I’m working on a new prophecy book. The tentative title is The Christian Prophetic Calendar under the Microscope. I know; it’s not a very good title. That’s why I’m sponsoring a contest. Submit your title suggestion, and if I use it, I’ll give you credit in the book when it’s published plus a $250 gift certificate to purchase anything from American Vision’s store. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. Let me tell you what I have in mind so you can get an idea of what I’m after in a title.
I went to our local Barnes & Noble bookstore to pick up Mark Hitchcock’s 2012: The Bible and the End of the World. Hitchcock debunks 2012ologists as he calls them. But Hitchcock and his fellow prophecy writers have their own prophetic calendar problems. How many of you remember a famous Christian prophecy writer who sold millions of books in the 1970s claiming that the calendar was about to run out for his generation? Israel had become a nation again in 1948. Within a generation—40 years from that date—we were all going to be raptured to heaven! As you know, at least I hope you know, it didn’t happen.
Then there was the famous prophecy related to the so-called Jupiter Effect. This was used by the same prophecy writer as “evidence” that the rapture was near. Astronomers John Gribben and Setphen Plagemann predicted the Jupiter Effect in 1974 in their book of the same name. Supposedly it was a “scientific exploration of the planets as triggers of major earthquakes.” They argued that when various planets were aligned on the same side of the sun in 1982, tidal forces would create solar flares, radio interruptions, rainfall and temperature disturbances, and massive earthquakes. The planets did align, as they do regularly. Nothing unusual happened. While Gribbin wrote that he was sorry he “ever had anything to do with it,” the above unnamed prophecy writer just moved on to another set of predictions.
While cleaning up my office (a never ending task), I came across a cassette tape of a sermon a prominent West Coast prophecy expert preached on December 31, 1979. He told his very accepting and excited audience that the rapture would take place in 1981. The former Soviet Republic going into Afghanistan in August of 1978 was the prelude to what he claimed would be a full-force invasion of the Middle East. It would not be long before “Russia” would invade Israel, he told his audience. All of this was said to have been “predicted” by Ezekiel 2600 years ago.
In the same year-end sermon preached 30 years ago, he went on to claim that because of ozone depletion Revelation 16:8 would be fulfilled during the soon-coming Great Tribulation: “And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.” He argued that Halley’s Comet would pass near the Earth in 1986 and would wreck atmospheric havoc for those left behind as debris from its million-mile tail pummeled the earth. Halley’s Comet did appear in 1986 with no damage done to our planet.
A lesser known prophecy writer was certain that the end of the world would come in 1985. The title of the book was, I Predict 1985. In 1986, he published a new book entitled, I Predict 2000. There were other books with similar millennium-ending titles: A.D. 2000…The End? and Planet Earth—2000.
Jerry Falwell (1933–2007) stated on a December 27, 1992, television broadcast, “I do not believe there will be another millennium . . . or another century.” John F. Walvoord, described as “the world’s foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy . . . [expected] the Rapture to occur in his own lifetime.’” It didn’t. Walvoord died in 2002 at the age of 92.
It’s easy for Christian prophecy writers to take pot shots at New Age eccentrics, 2012ologists, secular prognosticators, and environmental doomsayers, but there aren’t many who are willing to evaluate the evangelical prediction market, and it’s a big market. They have their own calendar problem, and they need to be held accountable. The credibility of the Bible and the gospel message are at stake.
Since the reestablishment of Israel in 1948, prophetic speculation by Christians has been on the rise. Of course, there is a long history of date setting, but the past 62 years have seen an exponential increase in the number of books proclaiming that the end is near. It’s time that the “Boy who cried wolf” syndrome be dealt with in a biblical way. This book will deal with the following prophecy topics that find their way into every modern-day prophecy book:
- How do Christian date-setters compare with their secular and New Age counterparts?
- Is Israel’s 1948 nationhood biblically significant?
- Is Russia the end-time bad guy in Ezekiel 38 and 39?
- Is there any biblical evidence that the temple needs to be rebuilt?
- Was Jesus really predicting the end of the world in the Olivet Discourse?
- Should we expect an end-time antichrist?
- Is the European Union a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?
- Is modern-day technology making the “mark of the beast” a reality?
- Are an “increase in earthquakes” and environmental changes signs of the end?
- Is prophetic speculation really prophetic inevitability?
- Why are non-Christians worried about prophetic speculation?
- And probably some other topics once I begin to research and write.
There isn’t another book on the market like this one. A seismic shift in prophetic beliefs is taking place around the world. A film based on the premise of this book is being developed by filmmaker and music video director Darren Doane (director of numerous commercials for Nike and Toyota, music concerts for Van Morrison and Zac Brown, and the film Collision) and me. Filming will start sometime next year.