This is a long essay with numerous footnotes. The reader may prefer to download it in pdf form: Shogren_Bible Prophecy #1 Bible Prophecies that are NOT in the Bible
I plan on at least two more articles in this series, in which I will describe End-Time expectations that may or may not be found in the Bible, depending on your interpretation; and End-Time expectations that are in the Bible.
I grew up in the woods. By “woods”, I don’t mean a park with some scattered trees, but a place where large patches were so choked with brush and thorns and fallen branches and boulders from the last Ice Age that it was literally impossible to pass through. My mind returns to the woods every time I fight my way through the thicket created by our modern prophets. Because of their creativity, the predictions that people claim to be in the Bible outnumber, exponentially, the predictions that actually are in the Bible. That is why, before we can begin to talk about Bible prophecy, we have to clear the ground of heavy undergrowth, the things that people have been told are in the Bible, but which we cannot seem to find on any actual page of Scripture. I write this, not because I don’t love Bible prophecy, but because I respect it too much to see it taken lightly.
The very length of this article is the unfortunate side-effect of the tonnage of “prophecy myths” that are out there. One reason for this is that End-Time predictions are big business: take a look at the books by Tim LaHaye, Jack Van Impe, Jonathan Cahn, John Hagee, and even David Jeremiah. The Left Behind series of books alone has sold over 65 million, not to mention the movies and the merchandise. Irwin Baxter has no difficulty selling his very expensive DVD’s; and there are influential sites like Rapture Ready and End Times Prophecy News and Signs of the End and The Jeremiah Project and Terry James Prophecy Line or groups such as Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Many of them employ the same opening stratagem: “I have been studying and teaching Bible prophecy for X number of years; therefore, you should trust me to know what is in the Bible!”
In fact no: the Word of God tells us what to believe, and the believer has no need of a Prophecy Gatekeeper to access its pages.
Here we will focus on those who teach with the Bible in one hand, and today’s headlines in the other.[i] There are two problems with their method: first, it assumes that Bible prophecy must be being fulfilled in today’s news, as opposed to headlines from AD 582, 1007, 1851, or 2086; two, the prophecy experts have the unfortunate quirk of starting with the news headlines, and then reading them back into the Bible. So, where a couple of foxes seen walking around Jerusalem? (Yes, it’s a real thing). Fulfillment of Bible prophecy, but of course, only after the fact did someone point that out. Same with Kobe Bryant’s death and the Coronavirus. Religious revival in Russia? Yes, someone discovered that it was an End-Times event, despite the fact that the Bible does not mention it, and in fact does not say a peep about Russia. Species of insects dying off? Sign of the End Times![ii] Is Donald Trump resisting the antichrist, or is he the antichrist? Look around, you can find both statements.
While we would take to the streets in protest if some theologian placed his or her own opinion over the Bible, we don’t blink when the high priests of prophecy do basically the same thing with today’s headlines. And I’m not even going to delve into the secular gurus such as David Ickes or Alex Jones or the Flat Earthers, who preach an apocalyptic viewpoint with very little Bible mixed in.
If some evangelicals (and yes, some Catholics,[iii] some Orthodox,[iv] some Adventists, plus the majority of the sects) are known for this sleight of hand, then the Jehovah’s Witnesses have to get the blue ribbon. Their modus operandi is to zero in on the Anxiety of the Day, knock on your door, mention how upset people are about it, and then show how they, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, saw it all coming ahead of time! Exhibit A: this issue of Awake magazine from 1968: “Is it Later than you Think? Is time running out for this generation? What will the 1970’s bring?”
Take any headline from today’s paper, or Time magazine, or YouTube, or your newsfeed, or Facebook, and if you really, really try, I guarantee you’ll be able to find a Bible verse to show how it was predicted long ago. Syria in the news? Just look in the concordance and you will find a verse that fits.
Wow! All those 7’s, and just because Donald Trump sent a few small missiles into an empty airfield, which the Syrians were able to quickly repair and start using again.
Another example: I saw on CNN, “Promising Zika Vaccine Moves to Next Stage.”[v] And so let’s say I channel my Prophetic Ingenuity to put together an article like this:
“Revelation 16 says that there will be many plagues, which will kill a huge number of people. And what do we see in the news? People are coming down with Zika, and desperately trying to find a vaccine, instead of repenting from their sins.”
