Is Jesus 2nd coming soon, the Yea sayers

Last modified 2016-01-29 Total: 41 pages 10001 words

In brief, Their answer is YES. But they are wrong, and have been wrong 100% of the time ever since the 2nd century. Certain things have to happen, before the 2nd physical coming of Jesus, back to earth. Which they ignore. For a list of these things see my link "Is Jesus 2nd coming soon, the Nay sayers"

Because the Dispys (that would be your average Baptist Church, Bible church, 7 Day Adventist Church, Non-Denominational Church, Fundamentalist Church, any church that hails to Dallas Theological Seminary) fail to properly date the writing of the Book of Revelation, fail to properly identify that the "soon coming day of the Lord", "day of wrath", etc. "the time is NEAR (to when it was written), per the book of Rev", fail to properly identify what age we are in right now (End Times, vs. The Millennium), fail to distinguish between what life on earth will look like at the beginning of the millennium vs. what it will look like at the end of the Millennium), fail to recognize that the old world creation ended in 70 AD, fail to recognize that the end times ended in 70 AD and meant the End Times of the Jews; For Failure to properly divide the word of truth on ALL THESE THINGS; they continually err on their estimation of when the Lord will come back, and will continue to err, as long as they are using their Dispensational, PreMill model.

Gary DeMar in his book Last Days Madness, says:

Hal Lindsey confidently refers to our own as “the terminal generation.” However, he (and other futurist writers) do not seem to be aware that there have been many believers in every generation—from the Montanists of the second century through Joachin of Fiore (c. 1135— 1202) and Martin Luther to those Russian Mennonites who undertook a “Great Trek” to Siberia in 1880—84 and the nineteenth—century proponents of dispensationalism—who have believed that they were living in the days immediately preceding the second coming of Christ. So far they have all been mistaken. How many people have lost confidence in clear doctrines of Scripture affecting eternal life because misguided prophetic teaching is, unfortunately, not likely to be investigated.73 Gasque’s admonition is borne out by considering the religious and cultural conditions prior to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Medieval life was dominated by a corrupt church which positioned itself to be the ruler of all life, from personal thought and behavior to political power. The theology of the majority in the church could be described as heretical. It’s no wonder that the Reformers saw the Papacy as the Antichrist. The Westminster Confession of Faith of the seventeenth century, for example, named the Roman Pontiff as the Antichrist in the chapter on “Of the Church.”

There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be the head thereof; but is the Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition that exalts himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.

In addition to apostasy, the outbreak of bubonic plague nearly decimated Medieval Europe. The Black Death or “The Great Dying” had started its trek through the great trade routes from the East in the fourteenth century. All ages and classes were affected, and death, when it came, struck quickly and with a vengeance. While estimates vary on the number of deaths—from one~third to one-half of Europe’s population—no epidemic since has matched its black scourge.

The plague reached Constantinople in 1347 and spread through Europe to England by late 1348. As one could imagine, all of society was affected. The burial of the dead was a major task since the living were often outnumbered by Victims who had succumbed to the epidemic. Courts were closed.

Food prices dropped because people were afraid to buy meat. Crops lay in the field for want of workmen. Those laborers who would work demanded exorbitant wages.

The time was ripe for prophecy advocates to predict the near-demise of the times. The English Reformer John Wycliffe (1329—1384) “describes the ‘covetousness, sensuality, and fraud’ of the clergy as infecting all of humanity, thus causing the chastisement under which Europe mourned."4 In addition to plague, heresy, social unrest, monumental economic changes, and class conflict there were “exaggerated forms of religious mysticism,” and “the lack of educated clergy reduced the church’s intellectual vigor.”S While Wycliffe was right about the theological and moral climate of his era, it was not the last days.

Then there was the Hundred Years’ War (1337—145 3), which could be described as years of war interrupted by peace, a series of invasions and treaties, challenged succession to the French throne, disputes over trade and ports, territorial claims and counter claims. But this was not the end, although there were certainly enough people around making their predictions, using the same Bible verses and the same methodologies that are being used today.

Last Days Madness was written to take a fresh look at the Bible. There is little that is new in the following pages. As you will read, the views ex— pressed herein have been around for centuries. Unfortunately, they have been buried under millions of copies of paperback books that have assured us year after year that the end is near. If you are afraid to have your views challenged, then I suggest that you stop reading now.

1. Quoted in Chris Morgan and David Langford, Facts and Fallacies: A Book of Definitive Mistakes and Misguided Predictions (Toronto, Canada: John Wiley 86 Sons Canada Limited, 1981), 57.

2. Henry M. Morris, Creation and the Second Coming (El Cajon, CA: Master Books, 1991), 36.

3. W. Ward Gasque, “Future Fact? Future Fiction?” Christianity Today (15 April 1977), 40.

4. “Wycliffe’s England: A Time of Turmoil,” Christian History), Issue 3 (1983), 8.

5. “Wycliffe’s England,” 8.

Chapter One

Dip into any period of history and you will find prophets of all types, from any number of theological traditions, who claimed they knew when the next endtime event would occur. Some have pointed to the rise in apostasy, lawlessness, natural disasters, signs in the heavens, and an increase in rival religions in their day as unmistakable evidence that the end was near for them. Finding hidden meanings in biblical numbers was another favorite pastime that assured the faithful that the end had to be at hand.

