SFL Flashback: Wide-Range Date Setting

This post was originally featured on SFL in December of 2008

hourglass

No man knows the day or hour when Christ will return but that doesn’t stop some fundamentalists from making predictions about the century or the decade. After all, saying Christ will mostly likely come back in “this generation” isn’t strictly date setting now is it?

Never before have we seen such wickedness and persecution as is on the earth today! Except during the early church perhaps with all the being thrown to the lions and whatnot. And the Dark Ages had a lot of evil men and seducers and Catholics running around deceiving and being deceived. And there were some times during the 1920’s that were pretty decadent not to mention all the wars and rumors of wars during the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s…

But it’s fairly sure. It’s almost positive, in fact. If  one had to bet, they’d say Christ will return in our lifetimes. Unless of course He doesn’t come for the next 10,000 years…but that’s not at all likely.

But we fundamentalists DON’T SET DATES like all those cults do!! But look at the signs of the time! The whirlwind is in the thorn tree! Just don’t make any serious plans for retirement, if you know what I mean…

146 thoughts on “SFL Flashback: Wide-Range Date Setting”

    1. All right!

      Back to your post, fundys only set dates one time, and that was in 1988. I remember they were publishing tracts for you to leave with your lost friends after the Rapture happened. Oops. 😳 I wonder if some of those got used anyway. The ones my parents had got thrown away.

        1. Since when have Fundies thought things through?

          Though the tracts in question might have been stashed “for distribution in the event of…”. Sort of like “To Be Opened in the Event of My Death.”

          I understand several Fundy preachers have recorded videotapes for broadcast after their “sudden simultaneous disappearance”. And a couple years ago, there was a Rapture Notification Service that would mass-Email pre-defined Post-Rapture messages from subscribers upon the simultaneous lack of response from the three sysops (dead man’s switch). I always wanted to see someone hack that site, trip the dead man’s switch, and see what happens.

        2. You remind me of the operation a couple of years ago, where, for a modest fee, people who certified that they were blasphemers (therefore certain not to get raptured) promised to take care of your pets if you got raptured without them.
          It really wasn’t a bad deal, but I don’t expect my pets to be needing their services, for any number of reasons.

      1. Dear Used to be Darren:

        I remember that! ’88 reasons why Christ will return in 1988.’ I waited until the date passed and then wrote the author. ‘Since your prophecy is false and has no further value,’ may I order copies at half price?’

        I’m still waiting for the reply.

        Christian Socialist

        1. Dear Big Gary:

          I didn’t want more copies.

          I was feigning support while telling him that he was a false prophet and that his material was worthless.

          It was pure sarcasm.

          Christian Socialist

        2. I remember that, too. I was sitting in class at Calvin College (yes, that Calvin), we all paused as the clock ticked past, then the teacher probably said something like “Let’s continue, shall we?”.

        3. Dear boymom:

          THAT Calvin? Shame on you! Hanging out with those stodgy Dutch CRs! :mrgreen: It’s a wonder you have any faith at all! Oh wait! I’ve been on that campus myself. Plenty of times! I guess we can burn together …

          Christian Socialist

        4. Ah, yes.

          88 Reasons Why the Rapture WILL Happen in 1988! by Edgar Weisenhaunt. Runaway Christian bestseller. It was his failure that broke End Time Prophecy’s hold on my writing partner.

          After the Date came and went, Weisenhaunt followed up with 89 Reasons Why the Rapture WILL Happen in 1989!, but sales of the sequel tanked.

      2. Back to your post, fundys only set dates one time, and that was in 1988.

        No, that was just the most famous in your memory. Last year Howard Camping and that “Third Eagle of the Apocalypse” guy on YouTube both set specific dates. Most End Time Prophecy types are just sneaky about it.

        As J Vernon Magee put it over radio in the Seventies, “When you say ‘a generation after the Founding of Israel in 1948’, you ARE setting a date! If you take the Biblical generation being 40 years, you’ve set a date — December 31, 1988! If you take a human lifespan, you’ve set a date — the date the last person alive on that day in 1948 finally dies!”

        1. Anyone that can scour the scriptures for long enough to find a secret code involving Red Heifers is an inspiration to us all! 🙂

      1. Did you take his Revelation class? He would pontificate so much he worked himself into a self induced coma. It was a fight twice a week to stay awake, even after a good nap in chapel.

