: An Annotated Bibliography, #348)
He also predicted the end to come in 1868 and 1869. He continued to make predictions picking the years 1871-1872. He took some time off from predicting, and then chose 1896. He did not stop. He foresaw the end of the world in 1901 in his book, The End of This Age About the End of This Century. He refused to quit, and in another book, Future Wonders of Prophecy, he predicted that the Rapture would take place on March 12, 1903, between 2-3pm. (The End of the World: An Annotated Bibliography, #353)
Leonard Sale-Harrison was a solid Pre-Tribulationist. He thought Mussolini was the Antichrist and predicted the Rapture would take place in either 1940 or 1941. He made the fatal mistake that most of the modern Pre-Tribulationists make who believe that there are no signs for the Rapture. Robert Clouse commented on this prognosticator saying, Like many pretribulation premillennialists, Sale-Harrison was rather inconsistent. If there are no signs required before the coming of the Lord to rapture His church, then why is so much time spent in reading current events into the Bible? (Handbook of Biblical Prophecy, pp. 30-32).
Henry Harry Ironside
Dr. Henry Ironside thought, in 1915 when he wrote the book The Midnight Cry, that he was living in the last days:
Reader, let me press my point again. The world-wide Gospel proclamation and world-wide apostasy at the same time are clear proofs that the end is close upon us. (The Midnight Cry, p. 28, citing Lindsell, The Gathering Storm, p. 123, emphasis added, R.K.)
Laodicea is the closing period of the Churchs history, and who can doubt that we have now reached the very time predicted? It behooves us to act as men who wait for their Lord, knowing that His coming cannot be much longer delayed (Ibid. p. 35, citing Lindsell, p. 124, emphasis added, R.K.)
It has been 94 years since he wrote that the return of Christ cannot be much longer delayed. He saw some warning signs, but not all of them. No one can know the nearness of the Rapture without knowing all of the major warning signs.
William Branham, founder of the post World War II faith healing movement, proclaimed himself to be the angel of Revelation 3.14 and 10.7. He prophesied that by 1977 all denominations would be consumed by the World Council of Churches under the control of the Roman Catholics, that the Rapture would take place and that the world would be destroyed.1
Lester Sumrall predicted the end of the world in his book, I Predict 1985. When that prediction failed he wrote another book. In his book, I Predict 2000 A.D., he argued that the Lord would return by the year 2000 at the latest to set up His Millennial Kingdom. I predict the absolute fullness of mans operation on planet Earth by the year 2000 A.D. Then Jesus Christ shall reign from Jerusalem for 1000 years. (End-Time Visions, p. 99, 341)
Kenneth Hagin predicted the Rapture would take place in October of 1997. This is what he said at revival meeting in July 1997:
It shall come to pass this year! It shall come to pass at last. That which has hindered shall be taken out of the way. The last vestige shall be removed! And it shall come. What is that I see? Shining so bright coming from heaven. Awesome; you want to weep, yet shout, cry yet laugh. I see it coming, nearer and nearer. Blinding light. The fall of this year - October. As the people walk in the light of what they have, the rest shall come to pass.
We are going with God. Well go off and leave some, but we are going with God. Going with God! In the spirit he speaketh mysteries, secrets. Things which are and shall be. When it comes to pass you will know.
In October in St. Louis, the center and heart of the nation, it shall come. It shall spread all over the nation. Manifestations everywhere. That which has frustrated will be removed. Then you will know the full meaning of the Divine glow. And others will be invited to walk in the light of it, and so they shall. The glory of the Lord shall shine upon His people. (Hagin Holy Ghost Meeting, Oct. 12-24 or longer, St. Louis Family Church, Jeff C. Perry, Pastor, with satellite broadcast, emphasis added, R.K.)
End-time preacher Charles Taylor made several predictions for the date of the Rapture. The first year he picked was 1975. When 1975 failed he picked 1976. He didnt stop and went on to pick 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992 and 1994. He quit predicting the Rapture due to an untimely ailment called death (End-Time Visions, p. 99).
Edgar Whisenant and Greg Brewer wrote a book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Is in 1988, in which they predicted the Second Advent would take place in 1988. When the Lord did not return in 1988, Whisenant wrote another book, The Final Shout: Rapture Report 1989. When the Lord failed to return in 1989 he stopped making predictions.
Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, Liberty University and senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, made a prediction that did not come true. He predicted on his TV show (December 27, 1992) that the Rapture would take place before the end of 1999. Even though he expected the Rapture in seven years or less he said he expected to live as long as W.A. Criswell, who was 83 at the time. He was 59 years of age in 1992. (North, Gary, Rapture Fever, p. 200).
