Friday, December 30, 2022

Seasonal Estimators

After decades of failed expectations, the question demands an answer: When has the end-time Prophecy Industry ever got one right?  Prophecy preachers usually claim they are not “date-setters” like William Miller and Harold Camping. No, they only estimate the “season” of Christ’s return, not the exact day. But this is splitting hairs.

From Christ’s warning that we can know “neither the day nor the hour,” they assume that we can calculate the approximate “season” of his return.

Aurora Borealis over Mountain - Photo by Matt Houghton on Unsplash
[Photo by Matt Houghton on Unsplash]

In fact, this self-serving argument has been used by the Prophecy Industry since at least the 1830s, including by Mr. Miller.


But if we have been in this final “season” for two hundred years, then this is an exercise in futility, and claims about knowing the approximate “season” become meaningless. Two centuries is a rather large prophetic window.

But prophecy “experts” cannot maintain their audience’s attention without raising its prophetic expectation levels. The future coming of Jesus will remain only of academic interest unless they believe it is very probable that he will return within their natural lifetimes.

And this is, in a sense, what the New Testament does by insisting that we cannot know the timing of that day. We must be prepared daily since we do not know and cannot calculate the timing of his arrival. In that scenario, Christ’s return is ALWAYS IMMINENT since he can come at any moment without warning.

But popular prophecy preachers ignore scriptural warnings and, instead, raise our expectations artificially and deceitfully by claiming to know what, in fact, neither they nor we can know. According to them, you must always be prepared, not because Jesus can come at any moment, but because you live in history’s final hours and can approximate the date of the last day. After all, though we cannot know the precise day or hour, we can “know the general season.”

But using their logic, can we not also conclude that Jesus did not say we cannot know the week, month, year, decade, century, or millennium of his return, and therefore we can? All this boils down to word games designed to create loopholes in what Jesus clearly intended to say - God alone knows the timing of that day. Arguing from what Christ did NOT say is false logic – an argument from silence.


In fact, Jesus did say he will come in a “season” (‘kairos’) when we least expect him, and he told the disciples further that “it is not for you to know the times or seasons” (‘chronous é kairous’). And in the passage from Acts, the two plural nouns, “times and seasons,” cover just about any way a man may wish to delimit time (Mark 13:33, Acts 1:7-8).

And contrary to the self-justifying myth, William Miller did not, in fact, set a precise date for Christ’s return. Instead, he estimated the general timeframe based on his calculations of Daniel’s 2,300 “evenings and mornings.” From that, he calculated an approximate date range for the second coming of the years 1843 and 1844.

Essentially, Mr. Miller ascertained the general “season” of Christ’s arrival, and that is exactly what today’s end-time prophecy “experts” do, the same ones who claim they are not setting dates - “unlike William Miller.”

But in fairness, the accusation of “date setting” certainly does apply to Harold Camping, a man who set a precise date not just once, but at least three different times.

Nevertheless, both William Miller and Mr. Camping differed from today’s prophecy experts in one very critical way - both came to admit their errors before they died.

In the mid-twentieth century, the Prophecy Industry told Christians that Jesus would return within a “biblical generation” of 1948, the year the modern state of Israel was founded. At the time, the “experts” claimed a “biblical generation” was about forty years.

But ever since 1988 came and went without the rise of the Antichrist, the commencement of the Great Tribulation, the attack on Israel by “Gog and Magog,” Armageddon, let alone the return of Jesus, prophecy teachers have busied themselves redefining terms and recalculating chronologies. And this has become the standard operating procedure whenever their projections and predictions fail.

I am not saying the end is not near, nor am I denying that Jesus will come in my lifetime. What I am saying – shouting from the rooftops! – is that something is fundamentally wrong with popular understandings and assumptions on the end-times, and this is demonstrated by the long list of prophetic failures by the Prophecy Industry.

It is high time to return to Scripture and discover what it says about the end of the age and the “arrival” of Jesus, beginning with the clear and repeated warning that “no one” with the one exception of “God” knows when he will appear “on the clouds.”