Now – remember that I did this “blindfolded,” without peeking, but let’s see if I can find someone doing this very thing. Just a minute… Okay, I only needed 15 seconds to find a guy who “proves” that Zika was predicted in the Bible, also possibly avian flu and SARS. These are pre-Coronavirus. [vi]
Easy, no? So, yes, there are plagues in the Bible, but neither Zika nor Coronavirus as such do not show up, not in any convincing way, despite what the writer said. Nor does the Greek of Revelation 6 “really say” Coronavirus.
But here is the test we should be applying to such predictions: Could such a prophecy expert show us, not just how his Interpretation System works after the event, but before things happen? For example, could the Zika prophet have told us 10 years ago that his special way of reading the Bible predicted an airborne virus like COVID? Because, now, that would be the interesting experiment! The same thing happens with Nostradamus: experts who interpret his “predictions” (which I have read cover-to-cover – 3 hours I won’t get back again) did not mention COVID for 2020, but did widely miss out on other stuff; but wait, sure enough they did predict COVID, once you think about it!; and his predictions for 2021 include a zombie apocalypse. When we use the Bible like some people use Nostradamus, we should not be surprised when people treat the Bible with the same scorn as they treat Nostradamus.
This is why as a rule the date-setters insert a “could-be” into their predictions, providing an escape hatch for if (or when) it doesn’t come to pass. As in when we heard, “Well, George H. W. Bush (the father) could be the antichrist, there is a whole lot of evidence, a lot of people say so; of course, we don’t set dates; anyway, I’m not saying, but you know…” leaving it hanging. Here is a real-life example: “End-Times expert Irvin Baxter says the election of Donald Trump plays a key role in prophecy, and perhaps is a catalyst for the tribulation.”[vii] But note that he came out with this observation only after the 2016 election. And the article couched it in terms of the possible, not the certain: plays a key role, perhaps, a catalyst are deliberately blurred terms.
An Old Testament prophet who acted that way would have been short-lived!
Let’s add another aspect: one prophecy teacher after another uses the rational, “People are talking about the fulfillment of prophecy in our day, so it must be so!”[viii] The rapture must be near, because everyone believes it. RFID chips must be the mark of the beast, because it’s in the news. In Latin this is known as Argumentum ad populum, which is a fancy way of saying, it must be true, because everybody says so. But the End Times will not come by popular vote, but when the Father says so.
I offer the following list of SELECTED POPULAR BIBLE PROPHECIES I CAN’T SEEM TO FIND ANYWHERE IN THE BIBLE. (I will be footnoting them if you care to look them up).
Trump moves the US embassy to Jerusalem. No, not found anywhere in the Bible. [http://signpostsofthetimes.blogspot.com/2017/12/trump-officially-recognizes-jerusalem.html]
Fall of the Berlin Wall.[ix] Strange to say, I can remember when the existence of the Berlin Wall was a sign of the End. Its fall is also a sign of the End, according to Irwin Baxter and many others. But search and you will find it nowhere in the Bible.
CERN in Switzerland.[x] The Large Hadron Collider is not, apparently, meant to be a portal for demons or the antichrist. There were rumors about how some of its workers offered a human sacrifice in front of the building, but it turned out to be a prank, and we should be ashamed of ourselves that they were quite possibly playing it on the prophecy experts![xi] They seem to have a sense of humor, albeit a very dark one. Anyway, CERN is not in the Bible.
ISIS.[xii] Which, in fact, has diminished and then failed. Neither its rise nor its fall are in the Bible.
Mystery Rumblings and Booming Noises.[xiii] In fact, they have been around for centuries, and probably have a variety of causes. Not in the Bible.
Mysterious Trumpet sounds heard around the world.[xiv] These might be man-made or natural or supernatural, but they are still elusive – YouTube videos don’t constitute proof of their existence. Not in the Bible as such.
Visions of Angels or Demons in the sky.[xv] Not found in Bible prophecy.
Denver Airport, home of the antichrist.[xvi] Yes, belief in this is a real thing. But not in the Bible.
The hitchhiker who says that Jesus is coming soon or “Gabriel is putting the trumpet to his lips the Lord is coming back” or “I hear the trumpets, I hear the trumpets”…and then vanishes![xvii] This is a classic “urban legend,” as I point out elsewhere, not a real story.[xviii] Not only that, but even Gabriel himself doesn’t know when the Lord will return, as Christ made entirely clear in Matt 24:36. So, not in the Bible; and in fact, contrary to the Bible.
The Days Will be Shortened! Literally![xix] Supposedly a German physicist named Schumann showed that earth days are no longer 24 hours long, but are actually only about 16 hours long, since the globe is spinning faster and faster. We can’t tell it’s speeding up, because what do we have to measure it by? (Many things; I can think of 2-3 off the top of my head). Don’t blame Schumann, though, who was a legit scientist; unfortunately for him, he is (falsely) invoked by the New Age apostle Gregg Braden. But some have taken this to be a fulfillment of Matt 24:22: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (KJV; some of these End Time “predictions” work only from the King James). The other versions don’t allow for this ambiguity, for example: “if those days had not been cut short” (NRSV). That is, Jesus is not predicting a tribulation of shorter days, but a tribulation of fewer days. Shorter days are a modern hoax. And they are not a Bible prophecy.
Astrological predictions and Planet 7X.[xxii] Not useful for predicting the future. When Christians use astrology to show when the Bible will be fulfilled – and they do! – they go directly against the Bible.
Crop Circles.[xxiii] Whatever they might be, no, not in the Bible.
It’s the end of the world because people are yearning after peace.[xxiv] Not a Bible sign of the end. Yes, 1 Thess 5:3 says, “While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” So, the story runs, if you see world leaders signing a peace treaty, that must mean the end is upon us. Actually, Paul is alluding to Jer 6:4 – “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” So, in Jeremiah’s day, around the year 600 BC, they were already saying it! And in Paul’s day too they were saying it; “Peace and Safety!” was one of the slogans of the Roman empire (Latin, Pax et securitas). And if we think about it, people have craved peace and safety since the dawn of civilization, and always will – it’s not a definite signpost that the end is near. It’s just a sign that it’s a normal day on Earth.
People saying “Happy Holidays” when they should be saying “Merry Christmas.”[xxv] Not in the Bible.
Chemtrails.[xxvi] Not in the Bible; not in the atmosphere either!
“So-and-so is the antichrist!”[xxvii] The Bible states, as I read it, that there will be a final enemy of God; it also says that there will be “antichrists,” plural, throughout history. This means that just because someone looks anti-Christ it doesn’t mean he or she is The Antichrist. Let me illustrate – when a theft occurs here in Costa Rica, the joke is that it’s hard to give the police a description: “Well, he was about 170 centimeters, dark hair, olive complexion!” In short, he looks like about a thousand guys within a 1-kilometer radius! Even so, when people compile a vague list of how the antichrist will be (A man! Popular! Famous!) millions of people could be The Antichrist, but millions won’t be him. This is why Obama was labeled the antichrist, and George Bush senior, and George W. Bush, and Reagan, and Clinton, and Clinton, and Trump, etc., let alone non-Americans Prince Charles, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Abdullah II of Jordan, and a hundred others. If a hazy description can be stretched to fit anyone, then perhaps we are heading down a dead end.
Let’s take a breather and think about the Procrustean bed. Procrustes was a mythical bad guy from Greece. When people stopped by to spend the night, he would have them lie on his special bed. If they were too short, he would take pliers and stretch them out to make them fit; and if they were too tall – well, he would lop off a piece. He would confiscate their stuff, toss out the dead bodies, and wait for the next victim.
The story passed into logic as the “Procrustean bed,” in which we make the facts fit, by force if necessary, into our preconceived notions. So when people use one and the same Bible to prove how either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump were going to win the 2016 election and be revealed as the antichrist then they are forcing the facts to fit on a Procrustean bed of their own making.
Francis as the last pope.[xxviii] Not found in the Bible. Nor is the (supposed) next pope, “Pope Peter.”
A Super-Computer named The Beast.[xxix] Supposedly it exists in a castle in Europe and stores all the data on every person in the world. It’s a rumor that’s circulated since I was a kid and doesn’t exist. The Bible does not predict any such thing.
Mixed-gender bathrooms in US.[xxx] Wow, is this oddly specific! Bathrooms, whether mixed-gender or not, are nowhere mentioned in the Bible.
Obama serves third (and contiguous) term. Prophesied in 2015,[xxxi] but not in the Bible, and a dead end as it turned out.
Twin Towers attack on 9/11.[xxxii] Not in the Bible. Or in Nostradamus, although some claim so.
