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There He Goes Again

  • Doug Dahl,
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Hal Lindsey is at it again. Having been granted a forum by to pose as an expert on the Middle East, Lindsey continues to flog his favorite theme: We are in the Last Days as predicted by the Bible. Yep, this time for sure.

When Lindsey began riding this hobbyhorse his hair was jet black, his face lean and youthful. Now his hair is shimmering silver, his face puffier and etched with lines betraying the 30 years it has gained since Late Great Planet Earth made its earthly debut. Despite having been wrong about the Imminent Return of Christ in the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s, his message has not changed. Each new conflagration in the Middle East gives his flawed thesis new life, his perverted eschatology new hope.

Lindsey's aberrant hermeneutic has been refuted repeatedly in the 30 years he's been promoting it. Indeed, it was refuted before he even embarked upon his career as the pale rider upon the four horses of the Apocalypse. But that does not seem to deter him in the slightest. It's what got him his notoriety and, by golly, he'll ride it to his grave, assuming the Imminent Rapture doesn't snag him first.

Lindsey's fantasies have been more than just an aggravation upon a church that desperately needs to get its theology straight. They have been positively harmful. Besides making the church look like a bunch of Gnostic morons every few years, Lindsey and his confederates, including Tim LaHaye, Edgar Whisnant, Grant Jeffrey, and a host of other end-times profiteers, have propagated a gospel of escape aimed at scaring unbelievers into faith in Christ. Their message has been, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved from the Great Tribulation." The reward they offer unbelievers is a seat aboard that great eschatological med-evac helicopter called the Rapture when it finally makes its long-awaited emergency run. How many people converted by this message abandon the Faith altogether when the prophesied events fail to occur?

I have a message for Lindsey and all those who keep longing for the fulfillment of John Nelson Darby's 160-year-old twisted vision: Get over it. You have been a plague on the church for far too long. You had your day in the sun and your imaginative system has proven false. Give it up.

Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…(Matthew 28:18)." There remains no power, no authority, Jesus can gain by occupying a piece of man-made furniture in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. He is seated at the right hand of God, the Power, the Ancient of Days. He is the now-reigning King. He will be there until He makes all of His enemies His footstool. Then He will come to judge the living and the dead. End of story. We gain nothing by dreaming up sensationalistic scenarios involving Cobra helicopters, killer bees, sub-dermal implants, and endless speculation upon the identity of the Antichrist. The Great Tribulation took place in the first century, just as Jesus assured His contemporaries it would (Matthew 24:34, Revelation 1:1-3, 22:12, 20). His words have not failed so we don't need to make up wild stories to cover our own failure to understand His words.

Too many Christians are wasting too much time engaging in fantastic speculations about the meaning of the imagery in Revelation. We find that meaning by searching the Scriptures, not by searching newspapers. It's time to repudiate such destructive speculations once and for all. They sap the church's energy, distract us from our Great Commission, and cause the name of Jesus to be blasphemed among the Gentiles. We need to invest our energies in the great enterprise of declaring the gospel, making disciples, and reclaiming the earth and its fullness for its rightful monarch, King Jesus. That, and not escape, is what the Lord both commands and promises.