(Pick a Date! Any Date!)
By Randall A. Terry
things are going to get
even worse before the Lord returns."
Prison chaplain, on why people
involved in Operation Rescue are wrong for their actions
just don't give up. The rapture
date-setters and the Antichrist-namers never seem to skip a beat, in
of how many times they've been wrong. In recent times, the Antichrist
assuredly Henry Kissinger (Jewish!); then Jimmy Carter (a professing
- hmmm); then Mikhail Gorbachev (he had that thing on his head); then
Hussein (if he attacked Israel the trumpet would sound). I wonder who
next victim will be. I'm taking bets on Boris Yeltsin or Bill Clinton.
(Horror, there's an idea.)
of course, there was the best
seller, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. I wanted to write
sequel, 88 Reasons Why It Wasn't. I don't think many publishers would
the insane book, by Harold Camping,
1994, is a best seller (as of the spring of 1993). This book will also
be wrong. "How can you be so sure?" you may ask. Well, every time,
the Ascension of Christ, some well-meaning (or deceived) Christian has
defied Christ's words and tried to pick a date, they've been wrong. The
date-setters are batting 1000 percent at being wrong.
... I predict 1995! (The whole
year! Those reading after 1995, don't smirk. Just beware of the next
truth be known, I cut my teeth
spiritually around people (and tapes and books) that proved to me -
lots of Bible verses - that because Israel had again become a political
state in 1948, and because vultures were laying two eggs instead of one
in the Middle East, and because the Soviets' military hardware could be
burned like coal for three-and-a-half years, and because someone was
a microchip to put in people's foreheads or hands so we could be a
society, and because our credit cards had a hologram, and because "The
Beast" (computer in Belgium) was working for the revived Roman Empire,
and ... and ... and ... the secret rapture of the church was going to
was probably useless to plan to
be in Russia to preach the gospel during the 1980 Olympics because we
be raptured by then. Certainly, we would be whisked away before 1981.
course, 1981 came and went, as did 1984, as did 1988, as did the war
Iraq. The date-setters and vulture-watchers had substantial vulture egg
on their faces. The late, great, planet earth is still here! (It was
a greater earth for those who had a good hunk of change in their
from book royalties - something an author never scoffs at!)
would be bad enough if the date-setters
simply deluded themselves with New York Times-CNN headlines. But it's
than that. Not only don't they fight to stop America's moral collapse,
they sometimes seem to rejoice in it.
Is Dying. Hallelujah!
the secret rapture watchers,
the rapid collapse of America's families and the rampant immorality we
see all around us are signs that we are fast approaching the end of
Like a numbing theological narcotic that keeps people in their
armchairs is the belief that the more corrupt America becomes, the more
certain we can be that the rapture is any second. "Let it rot, baby!
worse it gets, the better. The
prevailing wickedness of the hour is a welcome confirmation for the
of escapism. "More Christians are being oppressed! The divorce rate is
skyrocketing! Homosexuals want to take over! Glory to God, the end is
Jesus must be coming any second!" This latter part is shrieked in
to the oppressed Christians
in China or in the former Soviet Union -who have suffered for decades -
that the minor persecution of American Christians is the prelude to
What a joke.
forgive me for being blunt,
but I just don't buy it anymore. I am sick of date-setting and
I'm sick of the unhealthy distraction it is to Christians. I'm sick of
it ripping their hearts out.
please don't misunderstand me.
I believe the Scriptures. The Bible clearly teaches of the bodily
of the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:11), the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). It will
a glorious event. And I believe His return may happen today, or
We should live to please Him, so that if He appears, we will not be
before Him at His coming (1 John 2:28). We should also live in a way
if He doesn't come for two thousand more years, we will not deliver a
nation to our great-great-grandchildren. We want to leave a legacy of
and courage for our grandchildren, not escapism and cowardice.
it wouldn't surprise me
if the Second Coming was two thousand years from now. (Don't close the
book yet! I'm not a heretic!)
