It appears to be the busy season of people telling us when Jesus will return. I have seen five dates for the period of September-December 2015 and others for 2016 or 2017. Four of those dates have already passed us by. Whether these date-setters claim to be prophets or not, they all transgress the Lord’s warning – “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.” (Matt 24:23); and Paul’s statement that we shouldn’t let anyone confuse us with their predictions (2 Thess 2:1-2).
As I have written at length elsewhere, these Date Setters tend to fall into predictable behaviors. Download the entire article here: “Shogren_How to calculate when Jesus will come without even being a prophet!”
First, people speak with great confidence ahead of time, naming dates or months or years and offering incontrovertible proof that the Lord will return as they predicted.
Second, when he does not return, what happens? Most date-setters have a strong psychological defense mechanism:
- Some literally forget that they set a date – the mind tends to blank out bad memories. In one case I had to actually copy-and-paste a prediction for September 2011 to a failed prophet before he recognized his own statement and admitted that he had actually written it.
- Blame the Mob. Others remember that it wasn’t “I” who set a date, but rather that “we all hoped it would be the time of his return!” Responsibility shared is responsibility diluted.
- Bait and switch. “Okay, so, I guess it wasn’t the blood moon or Jade Helm that signaled the end of the age…but, but, just look at these other signs! Killer asteroids! Chemtrails!”
- Poor Me! “Well, now, I never claimed to be a prophet! I just read the Bible and do what it tells me!” (Hidden message: Don’t blame me, blame the Bible for being unclear).
- Emphasize the Greater Point. “Well, the Lord didn’t return, but I guess the real lesson is that we should be ready at any time for his coming.” Only – days before that same date-setter had rejected that sort of “be ready at any time” teaching as near-sighted and unbiblical.
- Revise, revise, revise. Others update their books and DVDs and try to sell you revised and updated editions. People have already published books about the blood moons, and they will simply update their predictions, but they will not admit failure. President Obama is winding down his career, albeit many claimed he would be the antichrist. You think that’s the end of the story? No – just google “Trump antichrist” “Hillary antichrist” or “Ted Cruz antichrist” and you will see what I mean. The prophets are already moving on.
Date-setters tend to react badly when they are cornered in false predictions. They suddenly want your mercy since, after all, they do a lot of good!
I will go so far as to say this:
If your preacher, teacher, favorite TV minister, author, YouTube messenger, whoever, set dates…
…then said preacher, teacher, favorite TV minister, author, YouTube messenger does not deserve your loyalty.
Date-setting is not a harmless parlor game. Every time someone calculates a date and it fails to work out, there are people who mock our faith; there are young people who leave the church; there are people who decide the Bible isn’t to be taken seriously after all.
Ask around – I imagine all of us have a friend who left the faith when a prediction failed. And Jesus said that that is serious business: “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:1-2)
Don’t let the date-setters off the hook.
“Did your pastor/teacher/expert/YouTube guru set a wrong date for the Second Coming? Don’t let them off the hook!” by Gary S. Shogren, PhD in New Testament, Seminario ESEPA, San Jose, Costa Rica