There are myriads of predictions these days ranging all the way from the Bible Codes to the Hopi prophecies. Some of the prophecies don't seem to be saying the same things or coming from the same spirit, but there surely is something for everyone. I suppose it depends on who you are that determines what it is you see. The conundrum of prophecies relating to the world's end, as so many of them are, is in the prophecies themselves. Suppose a prophet these days predicts the end of the world on March 30, 1998. The prophet predicts that the world will not be in existence after that time. Some will laugh, others will fear and all will wait to see if their particular idea of the prophecy comes to pass. If the world did come to an end as predicted, and everyone died, no one would care about the prophecy since no one would live to think about it. If the world did not come to an end, then everyone would know it was not a true prophecy. Either way, it does not seem to make much difference.
On the other hand, if the prophecy is genuine and will come to pass unless the people repent, there still remains a dilemma. If the people do not repent and they all die, no one is around to worry about it. If the people do repent and are granted a reprieve, then the obvious temptation is to believe that the prophet was false since it did not come to pass. You may remember the story of Jonah.
Why is it these days there are so many prophets and so many dates and nothing appears to have transpired? End of the world prophecies have been consistently forthcoming since the Millerite movement in the 1800's. The Internet is awash with prophecies and some of the prophets are apologizing for a date that was missed or a prophecy they made that did not come to pass. The Millerites who prophesied the end of the world for 1844 had to rethink their prediction when it did not come to pass as they had envisioned. They said they didn't interpret their prophecy right and I think there is a good lesson in this.
In history the prophet often does not fully realize the meaning of his own words. In the case of John the Baptist it was so. As you may recall, John was not sure if Jesus was the Messiah after he had the opportunity to sit in a dungeon for a time. He sent a servant to ask Jesus if he was the real Messiah after all. John held the popular view that the Messiah would be a great and powerful leader who would free the nation from Roman domination. He was prophesying the coming of the Messiah without fully grasping what that meant. Religious folk often make the mistake of thinking prophets are omniscient. They are not. True prophets hear the voice and speak the meaning as clearly as they can, but often need greater understanding. False prophets, on the other hand, prophesy from the wrong spirit. These days this false spirit is predicting that everything will be okay, after all, and everyone will see the light and live happily ever after. False prophets predict a solution that does not require a change in character. Perhaps a space ship will come and deliver us or some other such coming. The prophets of God have never spoken in this way.
To the world it has always been intriguing to know the future. Everyone seems to want to know what is going to happen and when. From time to time we hear predictions of a coming "big one." Ninety-nine percent of the time the prophets from Jean Dixon to Edgar Cayce are much more wrong than right. New Agers are holding hands and closing their eyes imagining all sorts of wonderful prophetic possibilities for the year 2,000 or 2,001.
UFO's are on the mind of a lot of people these days. One of those crafts was hiding behind Hale-Bopp, someone said, and off went a group of prophets to meet it. No one else saw the craft, but the group said that they knew it was there. No one knows for sure if the group went off into space since their bodies are still here.
We hear of those who have spoken to Mother Mary or have seen her face somewhere. Others cannot see the face. Some have seen the sun dancing in the sky, others thought the sun was doing just about right. Men often desire an exciting, external apparition. Men follow any sort of sign or wonder as proof that their God exists. God does not prove Himself with signs and wonders. They may indeed happen, but they prove nothing. When the Red Sea parted did the Israelites believe? The record states that two or three did.
David Koresh prophesied that the government would come and attack the Branch Davidians and burn them all up. He was right about that. He prophesied the absolute truth and it happened just as he said, but very few will believe he was a true prophet. If one predicts some catastrophe and it comes to pass, doesn't that make one a true prophet? Maybe not. If a man predicts something and it doesn't come to pass, doesn't that make him a false one? Maybe not. That is what Jonah argued with God about, you may remember. He did not want to be perceived as a false prophet. Well, he was and, no, he wasn't. Nineveh didn't get destroyed like he said it would, but then they repented.
There is an interesting aside here. David Koresh and his followers were under siege about fifty-one days. That was the amount of time Masada was under siege by the Romans. The believers at Masada were torched, as were the Branch Davadians, and it all took place at Passover time as with the believers at Masada. It seems like these things just keep coming around. But not many people are aware of that.
The problem with prophecy is that the fulfillment of the prophecy is most often not like the hearer of the prophecy thinks. John the Revelator wrote the book of Revelation in the Bible. John said, " I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns...and all the world wondered after the beast." He wrote about this beast 1,900 years ago. I don't know about you, but I haven't seen a beast coming up out of the sea, have you? At least not the kind of beast the mind first imagines. John said this beast was red or scarlet-colored. Some say, Oh, that is in the future. After nineteen hundred years that sounds like a rather convenient excuse. Others have decided it was a symbolic prophecy. I sometimes think that all prophecies are that way. I too think it was symbolic.
Jesus prophesied He would raise from the dead after three days. The problem with this proving anything is that when He raised, He did not go back to Pilot and prove that He rose. Neither did He appear to Herod. In fact, the record states that He appeared to some believers, but that was all. Now the others who were not believers can all wonder if the believers made it all up, because no one saw the resurrection but them, and, even some of them doubted the event. The record did state that some Roman soldiers saw it, but they seemed willing enough to forget about it if they had seen it. It seems that God doesn't need to prove anything. He will speak and those who believe can take benefit from hearing Him and those who don't hear will not take benefit. Light is only good for those who have eyes. Those who are spiritually blind get no light, even though it may be shining everywhere.
Prophecy is somewhat in the eyes of the beholder. I have been amazed to see how some prophecies have come to pass as the prophets had said, while, all the time, the prophets themselves could not see the event. They thought they were mistaken. Again, John was in this group and Jesus said he was the greatest of the prophets.
An example of this can be found in the Adventist prophet Ellen White. She prophesied over one-hundred years ago that Satan would personally come and deceive the people at some future time making the world believe he was the Messiah. She put it this way:
Satan will continue to act a double part. Appearing to be the dispenser of great blessings and divine truths, he will, by his lying wonders, hold the world under his control; and at the same time he will indulge his malignity by causing distress and destruction, and will accuse God's people as the cause of the fearful convulsions of nature and the strife and bloodshed among men which are desolating the earth. Thus he will excite to greater intensity the spirit of hatred and persecution against them. God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan will employ the most cruel measures to control the consciences of men, and to secure worship to himself. And this work of compulsion is always in favor of human creeds and laws, and in defiance of God's holy law." 4SP 444.
While this prophecy has come to pass, most Adventists, along with everyone else, would not believe that it has. They look for some personage to be quite literal walking through the streets killing some and saving others, but, as stated, prophecy more often takes a symbolic turn. Let me try that prophecy out again with a little help from the spiritual department.
"Satan [whose spirit rules in the United Nations] will continue to act a double part. Appearing to be the dispenser of great blessings and divine truths [such as in feeding hungry children around the world and saying we must convert our swords into plowshares], he will, by his lying wonders [wonderful good deeds around the world], hold the world under his control; and at the same time he will indulge his malignity by causing distress and destruction [such as in Iraq and Africa], and will accuse God's people as the cause of the fearful convulsions of nature and the strife and bloodshed among men which are desolating the earth. [This has been accomplished by promoting the doctrine that belief in God causes things like the Spanish Inquisition and torture which accompanied the Roman Catholic Church during its time of ruling the nations. True Christian faith these days is blamed for just about everything]. Thus he will excite to greater intensity the spirit of hatred and persecution against them. [This occurs in the places around the globe where Christians are being exterminated by offended mobs]. God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan [the U.N.] will employ the most cruel measures to control the consciences of men, and to secure worship to himself [such as sanctions and political measures which ruin economies and cause the death of millions]. And this work of compulsion is always in favor of human creeds and laws, and in defiance of God's holy law." [The law of the state is favored over the law of God. The U.N.,as well as the U.S., does not regard conscience when it contradicts state or U.N. law].
So there you have it. One fulfilled prophecy from God's point of view, yet, the "whole world follows after the beast." It seems few have eyes to see prophecies when you have to look below the surface to see them. Most men think it is too much work to understand underlying meanings of events.