        1. How about his Church “History” class? He actually had the poor sense to tell us that the first chapters of Revelation served as a template for church history, therefore he would teach church history through that lens. Of course we are living in “Laodicea”. Hence the END IS NIGH. Which is why it is always smarter to tithe than save for retirement.

        2. Were we in the class the same year, J?

          It was so incredibly hard to stay awake in there. But Mullenix managed to get 3 credits assigned to a class that only met twice a week so it was a pretty sweet deal for a Bible minor such as myself.

        3. Church History was a nightmare. We did give him the nickname Pope Mullinex I. Missions major/el ed minor, graduated in 91. On staff for a scary year.

        4. @Dr. Fundystan:

          It wasn’t just Dr. Mullenix, that was Beka Horton’s pet theory as well, which meant that all the church history classes had to teach it that way, no matter who the teacher was (or whether they wanted to 👿 ). I don’t remember at the moment who my church history teacher was, but he taught the same thing. He was much easier to stay awake for, though, so there was that.

    1. I did, I had a minor in Bible and avoided his classes. Couldn’t fall asleep in chapel since I usually sat by a serious row monitor. Lloyd Streeter had a sleep-inducing voice too. 😀

  1. I still do this! Except now I look at current events and say, See? God is cranky with fundamentalist abuse! Those skeletons are going to be cleaned out of those closets!

    And I know it’s just a childish dream. But if we could at least get rid of the more serious physical and sexual abuse that’s going on in fundyland, I’d be very happy.

  2. I love how you conveyed the careful nuances of this teaching in my church when I grew up. We NEVER set dates – we knew better – but we DID feel that Christ was returning soon. I remember lots of preaching about the Russian bear.

    1. Of course, the Bible says He IS returning soon, but the preaching, as Darrell points out, was always about how EVIL things were today so of COURSE Jesus HAD to return because how could it get much worse?

    2. What the New Testament really says, to the extent it says anything about End Times, is that it will all happen while “this generation” is still alive– that is people who were alive in the First Century.

    3. George dropped four words and a comma from that comment (George hasn’t had coffee yet). Let’s try it again:

      What the New Testament really says, to the extent it says anything about the dates of the End Times, is that it will all happen while “this generation” is still alive– that is, people who were alive in the First Century.

      1. Just FYI (and it’s only a minor quibble) the word Generation is sometimes attested with a meaning more along the lines of “world,” or “epoch,” or “cultural regime.” That’s just to say, when the NT says “within this generation,” the author may very well have been thinking far, far beyond the next 30 years.

        1. Big Gary is correct. Jesus said that he would return while those that heard him were alive. And he did. Can we all now move on to the important issues in Biblical theology?

    4. Dear pastor’s wife [and anyone else around …]:

      Is it just me, or does the focus of predictive ‘preaching’ change depending on what captivates our national attention at any point time? Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, Clinton, Arafat, Obama — it never ends.

      How odd that those most devoted to Biblical literalism seem also to be most susceptible to mirroring whatever aspect of foreign policy is in vogue. Why IS that?

      Christian Socialist

      1. The Second Russian Revolution invalidated more End Time Prophecy than it did SF future histories — Gog & Magog, anyone?

        The SF future histories only assumed the USSR and the Cold War would continue into the future. The End Time Prophecy types went one further and had the USSR and the Cold War lasting until LITERALLY the End of Time.

        It’s really hard to tie a pre-defined timeline of future events onto an ever-moving present.

        1. Dear Headless Unicorn Guy:

          That’s the great thing about the ideal interpretation of the Revelation. I don’t HAVE to make any details fit into the gogological dogmatics framework. LOL!

          Christian Socialist

  3. There’s a Grover Levy song that has a line that speaks to this post.

    “But there must be some demarcation as we endure this curse,
    As every single generation says, “It cannot get much worse.””

    1. I knew a preacher who opted out of Social Security.
      Then he got AIDS from a blood transfusion, and he was S.O.L.
      True story.

      Public pensions and health insurance are good things, folks.

