There are times when I am embarrassed to be a Bible prophecy teacher and preacher, and those times are becoming more frequent. It's all because Bible prophecy is a playground for fanatics and sensationalists. In this fourth part of this series on prophetic craziness, I'll debunk nephilim hunters, dates setters, and Antichrist seekers.
The thirst for the sensational never seems to be satisfied. It is currently being manifested in a new fad of prophecy conferences which I would describe as "prophecy circuses."
I was invited to be a featured speaker at one of these conferences about a year ago. I accepted the invitation without realizing what kind of conference it was. I thought it was going to be a legitimate conference where Bible prophecy specialists would deal with serious topics.
Fortunately, one of my staff members warned me about the conference. He suggested that I call the organizer and get a list of speakers and topics. I did so, and to my horror, I discovered that the conference was going to feature four kinds of speakers: Bible prophecy experts, survivalists, conspiracy theorists, and paranormalists (persons who specialize in UFO's, Aliens and the Nephilim).
One of the ministries promoting these bizarre conferences has evidently come under some considerable criticism because the head of the ministry recently posted a defensive essay on the ministry's website that was appropriately titled, "The Dark Side of Bible Prophecy: Why We Must Discuss the Strange and the Supernatural."
He began his essay by stating that more and more people are asking him why he is putting together conferences that emphasize paranormal phenomena like UFO's, hybrid giants, mystery lights, aerial trumpets and explosions, alien implants, and the Nephilim.
He answered the question by writing: "There is another aspect of Bible prophecy that, up until the last couple of decades, has remained quietly in the background. It grows out of the biblical pronouncement that the latter days would witness a veritable explosion of dark and alien power." My response to this statement was to ask, "What ‘biblical pronouncement'?"
But if you continue reading the essay, he finally produces two scriptural foundations for his fascination with the paranormal. One is the presence of supernatural giants on the earth during the time of Noah — called Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4). These creatures appear to have been the product of fallen angels mating with human women. Since the Bible says that society in the end times will be like "the days of Noah" (Matthew 24:37), then shouldn't there be Nephilim on the earth again?
The answer to that question is provided in Jude 6 where we are told that the "angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode," are being "kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day." Based on the judgment they received, it seems very doubtful to me that any other fallen angels would follow in their footsteps in the future.
The reference to society being like it was in "the days of Noah" more likely means that the end time society will have the two main characteristics of Noah's society — namely, immorality and violence (Genesis 6: 5 & 11).
The other scripture reference that is cited in the essay is Daniel 2:43. This verse contains a description of the feet of the great image of a man that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his famous dream that Daniel interpreted to signify a succession of world empires that would impact Israel (Daniel 2:31-45). In the King James Version, the verse reads:
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay [the feet of the man], they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
The argument of the paranormalists is that this verse refers to angels mating with humans once again in the end times, producing a new group of Nephilim. To interpret the verse in this way requires a very active imagination. Nor is there any reference to sexual activity. The verse is simply saying that the last Gentile empire, represented by the feet of the statue, will be composed of a mingling of people who will be loosely affiliated, just as clay does not cleave to iron.
So, in actuality all this verse is saying is that the final revival of the Roman Empire will consist of a loose confederation of states (before it will be firmly united when the Antichrist takes over). The unstable confederation is symbolized by the iron and clay that do not "cleave one to another."
Here are other conservative translations of the verse that make its meaning much clearer:
NIV: "And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay."
Holman: "You saw the iron mixed with clay — the peoples will mix with one another but will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with fired clay."
To summarize, this is a prophecy that in the end times the Romans shall mix themselves with people of many other nations and unite in setting up a final Gentile world kingdom, but this union will be highly unstable. That is exactly the situation that exists with the European Union today. And it will continue that way until the Antichrist takes over and solidifies it for a short time.
Date-Setters and Antichrist Seekers
Two of the worst forms of sensationalism that give the field of Bible prophecy a bad name are the date-setters and those who are determined to identify the Antichrist.
I never cease to be amazed at the mental gymnastics of those obsessed with identifying the Antichrist. It has become a competitive intellectual sport. In my opinion, it ranks in irresponsibility right up there with attempts to establish the date of the Lord's return. Most of the attempts end up being nothing more than exercises in silliness.
In my book, The Man of Lawlessness: The Antichrist in the Tribulation, I devote an entire chapter to surveying different attempts to identify the Antichrist — all of which are fruitless since the Bible clearly teaches that we cannot know the identity of the Antichrist before the day of the Lord, which begins with the onset of the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).
The date-setters are the worst ones when it comes to giving Bible prophecy a black eye. They do more damage than all the sensationalists combined. That's because the press always focuses on them, and then, when the dates they have set come and pass without the Lord's return, the press mocks them and the whole field of Bible prophecy.
Satan loves date-setters because they discredit Bible prophecy, causing both seminaries and pastors to shy away from it. And ignoring Bible prophecy must delight Satan because he does not want anyone studying prophecy. Why? Because Bible prophecy clearly reveals that a day is coming when Satan will be totally defeated and Jesus will be totally triumphant.
But the fanatics who love to play with prophecy seem to never learn. Do you remember Edgar Whisenant? He was the man who published a pamphlet entitled "88 Reasons why the Rapture will be in 1988." He sold over 4 million copies of the pamphlet and created a national frenzy with it. And when nothing happened in 1988, he quickly published a new pamphlet which presented 89 reasons why Jesus would come in 1989!
The most recent example of this nonsense has been Harold Camping who owned one of the nation's largest Christian radio networks. He used that network to proclaim that Jesus would return in 1994. Did he learn his lesson? No! In 2010 he cranked up his prognosticating machine and once again set another date for May 21, 2011. And when nothing happened on that date, he proceeded unabashed to revise the date to October 21, 2011.
In the fifth and last part of this series on prophetic craziness, I'll explain why all this sensationalism prevails.