In the second century, Tertullian, in Ad Nationes, wrote, “What terrible wars, both foreign and domestic! What pestilences, famines . .. and quakings of the earth has history recorded!”1 Evaluating current events and concluding that they offer “compelling evidence” that Jesus would return soon has been a common practice among prophecy writers. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory assured the world that the return of Christ could not be far off since he claimed that so many prophecies were being fulfilled in his day.

Of all the signs described by our Lord as presaging the end of the world some we see already accomplished. . .. For we now see that nation arises against nation and that they press and weigh upon the land in our own times as never before in the annals of the past. Earthquakes over- whelm countless cities, as we often hear from other parts of the world.


Pestilence we endure without interruption. It is true that we do not behold signs in the sun and moon and stars but that these are not far off we may infer from the changes of the atmosphere.2

Peculiar sectarian cults arose during periods of hype and hysteria, when endtime prophetic speculation was fueled by expected promises of imminent catastrophe and the hope of a future millennium. “At first sight, one could hardly imagine two more dissimilar ideas. The first suggests death and desolation; the second, salvation and fulfillment. Yet the two intertwine again and again. Those who regard the Millennium as imminent expect disasters to pave the way. The present order, evil and entrenched, can hardly be expected to give way of itself or dissolve overnight.”3 Some took advantage of perilous times by heightening eschatological expectations to agitate the faithful, knowing that “men cleave to hopes of imminent worldly salvation only when the hammerblows of disaster destroy the world they have known and render them susceptible to ideas which they would earlier have cast aside.”4

Others stirred the revolutionary fires in those preoccupied with a coming apocalypse. The zealous were duped into joining a “vision of a new moral order, a world purified and freed from conflict and hatred,” a world based on socialistic and communistic ideals that proved tragic for those caught up in the frenzy.6

The End is Near—Again!

The small and the great, the sane and the insane, the sacred and the profane have been quick to predict when the end might come. For example, Billy Graham and Barbra Streisand—two people on different ends of the spiritual spectrum—have at least one thing in common: They both believe that we cannot hold out much longer. Barbra Streisand believes “the world is coming to an end.” She just feels “that science, technology, and the mind have surpassed the soul—the heart. There is no balance in terms of feeling and love for fellow man.”7 Billy Graham, feeling equally pessimistic, writes: “If you look in any direction, whether it is technological or physiological, the world as we know it is coming to an end. Scientists predict it, sociologists talk about it. Whether you go to the Soviet Union or anywhere in the world, they are talking about it. The world is living in a state of shock.”8

The Dating Game 21

Billy Graham does not “want to linger here on the who, what, why, how, or when of Armageddon.” He simply states that “it is near.”9 What does Graham mean by “near”? The Book of Revelation states that the time was “near” for those who first read the prophecy (Rev. 1:1, 3). Since Revelation was written during Nero’s reign, prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD. 70, the prophetic events of Revelation were fulfilled during the lifetime of those who first read the prophecy.10

Prophetic Deja Vu

As early as the second century, prophets were suggesting dates for the bodily return of Christ. The “prophet” Montanus was one of the first to propose such a date. He proclaimed the imminent appearance of the New Jerusalem, the signal for which was to be a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Montanus as a new convert to Christianity believed himself to be the appointed prophet of God. Two prophetesses, Prisca and Maximilla, soon joined him. They claimed to be mouthpieces of the Paraclete, the Greek title used in John’s Gospel for the Holy Spirit. The Montanists’ predictions failed. Their failures, however, did not deter other date setters:

In the third century, a prophet called Novatian gathered a huge following by crying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Donatus, a fourth—century prophet, commanded attention when he stressed that only 144,000 people would be chosen by God. He found this magic figure in Revelation 14:1 (a verse which the Jehovah’s Witnesses use to proclaim their own version of this heresy). Both Novatian and Donatus were branded as heretics by the Church.11

The sack of Rome by the Vandals (AD. 410) was supposed to bring on the end; the birth of the Inquisition (1209—44) prompted many well—meaning saints to conclude that it was the beginning of the end; the Black Death that killed millions was viewed as the prelude to the demise of the world (1347—50). The plague disrupted society at all levels. Giovanni Boccaccio wrote a vivid description of how some people responded. For some, debauchery was the road to salvation, or, if there was to be no salvation [from the plague], to happiness in the few days that remained.


These profligates abandoned all work and drifted from house to house, drinking, stealing, fornicating. “People behaved as though their days were numbered,” Boccaccio wrote, “and treated their belongings and their own persons with equal abandon. Hence most houses had become common property, and any passing stranger could make himself at home. . .. In the I face of so much affliction and misery, all respect for the laws of God and man had virtually broken down. . .. Those ministers and executors of the laws who were not either dead or ill were left with so few subordinates that they were unable to discharge any of their duties. Hence everyone was free to behave as he pleased.”12

Martin Luther “frequently expressed the opinion that the End was very near, though he felt it was unwise to predict an exact date. Christians, he said, no more know the exact time of Christ’s return than ‘little babies in their mothers’ bodies know about their arrival.” This, however, did not stop him from concluding that the end was not a distant event. In January 1532, he wrote, “The last day is at hand. My calendar has run out. I know nothing more in my Scriptures.”13 As it turned out, there was a lot more time to follow. Many other disasters, natural and political, gave rise to the same speculation, century after century.

Contemporary events like the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 were interpreted as evidence of the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Above all, the French Revolution excited a spate of interpretations on both sides of the Atlantic designed to show that the world was entering upon the last days. Millennialism was widely espoused by leading scholars and divines. In America the names of Timothy Dwight (President of Yale), John H. Livingston (President of Rutgers), and Joseph Priestly come to mind: in Britain, George Stanley Faber, Edward King, and Edward Irving. A spate of pamphlets and sermons by Church of England clergy and orthodox American ministers poured forth from the 17905; and there was a constant reference back to the prophetical studies of Sir Isaac Newton, Joseph Mede, and William Whiston. The usual method of interpretation was some variant of the year—day theory, by which days mentioned in the prophecies were counted as years, weeks as seven—year periods, and months as thirty years. There was general agreement in the late eighteenth century that the 1,260 days mentioned in Revelation 12:6 were to be

The Dating Game 23

interpreted as 1,260 years, and that this period was now ended. An alternative theory, which became increasingly popular after 1800, emphasized the importance of the 2,300—year period of Daniel 8: 14 and the ‘cleansing of the sanctuary’ which would fall due some time in the 1840s. The fulfillment of the time prophecies meant that mankind was living in the last days, that the ‘midnight cry’ might soon be heard, and that the coming of the messiah might be expected shortly. Such beliefs had an influence far beyond the members of explicitly Adventist sects. They were part and parcel of everyday evangelical religion.14 The lessons of history are recorded for all to heed. For many, however,

the past is a distant memory. All that counts is the present. Sure, they were wrong, the prophecy “experts” warn us, but it will be different with us. The First Millennium As the last day of 999 approached, “the old basilica of St. Peter’s at Rome was thronged with a mass of weeping and trembling worshipers awaiting the end of the world,” believing that they were on the eve of the Millennium.15 Land, homes, and household goods were given to the poor as a final act of contrition to absolve the hopeless from sins of a lifetime. Some Europeans sold their goods before traveling to Palestine to await the Second Coming. This mistaken application of biblical prophecy happened again in 1100, 1200, and 1245. Prophetic speculation continued. “In 1531, Melchior Hofmann announced that the second coming would take place in the year 1533.... Nicholas Cusa held that the world would not last past 1734.”16 As the second Millennium approaches, we can expect increased activity among the prophetic speculators as we are assured that the time of the end is imminent. Lester Sumrall wrote in his book I Predict 2000 AD: “I predict the absolute fullness of man’s operation on planet Earth by the year 2000 1 AD. Then )esus Christ shall reign from Jerusalem for 1000 years.”17 In Armageddon NOW, Dwight Wilson observed that there had been no significant increase regarding “hazardous speculation” because “the quarter century that remains makes the year 2000 too far removed to induce a sense of crisis or terror; but as it approaches, the cry of impending doom may be expected to swell. To the extent that this cry is reinforced by continuing crises in the Middle East there will grow an ever more deafening roar of ‘Armageddon


Now!”18 Remember, this was written in 1977, a full fourteen years before Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

Was Wilson right? Mikkel Dahl predicated in The Midnight C79) that the present era would end by 1980. Reginald Edward Duncan predicted in The Coming Russiem 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. The year 1988 saw an abundance of books predicting the rapture of the church since this was thought to be the final year of the “terminal generation” because of the resettlement of the nation Israel in 1948. The most notorious was Edgar C. Whisenant’s 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Is in 7988.19 Upon the release of his calculations, Whisenant remarked, “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong, and I say that unequivocally. There is no way Biblically that I can be wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town.”20 When the author’s intricate system of predicting the end failed, he went on undaunted with a new book called The Final Shout: Rapture Report 7989. It seems that he had made a critical error because he was following the wrong calendar:

My mistake was that my mathematical calculations were off by one year. . .. Since all centuries should begin with a zero year (for instance, the year 1900 started this century), the first century AD. was a year short, consisting of only 99 years. This was the one—year error in my calculations last year [1988]. The Gregorian calendar (the calendar used today) is always one year in advance of the true year. Numbered correctly from the beginning, i.e., 1 AD, 1989 Gregorian would be only one thousand nine hundred eighty eight years of 365.2422 days each.21 Whisenant was not alone in making 1988 the termination point of the

last days. Many others succumbed to last days madness. Clifford Hill writes that “two young men from Denmark announced that they were the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3 sent by God to prepare the way for Messiah. Two years earlier I had met two young Americans camping on the Mount of Olives also claiming to be the two witnesses.”22

On the heels of Whisenant came Grant R. Jeffrey’s Armageddon: Appoint— ment with Destiny. Jeffrey writes that through his own research into biblical prophecies he has discovered a number of indications “which suggest that the year AD. 2000 is a probable termination date for the ‘last days.”’23

The Dating Game 25

His argument is little different from that of Edgar Whisenant’s 88 Reasons thesis. Instead of Whisenant’s 365.2422 days, Jeffrey concludes that a biblical year is made up of only 360 days. Here is an example of his reasoning:

The year when [Jesus’ reading from Luke 4: 18—2 1] occurred, the fall of AD. 28, was, in fact, not only a Jubilee Year, but also the thirtieth Jubilee 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 prophet’s sentence, “and the day of vengeance of our God,” which refers to Armageddon, would be postponed exactly 2000 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 begin— ning of Christ’s ministry on a Jubilee Year when He read the prophecy about “the acceptable year of the Lord” in the fall of AD. 28; we arrive at the year AD. 2000, forty Jubilee Cycles later.

The next Jubilee Year will occur in AD. 2000, completing the Sabbatical—Jubilee system of years—the seventieth Great Jubilee.24

Part of Jeffrey’s interpretive method is based on where Jesus stopped reading in Isaiah. Supposedly the “day of vengeance” (Isa. 61:2; cf. 63:4) has been postponed for nearly two thousand years because Jesus did not continue reading Isaiah 61:2. Nothing in the New Testament supports this interpretation. In fact, Luke’s Gospel later indicates that the “days of ven— geance” (Luke 21:22) would be poured out before that first—century generation passed away This means that the “days of vengeance” are past for us since these “days” refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD. 70. The “days of vengeance” were future for those who first heard Jesus’ reading.

Jesus began His public ministry by reading from an Old Testament Scripture that identified Him as the promised Messiah. He would spend three years preaching and teaching to learn how He would be received by His countrymen. They despised and rejected Him, turning Him over to the Roman authorities to be crucified as a common criminal. Peter,


an eyewitness to these events, said of his countrymen: “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead...” (Acts 3:14—15). Their cry, when Jesus was presented to them as their king, was, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15). In the Olivet Discourse as recorded by Luke, Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61:2, warning His disciples of the coming “days of vengeance” that would befall their city and temple. In fact, Jesus told them that this would befall their generation, not some future postponed generation (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32).

There is no need for mathematical schemes to determine hidden time- tables that are not self—evident for all to see and understand. When God wants to set a timetable, He sets a timetable: 7 years (Gen. 45:6), 40 years (Num. 14:34), 70 years (Jer. 25:10), 430 years (Gen. 15:13).

There was a lull on the prophetic scene after the dismal failure of Edgar Whisenant’s 88 Reasons. Then Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the prophecy books once again came rolling off the presses. Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth found new life. John F. Walvoord reissued a revised edition of “Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis” to fit new developments in the Mideast. Walvoord claimed that Saddam Hussein’s “move into Kuwait was motivated by a desire to ‘set up a power base from which to attack Israel.”’25 Charles Dyer, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, claimed that modern Babylon was a fulfillment of endtime prophecy. Using events leading up to and including the events of the Gulf War with Saddam Hussein, Dyer sought to “prove” that prophecy was being fulfilled right before our eyes. His book “Tbe Rise of Babylon” now sells for pennies on the dollar.26 Sensationalism, not sound biblical study, sells.

A Korean group placed newspaper advertisements predicting that the rapture would take place on October 28, 1992. As we all know, the rapture did not take place. When asked about the non—event, Kim Tae—jin replied, “We got the message from God wrong. Jesus will be back in several years.”27 The only message from God we have is found in the Bible, and that message clearly states that Jesus’ coming was near for the first century church.

Charles R. Taylor wrote in Bible Prophecy News in the summer of 1992 that Jesus’ return would occur in the fall of the same year: “What you are starting to read probably is my final issue of Bible Prophecy News, for Bible

The Dating Game 27

prophecy fulfillments indicate that Jesus Christ our Lord will most likely return for us at the rapture of the Church before the Fall 1992 issue can be printed.” Not to be outdone, Harold Camping wrote 7 994? Camping’s approach is similar to Edgar Whisenant’s. Through a series of intricate calculations based on a number of unproven assumptions, Camping concluded that Jesus would return sometime in the fall of 1994. He based his calculations on the belief that Adam was created in 11,013 BC. and that the numbers 13, 130, 1,300, and 13,000 are significant biblical numbers. For Camping, judgment day was to be 13,006 years after Adam’s creation.


"Ranch Apocalypse"

David Koresh and his Branch Davidian sect believed that the end was near. Koresh based his prophetic premonitions on a contemporary application of the “seven seals” found in the Book of Revelation (5:1, 5; 6: 1; 8:1), a method not unlike the theories of modern—day fundamentalists and evangelicals who believe we are living in the last days.

If America could learn these seals, they would respect me. . .. I’m the anointed one. I teach the seven seals. . .. It’s the fulfillment of prophecy. This is it. This is the end. . .. They don’t want to be bound by the truth. There’s one truth that ties men into God, and that’s the seven seals. And the anointed one is the only one that can present it. And that’s me.29

While we will never know Koresh’s true understanding of the application of the seven seals, there is little doubt that the Branch Davidian’s fiery end fit well with his understanding of the seventh seal: “And the angel took the censor; and be filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake" (8:5). In the last two weeks of the standoff with federal agents, three scrawled communiqués were retrieved from outside the compound. Although apparently written by Koresh, they were signed “God.” They threatened that catastrophe would befall God’s enemies, an allusion to the judgment theme in the Book of Revelation (14:7). “Open your eyes and not your mouth,” read one. “Fear the hour of judgment, for it has come.”30 FBI agent Bob Ricks stated that Koresh was following his “apocalyptic theory of resolution. He says that the final


days are being fulfilled by what is occurring. I think he has put forth a self—fulfilling prophecy, and we’re hoping that something will happen to interrupt that prophecy.”31 The events in Waco serve as a tragic lesson for those who maintain that the judgment themes depicted in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and the Book of Revelation are still in our future. How many more such tragedies will it take before Christians realize that these prophetic events have been fulfilled?