In 1999 Falwell said the Antichrist was probably alive, and that the Second Coming will probably be within 10 years. He also told about 1500 people at a conference on evangelism at Kingsport, Tennessee, that the Antichrist is a male Jew. Who will the antichrist be? I dont know. Nobody else knows, he said.2
In 1950, a young Billy Graham stated, We may have another year, maybe two years. Then I believe it is going to be over. (Hugo McCord, Date Setting, article3)
Doug Clark self-published a book in the 1970s, in which he said the Rapture could take place in the 70s. Yes it could! (Amazing Prophecies of the 70s!, p. 57). He gave 51 prophecies that he said could be fulfilled in the 1970s. In that book he also speculated that Henry Kissinger could be the Antichrist, and he gave ten reasons for his choice (pp. 13-17).
On April 26, 1989, Doug Clark announced on Trinity Broadcasting Networks show, Praise the Lord, that World War III would begin within 3 years. (End-Time Visions, p. 92)
Pat Robertson, founder of the 700 Club television show, predicted the end of the world would occur in 1982. I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world, he said in a May 1980 broadcast of the 700 Club. (Boyer, Paul S., When Time Shall Be No More, p. 138)
In his 1968 book, Guide to Survival, Salem Kirban used Bishop Usshers calculations to speculate that 1989 would be the year of the Rapture (p. 136).
Mikkel Dahl, Reginald Duncan & Emil Gaverluk
Mikkel Dahl predicted in The Midnight Cry that the present era would end by 1980. Reginald Edward Duncan predicted in The Coming Russian Invasion of America that the Millennium would begin in 1979. Emil Gaverluk, of the Southwest Radio Church, predicted that the Rapture would occur by 1981. (DeMar, Gary, Last Days Madness, p. 14)
On his broadcast on the morning of February 7, 2000, televangelist Kenneth Copeland claimed that a group of scientists and scholars had studied the Bible in great detail, and had determined that February 11, 2000, would be the last day of the 6000th year since Creation, a date when the Apocalypse would presumably happen. Copeland did not imply he believed this to be accurate yet he went on to say that the Rapture will come soon.
David Webber & Noah Hutchings
David Webber and Noah Hutchings, of the Southwest Radio Church, published a booklet in 1978 in which they speculated that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ might be in 2001. This is what they wrote:
A vital question that affects every man, woman and child living today is: Will Christ come by 2001? This impending possibility looms ominously on the human horizon and confronts each of the nearly 42 billion people on this planet. A time of unparalleled affliction, tyranny, and destruction must occur before the most shattering event in all history of man the physical return of Christ to the earth, in real, visible, and overwhelming power.
The irrefutable evidence of prophetic Scripture indicates that Jesus Christ may very well be here by 2001! The general signs in the heavens and on earth, plus the specific signs occurring in Israel (Gods dramatic timepiece), all point to His soon return. (Will Christ Come by 2001?, p. 2, emphasis added, R.K.)
They opened their booklet with a chart of past and future dates:
A.D. 1917-1921 - Balfour Declaration
A.D. 1918-1922 - The Beginning of Sorrows
A.D. 1948-1952 Israels Rebirth After the Flesh
A.D. 1967-1971 - Jerusalem Restored
A.D. 1974-1978 - Jewish Temple Rebuilt?
A.D. 1981-1985 - Beginning of the Tribulation
A.D. 1985-1989 - Middle of Tribulation
A.D. 1988-1992 - End of the Tribulation
A.D. 1995-1999 - Completion of Millennial Temple
A.D. 1996-2000 - The Jubilee, a rest
A.D. 1997-2001 - Beginning of the Kingdom Age (p. 3)
Needless to say they missed by a long shot. We must note that Webber and Hutchings are Pre-Tribulationists. That means the Rapture must take place before the start of the Tribulation. According to their chart the Rapture should have taken place in 1985 by the latest.
