Whatever Happened to the Eastern European Common Market??
Don K. Preston D. Div.
Do you remember in the 1970s and 80s and much of those decades when Hal Lindsay and a host of prophecy “experts” were assuring us – frightening the Christian world!!– that the formation of the Eastern European Common Market was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Why, we were seeing proof, right before our very eyes, that we were in the last days, and the end was near! After all, the 1980s were “The Countdown to Armageddon,” right?
Lindsay’s “argument” and that of countless other prognosticators was based on the idea that the Bible predicts a Revived Roman Empire. This doctrine springs from the mistaken and false view that Daniels’ prophetic countdown of the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) was postponed due to the Jewish rejection of Jesus’ offer of the kingdom.(See my book Seal Up Vision and Prophecy for an extensive discussion and refutation of the postponement doctrine. The book is available from this website). Since the kingdom was to be established in the days of Rome (Daniel 2, 7) and since Jesus could not establish the kingdom in the days of Rome when he came, then this meant, per the dispensational “logic” that Rome must be revived. The Eastern European Common Market, with its ten members, was seen as the fulfillment of those prophecies.
Well as they say, time has a way of changing everything! The 1980s came and went. The Lord did not come as predicted. Anti-Christ, who was supposedly alive and living in Europe, did not manifest himself. Furthermore, the ten member Common Market grew, and grew. It was not longer the critical necessary ten members. It quickly became 11, then 12. And do you know what? It now numbers 27 members! All of the bold, confident assertions of the so called prophecy experts failed.
Do you remember Y2K? Once again we were told that the signs were everywhere that the end was near. After all “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” and the earth has endured for 6,000 years, so that means that Y2K– the beginning of the seven thousandth year– should see the coming of the Lord, right? Wrong again! And there is more trouble on the horizon for the” prophecy experts.”
Every so-called prophecy expert worth his salt has proclaimed that 1948 was, “The Super Sign of the End!” (Charting the End Times, by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice). Grant Jeffrey said that it wold be “impossible” for any other generation to have all of the requisite signs fulfilled, other than the one that has seen the “restoration of Israel” in 1948. Paul Crouch, in a candid moment on TNN, discussed the concerns of many modern dispensationalists because the key element in their eschatology is that the generation to see the restoration of Israel must be the generation to see the return of the Lord.
And yet, here we are, well over 60 years– that is over 20 years longer than the Biblically defined 40 year generation period– and the end has not come. The Eastern European Common Market has ballooned beyond prophetic significance, and, perhaps more troubling of all for the prophecy experts, seems to be on the brink of financial collapse. The world did not end in Y2K, and we are beyond the generation that saw the restoration of Israel in 1948. (See my book Israel 1948 Countdown to No Where, for a complete refutation of the idea that 1948 was the fulfillment of prophecy. Every verse used by the dispensationalists to prove that 1948 was the fulfillment of prophecy says exactly the opposite of what they claim!)
The bottom line is that the passing of time continues to falsify the dispensational claims. We continue to see constant “re-calculations” Remember Edgar Wisenant? 88 Reasons Why the Lord will Return in 1988! OOPS. Recalculation, and new book: 89 Reasons Why the Lord will Return in 1989! OOOPS! And remember Harold Camping? The Lord was, without doubt, coming in 1994! OOOPSS! Now, Camping says that if the Bible is true at all, then the Lord is coming in October of 2011! Better get ready! Well, maybe not.)
As a direct result of the repeated failures of the prophecy experts lots of believers were disillusioned. Many actually abandoned Christianity, losing their faith. I have corresponded with many people who were on the brink of losing their faith as a direct result of these false predictions. Thankfully, they began to realize the problem was not with Christ or the Bible. The problem was and is with the false teachers who continually trumpet that the end is near.
The indisputable fact is that these modern prophets (profits?) are totally ignoring what the Bible actually says about the time of the end! In a strange bit of self contradiction they herald the fact that they take the Bible for what it says. Yet, while the Bible writers all said, 2000 years ago, that the end was near (1 Peter 4:7), that the coming of the Lord had drawn near (James 5:8) and that he was coming in a “very, very little while and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37), the modern day experts set out to tell us that those declarations of the nearness of the end did not mean near back then, but, they do mean it is near now! But take a look at Luke 21:8.
When Jesus’ disciples asked him about the end of the age (Matthew 24:2), he warned them that before the end would come there would be false signs, and false prophets saying the end was near when it was not actually near: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore, do not go after them.”
Do you catch the power of this passage? Jesus condemned the making (or acceptance) of premature declarations of the nearness end. This is extremely important. Jesus was speaking to living breathing human beings, and told them that they would see these events. He was not speaking abstractly. He told his disciples that they would experience false teachers saying the end was near, (or present!), when in fact it was not. He gave the signs of the end to his first century disciples and told them to reject anyone saying the end had drawn near. He told them that when they saw the signs they could know for sure the end was near (Matthew 24:32). So what happened?
Those very disciples who heard Jesus warn about the premature declarations of the nearness of the end proceeded to say, “The end of all things has drawn near!” (1 Peter 4:7). Those very disciples that heard Jesus say that premature declarations of the end were to be condemned, then wrote “the coming of the Lord has drawn near” (James 5:8). The disciples who knew that it was wrong to say that the end had drawn near wrote and taught that Jesus was coming quickly and the time was at hand (Revelation 1:1)!
Now, if those first century disciples were warned about making premature declarations of the end, before the signs of the end truly appeared, and if they made declarations that the end was near, then they were either right, or, they became some of the very false prophets that Jesus warned them about!
So here is what we have:
Jesus told his first century disciples not to believe or make statements that the end had drawn near before they saw the signs that would truly indicate the nearness of the end.
Those same disciples declared that the end was near, and that the coming of the Lord was at hand.
Thus, if the end was not objectively, truly near when the first century disciples said it was, then they were wrong.
If they were wrong, the Bible is false. It is not inspired. Those disciples were not merely expressing their hope that the end was near. They were affirming, through the inspiration of the Spirit, that the end was near. So again, if they were wrong, if the end was not truly near, then they are proven to be false prophets, and Christianity itself is falsified.
Please understand how important this is!
experts who have come after the apostles and declared that the end was / is near are wrong, dead wrong. The apostles were given the signs that would indicate the objective nearness of the end, whereby they could know the end was near. The end would not be near until the signs appeared. Those disciples said the end was near, thus, the signs had appeared, and the end was near 2000 years ago.
To say that the end did not come in the first century is to call the apostles false prophets. To deny that the end was truly near denies their words. To continue to proclaim the nearness of the end falsifies their predictions.
The modern failure of the Eastern European Common Market to bring in the end falsifies dispensationalism. The failure of anti-Christ to appear proves the failure of the system. The failure of Y2K. The failure of the first Gulf War to bring in the restoration of “Babylon”, the passing of the generation that witnessed the events of 1948. The list goes on and on. And oh, by the way, the Mayan Calendar predictions for 2012 will also fail!
The utter failure of the modern day prophets needs to make people realize that their system is false. It is not the Bible nor Jesus that is to blame, or that is to be faulted. The modern church needs to come to grips with this huge challenge.
The signs were in the first century proving that the end was near then. The apostles did exactly what Jesus told them to do: when they saw the signs, they could, and did, proclaim the nearness of the end. It is high time that the modern church comes to grips with its utter failure, in all of its cherished creeds and history, to accept and teach this truth.
I am more than willing to defend my statements here in formal public debate with any representative, reputable, respectful dispensationalist. Repeated attempts have been made to get Thomas Ice to debate me, again, but he adamantly refuses. Surely there is some reputable, knowledgeable premillennialist that is willing to defend that doctrine, is there not? If so, please contact me.