What are some sensationalist prophecies that of course didn’t come true?
Ever since 2008 when a pastor from Tacoma, Washington by the name of Mark Biltz announced that he had discovered an astronomical phenomenon that might point to the date of the Lord’s return, there has been much hoopla over what he calls the Blood Moon phenomenon. The resulting Blood Moon mania has simply swept Christendom over the past few years, causing some to conclude that a significant prophetic event will befall the world in September 2015.
Dr. David Reagan and I will discuss this theory and answer the question above on our latest Christ in Prophecy television episode. Watch below or click an icon above for a mp3 and transcript.
Dr. Reagan: I think the problem that we’re faced with this Blood Moon mania here is the fact that the whole field of Bible prophecy is plagued by sensationalism. It is just plagued by it! There are times when I am embarrassed to tell people that I am a teacher of Bible prophecy because the moment I say that they roll their eyes, and justifiably so. The reason is because there is just so much sensationalism that characterizes the whole field of Bible prophecy.
I have said over the years many times that Bible prophecy can be green pastures for disciples if it’s taught properly. It can cause you to grow in the Lord Jesus Christ, commit your life to holiness, and commit your life to evangelism.
But, the problem is, Bible prophecy is also a playground for fanatics. As a result of that, there is probably no field of theology that is held in such contempt as the field of eschatology. The average person thinks of it as a playground for fanatics and filled with sensationalism. Unfortunately, that reputation is justified in many regards. In fact, Lamb & Lion Ministries devoted a whole Lamplighter magazine to that recently titled “Prophetic Craziness” in which I plead for people to stop searching for sensationalist prophecies and to focus instead upon what the Bible has to say.
Nathan, how about giving us some examples of prophetic craziness that have occurred in the past?
Nathan Jones: We just got through the Mayan Calendar of 2012 craziness. A movie titled 2012 was even made about the end of the world. Celestial bodies were supposed to line up as the Mayan Calendar ran out of time. Nothing happened. It was just a big, sensationalist disaster.
Dr. Reagan: There were actual Bible prophecy teachers focusing on the Mayan Calendar instead of focusing on what the Word of God says.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! It was the same when Y2K happened. That’s when in the years 2000 the computers were all supposed to shut down and send us back in the Dark Ages. Nothing came of that.
There was the Hale-Bopp Comet of 1997 when everybody thought something major would occur.
Dr. Reagan: Then there was the time when all the planets were going to line up and as a result of that there was going to be a gravitational pull that would cause the oceans to cover the United States of America. People were going crazy over that.
Nathan Jones: Yes, that was the Jupiter Effect of 1982.
I could go on and on and on with sensational examples of bad prophecy. People are always looking for something outside of the Bible to be excited about and to justify their faith, as if their faith in the Bible is not enough.
Dr. Reagan: Sensationalism is one of my pet peeves. That’s why I devoted a whole issue of our magazine to it.
I remember a few years ago I had a fellow call my during the Y2K thing. During Y2K a major Bible prophecy teacher here in the United States told people they needed to go out and live in the wilderness. They needed to buy some property out there. In fact, he did that very same thing himself. He said people needed to build a bunker and fill it with guns and with food and water because mobs are going to come after you when the whole United States collapses over Y2K.
There was also a very well-known Bible prophecy teacher from Canada who wrote a whole book about Y2K. I will never forget reading that book. He had a list four pages long of all the things in your household that were going to stop operating. He had a toaster on the list! That’s when I decided I had to do something about this because my toaster could care less what day it is, what hour it is, what week it is, what month it is and what century it is. All it wants to do is toast some bread for me!
So, at that point I decided, and this was about 1998, to really do some research on this topic. I devoted a whole issue of our magazine to it in late 1999 and basically what I said was, 1) Y2K had nothing to do with Bible prophecy and, 2) nothing is going to happen. Regardless of the hoopla, everybody was prepared for this: the government, the industry, everyone. Computer glitches could cause a ripple at most, but it’s not going to cause any major effect here in the United States.
During that time I had a guy call me and he said, “I’m putting together a major Bible prophecy conference in Texarkana, Texas. I’m inviting all these well-known speakers and I’d like for you to be one of them.” I asked, “What’s the theme?” He answered, “Y2K.” I hadn’t published my article yet, but I had finished it. I asked him, “Do you know where I stand on Y2K?” He said, “Well, no. Where do you stand?” I replied, “I have concluded first it has no prophetic significance and second it’s not going to have any effect.” There was this long silence until he said, “I think we’ll invite somebody else.” They just weren’t interested in what was really going to happen, or even what the Bible had to say. What they were interested in was something sensational. We see this sensationalism over and over and over with people pursuing the sensational side of Bible prophecy.
I had a fellow call me not too long ago who asked, “What’s wrong with your ministry?” I replied, “What do you have in mind?” He said, “I’ve been following it for quite a number of years and you just don’t ever have anything new and exciting. It’s just the same old stuff over and over and over.” My response was, “First of all, God called me to teach what the Bible has to say about the end times, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. And, furthermore, it is very exciting. If you don’t consider what God has promised concerning the end times to be exciting and even absolutely sensational, then you don’t really understand what God has promised, or else you don’t believe those promises.”
Nathan Jones: Exactly! I was deep in the Y2K things with my tech background at the time. I was working on it with a bank trying to get them converted and ready for the date change. Yes, there were technological problem that could have shut down a lot of computers, but the governments and companies had years to prepare for it. They prepared, and as a result there was very little that happened on Y2K.
I remember I was working all through the night on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day ready for an avalanche of problems for the bank. Nothing happened. There was nothing prophetically significant about Y2K.
In the fourth and last segment of our study of the Blood Moon phenomenon, Dr. Reagan and I will look at why people grasp at sensationalist prophecies.