    2. (Not sure I finished my thought there–)

      If he had stuck with Social Security, he would have had SSI and Medicare when he got sick. As it was, he got bupkiss. And he was young– still in his thirties.

      1. Yes one of the preachers I am thinking of was put out by a throat condition in his early 50’s. He told me as a young pastor he was stronged armed into opting out by being accused of lacking faith in Christ’s return if he didn’t! 😈

  4. Questions –

    How many fundies looked at the beach volleyball games at the Olympics?

    What would we find on most of the hard drives of most fundies?

    How many fundies are going to vote Democratic this election?

    How many fundies have real degrees?

    What do the words mercy and compassion and caring mean to fundies?

    Finally, what do fundies think of Roger Williams as touching Rhode Island? And the reasons why he left Mass?

    1. How many Fundies have real degrees?

      More than you might think, but far fewer have earned doctorates than are running around calling themselves “Doctor.”

  5. I’ll venture to set a date…
    Never in my life have I ever seen it as bad as it is now, the current administration has to have the mark of the beast even more than the last one did, and I’m sure that while our leader at this time may not be the anti-christ he most assuradly is the forerunner. Look around and we see principalities and powers of Darkness running the kingdoms of this world. Look at the economic problems in Europe and here in the states, it hasn’t been this bad since the last time it was this bad. There are wars and rumors of wars. There is a great falling away (I mean just look at the popularity of Calvinism) and look at the increase of earthquakes in divers places and on land as well. 😯

    Then there is the end of the Myan Calendar… it has to be that Jesus will return…

    …at the exact moment he has already planned to and not a moment sooner or a moment later.

    1. I asked a Fundy who got off on the more earthquakes trail if there were really more earthquakes today, or just better reporting. He didn’t give a very coherent answer, but that’s okay. I now know that makes me a last days scoffer.

      1. Apparently, there have been more earthquakes in Texas lately due to fracking (fracking being the oil & gas mining technique of injecting water and chemicals under pressure into the earth to fracture rock strata) and disposing of fracking waste in injection wells.

        Here’s a report about it:
        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#48561951
        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#48562003

        And a bit more on it (click on links in lower part of page for details):
        http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/tag/earthquake/

        Sign of the apocalypse?
        Or maybe a sign that those injection wells are unwise?

        1. Youngstown Ohio also has had an outbreak of earthquakes due to disposing of fracking waste in their injection sites.

        2. Dr. Fundystan, “It’s in the fracking ship!” – I watched that episode three nights ago – how funny! I confess that having been watching BSG recently, I read the statement, “Apparently, there have been more earthquakes in Texas lately due to fracking…” A LOT differently than Big Gary intended. 😳

      2. I asked a Fundy who got off on the more earthquakes trail if there were really more earthquakes today, or just better reporting. He didn’t give a very coherent answer, but that’s okay. I now know that makes me a last days scoffer. — Uncle Wilver

        And according to a Seventh-Day Adventist Prophecy book I remember reading as a kid, “The Last-Day Scoffers are themselves a Sign.” Kind of like a Conspiracy Theory where evidence against The Conspiracy is PROOF of The Conspiracy. Win-Win Situation for the Conspiracy and/or Prophecy Fanboy.

    2. Then there is the end of the Myan Calendar… it has to be that Jesus will return…

      …at the exact moment he has already planned to and not a moment sooner or a moment later.

      “A wizard is never early. Nor is he late. He always arrives precisely when he means to!”
      — Gandalf the Grey

  6. I remember hearing Darrell Dunn explain how he knew Jesus would come back by July 4, 1976. It sure has been a long 7 year tribulation.
    He also preached in chapel at my first Fundy U. “If you owe 1000 dollars on your school bill and only have 100, give it to God. He will bless you with enough to pay your bill.” I think an over-flow amount was also mentioned, but I can’t say for sure. Even as a naive kool-aid drinking kid, I knew that was fishy theology.

    I just realized this morning he is still preaching prophecy. I didn’t even know he was still alive.
    http://www.darrelldunn.com/

      1. I don’t remember that being addressed. But then, I probably didn’t pay attention to the messages and comments as often as I should have.
        I probably remember the Dunn sermon because he had come to our church during my junior high days, and I was listening for what today I would call Fundy Foolish Phrases. Things like when he preached against reading the “horriblescopes” in the newspaper. As I recall, he was a master of that style of silliness.

