September 14, 2015
“88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” was the title of the Edgar C. Whisenant’s book, which eventually sold 4.5 million copies. (Sales were notably slower for his next book, “89 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1989”) A former NASA engineer and Bible student, Mr. Whisenant managed to whip many gullible believers into a frenzy with his message that the rapture would occur between Sept 11 and Sept 13 in 1988. Probably Edgar’s boldest statement was, “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town.” Unfortunately, it was not only weak-minded hillbilly preachers and congregations from the Ozarks who believed Whisenant’s predictions, incredibly as the dates in September approached, regular programming on the Christian Trinity Broadcast Network was interrupted to provide special instructions on preparing for the rapture!
Since 1988, many other predictions of the rapture, of coming tribulation and global economic collapse came and went. Louis Farrakhan declared the Gulf War would be the “War of Armeggeddon.” Harold Camping predicted the rapture would occur on September 6, 1994. When that failed to transpire, he updated his prediction to September 29, and then October 2. “Heaven’s Gate” cult leader Marshall Applewhite claimed a spacecraft was following the comet Hale-Bopp, which would evacuate the faithful from the earth. To board the craft, you had to reach another level of existence. Applewhite and 38 of his followers committed suicide in order to catch a ride.
Do you recall “Y2K”? Global collapse was going to strike because the firmware on the world’s PCs utilized only a 2 digit date code. (I told people to buy a Mac) When the clock struck midnight on Dec 31st 1999, the world’s PC computers were all supposed to shut down, or delete all their data (or become self-aware), thus bringing global calamity. I remember Y2K most vividly, because I was rebuked by a well-meaning brother, for not taking it seriously enough. Since 1988 there have been some 50 different apocalyptic predictions made by prophets of doom, and zero have come to pass.
Now let’s fast forward to this September 2015 – to the Shemitah. The Shemitah is the last year in a seven-year cycle in the Jewish calendar. Much is being made about this year’s Shemitah coming on September 13. There are no shortage of prophetic predictions of total market collapse and global calamity. I have not yet heard a prediction of the rapture, although I am sure someone will throw that into the mix as well.
Here’s the thing: markets rise and markets fall. Nations rise and nations fall. Will there be a market collapse this month, or a market correction? Will it spell the end? I don’t know. I very much doubt it. In truth only God knows, and He’s not telling. Two verses cover it for me: Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Only the Father knows. Period. And to that revelation, Jesus adds this instruction: Matthew 24:44, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Since Jesus will return when we do not expect it, we are instructed to be ready. How do we prepare for His return? By operating by faith, and not in fear. In Luke 18:8, Jesus says simply, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Remember, both faith and fear are inviting you to believe in something, which has not yet happened.
The bottom line this September (as always) is, who do you trust?