The history of the failed expectations in popular preaching is causing many to begin grasping at prophetic straws.
The history of failed predictions and projections by the Prophecy Industry has left many of its proponents holding an empty bag. Dispensationalism has a significant problem. Not only has it predicted the return of Jesus within a “biblical generation” of modern Israel’s founding in 1948, but also a long list of related events that must precede it, none of which have occurred.
I must admit that, as a young Christian, I imbibed this approach to Bible prophecy. However, in the decades since, it has become undeniably clear that this interpretive school has missed the mark by a very wide margin. Sooner or later, it will collapse like a house of cards.
We are 70+ years beyond the supposed start date of the “last generation,” yet there has been no tribulation, no Antichrist, no false prophet, no man of lawlessness, no 10-nation European confederacy, no revived Roman Empire, no rapture, no rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, no new world religion, etc., etc. World events have not gone according to the Prophecy Industry’s playbook.
The European Common Market did not evolve into a ten-nation superpower that ruled the world from Rome. Instead, it became the European Union with well over two dozen member states, and it is governed by Brussels rather than Rome. Militarily, it is a paper tiger, and it will not morph into a global government anytime soon.
Supposedly, the former Soviet Union would become “Gog and Magog” and attack Israel from the north. Instead, it collapsed under its own weight over thirty years ago, a pivotal event that none of the prophecy “experts” saw coming. And a failure of that magnitude should have been our first clue.
At best, the prophecy “experts” are guessing, perhaps hoping that one day they might finally get one right. In the meantime, they employ the shotgun technique, throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
Each time an expectation fails to materialize, the “experts” sharpen their pencils, redefine their terms, and recalibrate their chronologies. Like Silly Putty, a “biblical generation” has been stretched from 40 to 60 to 70, and now, to 120 years.
Maybe we should reconsider Christ’s repeated warning – “No man knows the day or the hour…the Son of Man is coming in an hour when you least expect him…Watch for you know not the day or the hour…take heed and pray, for you know not when the SEASON is (‘kairos’)… It is not for you to know times and seasons.”
It is high time to take HIS words at face value, and seriously, and to stop creating and sledgehammering loopholes into them.
None of this means that Bible prophecy has failed. It has not, but the popular approach has, and miserably so, beginning with its failure to understand that history’s most critical event occurred already in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The “last days” began following his resurrection, not the founding of modern Israel two thousand years later.
Jesus is the interpretive key that unlocks prophecy, not Israel, Jerusalem, or the Temple. God has one Messiah for all peoples, nations, and individuals, regardless of ethnicity, and one plan of salvation, one covenant, one covenant community, and one true and greater temple, Jesus, and not another stone building “made-with-hands” in old Jerusalem.