Because of the mix of eschatology and violence among some fringe groups, the FBI has been keeping a close eye on apocalyptic cults. USA Today reports that FBI Director Louis Freeh is preparing for possible violence from right wing extremists, religious cults, and apocalyptic groups.32 The FBI was unprepared for the end-time logic of Vicki and Randy Weaver in the Ruby Ridge disaster. The Weavers were treated like fringe political extremists who were tied to white supremacist, anti-Semitic, and Aryan Nation groups rather than believers in an imminent apocalypse that they (the Weavers) concluded would be led by governmental powers (“the Beast”).

The Weaver family’s flight to Ruby Ridge was greatly influenced by The Late Great Planet Earth. Though Vicki Weaver, the family’s spiritual leader, was also influenced by H.G. Wells and Ayn Rand, it was Lindsey’s prophetic work, coupled with her home—spun visions, that convinced her to pack up her family and move to Ruby Ridge. She believed that the enemies of God predicted by Lindsey were prepared to strike at any moment.33

The Weavers mixed conspiracy theories, apocalypticism, and paranoia, to conclude that the end was near.34 You can imagine what the Weavers thought as they saw armed soldiers attacking their homestead. Was this happening everywhere? Was this the prelude to the end that they read so much about in popular prophecy books and expected in their lifetime? The Book of Revelation was being acted out right before their eyes, so they thought.

The history of date setting is long and tortuous. Francis Gummerlock catalogs more than a thousand false predictions over the past two millennia, everything from the identity of the antichrist to the date of Christ’s coming. Two common streams run through all of them: they were sure of their prediction and they were wrong.35

The Dating Game 29

Crying Wolf

Historian Mark Noll serves us a warning: “At the very least, it would be well for those in our age who predict details and dates for the End to remember how many before them have misread the signs of the times.”36 As children we learned Aesop’s fable of the “Shepherd Boy and the Wolf.” In the end we learn that the sheep are the ones that are harmed by the shouts of “Wolf!” by the Shepherd Boy. In the same way the people of God—the sheep—are harmed by continual shouts of “the end is near!” God is looking for shepherds after His own heart, “who will feed” the flock “on knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:15), not on the latest newspaper headlines. Of course, if you cry “last days” long enough, you just might be the one to get it right, but by then there might not be anyone listening. Preaching about the soon coming of Christ has long been used by Christian prophecy teachers as a way of pleading with the lost to commit themselves to Jesus Christ. Such a motivating device can backfire on even the most well—intentioned evangelist. What happens if a listener shouts out, “Preachers like you have been telling us for centuries that Jesus is coming soon. Why should we believe you now?” By crying wolf and being wrong each time, the church is


perceived as unreliable. Skeptics of the Christian faith are likely to conclude that since these self—proclaimed prophets were wrong on the timing of Jesus’ return when they seemed so certain (particularly of the nearness of the rapture, the rise of Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, and Armageddon), then maybe they are wrong on other issues which they teach with equal certainty. Maybe the entire Christian message is a sham.

The New Testament does use the near and soon coming of Jesus in judgment as a way of spurring the church on to greater works. The near judgment spoken of in Scripture refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD. 70, not a distant future coming of Christ. Peter wrote, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). At hand for whom? If words mean anything, then Peter must have had his contemporary readers in mind. What end was he describing? In Luke’s Gospel we read Jesus saying, “But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). John says in his first epistle, “Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen by this we know it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).

The Bible is not a book that can be taken lightly. The integrity of the Bible is at stake if we dismiss these clearly worded statements of time. As students of the Bible, we are obligated to take God at His word, even when it contradicts what we’ve been taught by popular prophecy writers.

The Dating Game 31 Notes

1. Quoted in Carl Olof Jonsson and Wolfgang Herbst, The “Sign” of the Last Days—When? (Atlanta, GA: Commentary Press, 1987), ix.

2. Quoted in T. Francis Glasson, His Appearing and His Kingdom (London: Epworth, 1953), 45.

3. Michael Barkun, Disaster and the Millennium (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1974), 1.

4. Barkun, Disaster and the Millennium, l.

5. Clarke Garrett, Respectable Folly: Millenarians and the French Revolution in France and England (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), 2.

6. Igor Shafarevich, The Socialist Phenomenon, trans. William Tjalsma (New York: Harper and Row, [1975] 1980). Also see Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium (New York: Oxford University Press, [1957] 1970).

7. Quoted in Mike Evans, The Return (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1986), 222.

8. Quoted in Evans, The Return, 22.

9. Billy Graham, Storm Warning (Dallas, TX: Word, 1992), 294. This is a revised version of Approaching Hoofheaz‘s: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Waco, TX: Word, 1983). Graham had to revise the 1983 edition because historical circumstances changed.

10. For a defense of this position, see Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Booke of Revelation, 2nd ed. (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1999). “Indeed, it is becoming an increasingly persuasive argument that all the New Testament books were written before 70 AD—within a single generation of the death of Christ.” John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Ready With An Answer.- For the Tough Questions Ahout God (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997), 364—65.

11. John C. Souter, “The Sky is Falling,” Future (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1984), 6.

12. Otto Friedrich, The End of the World:A History (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1982), 116.

13. Mark Noll, “Misreading the Signs of the Times,” Christianity Today (6 February 1987), 10—1 1. Also see Mark U. Edwards, Jr., “Apocalyptic Expectations: The Scourge of God,” Luther’s Last Battles: Politics and Polemics, 1531—46 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983), 97—1 14-.

14. J.E.C. Harrison, The Second Coming: Popular Millenarianism, 1780—7850 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1979), 5.


15. Richard Erdoes, AD 2000: Living on the Brink of apocalypse (San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row, 1988), 1. Other scholars dispute the claim that the year 1000 was a key prophetic date. See Dick Teresi and Judith Hooper, “The Last Laugh?,” Omni (January 1990), 84.

16. Souter, “The Sky is Falling,” 6.

17. Quoted in Ron Rhodes, “Millennial Madness,” Christian Research journal (Fall 1990), 39.

18. Dwight L. Wilson, Armageddon Now: The Premillenarian Response to Russia and Israel Since 1917 (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, [1977] 1991), 13.

19. Edgar C. Whisenant, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Is In 1988 (Nashville, TN: World Bible Society, 1988).

20. Quoted in Ralph Lyman, A Critique on the 1988 Rapture Theory (Oklahoma City, OK: Southwest Radio Church, 1988), 2.

21. Edgar Whisenant and Greg Brewer, The Final Shout: Rapture Report 7 989 (Nash— ville, TN: World Bible Society, 1989), 1.

22. Clifford Hill, Prophecy Past and Present: An Explanation of the Prophetic Ministry in the Bible and the Church Today (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1989), 5.

23. Grant R. Jeffrey, Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny (Toronto: Frontier Research, 1988), 193. In Jeffrey’s The Millennium Meltdown: The Year 2000 Computer Crisis (1998), copy on the back cover reads: “Grant Jeffrey’s new prophecy blockbuster explores the potential of the disastrous Year 2000 computer meltdown that will set the stage for the rise of the world government of the Antichrist.” This is a prediction!

24. Jeffrey, Armageddon: Appointment with Destiny, 192.

25. Stephen L. Lutz, “Evangelical Publishers Cash in on Iraq War,” World (26 January 1991), 16.

26. Charles H. Dyer, The Rise of Babylon: Sign of the End Times (Wheaten, IL: Tyndale), 1991. Fellow dispensationalist Ed Hindson disagrees with Dyer on the identity of Babylon: “Babylon is still in ruins in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Saddam Hussein’s attempt to ‘rebuild’ it as a tourist trap hardly qualifies it as the great city of the last days. Besides, his attempts have failed. Babylon has no sacred significance to the religion of Islam. Muslims are interested in protecting only their holy sites. They have no interest in rebuilding ancient pagan sites, including Babylon.” (Approaching Armageddon: The World Prepares for War with God [Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1997], 245).

27. 13.]. Lee, “‘Sorry, Let’s Go Home’: Miracle of the Rapture a No-Show in South Korea,” Atlanta Constitution (29 October 1992), A4.

The Dating Game 33

28. Harold Camping, 1994? (New York: Vantage Press, 1992), 444.

29. Cited in Mark Potok, “Sect leader charismatic, dangerous,” USA Today (2 March 1993), 2A. Koresh had granted interviews to CNN, KRLD radio, and others during the siege at his cult’s compound near Waco, Texas. In these interviews, Koresh mentioned the “seven seals,” a reference to biblical prophecies he believed foreshadowed the imminent return of Jesus.

30. Sam Howe Verhovek, “F.B.I. Saw the Ego in Koresh But Missed Willingness to Die," New York Times (22 April 1993), A1.

31. “Is Koresh hoping his followers get killed?,” Atlanta journal/ Constitution (28 March 1993), B3. None of this is to exonerate the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), and the Justice Department in the way they handled the situation. See “Waco: The Rules of Engagement,” a video documentary that is critical of the way the FBI and BATF handled the Davidian group.

32. “FBI: Violence possible as 2000 approaches,” USA Today (February 5, 1998), 13A.

33. Paul T. Coughlin, Secrets, Plots (9* Hidden Agendas: What You Don’t Know About Conspiracy Theories (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999), 145—46.

34. Jess Walter, Every Knee Shall Bow: The Truth and Tragedy of Ruby Ridge and the Randy Weaver Family (New York: Regan Books/ Harper Collins, 1995).

35. Francis X. Gummerlock, The Day and the Hour: Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1999).

36. Noll, “Misreading the Signs of the Times,” 10—1 1.

37. “The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf,” Aesop’s Fables as retold by Ann McGovern (New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1963), 33.

Chapter Two


With rockets soaring over the land of the apocalyptic prophets, many people have turned to end-times experts for insights.”1 It seems that any time a war breaks out or an earthquake is recorded on the Richter scale or famine sweeps through a third—world country, books predicting that the end is near are hurriedly readied for publication. Such books have little regard for the historical context of Bible prophecy and the failed predictions of past writers who were equally certain. As we’ve seen, there is nothing new in any of this. Floods in the Midwest in the summer of 1993 led one Baptist minister to conclude: “The Bible says that in the latter days, there will be earthquakes, and all of that refers to natural disasters. . .. We live in a time like that.”2 Such comments are not unusual. Books long ago discarded by anxious Christians contain similar assessments of world conditions and their supposed relationship to end-time events.

Based on current events in the late 19705 and early ’808, Hal Lindsey wrote, “We are the generation that will see the end times and the return of Christ.”3 When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and coalition forces led by the United States sent troops to force him out, John F. Walvoord revised his Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East, first published in 1974, to address


how the Bible applies to “the future of the Middle East and the end of Western Civilization.”4 Based on current events coupled with Bible passages which he believes throw light on the state of affairs just prior to a so-called Rapture, Jerry Falwell boasts, “We will not be here for Armageddon.”5 On a December 27, 1992, television broadcast, Falwell stated, “I do not believe there will be another millennium or another century.” Like Falwell, Walvoord, who is in his eighties, “expects the Rapture to occur in his own lifetime. So many people will be suddenly missing, he muses, ‘I wish I could be around to see how the media explains [sic] it.’”6 According to William T. James in Storming Toward Armageddon, “We live in days such as delineated in 2 Timothy 3:1—5. The evidence is astoundingly abundant to anyone not wishing to be a foolish, deceived, brute beast but rather desiring to seek to be wise unto salvation.”7 A careful reading of 2 Timothy 3 will show that Paul was describing conditions in Timothy’s day, what the writer of Hebrews characterizes as the “last days” of the Old Covenant (Heb. 1:1—2; cf. 1 Cor. 10:11). Notice Paul’s optimism when he states that those who perform such deeds “will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all” (2 Tim. 3:9). Second Timothy 3 is not a description of what the world will be like before the so-called rapture.

"Your Timing is Off"

Why is there so much speculation and error about when the end might be, whether the “end” has reference to the rapture, the return of Christ to set up His millennial kingdom, or the return of Christ to inaugurate the “new heavens and new earth” (2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1)? While there are a number of reasons why prophetic speculation continues unabated, as we will see in subsequent chapters, one reason stands above them all: Fulfilled prophecy is being interpreted as if it were unfulfilled prophecy. This error was also made by the first—century Jews. When Jesus “came to His own ... those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). These unbelieving Jews did not believe Jesus was the fulfillment of centuries of prophetic pronouncements that are found in “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44).

Let’s look at a similar contemporary example. Many Jews today are still awaiting the Messiah. Like their first-century counterparts, they do not believe that the messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus in the first century. The messianic prophecies have been taken from

When Will These Things Be? 37

their first—century fulfillment context and have been projected into the distant future as unfulfilled prophecy. In effect, present-day Jews are still awaiting the first coming of the Messiah. In a similar way, many Christians take prophecies that have been fulfilled—either in Old Testament events or in events following the ascension of Jesus—and View them as still unfulfilled. They then manipulate these fulfilled prophecies and apply them to contemporary events. Their speculations are wrong because they are applying fulfilled prophecies to current events. As we will see, they ignore the time texts that speak of a near coming of Jesus in judgment upon an apostate Judaism that rejected its Messiah in the first century.

The Last Days

One of the first things a Christian must learn in interpreting the Bible is to pay attention to the time texts. Failing to recognize the proximity of a prophetic event will distort its intended meaning. The New Testament clearly states that the “end of all things” was at hand for those who first read 1 Peter 4:7; that is, the Old Covenant with its types and shadows was about to pass away. The Book of Hebrews opens with two verses that put the timing of certain eschatological events into perspective: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 121—2). Prior to the coming of Jesus, God spoke via dreams, prophets, written revelation, and types. Through the New Covenant God “has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready [lit., near] to disappear” (8:13).

The New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant because the blood of Jesus is better than the blood of animals (Heb. 7:22; 8:6). In addition, the way God communicates with His people has changed. For example, under the Old Covenant no man could look upon the face of God and live (Ex.33:20). At the dawning of the New Covenant, however, God was no longer hidden. He had taken on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ:

- “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).


- “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1).

God spoke in this new way “in these last days.” The last days were in operation in the first century when God was manifested in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ! Those Hebrew Christians who read the letter addressed to them were being told that an important covenantal era was about to end, the era of “the fathers in the prophets.” The proof that the last days had come was that God “has spoken in His Son.” The last days are not way off in the distant future. The end came to an obsolete covenant in the first century.

In AD. 70 the “last days” ended with the dissolution of the temple and the sacrificial system. A similar pronouncement is made in 1 Peter 1:20: “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” Gordon Clark comments on what Peter means by “these last times”: “’The last days,’ which so many people think refers to what is Still future at the end of this age, clearly means the time of Peter himself. I John 2:18 says it is, in his day, the last hour. Acts 2:17 quotes Joel as predicting the last days as the life time of Peter.”8

Certain destructive events confronted the early Church, events that were “near” for those who first read the New Testament prophecies (Matt. 24:32—33; Rev. 1:3; 22:10). The Apostle Paul mentions “the present distress” (1 Cor. 7:26). There is no getting around this language, that most of the verses that many believe are yet to be fulfilled already have been fulfilled. Forcing the following verses to describe a time nearly two thousand years in the future is the epitome of “Scripture twisting”:

“And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes” (Matt. 10:22—23).

- “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and WILL THEN RECOMPENSE EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. Truly I say to you7 there are some of those standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:27—28).

When Will These Things Be? 39

- “Jesus said to [the high priest], ‘You have said it yourself [that I am the Christ, the Son of God]; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son if Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Matt. 26:64).

- “Peter therefore seeing him [John] said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him [John] to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” (John 21:21—22).

- “And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we fist believed” (Rom. 13:11).

- “The night is almost gone and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12).

- “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20).

- “But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on both those who have wives should be as though they had none” (1 Cor.’7:29).

- “For the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31).

-“Now these things happened to [Israel] as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11).

- "‘And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed” (2 Thess. 2:6).

- “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thess. 2:7).

- “Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5).

- “But now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26).

- “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as it is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:25).


- “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains” (James 5:7).

- “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8).


- “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you your- selves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:9).

- “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20).

- "‘The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Peter 4:7).

- “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive 10 the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4).

- “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).

- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond—servants, the things which must shortly take place. . (Rev. 1:1).

- “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).

- “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, 1 also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world,‘1 to test those who dwell upon the earth [land]”’ (Rev. 3: 10). ’

- “I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown” (Rev. 3:11).

- “The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly” (Rev. 11.14).

- “The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss” (Rev. 17:8).

- “And he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true’; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to his bond—servants the things which must shortly take place” (Rev. 22:6).

- “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22:7).

- “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” (Rev. 22:10)

- “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12; cf. Matt. 16:27).

- “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 2.20). '

When Will These Things Be? 41

These passages and others like them tell us that a significant eschatological event was to happen in the lifetime of those who heard and read the prophecies. Dispensationalists reject this literal approach to interpreting the time texts by fabricating a doctrine called immanency. The following definition is typical:

The primary thought expressed by the word “immanency” is that some— thing important is likely to happen, and could happen soon. While the event may not be immediate, or necessarily very soon, it is next on the program and may take place at any time.12 There is nothing in the above texts that would support this definition.

Words such as “likely,” “could happen,” and “may take place” are nowhere indicated. The biblical writers are straightforward in their Claim that the events described were to happen “soon” for those who first read the prophecies. No other interpretation is possible if the words are taken in their “plain, primary, ordinary, usual, or normal” sense. If the biblical authors had wanted to be tentative in the way they described future events, they would have used words expressing probability.

The time texts are the most important element in Bible prophecy. If they are ignored or manipulated in any way, then God’s Word can be made to mean anything. A Bible that can mean anything is a Bible without meaning.


1. Joe Maxwell, Christianity Today (11 March 1991), 60.

2. Quoted in Alan Bash, “Some see signs of doom in storms’ clouds,” USA Today (13 July 1993), 3D.

3. Back-cover copy of Hal Lindsey, The 7980:: Countdown to Armageddon (King of Prussia, PA: Westgate Press, 1980).

4. Cover copy of John F Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, [1974, 1976] 1990).

5. Cited in Kenneth L. Woodward, “The Final Days are Here Again,” Newsweek (18 March 1991), 55.

6. Cited in Woodward, “The Final Days are Here Again,” 55.

7. William T. James, “What the Future Holds,” Storming Toward Armageddon: Es— says in Apocalypse (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 1992), 45.

8. Gordon H. Clark, II Peter:A Short Commentary (Nutley, N]: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1975), 64.

9. “Little while" is used to describe events that take place in the lifetime ‘of the audience: Mark 14:17;]ohn 7:33; 12:35; 13:33; 14:19; 16:16; Heb. 2:7, 9; James 4:14; 1 Peter 1:6; 5:10; Revelation 6:11; 17:10.

10. If Peter had a distant generation in mind, he would have written, “they will receive.”

11. The Greek word translated “world” is not kosmos but oikoumenes, “the inhab— ited earth,” most often interpreted as “the Roman Empire” (see Luke 2:1 and Matt. 24: 14).

12. Gerald B. Stanton, “The Doctrine of Immanency: Is It Biblical?,” in Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, eds., When the Trumpet Sounds (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1995), 222.

For the rest of Gary Demars excellent book, order it from the sources below. here is a peek of what's in the table of contents of his book Last Days Madness:

Contents Preface ................................................... XII

Introduction ............................................. 13

Chapter 1 THE DATING Game .......................................... 19

2 WHEN WILL THESE THINGS BE? ................................ 35

3 WHEN DID JESUS “COME IN GLORY”? ........................... 43

4 TIMING IS EVERYTHING ..................................... 51

5 SEE THAT NO ONE MISLEADS YOU .............................. 65

6 SIGNS FOR ALL TO SEE ...................................... 77

7 THE TEMPLE OF DOOM ........................................ 93

8 THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION.............................. 101

9 THE PAST GREAT TRIBULATION ................................ 117

10 SIGNS IN HEAVENS ........................................ 131

11 SUN, MOON, AND STARS ..................................... 141

12 THE RETURN OF CHRIST ..................................... 157

13 GATHERING THE ELECT ...................................... 173

14 THIS GENERATION OR THIS RACE? ............................ 183

15 THE PASSING AWAY OF HEAVEN AND EARTH ..................... 189

16 AVOIDING RAPTURE ......................................... 205

17 NO EVIDENCE FOR A RAPTURE ................................ 215

18 WHO’S GOT THE NUMBER? .................................... 231

19 TECHNOLOGY AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST ......................241

20 IDENTIFYING THE BEAST..................................... 255

21 IDENTIFYING ANTICHRIST.................................... 263

22 THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS (I) ............................... 273

23 THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS (II) .............................. 289

24 ARMAGEDDON THEOLOGY ..................................... 313

25 DANIEL’S SEVENTY ......................................... 323

26 TODAY’S WORLD IN PROPHECY ................................ 339

27 MYSTERY BABYLON ......................................... 353

28 ROSHING TO JUDGMENT....................................... 363


1 GOD CAN TELL TIME ......................................... 379

2 FRUITLESS TREES AND NATIONAL ISRAEL ....................... 397

3 “ANTI-SEMITISM” AND ESCHATOLOGY ........................... 407

4 SOLA SCRIPTURA AND PROPHECY................................ 425

5 ZECHARIAH I4 AND THE COMING OF CHRIST ..................... 437

Index ....................................................... 445
If you wish to support Gary and his work you can order it off
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ISBN: 0—915815—3 5—4