A visitor to our sites recently sent me an email challenging my statements that men like Jack Van Impe, Tim LaHaye, Grant Jeffrey, Thomas Ice, etc. are guilty of making false predictions about the time of the end. Here is that post, and my response is below it:
Here is my (edited) response:
Dear Mr. … , let me say first of all that I truly do appreciate hearing from you, and that I am very glad that you have corresponded.
I do, of course, strongly differ with you. I have listened to these men for years, and have heard them repeatedly set the year for the Lord’s return. I personally heard John Hagee say, in 2004, that the rapture would be within six months. If that is not date setting I don’t know what is.
Jack Van Impe stated repeatedly that the Lord’s coming was to be in 1999. I heard him say it many times. Of course, he now denies saying it. Hal Lindsay undeniably set 1988 as the time for the end.
Furthermore, please consider this. You say: “But they do teach this generation will not pass away before the return of christ. Any true Bible believer will undoubtedly agree with these men.”
There is a huge problem here.
2000 years ago, the inspired writers said that the Lord’s coming would be in their generation. They said it was at hand, and coming quickly.
We cannot stretch their statements that the end was to be in their generation to mean that it is supposed to be in our’s! That makes a mockery of language.
Consider this also: Jesus said that men would come making premature declarations about the nearness of the end “Many will come in my name saying “I am he” and, “the end has drawn near.’ Do not go after them!” (Luke 21:8).
Mr. …., we have a choice here.
It is undeniably true that the first century apostles and disciples of the Lord said the end was to be in their generation. It was near.
James said: “The coming of the Lord has drawn near” (Literal reading of James 5:8). He uses almost the very words that Jesus used to warn the disciples about false teachers making premature statements about the end being near!
Peter, who was present when the Lord warned about people making premature declarations about the nearness of the end later wrote, “The end of all things has drawn near!”, and, “The time (literally, the appointed time), has come for the judgment to begin…” (1 Peter 4:7, 17). Remember, Peter heard Jesus say not to believe (and thus not to make the statements themselves) anyone who made premature statements that the end was near!
John was also present when Jesus condemned anyone making premature statements that the end had drawn near. Yet, writing later in that generation, the Lord instructed him to write: “These things must shortly come to pass!” and, “Behold, I come quickly!” Mr. …, it was the Father Himself who instructed Jesus to tell John these things, 2000 years ago!
Now, to says that the end did not come quickly, soon, and shortly, and in their generation means that the apostles made premature declarations of the nearness of the end! And, it means that Jesus, and even the Father!, caused the apostles to make these premature declarations of the nearness of the end! Saying the end was to come soon, shortly and quickly 2000 years before it happens is making a premature declaration of the end!
Mr. …., were the Bible writers guilty of making premature declarations of the nearness of the end? Please think about this very seriously. They did say the end was near, 2000 years ago! They were either right, or they were wrong. There is no middle ground.
Were the Bible writers the very false teachers that Jesus warned about? They must be if their statements and predictions did not come true.
If the Bible writers were right, and of course they were, then John Hagee, Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsay, Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice and all the other modern prophecy teachers are false to say that the end will be in our generation.
We must choose who to believe. We must believe the inspired apostles–and Jesus himself– who said he was coming in the first century generation, or, we must believe the Jack Van Impes, the John Hagees, the Tim LaHayes, the Thomas Ices, etc. who declare that the end did not come in the first century as the disciples said, but will be in our generation. By the way, Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice in the book Charting the End Times, give 1948 as the “Super Sign of the End.” They say that the generation to see that sign must be the generation of the end. We are now 60 years removed from that “Super Sign” and the end is not yet, and their predictions have
and will fail. Grant Jeffrey even said no other generation than ours can be the generation of the end!
It is simply wrong for people living 2000 years after the inspired statements that the end was near in that generation and say that those statements did not mean the end was near then, but to then says that their words of imminence and nearness apply now. Why should we believe that “at hand” written two thousand years ago, did not mean it was near then, but it means it is near now?
I have repeatedly challenged many of the leading prophecy experts to meet me in formal public debate to discuss these things openly, with open Bible. Most of them will not even answer my debate challenges. I did debate Thomas Ice in 2003, but, he refuses to debate me again! The DVD of that debate is available from my websites. I stand ready to debate these issues with any qualified and honorable representative of the futurist view.
I hope that you will carefully and thoughtfully consider these things. We must take the statements from the inspired writers seriously. Either they were right or wrong in their predictions of the nearness of the end 2000 years ago, or they were wrong. If they were right, and they were, then all modern day prophecy experts are wrong. We must bring our concepts about the nature of Christ’s coming into line with those inspired declarations that the end was to be in the first century.
You say that Mr. Van Impe supports everything he says with scripture. Mr. Impe does quote a lot of scripture. However, he has no grasp of using scripture in “context.” Anyone can quote a verse, or a hundred verses. But, if it is taken out of its historical, social, political, grammatical, religious and temporal context, then it is being mis-used. To quote a text is not proof of the proper use of the text. I have never heard Mr. Impe determine and honor the context of the verses he quotes.
Thanks again for contacting us, and I look forward to hearing from you again very soon.
For His Truth, and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston