Q. For centuries men have been putting a date on the second coming, the rapture or both. And they have always been wrong, made fools of themselves and given unbelievers more reasons for not believing. Now you’ve calculated that because the scriptures say that the generation that saw Israel become a nation will not pass away before the second coming of Christ. And because scripture says that a lifespan is 70 years, that places the rapture no later than sometime in 2011. Which makes sense to me and I agree with that. However …
In the past men have guessed wrong because they didn’t understand what the scripture was actually saying. But , “this generation will not pass away” is extremely clear and hard to misunderstand. So assuming it hasn’t been misunderstood and that neither has the 70 year lifespan in Psalm 90, what do we do if 2012 then 2013 come and go and we are still here? What does that do to this generation, 1948 + 70 years and everything else you’ve taught and believe in? It scares me to think this could actually happen.
A. You’re right in saying that many have made incorrect predictions about the End Times. Depending on how you read the Bible you could say this has been going on for most of the Church Age. But hopefully we learn from the mistakes of others and become more accurate. For example when I first became a believer most people I knew thought the Lord would come in 1988 because they incorrectly interpreted Matt. 24:34 as speaking of the length of a generation, and not a lifetime. Now we know better.
We all do the best we can with the information we have, but as one of my early mentors told me, “The only way to be sure you’ve interpreted a prophecy correctly is to wait until it comes to pass and compare the fulfillment with your interpretation.”
If the rapture doesn’t take place in the next year or so, I’ll know that like many before me, I misunderstood what the Bible says about the timing of the 2nd Coming. It won’t change the fact that our faith is real and the Bible is true. It will just mean I made a mistake. And any one whose faith is shaken by this will come to understand that their reliance on my interpretation was a poor substitute for doing their own homework.
But two things will remain true. The rapture will still precede Daniel’s 70th Week and there will be even more signs that the End is upon us than there ever have been. So pretty soon someone has to be correct.