THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: HIDDEN PROPHECY AND THE SIGN OF JONAH
There are Christians in America old enough to remember all the prophecy teacher hype from decades past, and the incredible influence of a single book: The Late, Great Planet Earth.
As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. [Daniel 7:24]
The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. [Revelation 17:12]
The European Common Market, now known as the European Union, started in 1957. It was created by the Treaty of Rome and was known officially as the European Economic Community (EEC), and initially included six founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.
The Union continued to add members. Denmark, Ireland, and the UK were officially added in 1973 which brought the total to nine members. By this time the prophecy teachers began getting all excited because it was their contention that the “ten kings” mentioned in the books of Daniel and Revelation were these exact countries minus one, and that the next country admitted to the Common Market would be the tenth, which would mean we were just about to the very end of days and the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
This also meant the Rapture was about to happen! Any day now! You better get right with God! You could be left behind! Run for your lives! (And while you’re at it please invite us all to speak at your churches and community centers and buy our books!)
Well, now that Armageddon was almost upon us way back in the early to mid 1970s, it became a very scary proposition for many uninformed and misinformed Christians. When would the next country be admitted to the Common Market in Europe and what country would that be? Prophecy was coming to pass right before our eyes! Reading the Bible was like reading the daily newspaper!
As it turned out, the magical tenth member country that tipped us over the edge applied for membership on June 12, 1975. It was Greece! How cool! Greece would be the one! The very country where so much early church activity took place! The cash registers in Christian book stores all over America were suddenly going into hyper drive and books were flying off the shelves. Non-authors became authors. Preachers had long since begun getting in on the act. They were scaring the hell out of the members with ongoing scythe-swinging sermonettes about the Last Days and the Tribulation and the Rapture. If you missed the Rapture you were going to suffer here and then go to hell! Don’t miss the Rapture! The ten kings! The ten kings! The ten kings!
I got saved in the midst of all this cacophony. Three years before that, however, in 1973, I bought a copy of Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth. The book was incredibly popular, not only among Christians, but among many young people in general. It was a semi-hit on college campuses and had very wide national distribution, selling millions of copies. I was duly impressed and actually prayed the prayer of salvation listed at the end of the book but nothing substantial happened to me at that time, although the book did play a role in my salvation later on.
Young people of today probably don’t know this, but many post high school college-aged people back then were really bright and comparatively very well informed. You had to work very hard for your information and this made for serious study and a more adult-oriented intellectual attitude, though well-rounded and practical. This contrasts with today’s incessant biased sound bites and 1984-type “news” and disinformation. There was a lot of book-reading and study going on back then unrelated to school courses and required reading.
The times were continuing to be a-Changin’, as Bob Dylan sang several years before, and the times were really changing in American Christianity.
The prophecy guys took full advantage of all this and did their part to keep things buzzing with constant updates and scare tactics and ongoing rock solid “proof” that everything they taught was true.
In 1977 I had a conversation with a guy in my church. He was a nice guy but had a strange stubborn streak (while smiling) in that it seemed like he wanted to fight when someone questioned anything, especially about his beliefs. It was kind of funny because the guy was otherwise quite wimpy. I had been doing a lot of study by that time and had come to the conclusion that the prophecy guys were completely wrong about the European Common Market. Remember, Greece had only applied for membership in 1975. Until their application was accepted everyone was getting Rapture-ready because as soon as their membership was granted and Greece became the tenth member we would have the “ten kings” and all hell would break loose. Oh my! Run for your lives! Get right with God! Don’t miss the Rapture! And don’t forget to pay your tithes!
So I was having a conversation with this guy. He was anti-cool and a real nerd, and he knew it, and was insecure about it, and he didn’t like me too much. He was there before me so he had tenure. So I was careful to try to obey all the silly protocol. He was insistent that the Common Market countries represented the “ten kings.” In other words, he bought the full teaching of the prophecy boys, who pretty much all ran in lockstep. I was, apparently, the only one there who decided on trying to lift the veil and actually do the math instead of accepting everything as if fallen directly upon us from heaven. By the way, much of the stuff taught and believed in churches has not fallen directly from heaven. I learned that early on, though I remained very respectful, and continued to learn it as time went on.
