Fundamentalist Christians take a hard line on setting dates for the second advent of Christ. Failed date-setters are labeled as “false prophets.” Here are some return dates of Jesus Christ made by some of these famous "reformers" and preachers. Martin Luther predicted Jesus would return in 300 years from his time. This would have placed the return of Christ between 1830-50. Like many of his contemporaries in the latter 1700s, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, predicted 1836 for the date of the second advent. Joseph Wolff, the world renowned missionary, preached 1847 as the date of “the coming glory and personal reign of Jesus Christ.”
Fundamentalist Christians (Fundamentalist Christianity is a movement that arose mainly within British and American Protestantism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among conservative evangelical Christians, who, in a reaction to liberal theology, actively affirmed a fundamental set of Christian beliefs: the inerrancy of the Bible, Sola Scriptura, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the trinity in Godhead and baptism, and the imminent personal return of Jesus Christ.) take a hard line on setting dates for the second advent of Christ. Failed date-setters are labeled as “false prophets.” Here are some return dates of Jesus Christ made by some of these famous "reformers" and preachers. Martin Luther predicted Jesus would return in 300 years from his time. This would have placed the return of Christ between 1830-50. Like many of his contemporaries in the latter 1700s, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, predicted 1836 for the date of the second advent. Joseph Wolff, the world renowned missionary, preached 1847 as the date of “the coming glory and personal reign of Jesus Christ.” In 1836 Wolff was invited to present his second advent message before the United States Congress and the legislatures of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. All should consider Luther, Wolff, or Wesley false prophets. William Miller was an evangelist who used 1844 as the date for the end of the world to scare thousands to convert or else be damned eternally. They claimed that ever since Jesus’ ascension, no prophetic event had to happen before his return for centuries Jesus could have returned on any day. In the words of John F. Walvoord, President of Dallas Theological seminary: “the Lord could come at any moment and there are no necessary intervening events.” Hal Lindsey, the student of Walvoord, unwittingly destroyed the “imminent coming” theory when he admitted that, “The one event which many Bible students in the past overlooked was this paramount prophetic sign: Israel had to be a nation again in the land of its forefathers.” If they believed their “imminent coming, no prophetic sign had to occur” theory was true, then these fundamentalists were wrong all the years from 1830 to 1948 in saying Jesus could return any day. Israel restored proved their “imminent coming” theory was a failed prediction. Excited over the new state of Israel, Billy Graham in 1950 told a rally in Los Angeles, "Two years and its all going to be over.” After 1948, Hal Lindsey and many fundamentalists, on the basis of Israel and the generation of Luke 21:29-31, predicted that Jesus would return within 40 years of 1948. Well, 1988 came and passed without the secret return of Jesus to rapture the church and no large groups of Christians were reported as missing then or since, again another failed prediction! As all the signs that Jesus foretold were not yet in place. Many religious leaders have made mistakes in interpreting and teaching the Scriptures? Jehovah's Witnesses have often pointed out unmistakable evidence that many who are not Jehovah's Witnesses do make such mistakes. They have even admitted that they too make mistakes. Pastor Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, suggested a test to determine which prophets we should not follow: "Jehovah, the God of the true prophets, will put all false prophets to shame either by not fulfilling the false prediction of such self-assuming prophets or by having his own prophecies fulfilled in a way opposite to that predicted by the false prophets. False prophets will try to hide their reason for feeling shame by denying who they really are." Pastor Russell said more than once that God would put the false prophets to shame by not fulfilling their predictions. Here are almost the same words from another of his books: "Jehovah will put all false prophets to shame either by not fulfilling the false prediction of such selfassuming prophets or by having His own prophecies fulfilled in a way opposite to that predicted by the false prophets." The founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses said we would be able to tell who the false prophets were because their prophecies would not come true. A later Watchtower book also lays forth several ways of distinguishing true prophets from false ones: "The three essentials for establishing the credentials of a true prophet, as given through Moses, were: The true prophet would speak in Jehovah's name; the things foretold would come to pass (Deuteronomy 18:20-22); and his prophesying must promote true worship." According
to this passage in Deuteronomy you will notice that the Scriptural emphasis is on the second of these essentials, that of the things foretold coming to pass. The passage states that if a prophecy does not come true, the person speaking is a false, and not a true, prophet. Well, using his own words let us see if he passes the test. Pastor Russell declared the millennium to have come in 1872, but when time had passed, it became obvious that the millennium had not come in 1872, and later Watchtower publications predicted that it would come in 1975. Was one of these dates right? "In this chapter we present the Bible evidence which indicates that six thousand years from the creation of Adam were complete with A.D. 1872; and hence that, since 1872 A. D., we are chronologically entered upon the seventh thousand or the Millennium-the forepart of which, the "Day of the Lord," the "day of trouble," is to witness the breaking into pieces of the kingdoms of this world and the establishment of the Kingdom of God under the whole heavens." It eventually became obvious that the millennium had not really come in 1872, so this date was changed to 1975. Pastor Russell stated: "The second coming of the Lord, therefore began in 1874." This was two years after the date he had given for the beginning of the millennium. "The second coming of the Lord therefore began in 1874; and that date and the years 1914 to 1918 are specially marked dates with reference to his coming." This was considered important and was repeated in several ways in a number of books."The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ began in 1874 A.D." There were no tangible evidences of Christ having come in 1874, but Pastor Russell believed it anyway: "Surely there is not the slightest room for doubt in the mind of a truly consecrated child of God that the Lord Jesus is present and has been since 1874." The Watchtower said the following: In 1918 was the end of Gentile times and the churches to be destroyed. In 1920 the mountains, republics, and kingdoms were to disappear. Here is the Bible's description of the second coming of Jesus Christ: "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him" (Revelations 1:7). "… Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). See also Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27, and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. Has any of these things actually happened in 1872, 1874, 1914, 1918, 1920, 1975,1988 or even in 2009? No, not once. So, what can we conclude then? Christ said that only the father would know the exact time and date. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Mark 13:32. And that many would predict falsehoods in his name. Matthew 24:23-27 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Now, none of the before mentioned teachers or preachers preached the truth of Acts 2:38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Nor of Deuteronomy 6:4. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. Furthermore, we are to use the word of God as absolute guide in all things. All must line up with it to be correct. Psalm 119:160. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. John 17:17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Luke 21:33. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. God will fulfill his words and in due time return to place his kingdom upon this earth. We must not be hasty to place times and dates upon him, rather God looks upon the hearts and minds of men instead of outward signs. Yet, these signs point out when men have completely corrupted themselves. A
good example would be that of Sodom and Gomorrah. For the sins of their inhabitants Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim were destroyed by "brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven." Genesis 19:24-25. Just prior to that event God delivered Lot and his family. This should give us a good indication of his return. Prior to final destruction of all mankind we read that he will come again to save his elect. Mark 13:20. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elects sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. Again, his word must be the final authority. No man can ever give you the exact hour of his return. Only that he told us to be prepared and watchful in all things. “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13:37. Let us be watchful and convince all that we possibly can that God loves them, and he has a plan based on trust that can and will save us. Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Let us show forth love and compassion as a better means of demonstrating the Gospel. Instead of wild unscriptural predictions which devalue the word and will of God. We are told by Jesus to leave false teachers and their teachings. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15:14.