New US $100 bill.[xxxiii] Not a sign of the end, not found in the Bible.
Shemitah Eclipses or Blood Moons. Well, the moon at least is mentioned in the Bible, but the rest is a made-up thing to move merchandise, books, DVD’s, and even T-shirts. And has been proven wrong over and over again. Not found in the Bible.
Bitcoin.[xxxiv] Not in the Bible. Not marked with 666.
Hebrew calendar of Gaon predicts second coming; and other rabbinic calculations.[xxxv] Definitely not in the Bible!
The metric system.[xxxvi] Because, you know, 10 is the basis for that system, and 10 is the number of “man.” This one is off by a country kilometer. Not in the Bible.
The Simpsons TV Show, or the faux heavy-metal group “Spinal Tap” or other pop culture reference.[xxxvii] Not mentioned in the Bible, despite claims to the contrary.
Microchip Implants[xxxviii] Is the mark of the beast from Rev 13:16 a Bible prediction of subcutaneous (under the skin) implants? Some say yes, but this works only in the King James: “And he causeth all…to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” This is easily explained: the KJV uses the preposition “in” to mean “on” in a way that is now archaic; this is why the New KJV and other versions have “on the hand,” because the Greek uses the term epi, which means “on the surface of.” The word “mark” refers to a mark made on the surface of the skin, for example, by tattoo or by branding. Now, if someone wants you to take an RFID implant, I would definitely refuse it, but the Bible does not predict microchips as such.
Cashless Society.[xxxix] Because the Bible says “You can’t buy without having the mark”! But look carefully at the transactions described in Revelation 13: it works equally well in a cashless economy or in a cash economy (as when you had to have ration coupons plus cash to buy food during WWII). I have read older commentaries on Revelation and have not found one who said “cashless!” when he read that passage. Verdict: Not in the Bible.
Worldwide Currency.[xl] Likewise, not found in the Bible.
United States.[xli] Not clearly in Bible prophecy. Nor is its absence necessarily significant: most of the roughly 200 nations (e.g., Britain, Indonesia, Japan, India, Mali, Mongolia, Colombia, Canada), are likewise missing from Bible prophecy. Many of the big name “armchair apocalyptists” do find the USA in the Bible; one suspects it is because we Americans cannot imagine our country not being the focus of the end times. Not in the Bible.
The Invention of the Euro.[xlii] Not in the Bible.
ATM machines.[xliii] This goes back a few days, but I remember the panic they caused. ATMs – not in the Bible.
Robots and drones.[xlv] Not found in the Bible.
Brexit.[xlvi] Prophecy watchers saw the vote to leave the EEC as a fulfillment of the Bible. But the same people could, undoubtedly, have argued the other way if the fairly narrow vote had been to stay in Europe. No, the departure of the United Kingdom was not foretold in the Bible.
Computers.[xlvii] Not found in the Bible. Of course, one can then argue, “Well, Bible prophecy could not be fulfilled unless there were computers, so therefore there are computers implicit in Bible prophecy.” This is sketchy reasoning. Still not in the Bible.
TV.[xlviii] Now, Rev 11:9 states that when the two witnesses are killed in Jerusalem, “For three and a half days members of the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies….” That has been taken to mean that the verse could not possibly be fulfilled until the invention of the television and, more specifically, satellite feeds. Nevertheless, there are many interpretations of the verse that don’t depend on satellite feeds; in fact, I have a collection of ancient sermons where people from medieval times comment on Revelation 11, and not one of them remarks, “Hey, how can everyone see them? Someone had better invent TV!” TV: not in the Bible.
Fighter jets, helicopters.[xlix] The Bible does not predict fighter jets as such (Rev 9:7-10), nor helicopters.
Cars. Some have interpreted Nahum 2:4 that way: “The chariots race madly through the streets; they rush to and fro through the squares; they gleam like torches; they dart like lightning.” The problem is one of context – Nahum is speaking of an invasion of the city of Nineveh, in the year 612 BC, not of the 20th or 21st century. The chariots are not cars, just, you know, like Nahum said in the first place, chariot chariots.
