Since the time of Jesus’ ascension into heaven, history has seen its share of “prophets” who claimed to have divine knowledge of dates and events regarding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the world. A study into the history of end-of-time predictions has revealed that both the frequency and believability of these predictions are usually associated with the occurrence of some major catastrophe, mass hysteria, or an unexplained phenomenon. The start of the 21 century was no exception. The eve of the new millennium was ushered in by massive Y2K fears, followed by major terrorist attacks, wars, fears of global warming, increases in the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural and man-caused disasters, and a struggling world economy. Historically, these types of events are usually accompanied by the emergences of cults and false Christian prophets who have exploited the situation to suit their own agenda; i.e., to gain popularity, political, social, or religious power, money, fame, control, etc. Within just the past few years a number of bold predictions from many so-called prophets of God have emerged and have produced new cults, some of which are extremely dangerous - not only leading towards spiritual death, but some may lead to physical death to themselves or to others as history has often foretold. One must ask the question… with so many failed end time predictions, why would anyone continue to attempt such prophecies? The 19th century philosopher and poet, George Santayana penned the famous quote “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to report it.” Geor g W.F. Hegel, 19th century philosopher, said it another way, "history teaches us that we learn nothing from history."
What is the Classical Christian Position Regarding End of Time Prophecies?
The classical Christian position regarding predictions of the end of the world is basically this….speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where then Bible is silent. The Bible provides numerous signs pointing us to the end of time, however regarding dates and times involving the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the rapture of the church, or dates involving any of the events associated with the Second Coming of Christ, the Biblical message is very clear – no one knows the exact dates of these events:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the son of Man is coming.” Matthew 25: 13
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32
“It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7
“For you yourself know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night….” 2 Peter 3:10
“Behold , I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” Revelation 16:15
What is the Ultimate Sign of the End of the World
There are various places throughout the Tanakh (the Old Testament) and the New Testament
that describes the signs of the end of the world. The Olivet
Discourse, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, contains some of the most detailed descriptions. It
is a called the Olivet Discourse because it was given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives. This discourse was in direct
response to three distinct questions asked privately by Peter, James, John, and Andrew:
" 1Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down’ 3Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’" Matthew 24:1-3
· “take heed that no one deceives you…..” Matthew 24:4
· “Many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ.’ And will deceive many….” Matthew 24:5
· “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Matthew 24:11
· “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
· “And Jesus, answering them, began to say: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.’ Mark 13:5
· “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.” Mark 13:6
· “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Mark 13:22
· “And He said: ‘Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.” Luke 21:8
The Start of a Cult – Teaching What the Bible Does Not Teach
A Christian cult is defined as a group of people who are followers of a charismatic leader whose beliefs and teachings are unorthodox, extreme, or vastly different than classical theology and orthodox Christianity as conveyed through the Holy Bible. There are many roads that lead to cultism; however, they all begin at the same point of origin– teaching as divine doctrine what the Bible does not support nor teach. When dealing with the false religious leaders, Jesus condemned them for their false teachings, saying:
7 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘ These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matthew 15:7-9
Many Christian pulpits are polluted with preachers teaching the doctrines of men, and not the doctrines of God. So much so, that the most important message from Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles regarding the necessity of repenting from sin, accepting salvation in the Christ, obeying the commandments of Jesus, and having love for one another are virtually ignored. As exposed on a recent ABC television broadcast, a recent survey on religion conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life (a Washington, DC based nonpartisan, nonadvocacy organization) the average professing Christian is ignorant to some of the very basic contents of the Holy Bible, let alone, information about other religions. This is due not only to the corruption in the pulpit, but also to the laziness of those who refuse to study their Bible on their own. The spirit behind these false teachers and false prophets are relying on two things from his audience that will give him his strength:
1) ignorance to the subject matter, and
2) laziness to research what was taught to determine if it is in accordance with Holy Scripture.
Unfortunately, in most cases, the malevolent spirit is correct on both matters. The average professing Christian is ignorant to the subject matter, and does not have the appetite to research the subject matter for accuracy. And thus the seed to cultivism has been successfully planted. Let us remember these Biblical points:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11
How to Identify a False Prophet
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
These powerful words were written by the Apostle John almost 2,000 years ago to warn us of the many false prophets who are to come. Let us begin with a few simple Biblical truths regarding how to identify if a prophet is a true prophet from God or a false prophet.
Biblical Truth #1: The message MUST be in accordance with Holy Scripture. God is not the author of confusion. He cannot contradict Himself nor is He capable of lying (Titus 1:1-3).
Biblical Truth #2: What the prophet has spoken of as a representative of God MUST comes to pass; otherwise, it is a false message from a false prophet:
“21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:21-22.
