The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

A Revived Ten-Nation Error: But Who's Counting?

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Some readers get upset any time I point out how modern-day prophecy writers are misrepresenting the Bible on prophetic matters. The integrity of the Bible is at stake. If it's wrong on one point, then it can be wrong on other points. My critics don't seem to mind that Hal Lindsey has been wrong over the years in an area of study that has made his reputation and so much of Christendom has embraced as "gospel." I pointed out a number of these "miscalculations" in a previous article.[1] It was amazing to see how people defended Lindsey even though I quoted Lindsey himself on what his reputation should be if he was proven wrong. None of this seemed to matter.

In his latest article, Lindsey writes about a revived Roman empire: "I saw this coming in 1969, as I discussed in my book, 'The Late Great Planet Earth.'"[2] (He fails to mention how he saw the rapture coming before the close of the 1980s.) Oswald J. Smith said something similar about a revived Roman empire in 1927. Smith was emphatic that "Ten nations, no more, no less, are to become allied and known as the Roman empire because Rome will be the centre, the capital, and it will be in Rome that the Emperor will reign."[3] He was also emphatic that Mussolini was the antichrist. He was wrong. More about this in a moment. Notice what Smith said about this revived Roman empire: "Ten nations, no more, no less."

In his Late Great Planet Earth, Lindsey wrote about a "ten nation [European] confederacy" that would be in place by 1980. For support, he quoted Dr. William Hallstein, the former president of the European Economic Community, who described how a "Common Market could someday expand into a ten-nation economic entity whose industrial might would far surpass that of the Soviet Union." Lindsey remarked, "Imagine that. A 'ten-nation economic entity.'"[4] Like Oswald, Lindsey envisioned a ten-nation revived empire.

Today, the European Union has more than ten nations and includes nations not originally part of the old Roman empire and excludes nations of northern Africa which were part of the original empire. Eight former Communist states and two island Mediterranean nations joined the European Union in 2004.[5] This brings the total to twenty-five. So what happened to a literal ten-nation common market?

For defending the faith against skeptics, prophetic certainty has proved to be a disaster. John Warwick Montgomery's warning needs to be heeded:

We are not saying that such efforts at end-time prophecy reach the level of the false prophets condemned in the Old Testament: those who "speak a vision out of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord" (Jer. 23:16). But we are saying that end-time prophecy lacks the necessary factual grounding to make it an effective apologetic to the unbeliever--and that it can be and often is in reality counterproductive, lowering rather than raising the credibility of Christianity in the eyes of the outsider.[6]

Does this mean that Christians should dismiss world events as outside the searching eye of Scripture? Not at all. There are enough non-prophetic examples in the Bible that can be used to analyze current social, moral, cultural, and political events. Consolidated political power is an issue that can be studied biblically (Ex. 18; 1 Sam. 8) without tying every world event to some prophetic text. Christians can offer a reasonable voice without the dogmatism inherent in the ever-changing pronouncements made by prophetic speculators.

Oswald J. Smith did what no modern-day prophetic speculator has dared to do when he learned through historical events that he was wrong in his identification of the antichrist. He apologized for his highly speculative prophetic writings, and "after the fall of Mussolini, Smith himself tried to buy up all remaining copies of the [Is the Antichrist at Hand?] to destroy them."[7] Can you imagine the economic fallout if today's prophecy writers followed Smith's example? If you are angry after reading this article, I suggest that you contact Mr. Lindsey and ask him to explain himself.[8]

Endnotes:

[1] americanvision.org/articlearchive/02-18-05.asp
[2] www.hallindseyoracle.com/articles.asp?ArticleID=10692
[3] Oswald J. Smith, Is the Antichrist at Hand? (Harrisburg, PA: The Christian Alliance Publishing Co., 1927), 18.
[4] Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970), 96-97.
[5] Daniel Rubin, "European Union Close to adding 10 nations," Atlanta Journal/Constitution (October 13, 2002), B4.
[6] John Warwick Montgomery, "Eschatology, and Apologetics," Looking Into the Future: Evangelical Studies in Eschatology, ed. David W. Baker (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 366.
[7] Montgomery, "Eschatology, and Apologetics," 366.
[8] www.hallindseyoracle.com

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