    1. His web page says, “Evangelist Darrell Dunn has been preaching and teaching the truth of the Second Coming of Christ since he was saved at the age of 13…over 50 years ago.”

      Isn’t it kind of weird to advertise how great a prophet you are by saying how long you’ve been making wrong predictions?

      1. During Hal Lindsay’s heyday in the Seventies, I heard about another “saved at 13 Child Evangelist” whose characteristic tag line went as follows:

        “END TIME PROPHECIES ARE BEING FULFILLED EVEN AS WE SPEAK! WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A 1978!! OR EVEN A 1977!!!”

        It is now 2012.

        1. Could that have been the same guy, Darell Dunn?
          (I do realize there are plenty of other people it could have been.)

        2. I kind of doubt it. I don’t remember the name (this was back around 1974, when I was in junior college). Just the idea of a “Child Evangelist” is weird — there’s YouTube footage of some eight- or nine-year-old “Child Evangelist” in Brazil with a child-sized suit and child-sized Bible doing a screaming Hellfire-and-Damnation revival denouncing Evolution like a miniature Ken Ham with Fred Phelps’ delivery.

          When you’re 12-15 years old, you should be living your life and learning how to become an adult, not getting thrown into an adult role (as fundy firebrand). That way lies Madness. That way lies Burnout. Whether you burn out into a Marilyn Manson or a Fred Phelps.

    1. Dear Liz:

      As the ‘time appointed’ came and went, I was sitting in the graduation service of Princeton Theological Seminary. You wouldn’t believe the jokes that were made — students not having to repay loans, etc.

      What a hoot!

  7. This reminds me of my college days. I heard this (and yes Don, the anti-christ preaching too 😉 ) in the late 70’s and early 80’s. By the mid 90’s, 🙄 I had heard so many dates that when I heard a new one, I would say, ‘I know when he’s NOT returning.’ :mrgreen:

    1. I’m in your camp. By now, I’ve seen so many predictions of the end of the world come and go that I’ve lost count– not to mention stopped paying attention.

      And that’s only the ones that name a day. The ones that only say something like “sometime soon” are impossible to prove or disprove, so they don’t even enter the statistics.

    2. A writer contact in Louisville called it “Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist” preaching.

      Someone on the Web or at Lost Genre Guild put it this way: “Christians have given up and signed the future over to The Antichrist.”

  8. This is so timely that I think you are in my head Darrell. My mother is still passing out The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey to her friends. She called yesterday and was upset that one friend’s husband would not read it. I don’t think she realizes that it is not another book of the Bible. 😯 I just listen and say “Oh really?”. (insert Sybil Fawlty here) At this point in life she will not listen if I point out how he was off the mark on some predicitions, and that they are just his theories. I have read in this vein for years. Some time back I have came to the conclusion that my christian walk could be better served with more teaching on my walk with Christ and growing like him than if Prince Charles is the anti-christ. 🙄

    1. The Late Great Planet Earth was in vogue when I was in high school (yes, in the Jurassic Period). Without taking the drastic measure of re-reading that ordure, to the best of my recollection, he said that Rapture and Armageddon and so forth would happen sometime in the 1980s. And people are still reading his stuff?
      Just wow.

      1. Don’t forget the PROOF from SCRIPTURE that Gog and Magog ARE the USSR, the Plague of Demon Locusts are helicoper gunships armed with chemical weapons and piloted by long-haired bearded Hippies, and ALL the other plagues are Nuclear Weapons Effects and Aftereffects of Global Thermonuclear War.

        The last was most ominous, leading to an attitude I called “Christians For Nuclear War”. In a way, it was a Christianese copy of the pessimism I encountered all around me during the Seventies — the certainty of Human Extinction before the Year 2000 through Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War, proven beyond any doubt.

        Only difference was the Christianese version added the Rapture as an escape before it happened — Don’t Be Left Behind!

        I don’t need to tell anyone just how dangerous the “Christians for Nuclear War” attitude was. Especially when the attached Rapture meant Christians would not be in any personal danger as they would be Taken Up to Heaven before they were personally endangered. I remember Rapture preachers claiming the Rapture would occur just as the first ICBM warheads were cutting atmo over their targets and the thermonuclear detonation sequences engaged.

        1. I talked to my share of Christians for Nuclear War (CNW) back in the 70s and 80s. I thought then, and still think, that people who are hoping for the complete destruction of the world as early as possible are downright scary.

          I’m not talking about people who wanted a nuclear weapons buildup because they thought it would deter war. They were a different group. The CNW crowd were actually hoping for, and looking forward to, nuclear annihilation of the human race.

          I think that’s one thing that made Billy Graham unpopular with some Fundies. Graham wrote articles and gave talks arguing that killing everybody wasn’t really such a great (or Biblical) idea.

        2. I talked to my share of Christians for Nuclear War (CNW) back in the 70s and 80s. I thought then, and still think, that people who are hoping for the complete destruction of the world as early as possible are downright scary.

          Because it’s not that much distance between “hoping for the complete destruction of the world as early as possible” and trying to jump-start the process — a known heresy called “Immanentizing the Eschaton”.

          After all, “It’s Prophesied, It’s Prophesied…”

    2. Last Summer, I read The Late Great Planet Earth because I was curious to see how outdated it was. I deliberately sought out a copy published in the early ’70s. Which I found at the local YMCA book fair.

      In relation to current events, it does have a “Watch out for the Seventies!” message through out.

      In the Final Chapter titled “Polishing the Crystal Ball”, he made this prediction:

      “Look for drug addiction to further permeate the U.S. and other free-world countries. Drug addicts will run for high political offices and win through support of the young adults.”

      This book was first published ten years before Reagan was elected.

      1. So to what drug (other than self-delusion) was Reagan addicted?

        I was not and am not a Reagan supporter, but I never heard or read that he was a dope fiend.

        1. I didn’t mean that Reagan was a junkie. I would have been clear if I said “That was about twelve years before Nancy Reagan coined ‘Just Say No!’.” And according to Wikipedia, a year before Nixon coined ‘War on Drugs.”

          My point was that Lindsey’s prognostication comes from a pessimistic place in his mind. As do others who dwell on Armageddon. He predicted that “addicts” would run for “high office” – President, Senator, House and Governor, with some youth movement behind them. That didn’t happen.

          Lindsey goes on to his next three predictions: “Look for drugs and forms of religion to be merged together.”, “There will be a great general increase of belief in extrasensory phenomena, . . .” and “Astrology, witchcraft, and oriental religions will become predominant in the western world.”

          The first one never went from fringe cults to the mainstream, the second was an ’80s fad, in fairness the closest one to coming true, and the third one implies some huge Sociological paradigm shift.

        2. I guess he meant to predict that the pro-drugs, Timothy Leary-endorsed, Yippie-type wing of the Counterculture movement would get control of the government.
          We’re still waiting (or not) for that to happen.

        3. Either that, or Lindsay watched Wild in the Streets and thought it was History Written In Advance.

    3. This is so timely that I think you are in my head Darrell. My mother is still passing out The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey to her friends.

      Is it still the original edition PROVING from SCRIPTURE that Gog & Magog are the USSR and setting a date of a 40-year generation from the Founding of Israel in 1948 (i.e. Dec 31, 1988 at the latest)?

      I understand that when the Second Russian Revolution torpedoed Prophecy, he went into revised-history denial worthy of the Stalin-era USSR, claiming he’d NEVER written such a thing.

    4. True, but I can always stand another Prince-Charles-As-Antichrist story, along with The British Royals Are Really Reptilians that generally turns up on Coast To Coast at night. 🙄
      If this really is the case I wouldn’t worry over much. Downton Abbey crossed with the Fires of Hell might be rather interesting. 😈 Maybe Prince Charles became the Antichrist out of boredom? The Queen’s been on the throne 60 years now and it doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere fast.

  9. One of my former students (huge Ruckman follower) has posted the following on FB: “I have spent the time comparing the Bible with what I see. I have also spent the time needed to disprove their alternatives. The average atheist can’t explain why a tiny little country like Israel is hated so much, why the earth seems to be unleashing disaster after disaster, or why the earth’s ecomomies are falling apart in preparation for a one world government, or why the govenments are chipping soldiers and soon the general population so they can “find” us…..all of this happening at the same time, and in accord with the minor/major prophets, as well as the NT. God has a timeframe, and it’s being completed on schedule. From what I gather, His return will be no later than 2033 +-6 years, hopefully sooner, than later. the +-6 is due to the difference in calenders, and I’m too lazy as of yet to work the exact year out. Again, I CAN know the time(I believe the YEAR, given a rightly divided calender/dating system)/SEASON, but cannot know the DAY/HOUR. Me and my youth pastor came up with this time period independently, and we have both spent months studying prophecies referring to the Biblical future. It seemed reasonable due to a large number of verses inferring that, and th apparent evil that the world will be in during that time. Not fo sure, but that’s my time frame.”

    1. Dear redhot:

      Here’s something you might post on your former pupil’s FB …

      Eretz Ysra’el may be tiny, but it has the 4th largest conventional military in the world. In behavioral terms, it is the evil twin of North Korea. It serves as a satellite/watchdog state for the US. Moreover, the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank [war crimes under international law] is a gaping wound in the side of the whole Arab world.

      Christian Socialist

      1. You are correct, the modern secular state of Israel which allows Arabs to live in its borders, practice their religion, and sit on its parliament is the seeping sore of the Middle East, not the followers of the pedophile prophet.

        1. The modern state of Israel is not secular, and doesn’t allow Arabs equal rights. It has an apartheid system at least as severe as that formerly in place in South Africa.

        2. Dear That’sWhatItSays …

          Lets them live on the turf? Good one! That’s the thing about claiming all the land. When you take the land, you get all the Arabs who live ON the land. Your sarcasm wasn’t missed. I’m just ignoring it.

          The rest of the world understands perfectly well why that lordolatrous little kakistocracy [look it up] is held in unmitigated contempt by the civilized world. I’m afraid you’ll have to recognize that your mission is lost and that I’m a lost cause.

          Christian Socialist

  10. Dear Darrell:

    ‘Day and hour. It doesn’t say, “year” or “decade.”‘

    Yeppers! I’ve heard that. Reply?

    ‘By this, you invalidate the word of God …’ [Mt 15:6 (and see also Is 8:20; Je 8:9; Mk 7:9, 13; He 4:12].

    Isn’t it odd how much better such texts work when separated ones point them toward others and not the reverse!

    Christian Socialist

  11. I thought (or maybe was taught) for a while that His return was likely around the end of the 20th century; as the world was made in six days, and a day with the Lord is as 1000 years, the world has had (very) roughly 6000 years (6 days) up through the end of the 20th century… the millenium would be a “rest” and is a kind of picture of the seventh day of rest.

    It was just a theory I had then. It obviously didn’t happen… and I’m not sure of someone else told it to me or if I thought of it myself.

      1. The teaching can be gleaned from all over the Bible. As for when it takes place, that’s the whole point of Darrell’s post. But references involving days as a thousand years, types from Genesis, the Millennium of Revelation 20, and “Day of the Lord”-type illustrations are easily found. Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, a casual reading will cause them to pop up in the reader’s mind.

        Hebrews 4:1-11 and Hosea 6:2 are two examples. There are many more.

        1. Dear That’sWhatItSays:

          Unless I’m much mistaken, there are prophecies aplenty that factor the day/millennium into their calculation.

          The Bible isn’t a jigsaw puzzle. And in my opinion, those who handle it as if it were have no idea what a stable, theological system looks like.

          Christian Socialist

        2. “A Thousand Years” is a common idiom in almost EVERY pre-scientific culture for “A really really long time; practically FOREVER.”

          With the Lord, a day is practically forever.
          And so on.

        3. And it is less Exegesis and more Gnosticism to conflate the “days of creation” language with Psalm 90:4 (which Peter later uses to make a slightly different point.) The context, and meaning, of the use of “Day” in Genesis 1 and Psalm 90 (2 Peter) are so incredibly different it’s not even funny.

        4. I just re-read that and it came out a lot harsher than I meant. Let me re-state. The way that Moses uses the word “Day” in genesis is very different than the way that Psalm 90 (and Peter) use the word “Day.” the meanings are very different. It’s a bad idea to try to mix them together.

  12. I love telling some folk that I hold to Moltmannian eschatology and the Ideal interpretation of the book of Revelation.

