Donald Hank
Two thousand years of "imminent" Second Coming
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By Donald Hank
April 6, 2015

Jesus answered him, "It is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." Luke 4:8

Some Christian spiritual leaders are fond of prophesying. They have been at it since the time of Christ. Pat Robertson prophesied that there would be a catastrophic terror attack on several American cities in 2007 and that possibly millions would be affected. That year there were no such catastrophic attacks on American soil. But Robertson had millions of followers who thought his words were inspired by God. They were worshippers of Robertson.

After that colossal flop, the same Robertson, undaunted, brashly stated publicly in 2013 "God told me" that Romney would win the nomination and then the general election. He knew that most of his followers – or rather worshippers – would continue to blindly believe in him no matter how many times he bungled his prophecies.

As shown in the article linked below, such failed prophecies as Robertson's are not outliers. They are in fact commonplace among the men with the most faith – but not a faith in the scriptures or in God but faith in their own spiritual superiority. They clearly worship themselves, while claiming to worship God.

One of the earliest prophecies of the imminent second coming is ascribed to Montanus, the founder of the Christian sect of Montanism, who in the 2nd Century AD, said, in a frenzied trance, that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. Like Robertson, he averred that God had told him this.

Igor Shafarevich's monumental work "The Socialist Phenomenon" describes the fanaticism of the early heretics who launched attacks on the Catholics in hopes of ushering in the Millennium, the 1000 year period of perfect peace described in Revelation. As a corollary, their actions would also have caused the Second Coming, which, according to the book of Revelation, is inextricably linked to the Millennium.

Thousands of people all over Europe were convinced by the masterful sermons of their leaders, that the Millennium, and hence the Second Coming, were just around the corner. And their conviction was so strong that they tackled armies greatly outnumbering them.

Eventually they were defeated, despite their insistence that God was on their side, and despite the scriptural "proof" of their righteousness and the inevitability of their triumph.

The great orators among them who had stirred their fervor, inducing them to wage holy war, swung from ropes or were burned at the stake.

Can you think of anyone today who has taken a scriptural reference and construed it to mean that the US must enter into righteous battle on the strength of such scripture? Battle with a nation that could soon be a nuclear power and comes accompanied by a country that is already a formidable nuclear power? They heavy-handedly substitute quasi-religious hocus-pocus for delicate calculations of military strategy, geopolitics and diplomacy.

Of course, if God is on our side, then we have nothing to fear.

Just like the Anabaptists of the past, who went "fearlessly" to the gallows when their prophecies failed. Has the Christian world learned anything from the past?

There are compilations of prophecies made by Christians who thought God had spoken to them directly. Examples are found here and here.

No doubt these examples were compiled by unbelievers. That is unfortunate. Christians should disseminate such information first, before it is abused as a means of discrediting Christianity. And they should show, particularly to believers, but also to non-believers, that none of this discredits Christianity as taught by Jesus himself, because the "Christians" who disseminated these false prophesies were blasphemers, as shown below, not true followers of Christ. Christians need this information more than unbelievers so that other Christians can avoid the foolishness of the past and follow sound guidance and sound doctrine, particularly as plainly expressed in Jesus' words in Matthew 24:

36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah..

Did you catch that? Jesus is saying that even He did not know the time of His second coming! That only God knew!

For 2000 years, credulous unthinking Christians of all stripes have been saying that the Second Coming was imminent, and they meant that it would happen in their lifetimes. Some were so confident that God had spoken to them personally that they even set dates. And when those dates came and their prophecies failed to materialize, some of them would set another date and, failing again, yet another. None of these foolish men saw their prophecies fulfilled.

Why did they fail?

Well, by predicting the time and date, or even the time frame of the Second Coming, they were clearly claiming to know more than Jesus himself, as recorded in Matt. 24:26. Would that not be blasphemy? Would God bless blasphemers?

Most likely He would allow them to make fools of themselves as He has in the past.

As for gullible Christians who allow themselves to be seduced by these blasphemous charlatans, history shows that they too get their just desserts.

Nevertheless, it is not necessarily a sin to believe in one's heart that Christ is coming soon. However, those who bruit this to the world risk joining the ranks of prior prophets, none of whom has been right so far and all of whom have detracted from the Great Commission by making Christians look foolish and hence driving unbelievers further from Christ. Their salvation is in your hands. Why risk it?

© Donald Hank

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Donald Hank

Until July of 2009, Don Hank was operating a technical translation agency out of his home in Wrightsville, PA. He is now retired and residing in Panama with his wife and daughter.

A former language teacher, he holds an undergraduate degree in French and German from Millersville State University (PA), a Master's degree in Russian language and literature from Kutztown State College (also in PA), has studied Chinese for 3 years in Taiwan at the Mandarin Training Center, and is self-taught in other languages, having logged a total of 8 years abroad in total immersion situations.

He is also the founder of Lancaster-York Non-Custodial Parents, a volunteer organization that provides Christian counseling for non-custodial parents.

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