I was doing some research, for my book Has God Spoken, and in doing that research, I went back and read the fall 1995 edition of the Christian Research Journal, which had an article that was entitled, “D-Day Declarations.” The prophet at that time was John Hinkle, the platform was the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the prophecy was the most cataclysmic experience that the world has ever known since the resurrection is going to happen. Of course, Hinkle had everyone’s ear. He claimed that God in the most awesome voice told him that on Thursday, June 9, 1994, “I will rip all of the evil out of the world.” Well, in his August 1993 newsletter, Trinity Broadcasting Network president, Paul Crouch, elaborates on Hinkle’s pronouncement. “The voice,” said Crouch, “was so loud and clear that it sounded like a great bell being rung by my ear.” As thousands waited anxiously for D-Day, Paul Crouch assured his vast television audience that “John has promised to be our very special guest on June 9, 1994. That is, if we have not already been lifted to meet the Lord in the air.” Well, Hinkle was a no show on June 9, and so was the cataclysmic experience.
Neither Crouch nor the pastor he made famous apologized for the false prophesy; instead, they employed a tactic that worked for the Watchtower Society some eighty years earlier. Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who predicted Christ would return in 1994, they proclaimed that their prophecy had come to pass! How? Invisibly.
“In this final decade of the second millennium,” I write back in 1995, “prophetic pronouncements such as Hinkle’s seem almost to have become the rule rather than the exception. A growing cacophony of voices now claim to have discovered the date of Christ’s return.”
Edgar Whisenant said Christ’s second coming would occur in 1988. Do you Remember that? Millions fell for his Scripture-twisting tactics in the runaway bestseller, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. Well, that didn’t happen, so a year later he had 89 reasons why it would happen in 1989.
Do you remember Lester Sumrall? He pointed to the year 2000. In his book, I Predict 2000 AD, he wrote, “I predict the absolute fullness of man’s operation on planet Earth by the year 2000 A.D. Then,” said Lester Sumrall, “Christ Jesus shall reign from Jerusalem for a 1000 years Jesus.” Remember I wrote this fifteen years ago.
Well—I’m going to get to a poignant point here—Harold Camping, he predicted that Christ would return in September of 1994. In a volume titled 1994? he wrote, “When September 6, 1994 arrives, no one else can become saved, the end has come.” How did he know that? Well, he suggested that the two-thousand demon possessed pigs that are mentioned in the 5th chapter of Mark’s Gospel actually represent two-thousand years. He then adds two-thousand years to the time of Christ’s birth, which he believed to be 7 BC, and he comes up with his prediction that Christ would return in 1994.
Harold Camping is at it again banking on the fact that people have short memories! (We’re talking about something I wrote in 1995. That’s fifteen years ago.) Now in 2010 he says the date is not September 6, 1994, it’s all going to happen in 2011. I’m not making this stuff up. Here’s Harold Camping, telling us in his own voice, he thinks—not 1994 that’s come and gone—2011 is D-Day:
The best place in the Bible that focuses on 2011 is a passage in 2 Peter 3:8 where God is talking about two judgments. One judgment is the judgment of the flood of Noah’s day and the other is the judgment at the end of the world. And in that context God says “Beloved, there’s one thing that I do not want you to be ignorant of, and that is that a day is a thousand years, and a thousand years is a day.” That’s a very, very intriguing statement and it’s very curious that when we—because we know that the flood occurred in 4990 BC, and if we go seven days, that is 7000 years from there, we land on the year 2011….2011 keeps shining through as the probable date for the – probable year that will end this earth’s existence.
Now notice he has thrown in a little qualifier now the word “probable.” But, again, this is what date setters do. They set the date, and when the date starts to arrive on the scene, when we get closer and closer to that date, they start hedging their bets.
So Harold Camping is predicting the return of Christ four months from now—2011. And if Camping wrong, we have another date we can go to, 2012—that’s Jack Van Impe’s date. And there are some other prophecy pundits that have come up with 2014. That is the most distant possible time that it can happen.
Is Harold Camping right—2011? We’re going to find out that prophecy pundits have one characteristic in common—they’re 100% wrong 100% of the time! In fact, the truth of the matter is this: There is no evidence in the Bible whatsoever, nary a clue, as to when Jesus Christ will return. Not one single clue! It could happen a second from now…Well, it didn’t. Or it could happen two-thousand years from now, but we don’t know when it is going to happen. We should be prepared as though Christ were coming this very moment and prepare as though He may not come as yet for another millennium.
2011 will come and go, and were going to see that Harold Camping is once again demonstrated to be a false prophet. Benny Hinn has made all kinds of false prophecies. And the litany continues, and in the end, it isn’t the prophecy pundits that are blamed, it is the Bible that is blamed. The Bible can’t be trusted. Christ’s name is dragged through the mud. Christ can’t be trusted. Of course, this has nothing to do with the Bible or Christ. Neither predicts the time of the Second Coming.
What does all this mean to you? You need to be so familiar with the real McCoy, that when these counterfeits loom on the horizon, you will know it instantaneously. You will not be fooled into today’s world of discordant date setters. As believers, we must abandon sensationalism, and embrace Scriptural truth. The prophecies of the Bible have been fulfilled. Apart from the fact that Jesus Christ will appear a second time, the problem of Sin and Satan will be fully and finally resolved, the dead will rise immortal, imperishable, incorruptible—Jesus says, “Do not be amazed, a time is coming when all who are in the graves will come out, some will rise to live, and some will rise to be eternally condemned,” this universe, which is groaning in travail will be transformed, and the old order of things will be done away with, all things will be come new, that’s what we know about the future. The rest of prophecy has been fulfilled, demonstrating that you can trust the Bible as the infallible repository of redemptive revelation.
Every time we have someone pointing to the Bible or abusing the Bible, to come up with a date, and the date doesn’t produce the event, the Bible is called into question. It’s time for us to call these prophecy pundits to account for dragging Christ name through the mud.
1. Harold Camping. “Open Forum” Radio Show. June 29, 2004 http://18.104.22.168/english/connect/audio_archive/forum/frame/2004/forum2004jun.html (41min Into Show)