So, in that light, I told the nerdy church guy that I didn’t believe the Common Market represented the “ten kings” of Daniel and Revelation. I said that Scripture clearly revealed (to the non-brainwashed) that there would be a move to a worldwide one-world government phenomena taking place and that the Common Market only involved Western Europe. Thus (I didn’t say this), the prophecy boys were wrong. He was not happy. He was doing everything he could to continue with his fake happy exterior though I knew there was a mini-volcano simmering underneath. The conversation did not last long. He rejected the very little I said right off the bat and had no interest in seeing a different point of view.
Of course, I was right. Maybe it was because I was still relatively new in church and had not become brainwashed yet (I never did, and it caused problems). Maybe it was because I was always reading the Word and doing research. Maybe it was because I had no monetary agenda. Greece continued to dangle above everybody’s heads awaiting membership when all hell would then break loose. The prophecy boys continued to make great hay about it in the meantime and their influence and money grew to astounding proportions. Everyone just seemed to accept that everything they said was right. They found a gold mine.
Greece finally did join the European Economic Community (the Common Market), but not until January 1, 1981. The Rapture didn’t happen. The Tribulation didn’t start. The ten member nations were not the “ten kings” though the prophecy teachers continued on with their silly spiel. The whole thing started blowing up in their faces when other countries began joining the Common Market. Spain and Portugal joined in 1986. That made twelve. Uh Oh.
In 1993 the current European Union absorbed the former EEC. Many other countries began to join up. Today, the EU membership list stands at 28 countries. The last time I checked there was nothing in the Bible about 28 kings.
The prophecy boys adjusted. As always, in order to stay with their timeline agenda and false predictions (and maintain their influence and keep the money coming in), they explained that they were not really wrong but that blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Christians who actually think have said all along that the same deception that happened in the first century was happening in our time as well, in that all the official organized Jewish religionists of that time, including the major denominations, WERE DEAD WRONG ABOUT THE MESSIAH.
They were also dead wrong about the times. They had completely missed the mark on prophetic events and had totally misinterpreted OT prophecy. Some, like the Qumran Covenanters (of Dead Sea Scroll fame, probably Essenes) got the timing kind of right but probably missed the Messiah. Almost every other group—Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Zealots—rejected their Messiah and the majority of Jews still reject Him to this day.
The only ones who got it right at all back then in the beginning were the disconnected nobodies in what was left of the nation of Israel—the Remnant—those with a yearning in their hearts for truth and spiritual reality. They would know love when they saw it and when they saw the Lord they saw love. When the Lord Jesus arrived these people knew almost immediately who He was. But all the money-grubbing, power-grabbing big boys missed Him completely. The Lord put it this way:
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. [Matthew 16:1-4] 
© 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on January 29, 2018, in Current Events and tagged America, Biblical Prophecy, Bob Dylan, Book of Revelation, End Times, European Union, Lord Jesus, Rapture, The Great Awakening, The Signs Of The Times. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.
We all need to be careful about prophecy. Myself, when I see prophecy fulfilled, I tend to think Jesus is coming back very soon, but the years roll by. I think many of us are so looking forward to seeing him, we hope it will be this year.
Jesus said the nations will be fearful of the waves of the sea at the end times. I would read this and think, “This hasn’t happened yet.” Now that it has, I guess we are one step closer. Well, the Bible says Jesus waits so that more people will be saved. I think that is wonderful and kind.
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Thanks Belle. The Lord knows all and we know only what we know, but we can know what He wants us to know. He has given many, many clues in OT Scripture and His own teachings to know what He has given us to know. Much of this is comforting and allows for a proper mindset and spiritual security. He certainly warns, not to promote fear, but the opposite. We truly do need to be careful about prophecy and not simply accept a so-called expert’s word regarding it.
There has been much hype about our current time being the “End Times” but the writers of the New Covenant Scriptures regarded their time as the “End Times.” The subject requires much research, not in an attempt to corner the market on prophetic truth, but to simply know the truth according His will. The Lord said knowing the truth would make us free, and according to the Greek word this means exempt from liability. The Lord created prophecy as a way to see the future from the present for a purpose.
Thanks again and be blessed.
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While in San Diego as a young believer in ’75 or so, I liked to visit “celeb” Christians when they took stage somewhere before a large gathering. One time I showed up late and strangely was given one of the only seats left- portable ones set up on stage. Along with six or so others we watched and listened to the speaker face the crowd of about 5 or 6 thousand. We were a few feet away from Hal as he gave a smooth presentation most of the crowd loved. As I watched the rows and rows of people in front of me and those up higher, I was amazed at all the people absorbed in this delivery concerning the end of our age, and the world as we knew it. That struck something within me and remained. Mr. Lindsey was kind and generous in a sense. But by then I had given up the idea of a pre-trib; I was growing closer to the writings and work of a San Diego resident named Morris Cerullo. I had embraced the truth of the “Kingdom of God not being a matter of talk but of Spirit power.”