Long Last Days
what about the signs?" some
will ask. "We're in the last days!"
we are in the last days. We've
been in the last days since the day of Pentecost. On the day of
when the Holy Spirit was poured out with incredible power, signs, and
commencing with the one hundred and twenty disciples speaking in other
tongues, Peter stood up and declared we were in the last days (Acts
I believe date-setting is
probably a distraction and a deception from hell. Well-meaning,
men and women have fallen into the enemy's snare. Obviously, they've
been wrong. And for the Christians over the centuries who have built
lives or altered their plans based on these erroneous predictions -
have thrown away months, years, perhaps decades of their lives. For
I wonder in recent times how many Christian men had a yearning to be a
congressman or a judge, but abandoned the dream early on because "Jesus
is coming any second." This nonsense of date-setting has robbed the
and the culture.
who are unhealthily preoccupied
with the Lord's coming generally aren't obeying the parabolic command
"occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13).
said, "A tree is known by its
fruit" (Matt. 12:33). The fruit of date-setting, second coming
and antichrist pickers have been utterly disastrous. Whether Christians
sell all they have and cloister on a mountaintop waiting for the
blast, or whether they run up big credit card bills to leave the
while they cloister in their safe, cozy, and culturally irrelevant
the result is the same. They are useless in the great cultural battles
for biblical justice and righteousness.
if, rather than being deluded
into accepting America's moral collapse as our divine destiny, a "sign
of the times," the millions and millions of Christians who were
preoccupied with the rapture for the past seventy years had been the
of the earth and fought against baby-killers, pornographers,
messianic statists, and sodomite evangelists? We wouldn't be in the
we are in now!
have been deceived by Satan himself
into surrendering the greatest nation in the history of the world (save
ancient Israel) to pagan elitists - and we've done so believing that
had destined for this nation to moral collapse, that he destined the
for defeat! We've foolishly believed that God was pleased with us for
idly by while a nation sank into the bowels of hell, because we were
eternal drama play out. God deliver us from the theology of escapism.
the Lord will return. Yes, His
coming is the blessed hope. Yes, we should pray with John the Beloved,
"Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20c). But I believe the American
excessive preoccupation with the Lord's return is out of balance,
and has led us into a retreatist, escapist mentality. Compare how much
of the Bible is devoted to how we should live here and now, to how
of the Bible is devoted to eschatology (the study of end times).
Polish Brass on a Sinking Ship?
stated earlier, the fruit of
the date-setting "any second rapture" crowd has been absolutely
Literally millions of American Christians - perhaps yourself included -
are content to let America slide into moral anarchy because they think
it's God's will for wickedness to flourish before the Lord returns.
a sign of the times! Jesus is going to come any second.
besides, if Jesus is going to
come tomorrow, why be involved in the moral issues of today? Or to
a famous radio Bible teacher, "Why polish brass on a sinking ship?"
you are a rapture date-setter,
I have this question for you: What if America's moral disintegration
absolutely nothing to do with the Lord's return? What if the mockery of
righteousness has nothing to do with Matthew 24, but everything to do
Matthew 5? "If the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be
It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be
under foot of men" (Matt. 5:13, emphasis added). The Living New
says the salt is "worthless"! That's what many Christians have become -
believe the rise of persecution
against Christians, the mockery of Christianity, and the spurning of
principles in America have nothing to do with the Lord's return. We and
our most sacred principles are mocked and trampled underfoot because we
are the salt that lost its savor. Our own selfishness, laziness,
Christianity, coupled with our detachment from and irrelevance in this
culture have gotten us in this mess. Our own folly has made us a prey
the jaws of tyranny. To use the Lord's words, we are good for nothing.
And as He promised, we are being trampled under foot of men.