Webber and Hutchings teamed up with Emil Gaverluk and published a transcript of a radio program in 1978 in which they predicted the Rapture would take place in the 1980s. Here are a few of the things they predicted would take place in that decade:
1980: New World Monetary System emerges
1981: Great Synagogue completed
1982: Parade of Planets
1983: Russian invasion of the Middle East
1984: George Orwells world of 1984 (World government)
1985: Treaty with Israel aborted
1986: Halleys Comet reappears
1987: Massive storms, earthquakes, extreme heat from the sun
1988: Comet Kohoutek reappears 1989: A great invasion from outer space. Jesus Christ institutes a new government on earth. (Gods Timetable for the 1980s, p. 2)
These Pre-Tribulationists firmly believe the Rapture will take place at least seven years prior to the start of the Tribulation. The Tribulation starts with the signing of the covenant between the Antichrist and Israel. Since they place the breaking of the covenant in 1985, they believed the Rapture would take place by 1982 at the latest. The Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel 3.5 years after signing it (Daniel 9.27). They missed the date of the Rapture by 27 years and counting.
In 1990 Dr. Grant Jeffrey wrote Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny. He predicted that the year 2000 A.D. is a probable termination date for the last days (p. 193). He used an elaborate argument based on the jubilee years. He cited the start of the Lords ministry where He read Isaiah 61.1 and the first line of verse two. The Lords ministry began in a jubilee year:
The year when this occurred, the fall of A.D. 28, was, in fact, not only a Jubilee Year, but was also the thirtieth Jublilee since the Sabbatical-Jubilee system of years began when Israel crossed the Jordan River in 1451 B.C. Thus, Jesus Christ precisely fulfilled the acceptable year of the Lord on the exact year of Jubilee the year of liberty and release.
Please note that He stopped reading at the acceptable year of the Lord because He knew that the next phrase of the prophets sentence, and the day of vengeance of our God, which refers to Armageddon, would be postponed exactly 2,000 biblical years (2000 biblical years times 360 days equals 720,000 days divided by 365.25 equals 1971.25 calendar years).
If we add 2000 biblical years (1971.25 calendar years) to the beginning of Christs ministry on a Jubilee Year when He read the prophecy about the acceptable year of the Lord in the fall of A.D. 28; we arrive at the year A.D. 2000, forty Jubilee Cycles later.
The next Jubilee Year will occur in A.D. 2000, completing the Sabbatical-Jubilee system of years the seventieth Great Jubilee.
In the thirtieth Jubilee Year, Christ commenced His ministry in A.D. 28. In the seventieth Jubilee Year, Christ may commence His kingdom in A.D. 2000. It is also interesting that both the First and Second Temples were dedicated to the Lord on the Feast of Tabernacles in a Year of Jubilee. (pp. 192-193)
Jeffrey went on to argue that his calculations were being confirmed by thousands of pastors and believers around the world that are receiving a quiet assurance in their own spirit that the Second Coming of the Lord is quickly approaching. (Ibid., p. 193, emphasis added, R.K.)
It is obvious that his calculations were wrong. If Christ was scheduled to return in 2000 AD, the Rapture should have taken place in 1993. Its been 16 years since Jeffrey predicted the Lord should have returned, and it may be another decade before He does.
Those thousands of pastors and believers who had a quiet assurance in their own spirit that the Second Coming of the Lord is quickly approaching were also wrong. That assurance did not come from the Lord or from the Bible; it came from wishful thinking. The key to understanding when the Rapture will take place is not elaborate calculations or quiet assurances. The key is to know what warning signs will take place before the Rapture. Once you know them you can diligently look for them to be fulfilled, and watch as the Rapture approaches.
Everyone who has made a prediction based on Biblical calculations has been wrong. We do not believe anyone can use mathematical calculations to determine the exact or approximate date of the Rapture and Second Coming. The possible exception might be Sir Isaac Newton who has predicted that the Second Coming will take place in 2060 AD. We will have to wait to see if his calculation was divinely inspired. The way to determine the approximate time of these events is to know what signs have yet to be fulfilled, and then keep diligent watch for them to be fulfilled.
Jeffrey decided to give up date-setting a few years later. In his 1994 book, Prince of Darkness, he had this warning for all date-setters:
We should emulate Pauls attitude of watching expectantly for the Lords return but refuse to set a date for it... Attempts to calculate the exact timing are doomed to failure and are in direct disobedience to the words of Christ. (p. 212, emphasis added, R.K.)
It is a shame he did not come to this conclusion before he predicted in 1990 that the Rapture would take place in 2000. If he was wrong about the date he picked could he be wrong about the doctrine of imminence?