    Of course they just HAVE to ask, ‘whatEVER is that!’

    When I start explaining it, they get that wild look in their eye. You know the one — like Saint John at the bath in Ephesus?

    Seeing that Cerinthus, the heretic, had entered, the disciple of our Lord fled into the street [probably stark naked], shouting ‘flee for your lives, lest even the bath collapse because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, has come!’

    Christian Socialist

      1. Dear Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

        LOL! Isn’t it great!

        I noticed your reply to Lis [above]. I never saw the Pensacola campus, but had I taken that class on Revelation, I’d have driven that guy to drink.

        Would that be a bad thing to do?

        Seriously though, Moltmann lives in a world of knowledge the likes of which these weekend Biblicists have never imagined.

        Take care!

        Christian Socialist

        1. Well, to be honest with you, by that time in my career I just didn’t care any more. It was like playing hide and seek with a trysomy-21 baby. You always win, but the other guy doesn’t know it and you still feel like a loser.

        2. Dear Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

          I hear you on that. I’ve sometimes referred to that phenomenon as ‘cheap victory and glory.’

          I may propose the theory that the ‘I lost but I don’t know it’ syndrome accounts for the expression …

          YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID!

          Have a good Lord’s Day!

          Christian Socialist

  13. “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God willl bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

    Setting dates and times for Christ’s return, obviously wrong! The near-mocking of the “rapture” as pictured here, also wrong…..in fact Christians should look fwd to and encourage one another about this basic bible fact!

    1. See above. Paul believed all this would happen in his own generation’s lifetime. He said so.

      Either Paul was wrong, or he wasn’t talking about the same kind of “Rapture” that so many modern Fundies, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals are expecting.

    2. Dear Greg:

      I’m A-OK with your citing St. Paul, or any other Biblical text. The problem comes AFTER reading the text, when people start talking ‘rapture.’

      Sure, we get the ‘meet in the air’ and ‘be with the Lord’ stuff. But some folk can’t for the life of us see what any of that has to do with premillennialism’s supposed ‘rapture.’

      Christian Socialist

    3. Every source I’ve come across outside Hal Lindsay fandom traces the current “Rapture” idea to John Nelson Darby in the mid-1830s. Pre-Mil interpretations date back to the 1st Century, but the Pre-Trib Rapture and detailed Tribulation Timeline all trace back to Darby and his idea of “Dispensationalism”.

      Internet Monk once pointed out that this was the Early Victorian period, after the Industrial Revolution and Age of Reason, when the meme of looking at EVERYTHING as an engineering manual had become widespread. Dispenstationalism was a method of resolving apparent discrepancies in a Bible (which from a hyper-literalist POV could have NO discrepancies) by separating them into different time-periods or “Dispensations”.

      What resulted was an OCD reducing the Old Stories of God and Man into a single chronologically-arranged Engineering Manual and Checklist of Spiritual FACT, FACT, FACT.

      “His mind is made of wheels and metal.”
      — Treebeard re Saruman

  14. The thing that has always amused me about eschatology(that most useless of -ologies), is the hubris of American “Churchianity” in believing that just because things have begun to look dire. . .then that MUST mean God is about to snatch them away! 😯 Hmmm, tell me again how you’re so much more special than your brethren in Christ that have suffered persecution over the last two millennia?
    All that can be said with any certainty is that we’re closer now than we’ve ever been before. . .and occupy till He comes. I have never yet met a Christian obsessed with the end times without feeling the urge to ask, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”
    Oh, the dirty looks. . .

  15. I think I’ve said this before but I’ve lost count of how many OLD Baptist preachers declare their belief that Christ will return in THEIR lifetime…it always comes across as sad, wishful thinking…but I guess no one wants to die, right? I was also amused at the “proof” of end times based on the frequency of earthquakes, floods, etc because it’s all relative right? Even a ten-fold increase in these calamities doesn’t matter because they ultimately may increase a hundred-fold or a thousand-fold. I wish I could recapture the time wasted at a Jack Van Impe “end-times” seminar when I was a kid in the 70’s.

  16. Got to this two days late, but…

    The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay (who honed this wide-range-date-setting to a fine art) really messed up my head back in the Seventies. Both my writing partner and I lost 10 years of our lives to the End Time Prophecy locusts. Who will restore the years those locusts have eaten?

  17. HAHAHA, I remember an “evangelist” coming through our church a couple of times in the 80’s who specialized in end times prophecy. Needless to say he specialized in speculation disguised as biblical inference. He always led off his first message of the revival week with reading newspaper clippings from the 60s and 70s quoting people saying how they can’t imagine the world making it to the year 2000, using it to illustrate how things were getting worse and worse and worse. Oh, I also learned how America would be destroyed by Russia in a nuclear war, based on the passage in Revelation about the great army from the North or something like that.
    If anyone remembers a converted Catholic priest turned evangelist named Carl, you probably have the guy!

    1. He always led off his first message of the revival week with reading newspaper clippings from the 60s and 70s quoting people saying how they can’t imagine the world making it to the year 2000, using it to illustrate how things were getting worse and worse and worse.

      “ALL THE PROPHECIES ARE BEING FULFILLED EVEN AS WE SPEAK! WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A 1978!!! OR EVEN A 1977!!!!!”

      It is now 2012.

      And the “can’t imagine the world making it to the year 2000” was actually a pretty common belief at the time, both inside and outside the churches. I remember being lectured on the 1000% certainty of human extinction before the year 2000, from the coming Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War. In this respect, Rapture Fever just gave this universal pessimism a Christian coat of paint.

      Oh, I also learned how America would be destroyed by Russia in a nuclear war…

      “GOD’S JUDGEMENT FOR AMERICA’S SINS SITS READY AND WAITING IN THE NUCLEAR MISSILE SILOS OF THE SOVIET UNION!!!!!” — some Seventies radio preacher

      And in the Rosh Hashanah Rapture Scare of 1975, the Rapture was supposed to go down while the ICBMs were cutting atmo over there targets, milliseconds before the thermonuclear detonation sequences began. (Note that this DOES camouflage the Rapture pretty well.)

      …based on the passage in Revelation about the great army from the North or something like that.

      Gog & Magog from the Nuclear War Chapter of Ezekiel — at least until the Second Russian Revolution.

  18. It is very easy to see the prophecies of the Holy Bible playing out in todays current events. While I admit that nobody, including myself, knows the time nor the day, but we are commanded to see the “seasons” and know that the time is near. Now, how “near” that is, nobody, including myself knows. In the Bible, God does say that He will “shorten the days” for the elects sake. I have noticed how time seems to pass by quicker and quicker as time goes on.

    I so desperately want to go home. I am tired, I am sick, and I am fed up with this world. This world is not my home. I have no part in this world nor do I want any part in this world. I am tired of this world. This world is not getting any better nor will it. It will and can only get worse.

    God says, where two or three are gathered in HIS name, there HE is. I can find plenty of people “claiming” Christ Crucified but they are not there in HIS name. Their “claim” is equivalent to a suit or pretty dress that is worn only when needed. The “false prophets” are not a “dime a dozen” but are actually a “dime a million”. Everywhere I look, there is a “false prophet”. I can’t even go to church anymore because the Abomination of Desolation is sitting where it has no business sitting. I can’t even buy a King James Version Holy bible anymore because of the adulteration, but God said this would happen in Revelation 22: 18-19. I bought four King James Version Gift/Award Bibles two years ago and was horrified when I took the plastic off and opened them up to read a note from the publisher that “the Holy Bible can not be trusted”.

    I am tired. I so desperately want to go home, but I thank God that HE does not come when I want HIM to come because I have unsaved family and unsaved friends that I do not want left behind. I thank God that HE does not come when I want HIM to come because many times when I am tired, sick, fed up, and ready to get out of this “nut house”, my reasons are in the wrong spirit.

    HE IS COMING and that is all I need to trust and rely on.

    1. In the Bible, God does say that He will “shorten the days” for the elects sake. I have noticed how time seems to pass by quicker and quicker as time goes on.

      The latter is a known perceptual illusion. As time goes on, you get older. And you think of any interval of time in proportion to your total lifespan. To a six-year-old, a year is 17% of his life. To someone my age (56), a year is less than 2% of the total. So to me, a year goes by nine times as fast as to the six-year-old.

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