Off the Shackles
believe we must challenge the date-setting
preoccupation in the church because of the damage done to the church
the nation. I also believe the great escape mentality has helped bring
us to the brink of destruction. Because of the incredible amount of
we have lost since the early 1900s, we are now entrenched in a life and
death struggle for our own survival and for the survival of America as
a free nation. We've been clearly losing since the early 1960s. To top
it off, most Christians don't have a clue how to fight, where to fight,
who to fight, when to fight, and most importantly, why to fight.
recently talked with an "expert
prophecy teacher" who insisted that he could still be an "activist"
being pre-occupied with the rapture. (It was a very polite and amiable
conversation.) I told him, "Perhaps you can live with that apparent
but the average person in the pew cannot. Some of the hugest
churches in America that are unhealthily preoccupied with the Lord's
have little or no influence in the power bases of their communities
schools, media, universities, the police force, the judiciary, the
the arts, etc.). They have the manpower to take back the 'power bases,'
but instead they're all worked up about the latest New York Times
about Israel or Sadaam Hussein."
woman sitting by and listening
in suddenly spoke up, expressing her deep frustration. "Every time I go
to my church and try to get them involved, people tell me 'the Lord is
coming any time now, and we don't need to worry about changing the
The prophecy expert ignored her anecdotal evidence and my arguments.
many Christians believe
we are destined to be defeated. Before the Lord's return, society will
have decayed so completely that it will be impossible to reform it.
no way we can win - "until that trumpet blast." For now, well there's
much we can do. So why bother? The average Christian simply isn't going
to get in a battle he isn't going to win. I know a few people declare,
"We must remain faithful till the end." But not many Christians will
the fight if the battle cry is "We're going to get slaughtered, God has
destined us to lose, but we're called to be faithful! Let's see who can
bang their head against the wall the longest!"
tragic side effect of "rapture
fever" is amnesia. We forget. We forget from whence we've fallen as a
We forget what great freedom and justice our spiritual forefathers
for, and sometimes died for. And perhaps more tragically, we forget our
responsibility to our children, grandchildren, and our
Many Christians have little or no sense of compelling duty for their
unborn children and grandchildren. Why? Because they think the end of
world will be here before their grandchildren or great-grandchildren
the Year 2525
millions of American Christians
aren't burdened about their offsprings' future. The only dark spot they
see on the horizon is Armageddon. And for them that is a bright spot!
why strive to achieve righteousness and justice in the judiciary,
the medicines, schools, universities or the media, for future
Why be burdened for our offspring and their offspring? We'll be long
grieves me so deeply is that
it doesn't have to be this way. The pagans don't have an irrevocable
to run this country into hell. They are not invincible. American
have the manpower and the money to take back the power bases. Just
the tens of millions of professing Christians, and the billions we
on buildings and entertainment. We have the numbers and money, but we
have the vision, the passion, or the sense of duty before God to take
Lordship of Christ in every citadel of authority.
the enemy continues to seduce
us to let America perish, and we continue to squander our children's
future generations throughout the world will hold us in harsh contempt.
Our great-grandchildren will curse this generation of Christians for
cowardice and escapist mentality. But I'm sure some Christian author or
teacher will try to tickle itching ears in their day telling them that
they are the terminal generation. ("This time we're really sure.
are laying three eggs!")
you may be wondering, what is
my eschatology? I'm a pan-millenialist -with post-millennial
I believe it's all going to pan out in the end. And I assure you, I'm
It all will pan out in the end! I know that sounds like a cop-out, but
it's not. Let me put more flesh on the bones.
Antichrist Who Isn't
the Bible does not say there
will be one special antichrist. John said, "Little children, it is the
last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now
are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time" (1 John
2:18, emphasis added). That's right. Many antichrists. "Who is the liar
but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that
the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22). Anyone who denies that Jesus is
the Christ is an antichrist.
understand that the antichrist-watchers
believe the "man of sin" of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and the "Beast" of
13 is the Antichrist. However, this is a strained, unbiblical leap of
preoccupation with an antichrist
is an unhealthy, sinister distraction. Daniel wrote, "The people who
their God will display strength and take action" (Dan. 11:32) - not
who know their antichrists." Christians who are supposed to be looking
for Christ's glorious appearing are instead looking for an antichrist.
friend, take an honest look
at the fruit of the date-setting, antichrist-watching,
theology in the church; look at what it has done to America. It should
give you pause, and at least make you very suspicious of the current or
next wave of date-setters.
the trumpet will sound, and
Jesus will return in great power and glory to judge the quick and the
It could happen today. It might not happen for two thousand years. Just
in case He decides to wait for the "restoration of all things" (Acts
let's get busy taking ground from the enemy's hands for His kingdom.