In Dr. Timothy LaHayes first book on prophecy published in 1972, The Beginning of the End, he stated succinctly that one of the primary signs of the last days was the fulfillment of Matthew 24.7:
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in various places. (NKJV)
What war was the fulfillment of that prophecy? LaHaye had this to say:
Now we are ready to ask: Has there ever been a war, started by two nations, which grew into a worldwide war by the kingdoms of the world, followed by unprecedented famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places (perhaps simultaneously)? I am of the opinion that we can discern such. Though reluctant to be dogmatic on the subject, I believe there is one event that fulfills all four parts of this prophecy. That terrible event has been labeled by historians as World War I, which took place between 1914 and 1918. (Ibid., pp. 35-36)
Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished (Matthew 24.34). How long is a generation according to LaHaye? Here is what he had to say about the length of a generation:
We may logically inquire next, How long is a generation? Psalm 90:10 provides insight into this subject. The days of our years are three-score years and ten; and if, by reason of strength, they be four-score years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow.... This does not mean that the final generation is limited to seventy or eighty years; the psalmist is acquainting us with the general length of a generation.
How many people make up a generation? No particular number; just one person who comprehended the four parts of the 1914-1918 sign could represent the generation. (Ibid., p. 168)
He argues that just one person needs to be alive, who was old enough to understand that World War I was a sign, for the prophecy of Jesus to be fulfilled. If we say a four-year-old child could understand that World War I was a sign that means the Lord must return before the last person dies who was born in 1910 or before. According to his argument if a person lives to 120 who was born in 1910, the Lord would have to return by 2030. The rapture would have to take place seven years early in 2023.
The longest period of time for a generation in the Bible is 100 years (Genesis 15.13, 16). Using that period of time as the longest period for a generation the Lord must return by 2014 at the very latest. The start of World War I was the first sign according to LaHaye:
The uniqueness of this prophetic book is the basing of these signs in the first great sign, World War I. Admittedly, some appeared prior to 1914, just as the conditions that produced the tragic war rumbled long before the opening Serbian shot was fired. (Ibid., p. 161)
In a later book, Are We Living in the End Times?, he pinned down a generation:
As my friend and prophecy scholar Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum has written, The Bible nowhere limits the period of a generation simply to forty years. The one place where the term generation is given a specific time length, it is reckoned to be 100 years (Genesis 15:13-16). Actually, the term generation can mean 20, 40, 70, 80, or 100 years. (p. 60)
The longest a generation can possibly be is 100 years! He teaches the Rapture will take place seven years earlier. Therefore, that blessed event (Rapture) must take place by 2007 at the very latest. That year has passed without the Rapture taking place.
In The Beginning of the End, published in 1972, he had this to say about how close the Rapture was:
No one knows how long we have before we see the fulfillment of these things, but as we shall see in future studies, it seems that it cannot be much longer before our Lord comes for his Church. As the Lord Jesus said, although we cannot predict the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36) when He shall return, we can know the season. This book is dedicated to showing that we are not only in the season, but the twilight of the season. (p. 84, emphasis added, R.K.)
If a season is 100 years long and the twilight is 20 years long, it means he made another prediction that did not come to pass as he said it would. It all depends on how long a season is and how long the twilight is.
He listed the 12 most important signs of the Second Coming, and described them in that same book, The Beginning of the End. He signified how close we were to the Rapture in 1972 by giving the time of the night for each sign:
World War I (10:30 pm)
Rebirth of Israel (10:35 pm)
Russia and the Middle East (10:40 pm)
Capital and Labor Conflicts (10:45 pm)
Skyrocketing Travel (10:50 pm)
Explosion of Knowledge (11:00 pm)
Apostasy (11:15 pm)
Occult Shadows and Realities (11:20 pm)
Perilous Times (11:30 pm)
A Flood of Wickedness (11:30 pm)
Scoffers Have Come (11:40 pm)
The Ecumenical Church 11:50 pm)
The Disunited Nations/World Government (11:58 pm) (pp. 162-163)
LaHaye implied by this clock that in 1972 the world was at 11:40 pm. All of the signs had been fulfilled except the last two the ecumenical church and world government. If we divide 4,200 seconds (70 minutes X 60 seconds) by 58 years (1914 to 1972) we come up with approximately 71 seconds per year. Since the last sign was fulfilled by 1972 (the time that the book was published) at 11:40 there were 20 minutes remaining on the countdown clock. There are 1,200 seconds remaining (20 minutes X 60 seconds), which means the Second Coming of Jesus should have taken place in 1989 (1,200 seconds divided by 71 seconds for each year, equals 17 years. 1972 plus 17 equals 1989). Its obvious that he was working off of a generation as being 70 to 80 years (Psalm 90.10). If we add 80 years to 1914 we come to 1994. If we take away seven years for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture that event should have taken place in 1987, which corresponds to his countdown clock. That is also very close to the year (1981) that Hal Lindsey predicted for the Rapture.