Smart Weapons, Atom Bombs, etc., etc.[l] Chuck Missler could be the footnote for oh, so many, of these non-prophecies. He quotes Jer 50:9 (and this works only in the KJV), “their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain” and interprets this as a prediction of “smart weapons.” He fails to note that the prophecy is specifically about Babylon, in the 6th century BC, not about the 21st century. Missler goes on in this video to say, that if you don’t see what he sees, then, why, you must be one of those liberals. Verdict: smart weapons, not in the Bible. People who read the Bible in context: not necessarily one of those liberals.
Islamic terrorists.[li] Now, for a number of centuries, the rise of Islam was taken to be the antichrist. With Islam in the news today, the interpretation has again gained attention. Perhaps it is the final enemy of God, but it’s not a clear match for anything in the Bible.
Muslim Antichrist, or 12th Imam, or the Mahdi.[lii] Not in the Bible. Joel Richardson is betting that it is, but it’s not close to matching the Bible.
And while we’re on it – if the Bible is not specific about a thing, then what in the world would possibly compel a “prophecy expert” to look to Muslim scholars, rabbis, Mayan calendars, and who knows what, for greater illumination?
New Age Bible versions.[liii] Gail Riplinger, whose formal training is in home economics (no kidding), and who cannot read the biblical languages, nevertheless wrote a whole book that said that the NIV and other versions are part of the antichrist’s agenda and a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Basically she recycled and repackaged rumors, half-truths, and gossip that were discredited a century ago. Untrue! And not in the Bible.
200 million man Chinese army. Rev 9:16 speaks of 200 million cavalry, and some think that that is fulfilled in China’s army today. But China does not have an army anything like that size; and as I argue elsewhere, neither it is not necessarily predicted in the Bible.[liv]
Planet X, Planet Nibiru. Planet 7X.[lv] Not in the Bible, despite what Gill Broussard says in his weird mix of fake astronomy, astrology, and Bible. And for those who claim that, these things are the only possible way of fulfilling Revelation 6, I say, you lack both a sense of history, a grasp of science, and imagination.
UFOs and ETs.[lvi] This is another topic that probably merits a whole blog post, but not today. Not in the Bible.
The Nephilim, the Return of the Giants.[lvii] This is an odd one. “Ha-Nephilim” is the word found in the Hebrew of Genesis 6:4 (הַנְּפִלִים); “ha” simply means “the.” The NIV and many versions simply transliterate the word – “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” Others translate it as “giants” (NKJV). I hold to the interpretation that it refers to unholy intercourse between angelic beings and human women. Today, there are people predicting the second coming of the Nephilim, as aliens or hybrid humans, by adding together two very weak reasons to try to make one strong argument: (1) because some people interpret apocryphal Jewish literature (that is, not in the Bible) to predict their return; (2) because Jesus predicted that, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:37). Thus: If there were giants in the days of Noah, then there must be before the Second Coming. There is a lapse of logic here called “faulty analogy,” when a person argues that if X is like Y in some ways, then X must be like Y in all ways. A parallel would be Eleanor Roosevelt’s clever maxim, “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” But she did not mean that a woman is like a tea bag in all possible ways (You have to suspend her by a string! She is made of permeable paper!). In the same way, Jesus himself explained exactly what he meant by the days of Noah analogy: the End Times are like the days of Noah in that people will be living their sinful lives without a care and then be suddenly destroyed (Matt 24:38-39). That’s all! No Second Coming of the Giants in the Bible.
Revival of the Hebrew language.[lviii] When the modern state of Israel was founded in 1948, it was decided that they would revive the ancient language. Is this the fulfillment of Zeph 3:9 – “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder”? No: in context, Zephaniah is speaking of pure speech in the sense of speech that arises from a pure heart; he is not making a comment about what language they use. Verdict: the second coming of Hebrew is not a Bible prediction.
Illuminati, Masons, Reptilians.[lix] Not found in the Bible. No they’re not! No!
Forest fires in California.[lx] Not found in the Bible.
Environmentalism[lxi] and Earth Day.[lxii] Not in Bible prophecy. One of the few Bible verses that speak directly to the subject could in fact be read as pro-environmentalism (Rev 11:18 – God judges those who have been “destroying the earth”).
Dragon spotted flying around China.[lxiii] Not in the Bible, but it is in a YouTube video. Beware viral videos.
Acute flaccid myelitis.[lxiv] Yes, I had to look it up too. Not in the Bible.
Hurricane Katrina.[lxv] Not in the Bible as such.
Hurricane Matthew.[lxvi] Not in the Bible.
