Why Do Our Churches Not Teach the Blessed Hope???

July 23, 2021 E-Letter

What is it we as Christians are looking forward to? According to Paul it is the Blessed Hope. He said in Titus 2:12-13:

… to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are posting a number of e-letters Make Sure Ministries has received from David Henke, founder of Watchman Fellowship, Inc., an apologetics ministry, on a variety of subjects. They will post on Tuesdays into the foreseeable future. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please consider clicking on the link following this blog to learn more about Watchman Fellowship and what they have to offer. E-letters have been slightly edited for clarity.

Perhaps because of the date-setting excesses of “false teachers,” Christian pulpits have gone silent on Bible prophecy. Have our pulpits gone silent on the topic because of false prophets? I would hate to think so but I am at a loss to understand it. As William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army said:

We are not such fools as to refuse good bank notes because there are false ones in circulation.

William Booth

The desire to avoid divisive issues is understandable. However, pastors are called to teach and preach “the whole counsel of God” and not pick and choose what they like. Choosing to avoid an issue because one does not understand it should be met with the challenge to take up God’s Word, ask Him in prayer for understanding, and preach or teach what you DO know. Imagine facing Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ and saying you didn’t teach prophecy because it was so divisive. Then why did God make prophecy so prominent in the Bible???

We are all at different stages of understanding. We don’t mind pastors who confess they don’t understand something.

The Second Advent Movement of the 1800’s gave rise to many false prophets. William Miller set the date for Christ’s return as 1844. When it failed, he renounced date setting. However, out of that movement there arose many who held on to the date but revised the nature of Christ’s “coming.” They said it was invisible, secret, and to His throne in heaven, not to the earth.

Among those groups holding to this view are the Seventh-day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. False Christs abound today more so than at any time in the past two millennia. Mormonism has had its false prophets and false prophecies as well. But we even see false prophets in the Church.

Harold Camping pointed to May 21, 2011 as the date when the rapture would take the Church out of the world. When that failed, he moved the “end” up to October 21, 2011. He had already failed in a similar prediction in 1994.

Among the cultic false prophets there is a “dodge” they will use to avoid the false prophet label, or to give them more time. That dodge is that their failed prophecy was fulfilled–but invisibly.

Just a couple days after Harold Camping’s Rapture date of May 21, 2011 he was contemplating the failure of his prediction. So, like other false prophets Harold Camping began his spiritualization of the May 21 date. He said:

‘On May 21, this last weekend, this is where the spiritual aspect of it really comes through,’ said Camping. ‘God again brought judgment on the world. We didn’t see any difference but God brought Judgment Day to bear upon the whole world. The entire world is under Judgment Day and it will continue right up until Oct. 21, 2011 and by that time the whole world will be destroyed.’

Source of exact quote unknown, for corroboration see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_end_times_prediction

In 1843/44, the followers of William Miller did the same thing, as they wondered why they were not caught up to heaven.

In 1915, the Watchtower Society contemplated the failure of their Armageddon prophecy of 1914.

The interesting thing about each of these failed prophecies is that the Millerites, out of whom arose the Seventh-day Adventists, and the Watchtower Society, also known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, came up with an interpretation that allowed them to keep the date but to reinterpret and spiritualize what happened.

For the Seventh-day Adventists the 1844 date became known as The Great Disappointment. However, they reinterpreted what was supposed to happen on that date by saying that Christ entered the Most Holy Place in heaven and began His “investigative judgment” unseen by human eyes of course. In effect this was an invisible form of “coming.” This idea holds the dubious advantage of not being provable or disprovable.

For the Jehovah’s Witnesses, always an apocalyptic cult, the year 1914 was to be the year in which Armageddon would take place. Instead, they got World War I.

When 1915 rolled around and WWI was still brewing so the Watchtower had to come up with an explanation why Armageddon did not happen in 1914. So, they reached into their bag of chronologies and took what they had taught about the year 1874 and moved it forward 40 years.

1874 was the year Jesus was to “come” invisibly (based upon a misunderstanding of the Greek word parousia) to His throne in heaven and begin to judge the world.

Jehovah’s Witnesses today will give you a blank look when you ask them about the 1874 date. They know only the 1914 date as the invisible second coming of Christ to His throne in heaven. Refuting an event that didn’t take place in the spiritual realm is much more difficult than if it didn’t happen in the physical realm.

Convenient, don’t you think? Maybe that is why God-inspired prophecy is fulfilled in the real world where we all live.

Shortly after his failed prophecy Harold Camping had a stroke and was placed in a nursing home. He died on December 15, 2013.

But, none of the false teachers cited above is a reason for our pulpits to avoid the topic.

Copyright© 2019 Watchman Fellowship, All rights reserved. Used by permission of David Henke.

Website: www.watchman-ga.org

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