Chuck Smith made a clear statement in his book, Future Survival, that the Lord would Rapture the Church before the end of 1981:
From my understanding of biblical prophecies, Im convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981. I could be wrong, but its a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief. (p. 20, emphasis added, R.K.)
Deep convictions should not be the basis for doctrine. Scripture is the only basis for doctrine, never feelings or convictions.
We do not know why he chose 1981 for the date of the Rapture, but its possible that he believed the teaching of Hal Lindsey. In his book, The Late Great Planet Earth, Lindsey speculated that a generation was 40 years. He believed the Lord would return 40 years after the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 because the Lord said that everything mentioned in the Olivet Discourse would take place before the generation that sees Israel become a nation again passes away (Matthew 24.32-34). Since the Rapture takes place seven years earlier it should have taken place in 1981. A generation is not 40 years. It is 70 years or 80 as stated in the Psalms:
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years... (Psalm 90.10)
If a generation is 70 years it means the Second Coming of Jesus will be before 2018 and the Rapture before 2011. If a generation is 80 years the Second Coming of the Lord will be before 2028 and the Rapture will take place before 2021. It is also possible that a generation is 100 years (Genesis 15.13, 16), which means the Rapture would take place by the year 2041 and the Second Coming by 2048.
Besides thinking 40 years was the Biblical length of a generation, he thought the return of Haleys comet might be a fulfillment of prophecy. He speculated that the return of Haleys comet might be one of the signs in heavens that Jesus spoke of:
And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, man fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21.25-27)
Smith went on to speculate that the tail of Haleys comet could affect the balance of the earths ozone blanket and the suns ultraviolet rays would begin to scorch people upon the earth (Ibid., p. 20). Then he wrote:
The Lord said that towards the end of the Tribulation period the sun would scorch men who dwell upon the face of the earth (Rev. 16). The year 1986 would fit just about right! Were getting close to the Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ in glory! (Ibid., p. 21, emphasis added, R.K.)
We are almost 30 years further down the road from when Smith wrote his book, Future Survival (1980), and there are still many things that must happen before the Rapture takes place. He continued to exhort the Church to be ready for the Rapture:
All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. God is warning you. (Ibid., p. 21)
Smith did not stop there. He noted how Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees for not knowing the signs of My coming. He also quoted Pauls exhortation that Christians are not children of darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5.4). He concluded that chapter by saying:
Christs return shouldnt come as a surprise to the child of God. God has given us plenty of evidence to look for and that evidence is here now! We can see it! And so, with Paul the apostle I say to you that all of our futures are foreshortened. We dont have time to be involved in nonessential things. The time has come to let out all the stops and go for it because our Lord is coming very soon! (Ibid., pp. 21-22, emphasis R.K.)
The Rapture should not come as a surprise to Christians who know what signs to look for. The problem is that too many Christians do not know the specific warning signs that we should be looking for to know when the Rapture is near. We encourage every Christian to memorize the What (those warning signs), and to diligently look for them to know the When (time of the Rapture).
Smith made another prediction of sorts in 2010 on his Pastors Perspective radio program:
I do think that the Antichrist is in the world. I think that he is alive, and I think that he is chomping at the bit to take over the reins of the world. (1.14.2010, emphasis mine)
When the Antichrist is revealed and it is shown that he was not an adult in 2010, it will mean Smith was wrong in his belief that the Antichrist was ready to take rulership of the world.
Jack van Impe
Jack van Impe has made several predictions for the date of the Rapture. He claimed in his video entitled, AD 2000 the End? that the Rapture could possibly take place in September 1999. He based it on generations listed in the Gospel of Matthew. He took the 3 divisions of 14 generations and determined that from Abraham to Christ there were 2160 years. He divided those years by the 42 generations to arrive at 51.4 years per generation. He took year 1948 (when Israel was reborn) and added one generation (51.4 years) to determine that Christ would most likely return in the Autumn of 1999. When that prediction failed he took a break from predicting. Now his latest date is 2012. As of 2008 he is selling a DVD entitled, 2012, in which he lays out myriad reasons why he believes the Rapture will take place in 2012. One of those reasons is that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. This is what he said on a recent program:
In Matthew 1.17, there are 42 generations from Abraham until Christ. What? 2,160 years divided by 42 is 51.2. In Luke chapter three, verses 23 to 38, there are 77 generations into 4,000 years from Adam to Christ and that comes out to 51.2 and if you add the extra six months because the Six Day War took place in June youre almost at 52 years. You add 52 to 1967 and you come out pretty close to 2018, 2019, subtract seven years from now, were talking about 2012. Remember what I said two weeks ago? The Mayan calendar ends December 21st 2012. Its all there, ladies and gentlemen. I dont believe in setting dates, Matthew 24.36, but Jesus said, When you shall see all these signs (and they are here) then youll know its near even at the door, Matthew 24.33. (Emphasis added, R.K.)