Hurricane Harvey. Not in the Bible.
Hurricane Laura. Not in the Bible. As such. See a pattern?
Fall of the US dollar.[lxvii] People who predict this are usually trying to sell you gold bars or expensive survival kits. Not found in the Bible.
Dead bees.[lxviii] Bees are dying off, apparently, and this could be a major ecological disaster and a cause of famine. But dead bees are not found in the Bible.
While we’re on the bees, let’s think again of faulty logic. Here is a common type of argument:
- There is a war happening right now.
- Jesus said there would be wars in the End Times.
- Therefore, it is the End Times.
This is fallacious thinking. It is just like saying that, “The antichrist will be named Bill. I know a fellow named Bill. Therefore, this Bill is the antichrist.”
Things get worse, because people are pointing to current events that are not even mentioned in the Bible, and then working them back into the Bible through their own convoluted hermeneutic. And so let’s return to our friends the bees as an example:
- Bees are dying.
- If enough bees die, they will not be there to pollinate the plants.
- There could be a resulting famine.
- The Bible speaks of famine in the End Times.
- Therefore, even though there is no famine now, there could be one, due to the bees.
- Therefore, the bee problem is a Bible sign of the End Times (even though there is no famine now, and a bee-pocalypse is nowhere in the Bible).
But prophecy teachers push this logic even more, stretching it past the breaking point:
- It is the End Times for certain.
- We know this, because bees are dying and that will cause worldwide famine.
- The Bible talks about worldwide famine in the End Times.
- Therefore, it is the End Times for certain.
This is an example of people assuming the very thing which they are trying to prove; it is a fallacy called Begging the Question, also known as a Circular Argument; formulated this way, it proves nothing.[lxix]
An even worse logic is when any conceivable headline, if it causes people anxiety, can be taken as significant. This rule runs:
- The Bible says that in the End Times, weird things will happen.
- Now, over here is a weird thing! (And let’s face it, weird things happen every minute, somewhere!)
- Therefore, it is the End Times.
Left Behind to Go through the Tribulation. We have all read so many books and seen so many movies that everyone knows the drill: “An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun.” (from Left Behind: a Novel of the Earth’s Last Days).
In fact, I know of not one Bible verse that teaches this scenario. The language is taken from Matt 24:40-41, but it is used out of context:
30 Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other…36 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (Matt 24:36-41 NIV)
When are these people “taken”? This is made entirely clear in v. 31, which is pegged to after the tribulation, not before. Again, “at the coming of the Son of Man” (v. 37), which in context is his visible coming at the end of the tribulation; again, at the end of the tribulation of those days (v. 29). The Son of Man appears, the angels gather the saints together, and then this man in the field, that woman at the mill are left to face God’s judgment. Let us put it this way: In no verse of the Bible does one find a Left Behind scenario where Christians disappear, without explanation, creating global panic, crashes, deaths, split-up families, with the rest being left to face the Tribulation.
Conclusion to Part 1: End-Time Prophecies that are not found in the Bible
A few hours ago, I spoke with a wonderful elderly Costa Rican man; as all good Ticos do, we talked of the weather, and also the volcanic activity that is hitting us this year. He then remarked, I think to evangelize me: “Bad storms! Volcanos! We have to be concerned about Bible prophecy!” We spoke warmly of God’s Word a few minutes before we went on our ways. Now, my impression was that he didn’t have any specific prophecy in mind, but was speaking broadly. Like so many Christians, he seemed to be suffering from what we might call “Free-Floating Non-specific Prophetic Anxiety,” a persistent nagging feeling that everything we hear and see is a red flag that the world is coming to an immediate end.
It has taken me time to collect these sixty or so examples – and this is only a fraction of what’s out there! I hope I have not done this to make myself feel “exegetically sounder than thou.” Rather, it concerns me that these “newspaper exegetes”, consciously or not, are luring us away from the true, core concerns of the Scripture in general and Bible prophecy in particular: the call to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves; the call to take the gospel to every nation; the call to live in peace, humility, joy, and all the good fruit of the Spirit. Read the book of Revelation through from beginning to end, and tell me if love, perseverance, joy, hope and a focus on God – not scary world events – are not its major themes.