Just a few years ago, there were many and various individuals predicting the end of the world. That happened in the Spring and Fall of 1994. This 1994 date was chosen by various entities because it was the end of the age and, also, biblical numerology seemed to point to this date along with other signs and wonders. The age ended on Yom Kippur, 1994. I called one such prophet scientist who worked at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He was depressed because the world hadn't come to an end as he thought according to his biblical calculations. I tried to reason with him and asked him if he had considered the possibility that it had. Well, he looked down at his shirt and saw he was still here, so considering that possibility didn't seem an option to him. It all depends on what one considers the world going on entails. It seems to me the world has ended if one has eyes to see it. When every move one makes is monitored and one is not permitted to live according to his conscience any longer, the world as it was created to work has ended. It ended just as he said, but it did not look just like he thought. This is probably the reason Adventists don't see the fulfillment of the words of their prophet. They look in the wrong place. They have no eyes to see. This was precisely the problem at the time of Christ. Everyone was expecting a Messiah, but when He came, He did not look as they thought He should, so He was not recognized. This is precisely the way prophecy works. When the prophecy is given, it sounds very concrete and easily understood, but when it is fulfilled, it can only be seen with the eyes of heaven.
There is another prophecy given by a Richard Kieninger, who is founder of the Adelphi Organization. He said:
AfterArmageddon and Doom's Day less than a tenth of the world's population will be alive to see the year 2001 A.D. The intensity of the earthquakes will be greater than has ever been measured by scientists. All the volcanoes of the world will burst forth, and a host of new ones will join them. Vast quantities of heavy gases like carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide will be hurtled into the stratosphere by the erupting volcanoes. The gases will become super-cooled in the outer reaches of the atmosphere and then descend upon the surface of the Earth in convection currents of such magnitude that hurricane winds will howl over the face of the world. The skies will be filled with dust and choking fumes so that even the sun will not be seen directly for months. Walls of water a thousand feet high will roar across the submerging land and sweep away everything before them. Sea and land animals, vegetation, silt, and sand will be shredded into jumbled muck. Where soil is not washed away, it will be covered by boulders and stone, and the newly exposed sea bottom will be worthless for growing crops. The stench of decay and the bleak destruction everywhere will drive many human survivors hopelessly insane. Those who have the strength of their convictions will retain their civilization and rebuild the world. Those people, of course, will comprise the Kingdom of God, and they will be brought through the awful destruction soon to be visited upon the world. Doom's Day will not be without advantages, for it ushers in the Golden Age. After October, 2001 A.D. the Kingdom of God shall be formed.
This prophecy has some similarities to the prophecies given by the Adventist prophet. Ellen White said these events would come after the appearing of the Satan [U.N.] mentioned earlier on in this editorial. The difference with this prophet is that there will be no humans left on the earth then. There will be no earthly kingdom of God. At the time of Christ the people all hoped there would be an earthly kingdom. Today many of the false prophets hope, as did the Jews, that their earthly hopes will be fulfilled. She said, "The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of the hurricane, like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear with their living freight. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters. Great hailstones, every one 'about the weight of a talent,'[Rev 16:21] are doing their work of destruction. The proudest cities of the earth are laid low. The costly palaces, upon which the world's great men have lavished their wealth in order to glorify themselves, are crumbling to ruin before their eyes. Prison walls are rent asunder, and God's people, who have been held in bondage for their faith, are set free." 4SP 453,454. This prophet does not put a date on it as is done earlier. God does not seem to date things because events are generated by men's hearts rather than calendars. These last two prophecies seem quite literal.
Plagues appear to have many different faces to people. Suppose one was sitting on a mountaintop in the Canadian Rockies that August day in 1945. The person sitting there would be smelling the fresh air of heaven and drinking from the pure mountain streams at the same instant hundreds and thousands are cremated under a nuclear bomb in Japan. If you could bring everyone back to that moment, the stories would differ widely. I don't think one could suffer a more horrible sounding death than one by a nuclear bomb, but that is only that I am conditioned to think that. Would not the greater plaque be the starving to death so many are doing these days? Some of the folks suffering from government experiments on humans are surely more plagued than the instant death at Hiroshima. Ask the Africans, who, as I write, are being hacked to death by their neighbors. Hundreds are being slaughtered at this very time. These poor souls are probably suffering more terror than those Japanese in Nagasaki. I am not speaking of the survivors of that plague who suffered long and were greatly scarred after the attack. I suppose if you could speak to some of these folks, they would certainly confirm the plagues were falling. For millions the end of the world is very real. More often these days, even in the news one can hear about plagues of "biblical proportions."
It seems to me all these prophets make a point. The world is ended and is ending. The suffering increases and the plagues fall. Death, famine and ruin are now circling the globe. Perhaps those who get home from work, sit down in front of their T.V. with a beer in their hand cannot see it, but the end is marching on just as prophesied. Perhaps when some sit down comfortably watching the Rose Bowl game, they don't give it any thought. Just because men are sleeping doesn't change the reality of it. The signs in the sun, moon and stars all say it. The voices cry from one end of heaven to the other, but few men take notice.
The Jehovah Witnesses are another group which has prophesied. Their leader predicted the world would end in 1914. I don't know about you, but, to me, something sure began then. Was not that the beginning of the great wars? Was that not the beginning of the planning for the U.N. called the League of Nations in those days? Was that not the beginning of the great declension and the end of the world as it had been experienced before that time? I think so. No, the world did not end as they thought, but, end it did, in a very real way. We can never go back to that time of innocence that seemed to exist before that time. After WW I the world would never be the same again. God wasn't real to many of them anymore. They thought He let them down because of that most devastating war. Since then the whole generation seems to have lost faith.
I think the Millerites were the first to predict the date for the end which was 1844. If one is a student of history, he cannot help but see the world greatly changed then also. Virtually every modern invention we have came after that date. That date seemed to be the marking of modern inventions which, for the first time, brought terrors sophisticated enough to destroy the world.
I saw a movie one time called "Jesus of Nazareth". At the end of the movie the character Zerah the scribe went to the open tomb after Jesus had raised. He lifted the garments of Jesus in his hand, looked right at us in a most sober way and said, "Now it all begins." In these days we have heard the prophets. We have seen the omens in the heavens with comets and eclipses. Comets have always been the symbols of doom. Josephus reports that a comet hung over Jerusalem for a year just before that city was destroyed by the Romans. More than this, we see the trouble which fills the earth with pain. Finally, we are brought to recognize that our country is not what we have believed. The world is run by deception and devils, and not the gentle and noble personages we thought. As we hold these garments of revelation in our hands, we can say, "Now it all ends".
The beast with seven heads and ten horns has, indeed, come out of the sea. It is red as socialism and as evil. Its great iron teeth devour and tread upon the innocent. Its courts of injustice and its forces of control now rule the earth. The Christ has been crucified again, but this time it's different. Those who have eyes to see can see the beast for what it is. At least we can see it if we want to see it. If not, well, then, men will see it when they can do nothing about it.
The confusion felt over the various prophecies is only based on our varied personal points of view. Our doctrines color events. When God speaks, his voice is heard over the earth. People feel the event but the describing of that "sense" of things takes on many forms. Little minds put dates on what they feel and try and make sense out of what they hear. This accounts for so many things which seem contradictory but are not. Others do not like to think of such things. They put the voice away from them. It seems too uncomfortable to think about coming to an end.
Josephus writes of a poor prophet who wandered the streets of Jerusalem for seven years before the destruction warning the inhabitants of the city that destruction was imminent. His prophecy was given in the spirit of doom and gloom. He heard the voice of doom but he could only give the warning from desperation since he was such a wretched soul himself. He perished in the conflagration which followed. Because one is a prophet does not mean he is of God. He may warn others only to be destroyed himself.
For the past 150 years Christians have been warning that Jesus is coming. This prediction has intensified in recent years. It is as if we are sitting on a bomb and the fuse is so very short now. The U.N. is the false "savior" which was predicted to come first and the multitudes follow after that savior, but this earthly savior is trusted in vain. The final movements are rapidly fulfilling. A few will escape. That is what the prophet says.
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