We are living in the times of the signs, but the Mayan calendar has nothing to do with the timing of the Rapture. The only signs that a true believer in Jesus Christ should watch for are the prophecies found in the Bible. Secular signs are not reliable, and they should be ignored. When 2012 ends it will mean that once again Van Impe has made a false prediction.
Thousands of preachers have said during the last 39 years that Jesus Christ would soon return or that His return was very near. This recent prophecy craze was started by Hal Lindsey in 1970. His book, The Late Great Planet Earth, was the foundation for most of the predictions since 1970. He speculated, but did not state emphatically, that the last generation started in 1948 with the establishment of the nation of Israel. He said that a generation was 40 years so the Second Coming should be in 1988. He believes the Rapture will take place seven years earlier which means he thought the Rapture would probably take place in 1981.
Lindsey quoted the Lord, Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished (Matthew 24:34), and then he made this statement:
What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like forty years. If this is a correct deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives believe that this is so. (The Late Great Planet Earth, p. 54, emphasis added, R.K.)
He thought he was right when the Iraq-Iran War broke out in September 1980, but the Lord did not return. He was wrong about that prediction. Many scholars, who believed like him, and had studied Bible prophecy all of their lives, were also wrong.
Since then Lindsey has said dozens of times that the Rapture would take place soon, very soon and that it was very near. An example of one of his predictions, that is not a prediction, is found in his 1981 book, The 1980S: Countdown to Armageddon:
During the last 25 years I have been studying prophecy I have seen incredible events forecast 3,000 years ago happen right before my eyes. Especially in the past 10 years, I have watched current events push toward the climax of history the prophets foretold. I believe many people will be shocked by what is happening right now and by what will happen in the very near future. The decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it. (pp. 7-8, emphasis added, H.L.)
He missed that prediction also. The 1980s was not the last decade of history as we know it. He was not even close.
Lindsey has also said the Lord would return to rapture the Church in his lifetime. If he dies it will mean that he missed it, no matter what excuse his defenders may make. He also said that the Rapture would take place by the time he reached the age of the life span of the average American male. That year has come and gone. He has made four clear predictions with three of them wrong. When he dies that will be his fourth inaccurate prediction.
He made a prediction dealing with the Soviet Union in his book, The Late Great Planet Earth. He said the Russians were seeking to gain footholds in Iran by various overtures of aid. In order to mount a large-scale invasion predicted by Ezekiel, Russia would need Iran as an ally. He then wrote:
Watch the actions of Iran in relation to Russia and the United Arab Republic. This writer believes that significant things will soon be happening there. (p. 68)
Russia and her allies use this occasion to launch an invasion of the Middle East, which Russia has longed to do since the Napoleonic wars. (Ibid., p. 154)
In his second book, The 1980S: Countdown to Armageddon, Lindsey said that he predicted, in his first book, that Russia would invade the Middle East:
In The Late Great Planet Earth I predicted that the Soviets would begin their Middle East campaign with a sweep through the Persian Gulf area into Iran. The recent Russian invasion of Afghanistan was a first step in that direction. Once the Middle East falls to Russia, the communists will withhold their newly-gained oil to cripple the west. Just how close the Soviets are to making this bold move will be discussed in a later chapter. (p. 13)
He also made this prediction about Russias plans for the Middle East:
The Russian invasion of Afghanistan has telegraphed the Soviet intention to take over the entire Middle East. Russian troops are already present in South Yemen and Ethiopia, and the fall of the Shah in nearby Iran has opened the door for a Soviet conquest of the strategic Persian Gulf area. The rest of the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, which sits on one-quarter of the worlds known oil reserves appears to be an easy target for a Soviet takeover.
This area has now fit precisely into the pattern predicted for it. All that remains is for the Russians to make their predicted move. (Ibid., p. 63, emphasis added, R.K.)
In 1980, when he wrote his second book, it looked as though the Soviets would take over the Middle East. Their invasion of Afghanistan in December of 1979, made him and most eschatologians think the end was very near. He made a prediction, on Paul Crouchs TBN network, that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the beginning of the end. He said the Soviets would soon attack Israel, and that Christians should pack their bags.