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Thanks Gary. It appears we were both tracking somewhat at that time. And they were indeed pretty incredible times. I felt like I got in a little too late, having missed out on all the early happenings a few years before. You probably saw a lot of this out on the West Coast, since so much along these lines was happening there. I was Spirit-filled in 1976 but was in a conventional church which still wanted to effect the 1940s or 50s, and it made it difficult regarding change for the better. There was a lot of social pressure masquerading as discipleship, in that one must constantly toe the mark or risk the perception of being wrong. As I progressed over the years in different places it was always through being forced to go against the grain and essentially wait on the larger group lagging behind. That never changed. Ultra-organized Christianity is always concerned with maintaining the lowest common denominator as a method toward “unity.” Though there were certainly many excesses at that time in America because everything was so new, I think it was usually better to attempt a sprint knowing you may have to backtrack a little, rather than sit in the mud for fifty years waiting for change that never happens. The Lord said to FOLLOW Him. That means we must always be spiritually mobile. Being filled with the Spirit as per the Acts experience allows for that mobility.
I’ve included a trip back in time as follows. Be blessed!
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Hi RJ, I remember The Late Great Planet Earth well and just yesterday I was talking to my Christian daughter about being careful in buying into anyone saying that they have figured out when the rapture will happen. Actually the fellow she was listening to had previously indicated that 2017 was the year but hadn’t updated his website yet to correlate with his new date in 2018. In hindsight I can understand the attraction because I, like many others, was really attracted to Hal Lindsey’s book. But my gut feeling is much different now and I am much more cautious. Experience does that to you. If you ever have some idle time, I would love to hear your thoughts on the end times. I do like your idea of spiritual mobility because the parts may be getting ready to be put into place but I don’t think there’s a firm picture coming together yet. Really enjoyed your post. Grace and blessings!
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Thanks Bruce. As I said in my post, regardless of what Hal Lindsey taught back then or still teaches and whether or not I agree, The Late Great Planet Earth was instrumental at least in a minor way as something the Lord apparently used toward my salvation and for that I am grateful.
When I was first introduced to Biblical prophecy supposedly coming true in our own day I was greatly intrigued. Little did I know back then that it involved an agenda that some of the prophecy people certainly knew about and were pushing, while others probably were sincere though misinformed. Much of the agenda from that time is still in force. Relatively minor details like getting the “ten kings’ wrong have not altered the overall agenda, and most Christians into prophecy still embrace it.
However, being a teacher by gifting and always in pursuit of truth, I learned a long time ago that nobody will ever be shown everything, and one must accept this fact. The Lord wants community. He wants a group of elders. He wants people to work together. No man is an island in the Church. This is why I don’t think any prophecy teacher can ever gain the total picture. This means they will get some stuff right and some wrong. We have seen over the years just how wrong they have been. It is obviously goofy to name a specific date for something, but it should also be seen that even naming a general time period of a few decades can also be constituted as goofiness.
Here’s an example: Israel became a nation in 1948. All the legitimate prophecy guys (not the obvious quacks) said the Lord would return within a generation of that event. They said a Biblical generation according to prophecy was forty years. You may remember that. Therefore, they said the Rapture must happen by 1981 because the Great Tribulation would take place from 1981-1988 at the latest. It’s been thirty years now and still no Tribulation, and the Rapture is 37 years past due. That’s a long time. Those guys were incredibly wrong on their predictions.
I remember much of our witnessing prior to 1981 was getting people saved primarily so they wouldn’t miss the Rapture. I was a rookie, though, and had an excuse. But I learned. And I continued to learn that many ministers in other fields were also goofy. Most never did the work but simply parroted what they heard from some other goof in Bible school or whatever. I eventually became old enough to call their bluff because I never wanted to be disrespectful. I continued doing my own research all that much harder in part to fight off any disillusionment over being so wrong because I listened to the wrong guys. But I think many believers fell away from the Lord over all the baloney.
Again, if only a comparative few got OT prophecy correct in the first century, we in the present are subjected to the same and we thus must be very careful so as not to lead people astray. If any prophecy guy or minister at any time openly repents of being wrong that’s a good thing, but I think only few have actually done it. These people are mere men regardless of their anointing if they even have an actual anointing at all, and we should ALWAYS trust the teachings of the Lord Jesus primarily.