This is our litmus test. If it is a divine message received from God, then the prophecy MUST come true. God cannot lie nor give false prophecies.
Biblical Truth #3: We are to judge all things against the word of God.
“13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2: 13-16
So, how are false prophets formed? All false prophets share this commonality – they claim to have received divine message(s) through dreams, visions, or séances, or through divine interpretations of hidden messages in the Bible. When confronted with Bible passages that contradict their messages or behavior, the response from the false prophets typically is to redefine the Bible passage to justify their behavior or messages, or provide scholarly sounding explanations, although contrary to the Bible, of why such passages do not apply to them. We must remember, the Holy Bible is the text book that God has given us so that we may learn what He requires us to know. Any message that is contrary to the word of God is a message of rebellion against God.
“16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17
As mentioned earlier, to be successful, every false prophet is counting on two things:
1) The person the false prophet is talking with is ignorant to what the Bible teaches. Once the false prophet becomes aware that his/her audience is not familiar with what the Bible teaches, that’s when the false prophet will initiate a fall scale attack. For the false prophet, a Bible illiterate person is a mouth watering invitation to promote his/her own theology with full force.
2) The person the false prophet is taking with is not going to check the Bible to determine if the message is consistent with the word of God. The false prophet is counting on his/her audience accepting as divine truth the message that is being preached.
This is how it begins. This is what gives the kingdom of the cults its power.
Let us not forget the Biblical lesson of what happened to the prophet Hananiah when he gave a false prophesy in the name of our LORD:
“15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Hear now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the LORD.’ 17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.” Jeremiah 28:15 – 17
Mayan’s Calendar Predictions: at present, there are various religious and non-religious groups who have interpreted the Mayan’s calendar as predicting that the end of the world will occur on December 21, 2012. Although new information may soon emerge that proves inaccuracies in the reckoning of the Mayan’s calendar, the December 21, 2012 date has been successfully promoted within cultic groups to the point where members will be unable to discount this date.
False Christs of Today
“For false christs
and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Jesus
Christ - Mark 13:22
Maitreya – Spiritual leader of the Share International cult, a worldwide network of individuals and groups whose purpose is to make known the Maitreya (who is referred to as the World Teacher for the coming age), and of his disciples who are called Masters of Wisdom. The Share International teaches that Maitreya is the Christ in Christianity, the messiah in Judaism, Krishna in Hinduism, Maitreya Buddha in Buddhism, and the Mahdi in Islam.
José Luis De Jesús Miranda - Puerto Rican preacher José Luis De Jesús Miranda says a wondrous thing happened to him in 1976 when he was living in Massachusetts. He claims that two heavenly beings took him to a marble hall where an apparition merged with his body and began to speak inside of him. De Jesus believes that he and Jesus Christ became one and the same in that instant. He now has a following of 100,000 plus.
Claude Vorilhon - Leader of The Raelians, an atheist religion led by Mr. Vorilhon, who calls himself Rael - the last four letters of "Israel". The group claims a membership of at least 55,000 followers worldwide. "Raelians" believe that scientists from another planet created the human race, and that monotheism should be totally replaced by science.
Joseph Smith: founder of the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints (church of the Mormons), in his writings in the book Doctrine and Covenants, Section 130, Mr. Smith documented that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur within his lifetime, before his 85 birthday.
Charles Russell, founder of the Jehovah Witness, predicted the world would end in 1914. When his prediction failed, Mr. Russell changed his doomsday prediction to mean that 1914 was when Jesus began His invisible reign on the earth. In fact, since it establishment, the Jehovah Witness organization, and their affiliate the Watchtower Society, has made 9 predictions on when the world would end - 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and in 1984.
David Davidson: In his book "The Great Pyramid, Its Divine Message," David Davidson had predicted that the world would end in May 1928.
Moses David (formerly David Berg), founder of the Children of God group predicted that a comet would hit the earth in the mid 1970's and destroy all life in the United States.
Charles Wesley: one of the founders of Methodism, predicted that the world would end in the year 1794.
William Miller: founder of the Millerite movement, predicted that Jesus would come on March 21, 1843.
Ellen White: founder of the Seven Day Adventists movement, during the period between 1850 and 1856 has made many predictions of the timing of the end of the world.
Even respectable and renowned British scientist Sir Isaac Newton predicted the world will come to an end in the year 2060 in a letter he wrote in the year 1704.Message for all Christian churches and denominations…..if the teachings of your church leaders supersede or contradict the word of God, your church is nothing more than a cult. If your church condones what God has condemned, you are in a cult. Get out now!