Hal Lindsey is once again making predictions about the end times using Israel as the prophetic time piece. In his latest article on the subject, he claims that the reestablishment of the Sanhedrin is prophetically significant. Here’s how he explains it: “These religious authorities [in Israel] believe it was necessary to re-establish the Sanhedrin because only this properly ordained body of sages can authenticate a Messiah when he comes. There is a growing expectation of the long-awaited Messiah to appear among devout Jews. The rebirth of the Jewish state and recapture of Jerusalem has increasingly influenced this conviction.”[1] So Jesus was not the Messiah, and the NT is a fraud. That’s the logic of Lindsey’s position since the Sanhedrin did not authenticate Jesus as the Messiah. If the Sanhedrin of the first century was wrong, as the NT says it was, what makes Lindsey think that the Sanhedrin of the twenty-first century is going to be right?

Operating from a false premise, Lindsey then makes this observation: “The religious sages began to consider the rebuilding of the Temple and reinstitution of ancient animal sacrifices as prescribed in the Law of Moses.” So what? What verse in the NT mentions anything about rebuilding the temple and reinstituting animal sacrifices? There aren’t any. Not a single verse in the NT even intimates that the temple needs to be rebuilt. The NT doesn’t give any prophetic significance to the temple and the sacrificial system. Jesus does predict the temple’s destruction (Matt. 24:1–34), but nothing is ever said about it being rebuilt. Jesus Himself is the true temple (John 2:19–21) as are believers by redemptive extension (Eph. 2:19–22). The NT couldn’t be any more clear on these points. For those of you who doubt me on this because you’ve heard that the OT predicts that the temple will be rebuilt, let me point out that the temple where Jesus was presented in accordance with the law (Luke 2:21–38), the temple He cleansed (Matt. 21:12–17), and the temple He predicted would be destroyed within a generation (Matt. 24:1–34) is the temple the OT predicted would be rebuilt.

Lindsey believes that these events are “extremely important to students of Bible prophecy.” He believes “that we are very near the final climactic events that end with the Second Coming of Christ.” We’ve heard this before. Let me take you back to 1970 and the book that made Lindsey a prophecy star, The Late Great Planet Earth: “The most important sign in Matthew has to be the restoration of the Jews to the land in the rebirth of Israel. Even the figure of speech ‘fig tree’ has been a historic symbol of national Israel. When the Jewish people, after nearly 2,000 years of exile, under relentless persecution, became a nation again on 14 May 1948 the ‘fig tree’ put forth its first leaves. Jesus said that this would indicate that He was ‘at the door,’ ready to return. Then He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place’ (Matthew 24:34, NASB). What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs—chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like forty years. If this is a correct deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives believe that this is so.”[2]

You do the math: 1948 + 40 = 1988. Seventeen years have passed, and Hal Lindsey is still considered a “prophecy expert.” In an interview that appeared in the April 15, 1977 issue of Christianity Today, Ward Gasque asked Lindsey about his infamous “generation” quotation:

“But what if you’re wrong?” Lindsey replied: “Well, there’s just a split second’s difference between a hero and a bum. I didn’t ask to be a hero, but I guess I have become one in the Christian community. So I accept it. But if I’m wrong about this, I guess I’ll become a bum.”[3]

This was Lindsey’s assessment of himself. He set the standard for his own work. The 1980s came and went without his end-time scenario coming to pass. This should have made him a “bum” and led to the end of his prophecy career. It didn’t happen. So why is his latest claim that “we are very near the final climactic events that end with the Second Coming of Christ” taken seriously by anyone?


[1] Hal Lindsey, “Revived Sanhedrin discusses Temple” (February 17, 2005), www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42898
[2] Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970), 53–54. [3] W. Ward Gasque, “Future Fact? Future Fiction?” ChristianityToday  (April 15, 1977), 40.