This post may be the start of addressing the issue in more detail.
Blessings to you also.
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Thank you RJ, I agree with your general line of thinking and if you do decide to look at the issue, I for one will be reading. Grace and blessings!
Hi RJ, I’ve ‘shared’ this fine piece to my blog and as it’s not done by ‘re-blog’ then, in case it doesn’t show up in this column, here’s my intro:
In “What If They’re wrong?” Tony Puccio looks at why pre-Tribulation Rapture claims may be mistaken. In actual fact, 20th Century history disproves pre-Tribbers’ ideas!
In his post linked below, R.J Dawson recounts his personal interest in those ideas and demonstrates why they were wrong. Esssentially, those theories failed to grasp not only scripture but also political events believed to have been of direct relevance. I’d heard of the best-seller R.J refers to, but being a New Ager in those days I thought ‘archaic’(!) Christians were jumping on the bandwagon of cataclysm/conspiracy theories. (The Lord had a non-Christian give me a businessman’s Biblical analysis of modern geopolitics, ‘The Invisible Hand’.) I understand those theories arose out of Reformed Theology’s deep disdain for the Roman Catholic church.
Here’s R.J Dawson’s account: Richard’s Watch
Thanks Richard. Much appreciation. I was born again into a Pre-Trib paradigm and initially never questioned it for a while until I began noticing some things I thought didn’t add up. As I mentioned in my post, much of the prophetic fervor in the 1970s was about the imminent Rapture. When none of what the proponents of that point of view came to pass according to their very clearly delineated time table, a lot of people moved on.
I lost interest in the so-called exact timetable of the last days. Many believed everything that was put forth and later felt embarrassed. I know those guys have made adjustments and that’s fine. I want everyone to know that I am open to discussing this issue in an intelligent manner with community dialogue in mind, one in which we are friends going in and friends going out, but will not be engaging in any spats about Pre or Mid or Post or whatever. Back then, churches split over this issue. Ministers lost their jobs. Friendships were dissolved. It was a mess.
Back in the 1980s I essentially became Pan-Trib because I thought it would all eventually pan out. I am not invested one way or the other, will no longer buy into any of the above, and have a lot more fun keeping my options open and listening to the Lord. I am definitely involved at present in much research and study on the subject, however, but I am not doing it to prove a point or a paradigm. I am doing it to find the truth. The Lord blessed us with many clues.
I want to thank you again for reposting my article on your site. You are a good friend and this is obviously a subject that Christians the world over are interested in. I would add that there is a LOT of disinformation and incorrect theories that must be dealt with in the process of finding the truth and I fault no one for whichever perspective they presently believe in. All the experts got it wrong in the first century. That could mean the same has happened in these days. But I know this: There is much deception and we must be careful. The Lord put it this way:
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.” [Matthew 24:24-25]
I am not calling anyone a false prophet. There certainly are false prophets. I believe some people are very sincere in what they teach and could be right on many points. We must all learn from one another as the Lord leads. The point, though, is that the Lord said the deception would be so strong and powerful that even the very elect could be deceived. These days we are presently living in fit that warning well, perhaps better than any other since the first century. The deception is really thick. There are many false narratives. There is no possible way we will ever figure it out without the Lord’s direct assistance, MUCH research, working together, and a lot of time. The infilling of the Holy Spirit made all the difference for the early Church in this regard. It cleared a lot of stuff up and blessed them with much insight, understanding, and eyes to see. We must continue to follow their example.
Blessings to you, Richard, and all your readers. Thanks again.
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Greatly appreciate your taking time to tell more of your story and stance, with which I totally agree. I too prefer to be as fully informed as possible and be open to whatever the Lord is doing. It certainly seems that the whole scriptures are the template upon which temporal events are to play out and into which they are to be placed, as in an ‘invisible jigsaw’ only the Lord knows and sees, or to be weft as in a tapestry – all subject to and allowing for His Sovereign action and ‘tricks up His sleeve’ and catch satan by surprise!
My next couple of posts consider why we’re watching and its theological approach.
Thanks again. Sometimes the deception is so thick and the false narratives so believable, they are accepted by many, and sometimes even a majority, as fact. When the Lord reveals the actual truth it can be a shock. The enemy is always running around trying to cloud the issue and hide the truth that exposes him for obvious reasons, and this must always be factored in to our research. Keep up the good work!
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