Lindsey and most prophecy teachers did not foresee al-Qaeda, led by Usama bin Laden, defeating the Soviets, and running them out of Afghanistan with their tails tucked between their legs. Instead of the Soviets taking over the Middle East, and holding the world to ransom with oil, the United States has done that.
On October 7, 2001, George Bush invaded Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks, and then invaded Iraq in 2003. He captured Saddam Hussein, and had him hung. Before the invasion of the Middle East by Bush the price of oil was around $25.00 per barrel. It climbed to over $140.00 a barrel in 2008 before falling back. Lindsey should have predicted that the United States would invade the Middle East, and hold the world to ransom with oil.
On September 25, 1997, he predicted on his TV show, International Intelligence Briefing, that Russia would invade Israel within 18 months (End-Time Visions, p. 286).
The false prediction by Lindsey concerning the Soviet Union is to be expected because he does not speak for God as the Old Testament prophets did. We must all be knowledgeable about the political machinations of the families who run the world Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Bronfmans, DuPonts, Habsburgs, Sassoons, Schiffs, Thyssens, Vanderbilts and Witten-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Windsors, and the organizations Bilderberg Group, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bohemian Club, Club of Rome, Skull and Bones Society, Fabian Society, New York Century Association, Cosmos Club, Twentieth Century Fund, United Nations, Federal Reserve Corp., Council of Nine, Freemasons, Roman Catholic Church, Society of Jesus, Knights of Malta, Knights Templar, Illuminati Order and hundreds of other groups or we may also make similar mistakes.
In his second book, The 1980S: Countdown to Armageddon, Lindsey said that the False Prophet was alive in 1980 when the book was written:
I believe the false prophet is in the Middle East today, awaiting his fateful hour. (Ibid., p. 48)
When the False Prophet is identified, and it is learned that he was born after 1980, it will mean that Hal Lindsey made another false prediction.
In his book, Planet Earth 2000 A.D., Lindsey predicted the Rapture would take place in the year 2000. However, he left himself a face-saving outlet:
Could I be wrong? Of course. The Rapture may not occur between now and the year 2000. (p. 306)
Lindsey has been wrong about every prediction he has made. Why? He has been unduly influenced by the doctrine of imminence, and he does not understand what the What is.
Texe Marrs suggested in a 1992 essay, Night Cometh! the Rapture could take place by the year 2000. He wrote that Satans New Age occult kingdom will be fully in place on planet earth and the New Age messiah will be in charge of this world. But, thats the Devils timetable, not Gods (James, William T., Storming Toward Armageddon, p. 130).
Toufik Benedictus Benny Hinn, Palestinian born televangelist, founder of the Orlando Christian Center and host of the television program This is Your Day, has made numerous false prophecies with some of them concerning the Antichrist and the Rapture:
A world dictator is coming on the scene. My! Hes a short man. Hes a short man. I see a short man whos a perfect incarnation of Satan. [he speaks in tongues] Never in my life have I had anything happen like whats happening to me now! This man will rule the world. In the next few years you will see him. But not long after that you will see Me. (Orlando Christian Center, 12.31.1989, emphasis added, R.K.)
We may have two years before the rapture. Can I be blunt with you? I dont know if we have two years left. Im going to prove to you from the Word tonight, that we have less than two years. (Trinity Broadcasting Network, 11.9.1990, emphasis added, R.K.)
Jesus is coming again within the next two years. (July 1997, fund-raising telethon on TBN, emphasis added, R.K.)
Harold Camping wrote a book, 1994? in which he decided the end of the world when no one could be saved any longer would be September 6, 1994 (1994?, pp. 526-7, p.531). During that year he said emphatically that the Lord would return between September 15-27. He went on to predict September 29, and then October 2 for the end. Camping made another prediction a few years later picking March 31, 1995. When the Lord failed to return on those dates he said he did not predict the Lords Second Coming. He said it was highly probable the Lord would return on those dates. Since then he has made another prediction for the Lords return. That lucky year is 2011. Here is the warning posted on his website:
In 2 Peter 3:8, which is quoted above, Holy God reminds us that one day is as 1,000 years. Therefore, with the correct understanding that the seven days referred to in Genesis 7:4 can be understood as 7,000 years, we learn that when God told Noah there were seven days to escape worldwide destruction, He was also telling the world there would be exactly 7,000 years (one day is as 1,000 years) to escape the wrath of God that would come when He destroys the world on Judgment Day. Because Holy Infinite God is all-knowing, He knows the end from the beginning. He knew how sinful the world would become.
Seven thousand years after 4990 B.C. (the year of the Flood) is the year 2011 A.D. (our calendar). 4990 + 2011 1 = 7,000 [One year must be subtracted in going from an Old Testament B.C. calendar date to a New Testament A.D. calendar date because the calendar does not have a year zero.]
Thus Holy God is showing us by the words of 2 Peter 3:8 that He wants us to know that exactly 7,000 years after He destroyed the world with water in Noahs day, He plans to destroy the entire world forever. Because the year 2011 A.D. is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C. when the flood began, the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment, which will come on the last day of the Day of Judgment.
Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, in the year 4990 B.C.
The Holy Bible gives several additional astounding proofs that May 21, 2011 is very accurate as the time for the Day of Judgment. For more information on this subject, you may request a copy of We Are Almost There, available free of charge from Family Radio.
God is proving to us that we have very accurately learned from the Holy Bible Gods time-plan for the end of the world.
Sadly, the Holy Bible tells us that only a small percentage of todays world will turn from their evil ways, and with great humility and fear will cry to God for mercy. Nevertheless, the Bible assures us that many of the people who do beg God for His mercy will not be destroyed. We learn from the Bible that Holy God plans to rescue about 200 million people (that is about 3% of todays population). On the first day of the Day of Judgment (May 21, 2011) they will be caught up (raptured) into Heaven because God had great mercy for them. This is why we can be so thankful that God has given us advance notice of Judgment Day.4 (Emphasis added, H.C.)
His date for the flood of Noahs time (4990 BC) is off by over 2500 years. The major dates for the flood are Martin Antsey 2386, the Chinese 2348, Bishop Ussher 2348, the Great Pyramid 2343, Judaism 2105.
Camping teaches that May 21, 2011, will be the day that Christians are raptured and the Tribulation begins. He believes the Tribulation will last 5 months (Genesis 7.24), and Jesus Christ will return in person on October 21, 2011. On that day the unsaved will be judged.
He is also wrong in the number of people who will be saved. He gets that number from Revelation 9.16. The 200,000,000 is the number of the demonic creatures that will terrorize the world during the Tribulation with the blowing of the sixth trumpet. The number of people who will be raptured before the start of the Tribulation will be more than 200 million, and there may be that many or more saved during the Tribulation (Revelation 7.9). Most of those saved during the Tribulation will be martyred.
He confirmed his belief that Jesus Christ will return on May 21, 2011 on his Open Forum program. He told a caller that he is positive that his date is correct:
I have no option, I cant say as I did a few years ago there is a high likelihood itll be this or that. Now I have to say it is absolutely certain this is going to happen. (Open Forum, 10.09.2009, emphasis R.K.)
It is hard to believe that Camping is right about his date for creation and everyone else is off by 6000 years. If his date for creation (11,013 BC), and the flood (4990 BC) are wrong, then his date for the Second Coming is also wrong. When May 22, 2011 roles around, it will mean that Camping has made another false prediction. Lets hope it will be his last.
Camping uses two verses And it came to pass after the seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth (Genesis 7.10), and But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (1 Peter 3.8) to determine that the statement in Genesis is a prophecy that after 7000 years (7 days) the Earth will be destroyed. He chooses 4990 as the year of the flood, and counts 7000 years from that date to arrive at 2011. He also claims the flood started on May 21 of 4990 so the destruction of the world will begin on May 21, 2011. Jesus Christ will return 5 months later (Genesis 7.24) to judge the wicked on October 21, 2011.
Arnold Murray, pastor of the Shepherds Chapel teaches numerous false doctrines. He also made a few false predictions. In 1980 he said we were living in the last 3½ years of the Tribulation. He predicted that one-worldism shall come to pass, and it shall receive a deadly wound about the end of this year. He also predicted the Millennial Temple would start to be built in 1981, and the Antichrist would appear in the same year.5
What God Says Concerning False Prophets
When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18.22)
The only people who make false predictions concerning the timing of the Rapture and Second Coming are those who think the Lord can return at any moment. Those who clearly understand that specific prophetic warning signs must be fulfilled before the Rapture can take place never make false predictions. They simply wait and watch for those prophecies to be fulfilled just as Jesus commanded us to do:
Take heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for you know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mark 13.33-37)
And what do we watch for? The only things that we can watch for are the prophetic warning signs (the What) that the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, Paul and Peter gave us to watch for so we would know the When (time of the Rapture)!
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