The theological study of the ''end of times," or simply ''end times'' is called eschatology. Subjects include the Rapture, the Second Coming of Christ
, the Tribulation
and the Millennium
intrepret the Bible
's teachings on the subject of the rapture in various ways. The four major views are pretribulation, partial rapture, midtribulation, and posttribulation:
will come for his saints; afterward he will come with his saints. The first stage of Christ's coming is called the Rapture; the second is called the revelation. The older school emphasized the issue of ''imminency.'' However, in recent days the crux of this position centers more around the aspect of God's wrath and whether the church is called to experience any or all of it during the Tribulation.
This position states that only believers who are watching and waiting for the Lord will be raptures at various times before and during the seven-year Tribulation. Those who are raptured are spiritually mature saints, both dead and living (1 Thess. 4:13-18
This position sees that the church, believers in Christ, are raptured in the middle of the tribulation period, prior to the Great Tribulation. This view offers the best of the pretribulation and posttribulation positions. It also has the mid-seventhieth-week Rapture.
This position asserts that the living believers are to be raptured at the second coming of Christ, which will occur at the end of the Tribulation. Within this camp, there are four views as categorized by Walvoord
: (a) classic, (b) semiclassic, (c) futurist, (d) dispensationalist. The spectrum is broad, encompassing a period of time from the early church fathers to the present century.
In his book, Charts of Christian Theology & Doctrine
, H. Wayne House
lists the arguments for and against each of these views.
88 Reasons What Went Wrong?
By Dean Halverson. In 1988, Edgar Whisenant published a booklet titled, ''88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could be in 1998.'
In this booklet, Whisenant predicted that Jesus would return to rapture His church sometime during the Jewish holiday of Rosh-Hashanah in 1988, which was from sunset, September 11, to sunset, September 13. Before those dates, The World Bible Society, which published the booklet, printed 3.2 million copies2 and distributed 200,000 of them to pastors throughout the United States.
When the September prediction failed, Whisenant updated the time to October 3. Now that date, too, has fallen through. Whisenant nevertheless remains undaunted: ''The evidence is all over the place that it is going to be in a few weeks anyway.''
What has been the response to Whisenantís predictions? Thousands took the booklet seriously, some even quitting their jobs to prepare for the rapture. Attendance increased in some churches.5 Many Christians shrugged the booklet off as being part of a fanatic fringe. Many others, though, while not accepting the specific predictions, praised the booklet for reminding them of the imminence of the Rapture.
However they responded, it sadly appeared that most Christians were unable to discern why Whisenant's reasoning was biblically unsound. In the following pages we will see that Whisenant misinterprets several key verses that have bearing on whether or not we can predict the date of Jesusí second coming, wrests biblical phrases out of their contexts, and builds his predictions on shaky assumptions about symbols and dates.
Whisenant is not alone in attempting to predict the dates of the end-time. Others have attempted it in the past,8 and more, no doubt, will attempt it in the future. While one purpose of this article is to evaluate Whisenant's reasoning, another is to draw out some principles of biblical interpretation by which to discern such date-setting literature.
Beginning of the End shows surprising restraint, avoiding extreme speculation and date-setting. Nonetheless, it does feed the fire of a popular but problematic style of newspaper eschatology that often distracts Christians from a more serious and profitable study of Godís Word. The biggest concern that this book raises for the body of Christ, however, is that it adds to the popularity of a man who in other places espouses such seriously errant views as positive confession, guaranteed prosperity, salvation for the Jews apart from faith in Christ, and utter condemnation for those who disagree with his dispensational view of the relationship between Israel and the church.
The aim of this page is to debunk end-time prophecy by listing hundreds of failed doomsday predictions, allay the fears spread by end-time preachers, and demonstrate that doomcrying is nothing new. I also hope you will derive amusement from some of the more bizarre prophecies.