1. That the present crisis points towards the close of the times of the Gentiles.
2. That the Revelation of our Lord may be expected at any moment, when He will be manifested as evidently as to His disciples on the evening of His Resurrection.
3. That the completed Church will be translated to be ‘forever with the Lord.’
4. That Israel will be restored to its own land in unbelief, and be afterwards converted by the appearance of Christ on its behalf.
5. That all human schemes of reconstruction must be subsidiary to the second coming of our Lord, because all nations will then be subject to His rule.
6. That under the reign of Christ there will be a further great effusion of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh.
7. That the truths embodied in this statement are of the utmost practical value in determining, Christian character and action with reference to the pressing problems of the hour.
What you have just read was published in February 1918, almost 100 years ago! It was written by 8 prominent theologians from that period in church history. A. C. Dixon, F. B. Meyer, George Campbell Morgan, Alfred Byrd, William Fuller Couch, H. Webb Peploe, J. Stuart Holden and Dinsdale T. Young were the signatories of this manifesto; men, who collectively, possessed a great amount of knowledge regarding the scriptures. They were all well-loved, greatly respected and highly educated ministers. And that is why I do not preach at “Prophecy Conferences,” because almost 100 years later, we are still here!
To publicly announce the dates of the Lord’s return makes a mockery of Christianity. The date comes and goes; we remain. The world is witness to these unfulfilled prophecies over and over and over again. Worse, it creates yet another stumbling block for the lost souls in this life and impedes the efforts of believers in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Well, when folks continually set dates and we still remain, it diminishes our credibility; would you believe someone whose information is continually incorrect?
Erroneous prophecies always seem arise in time of serious crisis or as prelude to a known, naturally occurring event. Unfortunately, these prophecies are founded in a misinterpretation of the scriptures and are often the works of those who believe themselves to be the final authority. I would hope that ministers today would be careful and wise to follow the example of the Apostle Paul, who was always stable and practical, when he urged the Thessalonians not to let expectations of the Lord’s coming unsettle them or disturb them in their daily life and work and service.
The second coming of Christ is a very important and precious teaching for believers; of that there can be no doubt. But there is a vast difference between the proclamation of this foundational truth in connection with our faith as plainly taught by Christ, and the highly colored symbolism pictured by the present-day prophets of doom and gloom. Prophets who have been wrong for many hundreds of years mind you.
There are many things which our vain curiosity desires to know which there is no necessity at all of our knowing, nor would our knowledge of them do us good. Let us redeem the time in spreading the Gospel so others can watch with us as we await the glorious return of the Master and put an end to “end time” predictions.