Chances are, last Sunday your preacher got up and brought you a message about the Ukraine and Russia. And chances are, he went to Biblical prophecy and interpreted it in light of the things going on around us. Any time there is a war or a rumor of war, the prophecy gurus cook up a meal. And people eat it up. Perhaps you are one of those that hangs onto every word spoken about the “end times”. But let me challenge your thinking by saying something bold… They don’t know what they are talking about. And I can prove it in a very simple way. If you have an honest heart, you know it will be true.
Here it is… None of them have ever been right.
Here is an abbreviated list of people who have interpreted/predicted the end times along with their affiliations:
Martin Luther, the namesake behind the Lutheran Church, predicted that the world would end no later than 1600
Johann Heinrich Alsted, a Calvinist, predicted that God’s kingdom would be established on earth in 1694.
Cotton Mather, a puritan, predicted that the world would end in 1697. As 1697 came and went, he amended his date a couple more times. He had a perfect record of being wrong.
Nicholas of Susa, a Catholic cleric, was more generous in his dates. He said the end would occur somewhere between 1700-1734. He took the shotgun approach and still missed.
The Shakers believed that prophecies would be fulfilled in 1792 then changed it to 1794. They were 0-for-2.
Christopher Love, a Presbyterian, predicted that the world would end in 1805 by an earthquake.
Johann Albrecht Bengel, a Lutheran, said the end would come in 1836. He identified the antichrist as the Pope, and the freemasons as the false prophet of Revelation.
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, said Revelation 12:14 was the period of 1058-1836 and that Christ would set up an earthly kingdom in 1836.
William Miller, a baptist and figure behind adventist churches, predicted that the second coming would occur in 1844. He had so many people believing him that when it didn’t come true there was an event called “the great disappointment”.
John Chilembwe, a baptist, predicted a reign of Christ on earth would begin in 1915
Herbert W Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, made quite a few predictions. All failed.
Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the so called Jehovah’s Witnesses, said that the great battle of God is marked in scripture as October 1914.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have made many predictions through their publishing companies throughout the years. Here is a quick list.
1918- every denomination will be cut off and the J.W.’s would become the premier institution.
1920- all governments would disappear and the world would be in complete anarchy.
1941- another failed prediction of the end.
1975- prediction concerning Armageddon.
Now, I want to highlight a couple specific individuals.
John Mason predicted that Jesus would begin to rule on earth in 1694. He would manipulate the same exact passages that preachers manipulate today. He was extremely convincing. He died in 1694. After his death his followers went on believing his nonsense. They believed that he didn’t die. They were so convinced that his body had to be exhumed to prove his death. Still some of his followers kept following his teaching.
When you read something like this doesn’t it make you wonder how people could fall so hard for foolishness like that? Do we recognize our own ability to be deceived just like them? Or are we so prideful that we think we just know better than those ignorant folks?
The purpose of bringing those thoughts up is because of Hal Lindsey. Whether your pastor knows it or not, Hal Lindsey is the granddaddy of all modern prophetic interpretation. He took the biblical prophecy and interpreted it according to what was going on around him in more recent history. He believed that the European Union would lead to the eventual rise the Antichrist. The things he said sounds a lot like what is being spewed in many baptist and pentecostal pulpits every Sunday. People ate it up back in the 60’s too.
Lindsey predicted that Jesus would return within 40 years after the founding of Israel in 1948. He of course was wrong like the rest.
Lindsey, Mason, Miller, and every other end times preacher has never been right. And they will never be right.
1 John 4:1 says, that we need to test these people because there are many false prophets in the world. In this case, they make it really easy for us.
Deuteronomy 18:22 gives us a very simple test for this sort of thing,
“when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”
I hope this point comes easy. If you are going to a church where people are getting up and telling you what is going on in the world based on Bible prophecy… run. That place has false prophecy being taught. It is not from God.