Sad to say that, instead of following the Prince of Peace, we run after the kings of anxiety; the fruit of their message is revulsion and hatred toward people who are different – Jews, Catholics, Muslims, New Agers, atheists, homosexuals, to name a few; arrogance and self-satisfaction in how well-informed we are, compared to the “sheeple” out there, with the accompanying rejection of Christians who are outside of our enlightened circles; sinful neglect of the environment, civic justice, racial reconciliation, and peacemaking; the slander of good people as servants of Satan; paranoia instead of faith; greed and hoarding instead of generosity; anger instead of peace; division rather than unity; tale-bearing instead of evangelism. These are all traits that, according to Paul’s prophecy, can keep people out of the coming kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-22). We are tricked into being Disciples of Chicken Little (“The sky is falling!”) rather than heeding the revelation of Jesus Christ (“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” Rev 5:13).
If someone harms the church for profit, they will face God’s judgment. If someone causes damage with sincere motives, God will, as I read the Word, judge them less harshly; but there is a judgment for all who bring harm the body of Christ, whatever were their motives: “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person.” (1 Cor 3:17a)
The “armchair apocalyptists” try, literally, to scare the hell out of people, and then conclude with some words about, “Of course, you’d feel better about things if you receive the gospel.” They follow the very pattern that they condemn in the cults; and like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they point you to what verses they think you should read rather than just encourage you to dive in for yourself.
If Bible prophecy terrifies you for no spiritual failure on your part, then you’re reading it wrong – or just maybe, the “experts” are hindering you from reading it at all.
ENDNOTES with links to Non-Biblical Predictions:
[xi] http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/shock-cern-scientists-stage-human-sacrifice-hindu-god-shiva-geneva-headquarters/; https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/18/fake-human-sacrifice-filmed-at-cern-with-pranking-scientists-suspected; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cajMC7KtU-Y
[xiii] http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141202-mystery-booms-whats-the-cause, http://strangesounds.org/2015/01/unexplained-loud-booms-are-escalating-across-the-usa-in-january-2015-and-nobody-knows-why.html
[xiv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zcVFV3y5S0. Also http://www.wnd.com/2015/05/caution-urged-regarding-trumpets-in-the-sky/. In fact, a fake Last Trumpet sound is a plot point in the movie “Red State.” (Very violent, I don’t recommend viewing it!)
[xxviii] See this Protestant guy https://www.endtime.com/endtime-magazine-articles/pope-francis-false-prophet/ and this Catholic guy http://thelastpope.com/
[xxxii] Here is a whole book! https://www.amazon.com/s?k=9781604770292&i=stripbooks&linkCode=qs
[xxxiv] http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/bible-prophecy-bitcoin-tweets-cryptocurrency/2015/05/06/id/642913/, http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/bible-prophecy-bitcoin-tweets-cryptocurrency/2015/05/06/id/642913/, http://mashable.com/2016/01/15/bitcoin-failure/#RmZCD_F7nPq3
[xl] Here is a list of “Bible Verses about One-World Currency,” but not a single one says anything of the sort. http://www.topbibleverses.com/bible-verses-about-one-world-currency
[xlii] This man thinks he can prove it’s the mark of the beast, since it was introduced in 1999, and if you flip 999 upside-down you get…well, you know the rest. Actually, it does look suspicious when turned upside down but only with the symbols 6 and 9, Arabic numerals that didn’t even exist when John wrote Revelation. http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/01/01/11-examples/
[liii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UenzoYbq49M; http://www.equip.org/article/a-summary-critique-new-age-bible-versions/ One review said that “There is hardly a page of this book that is free from error. Riplinger does not know Greek, Hebrew, textual criticism, linguistics, principles of translation, logical argumentation, proper citation and documentation standards, competent English grammar and style, or even consistent spelling.” Hardly a page of this book that is free from error – not an easy feat, try to do it some time!
[lv] https://escapeallthesethings.com/planet-x-nibiru-wormwood.htm, also my article here.
[lxi] https://www.raptureready.com/2016/08/08/bible-prophecy-and-environmentalism/. Conversely, the main teaching on the environment in actual Bible prophecy seems to be that Rev 11:18 warns that part of God’s final judgment will be his time “for destroying those who destroy the earth”; the verse uses the same verb used to describe the contamination of the seas in Rev 8:9, although that may be just a verbal coincidence.
“Bible Prophecies, Ch. 1: ‘Bible Prophecies’ that are not found in the Bible,” by Gary S. Shogren, Professor of New Testament, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica