Weighing the Grail Message: The World Teacher

Virtually every New Age/occult group is expectant of the emergence of a great world teacher who will physically manifest on earth to usher in what they call “the New Age,” the “New Order” or “the Age of Aquarius” (the terms vary but the concept is the same).

New Agers/occultists believe the forthcoming Age of Aquarius ruled by this “World Teacher” or “Lord Maitreya” will be characterized by love, harmony, peace, joy and abundance and will put an end to this current era/aeon which they term “the Age of Pisces.”

This “paradigm shift” has been predicted way back in the 18th century by Emmanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish mystic who received his messages from fallen angels.

New Agers today are taught not only to look forward to the new age but also to work with the Spiritual Hierarchy in bringing it forth on earth through rituals and dissemination of their messages (just as the Grail movement does).

When we integrate biblical understanding with these occult nuances, it’s clear that the ominous yet powerful world teacher that will be revealed is none other than the Antichrist.

In his lecture titled the World Teacher, Oskar Bernhardt, though resorting to semantic acrobatics and esoteric clichés, aligns himself with the Antichrist and his philosophy – one more proof of the diabolic source of the Grail message.

All quotes in this article are taken from volume 1 chapter 31 of In the Light of Truth by Abdrushin.

The World Teacher is the Son of Man. He is called World Teacher not because He is to teach the World, and will perhaps found a religion that unites the World … rather, He is called World Teacher because he explains the “World” and brings the teaching about the World. That which man really must know!

The anti-Christ will indeed be a world teacher since there’s an ascendancy created for him in the belief systems of various false religions.

Muslims are expectant of their Mahdi; Jews still await their messiah; Hindus believe Kalkin, the final avatar (incarnation) of the Hindu god, Vishnu, will appear in the future.

Buddhists are watching out for the Fifth Buddha (Maitreya) and New Agers await a “Christ” who now heads a hierarchy of spirits in the astral plane to manifest. The coming Antichrist will fulfill these roles.

Granted, Christians also look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ, but His coming and its purpose stand in stark contrast to that of the Antichrist.

The Bible describes this Antichrist as “the Assyrian, the rod of [God’s] anger (Is. 10:5), “a Destroyer of nations” (Jer. 4:7), “the little horn” who will wage war against the saints (Dan. 7:20-21; Rev. 13:7) and “a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue” who will speak arrogant and blasphemous words (Dan. 8:23 cf. Dt. 28:50).

He is described as the “Man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “the Wicked one” whose coming shall be “after the working of Satan with all power and lying signs and wonders” (2 Thess. 2:3, 9) and “the Beast” out of the sea of humanity who will look like the Lamb (Jesus) but speak like the dragon (Satan). He will also be given authority over every people, language and nation (Rev. 13:1-8).

Daniel 8:23 describes him as a man that will “understand dark sentences.” The Hebrew noun for dark sentences is used of Samson’s riddle (Judg. 14:12), the Queen of Sheba’s hard questions (1 Kgs. 10:1) and dark sayings of the wise (Prov. 1:6), which are too deep to be understood by the simple.

This implies that the anti-Christ will dazzle and deceive humanity with esoteric teachings, deep philosophy and self-exalting words. Fittingly, Abdrushin says the coming world teacher will bring teachings about the world.

Behind this World Teacher, visible to pure clairvoyants, stands radiantly the great Cross of Redemption, as once it did with Christ! It can also be said that “He bears the Cross!” Which, however, has nothing to do with suffering or martyrdom.

Grail adherents claim to have a mystical revelation of the divine figure Abdrushin actually embodies. Of course, they may not divulge this to outsiders. But from what Abdrushin taught, it’s clear that he also pointed to the coming of a future “Christ”.

Notice that Abdrushin says this world teacher is already visible to clairvoyants – those who see into the spirit realm.

New Agers generally believe that their coming “Christ” has been in the physical plane in one form or the other before. To them, every era has its own world teacher; thus, the Christ of Nazareth has passed, but “another Christ” will come as the world ruler.

The Hierarchy of spirits that their “Christ” heads in the Shamballa plane (the spirit realm) wields much influence over the world and individuals. But this Hierarchy is visible only to mortals who have received 5 levels of occult initiation or “overshadowing.”

While the “great world teacher” will administer the first two initiations on humanity, the other three will be administered by “the Great Hierophant,” a.k.a. Sanat Kumara or Solar Logos – Lucifer/Satan. Thus, a renowned New Age leader, David Spangler wrote:

Lucifer prepares man for the experience of Christhood. [He is] the great initiator … Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into a New Age … each of us in some way is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic initiation … for it is an invitation into the New Age” (Reflections on the Christ, Findhorn, 1977, 44-45).

From the bible, we see that Satan is the power behind the coming great teacher and his kingdom:

“The dragon [Satan] gave the beast [Antichrist] his power and throne and great authority.”

This will culminate in an era of universal Satanism: “Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast” (Rev. 13:2, 4).

In fact, all those whose names have not been written in the book of life will worship and follow this “great teacher” and receive his diabolical mark on their hands and foreheads. The Grail message leads in that very direction.

The connection will immediately be understood as soon as the true meaning of the actual “Cross of Redemption” is known. The Cross of Redemption does not have the same meaning as Christ’s Cross of Suffering, through which mankind could indeed not be redeemed…

Here, we see a distinguishing feature of all false religions: a rejection of the cross and the redemption Christ obtained through it.

The term “redemption” is from the Greek word agorazo and it means “to purchase in the marketplace.” The word is used to describe the believer being purchased out of the slave market of sin and set free from sin’s bondage by death of Christ (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Rev. 5:9; 14:3).

It’s also from the word lutroo, which means “to obtain release by the payment of a price.”

Believers have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ to be a special possession for God (1 Pet. 1:18; Tit. 2:4).

But the Grail message, typical of New Age spirituality, rejects the reality of sin, the Fall of man, the redemption by Christ’s blood, His vicarious death on the cross and substitutionary atonement, so they reject these biblical terms. They don’t go with their grand plan.

The Cross was already known before Christ’s time on earth. It is the sign of Divine Truth! Not merely the symbol, but the living form for It … The Cross of Rays, or the radiating Cross, is therefore the Truth in its original-inherent form. And since man can ascend only through the Truth, and in no other way, the human spirit finds redemption only in recognition or knowledge of Divine Truth!

Here, the true meaning and purpose of the cross has been distorted and given an esoteric meaning.

Of course, the “truth” Abdrushin preached is not by any means new: it largely consists of Hindu, Kabbalistic, Gnostic and medieval occult myths and concepts which he fine-tuned a bit and laced with distorted biblical terms.

The idea of being redeemed by secret knowledge is the warp and woof of Gnosticism. Such occult philosophies do not take people to any ascent but plunge them into the depth of Satan’s delusions.

From the book of Revelation, we see that the Antichrist which will emerge as the world teacher will be used by a demonic prototype that ascends from the abyss where demons and some fallen angels are confined (Rev. 11:7-8, 17:11 cf. Lk. 8:31; Rev. 9:1-21, 11:7).

He “was, is and is to come” i.e. he had existed on earth before John’s day, was not on earth in John’s day, but will ascend from the abyss in the future and ultimately go into destruction.

Again, the Bible shows that the kingdom of the Antichrist which will be revived when he comes will be an amalgam of previous 4 world empires: Babylon (lion), Medes-Persia (bear), Greece (leopard) and the fourth beast (Rome), which was the “most terrifying and frightening and very powerful” (see Dan. 7:3-7 cf.  Rev. 13:2).

Therefore, if Abdrushin’s “cross of rays” has been in existence before the time of Christ, then it’s a code term for the anti-Christ’s philosophy.

And since the Son of God and the Son of Man who is now coming are the sole Bringers of the undimmed Truth, bearing it within Themselves. They must both naturally also bear the Cross inseparably within and upon Themselves; that is, They must be Bearers of the Radiant Cross, Bearers of Truth…

This is where Grail adherents derived their dubious “cross bearers” moniker. They have appropriated a term into which a baggage of ideas has been read by their guru.

They are not bearers of the cross of Jesus Christ, however, but the “cross” of the antichrist which is no cross at all but occult mysticism.

The same will also be seen on the Son of Man! The Dove above Him, the Cross of Redemption behind Him … They are the unmistakable signs of His genuine Mission to fulfill the prophecies. They are the signs that cannot be imitated. They are indestructible, warning, and, despite the terrible gravity, they are at the same time promising! Before these alone all darkness must retreat!

The “Son of Man” being referred to here is what New Agers also call Lord Maitreya , the head of the Hierarchy, subordinate to Lucifer. The biblical prophecies of Jesus’ first coming do not apply to His second coming.

On the other hand, the New Spirituality teaches that the hierarchy of fallen angels needs to be ‘externalised’ on the physical plane; on earth, when the human race has fully evolved into homo universalis.

Thus, at the dawn of the New Age, people on earth will have one universal identity, goal and religion (a sort of spiritual totalitarianism).

Occultists are taught to work in bringing the astral plane where the hierarchy lives to the physical plane and vice versa through demonic interactions. This is what they sum up as, “As above, so below.”

From the Bible, we see that the “sweet light” of the Antichrist’s kingdom is only to get the human race to take its diabolic mark; all those who worship the beast and receive its mark are doomed for eternal judgement (Rev.14:9-11).

But now is the day of salvation where the true God calls to those following the Grail message and other forms of New Age spirituality to believe the Gospel taught by the Bible and renounce the philosophies of the Antichrist. The only escape is now.

Look upwards! As soon as the inexorable harbingers of His coming have appeared, clearing the way for Him of the obstacles that human conceit heaps upon it, the bandage will fall from the eyes of many who are granted the grace to recognize Him thus! Then, forced by the power of the Light, they will have to bear witness openly. Watch for that hour, it will be nearer than all men think.

Granted, the harbingers of the coming Antichrist have appeared and have been clearing the way for him.

Aleister Crowley predicted in his “sacred” Book of the Law that the 1980s will cower before a great warlord who would be an incarnation of the Egyptian god Ra-Hoor-Khuit. It never happened.

New Age leader, Benjamin Crème predicted that “Lord Maitreya,” the so-called “Christ” of the New Age, would manifest to the entire world in 1987. He never showed up and Crème died in 2016.

David Spangler also predicted the emergence of a savior, an avatar, father-figure which will be for the race what the ancient-priest kings were in ancient history.

Many years ago, he organized series of people to meditate and send out “spiritual transmissions” to bring forth the new age.

The Bible speaks of “the spirit of the anti christ” and “the mystery of iniquity” which have already been in operation. The spirit possesses certain people – at varying degrees – in each generation to imitate, replace or oppose the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Ten Men who have claimed to be Jesus

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As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives and His disciples asked for the signs of His second coming, He gave several pointers and prophecies that will forecast the religious climate of the earth at the time of His return. One of them is:

For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many … and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (Matthew 24:5, 11, 23-26)

Indeed, all through history, many people – whether overtly or covertly – have come in the name of God claiming to be the promised Messiah or the returned Jesus Christ. Many of them have established movements, gained followers and even worked signs and wonders to gain credibility.

The list of such self-acclaimed messiahs is almost endless and more will still come. But in this piece, I will give only recent examples – men who have made such claims in the last decade or so.

  1. Ariffin Mohammed

Born to a Muslim family in 1941, Ariffin alleged that in 1959 during a debilitating illness, he was visited by an angel and also in the 1970s when his spiritual career began.

Popularly called “Ayah Pin” (Ayah, being a common honorific meaning “father”), Ariffin was the founder of Kerajaan Langit (Sky Kingdom) in Malaysia. His movement had a commune based in Besut, Terengganu which was demolished by the Malaysian government in 2005.

Ariffin not only claimed to be Jesus, he also claimed to be a reincarnation of Buddha, Shiva, and Muhammad. He was said to have the powers of invisibility and telepathic killing.

His followers fondly believe that one day, Ayah Pin will return as the Imam Mahdi. Devotees of the Sky Kingdom cult considered Ariffin to have direct contact with the heavens, and that he is in fact, the king of the sky – the supreme object of devotion for all religions.

After surviving a wave of attacks, arrests and fatwa from the Muslim government against his movement, Ariffin fled, and finally resided in Thailand as an exile in 2009. By then, he had about 10,000 followers. In 2016, he died in the home of his third wife (he had 4 wives).

  1. Wayne Curtis Bent

Bent Waye (a.k.a Michael Travesser) who was born in 1941, was formerly a Seventh Day Adventist pastor but left the religious group with others of like mind in 1987. He claims that during an experience in his living room in June 2000, God told him, “You are the Messiah.”

Bent has since stated, “I am the embodiment of God. I am divinity and humanity combined.” With a group of about 80 adherents who migrated to Sandpoint, Idaho, Bent founded the Lord our Righteousness Church in Union County, New Mexico.

His cult became a target of media investigation in 2004 which Bent further heightened when he announced October 31, 2007 as the beginning of the Day of Judgement.

Bent allegedly told his congregation that “God told him that he was supposed to sleep with seven virgins,” including a member’s own daughters who were 14 and 15 at the time.

Bent freely admits having sexual intercourse multiple times with his son’s wife. Both he and his son state that “God forced Michael [Bent] to commit this act of consummation.”

Bent was eventually arrested by the New Mexico State Police on three counts of sexual contacts with a minor and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. After his verdict, Bent was quoted as saying, “Just as with Jesus, they’ve convicted an innocent man… They had to lie to get rid of Jesus, and they will have to do the same to me.”

Now a convicted sex offender, Bent was paroled from prison in 2016 after spending about 8 years behind bars. This self-proclaimed Messiah has since published The Little Book, based on Revelation chapter 10. Believe me, someone is already buying his lies as you read this.

  1. Sergey Torop

Known by his followers as Vissarion (“He who gives new life”), Sergey founded and leads a group called Church of the Last Testament with its head church in Siberia.

He has around 4,000 followers living in his sacred Mountain settlement and around 10,000 followers worldwide. He also has branches in Bulgaria and Germany.

Sergey claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus which he said was revealed to him when he was 29 (he’s now 57). He claims to be “reborn” as a returned Christ in 1990, thus making him the Word of God.

His religious system combines elements of Russian Orthodox Church with Buddhism, syncretism and earth-centred beliefs, hence his followers are vegetarians.

He has two wives, the second of which had been living with him since she was 7. Sergey also considers Mary the mother of Jesus to be his biological mother and has even modelled his look after the purported picture of Jesus Christ.

The YouTube documentaries of this “Siberian Jesus” show that he predicted the coming of a great flood and spiritual protection for all his followers, many of who abandon their homes to build settlements near the holy mountain where the great Messiah lives. They all use a modified calendar set by his arrival on earth.

  1. David Shayler

Shayler, a former British M15 whistle blower, became a part of the 9/11 Truth Movement which maintains as its primary tenet the belief that the attack of September 11, 2001 was largely fraudulent.

In 2007, Shayler made waves in a British magazine, Daily Mail, when he brazenly declared: “I am the messiah and hold the secret of eternal life.” He also declared himself to be a reincarnation of various historical figures and has pledged his commitment to destroy the “Zionist empire.”

He claimed that God came to him one day and declared him as Jesus:

Ten years ago when God came to me I realized that I was Jesus Christ. Most of the people think you are insane when you say that, but I would say the opposite is in the Bible,” he said in an interview.

What makes Shayler’s claim to divinity rather remarkable was his admission that he lives part of his life as a woman who squats in a 17th century farmhouse in Surrey; in plain terms, he’s a transvestite.

Someone please page Dr. Fix This.

  1. Inri Cristo

Brazilian educator and former waiter, Alvaro Theiss, was born in 1948 and has admitted to hearing a “powerful voice” in his head since childhood. Obedient to this voice, Theiss left home at 13 and eventually became an atheist, severing all ties with his Roman Catholic background until he allegedly received a revelation of his new identity.

At the age of 21, he began his public life as a self-professed prophet and astrologer, introducing himself as “Iuri de Nostradamus.” In 1979, while observing a fast in Chile, he claims a raspy voice said, “I am your Father” revealing to him that he was the same Christ crucified 2,000 years ago.

The voice also told him that the second letter of his name (“u” in “Iuri”) would now be turned upside down making his name Inri. But wasn’t it easy to deduce that this man simply took the initials INRI inscribed on the cross of Jesus Christ?

Since then, Inri dresses in white tunic and sandals, announcing that his mission will usher in an era of the New Age. The 69 year old “celibate” guru with his dozen disciples lives in a small compound behind an electrified fence. His devoted female disciples, who live with him, push him around on a fringed red satin platform on wheels.

Inri has toured about 27 countries to spread his message but he has been banned from three countries: the U.S., Venezuela and UK, though he has been welcomed by France. He has also been arrested by police more than 40 times.

  1. The “Jesus” of Kitwe

In 2013 a former taxi driver, Bupete Chibwe Chishimba, a resident of Mindolo Township in the Zambian copper mining city of Kitwe began to make his own proclamations:

I am Jesus Christ from the heavens who has come to save you from this world and I would put an end to the Political Government of this world and I will start ruling no one can stop me because I posses the divine power,” he said.

Chishimba claimed he fell off from heaven in 1999 with the sole purpose of initiating judgment for mankind and ending earthly political rule. His preaching has been known to attract many street traders as well as irate youths who assault him for his gross blasphemies.

Chishimba has however denounced church leaders and urged them to stop deceiving people by saying Jesus is coming when he was already there, because he came from the heavenly Kingdom. These days, the 43-year-old goes by the names of Parent Rock of the World, Mr. Faithful and Mr. Word of God.

He drives a taxi inscribed with the words “Lord of Lords” and walks around the local marketplace dressed in a robe, spreading the message of the returned Christ.

  1. José Luis de Jesus Miranda

Born in Puerto Rico, José became addicted to heroin at 14 and asserted that he was delivered by the power of God and later joined a Baptist church.

In 1973, José claimed he had a vision on which he was visited by a pair of angels as he later told ABC News:

The same spirit that was in Jesus of Nazareth, and the same spirit is in me. He came to me. He [integrated] with my person.”

From there, he began to preach his own peculiar doctrines and later assembled a number of followers forming the Creciendo en Gracia (Growing in Grace) church in Miami, Florida, in 1988. A decade later, José declared himself to be the reincarnation of Apostle Paul.

Perhaps not been satisfied with his own flights of fancies, in 2005, he announced himself to be the Man Jesus Christ, who has returned for the second time. “Anyone who doesn’t believe in me, is miserable,” he declared, to his audience’s applause.

In 2006, he openly claimed to be the Antichrist which he defined as one “no longer following Jesus of Nazareth as he lived in the days of his flesh.”

His followers showed their support by getting 666 tattoos on their bodies; some of them displayed these tattoos on YouTube.

José, known to be a charismatic preacher, taught his followers that 666 is not a sign of the devil, but of wisdom, implying “put your faith in the Jesus after the cross … and that’s me.”

In 2008 he was estimated to have two million followers in 30 countries, no thanks to his motivational-style preaching on radio and TV.

Miranda finally died from liver cirrhosis, a condition that is at odds with his expected immortality. After his death, his followers crowned him as Melchizedek – the king of justice and of peace.  His cult later divided into 4 factions, each with different doctrinal positions and agenda.

Men may rise to make bogus claims about themselves, but death usually comes around and deals them its blow and all their boasts end right there.

  1. Omowole Isaac Omogoroye

Mr. Omogoroye, a Nigerian, and a one-time Student Union President at the University of Lagos during an interview with Sahara TV made this rather astonishing disclosure in 2017:

Today, I’m appearing to the whole world as the one and only Son of God expected back to life and I come in the new name of God as documented in the only living book, the Bible … What I’m trying to say is that I’m the awaited Jesus Christ. My mission here is to let the world know that Jesus Christ is back.

No man born of a woman will come from the sky down. It was only a parable in the bible. I’m here to decode that parable in Revelations. I am the Jesus Christ the Bible is talking about.”

In the video which lasted 15 minutes and 32 seconds, Omogoroye further disclosed that he has been appearing in different countries of the world as the awaited Son of God expected to redeem the world, and has also been given the divine mandate to occupy Aso Rock, the seat of the nation’s power come 2019.

He added that as soon as he becomes the President of Nigeria, the government will change its name to the New Jerusalem of the Bible. We will be waiting, with baited breath.

  1. Apollo Quiboloy

Said to be born on a “prayer mountain” in Davao City, Philippines in 1950, Apollo Carreón Quiboloy was a member of the United Pentecostal Church till he founded the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church – the Name Above Every Name in 1985.

He also claims to be the Appointed Son of God which stirred much criticism. His followers refer to their community as a ‘Kingdom nation’ and it has been estimated that there are about 4 million “kingdom citizens” in the Philippines and about 2 million followers abroad.

Quiboloy oversees the operation of several radio stations, newspapers and a sprawling 8-hectare compound in Davao City where piped central music is played all over the place 24 hours a day. Who says the brainwashed too don’t need some music to luxuriate in the message?

They also hold Bible study sessions and prayers and their cult leader has been known to wield much political and religious power over many in that country.

In 2018, Quiboloy was investigated for human trafficking in Hawaii after the authorities found $350,000 in undeclared cash and rifle parts inside the aircraft belonging to the sect’s leader. He was later freed to fly again, no thanks to his wealth and influence.

  1. Moses Hlongwane

The South African “Lord of lords”, Moses Hlongwane, says that God identified him as the Messiah during a dream in 1992. At the time Moses was working as a jewelry salesman. Since then, he’s preached in Eshowe, Johannesburg, and other cities in the region.

He claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus and is known to wear a baseball cap embellished with yellow satin. He surrounds himself with dozens of disciples, many of whom have abandoned their families and whose welfare payments fund his Jesus compound in KwaZulu-Natal town.

Hlongwane said he, like Jesus, spent years in the wilderness and has been resurrected as the Son of God. “I was in this room from 1992 and have spent 22 years in a fight with the devil and have overcome him,” said Hlongwane.

As I speak to you I will never see death and I am now getting ready for the opening of the graves and healing of blind and lame,” he said during an interview with eNCA.

Notice a consistent cultic pattern in all these figures:

  1. A claim of supernatural revelation or visitation
  2. A codification of unorthodox beliefs or heretical doctrines
  3. Claims of self-divinity
  4. Authoritarian control over followers
  5. Isolating followers from the rest of the “ungodly” society.
  6. A searing of conscience and justification of crimes under the pretext of “We are God’s special people.”

Were these men insane loons infected with a messianic complex? Perhaps. But one thing is certain, they are all under the control of the spirit of Antichrist and their multiplicity is proof of the time we are in.

A Balanced View of the End Times

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Some months before year 2000, different “prophets” rushed to the media to declare: “Jesus’ return is near, the world is going to end in Y2K!”

Bill Gates of Microsoft – the richest man at the time – was fingered as the antichrist. The Internet was linked with the Greek word for “image” of the Beast.

Then we had The Omega Code movies distorting the Bible to fit into the political scene.

Prophecy pundits jumped on the band wagon, linking almost every modern technology with end time prophecies.

Digital images, satellite transmissions, implanted computer chips and credit cards were labelled as the “tools of the beast.” The Y2K came and passed and the hype waned.

What many of those promoting the end-of-the-world doomsday messages didn’t realize was that, due to an old calendar error, we had actually entered Y2K few years prior.

Fast forward eleven years. Harold Camping came on the scene for the second time, to predict Jesus’ return on May 21, 2011. Many Christians believed it and the hysteria was re-ignited.

A year later, Obamacare and the microchip issue erupted again in the media. Some Nigerian “Christian” tabloids began to sell altered pictures of Obama wearing the horns of a beast, with Christians swallowing both the sense and nonsense on these pages.

In 2015, we heard the same old scream: “The blood moon is a sign of Jesus’ coming!”

Why do many Christians keep getting caught up in these wild-eyed, last days prophetic speculations? The reason is: there is a kind of “excitement” that comes with it.

There is a heady feeling that an “expert” has when the masses look up to him/her to hear the “latest, end-time mysteries” – which they believe no one else is yet to figure out.

From there, he sees himself as the only one who has access to God’s secrets and his followers feel the need to isolate themselves from all other Christians in order to renew the zeal and faith which other Christians lack. This is how spiritual deception kicks in.

History shows us that date-setting and end-time speculations were the foundations of most cults.

William Miller and the Adventists predicted the return of Christ in 1843 (later changed to 1844). Charles Russell, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witness predicted the return of Christ to establish His kingdom in 1914.

Herbert Armstrong of the Worldwide Church of God predicted Christ’s return in 1972.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, a New Age leader, predicted the Battle of Armageddon in 1990.

Mary Relfe, a self-proclaimed prophet, indicated Jesus’ return before 1990.

Lee Jang Rim of South Korean’s Dami Missionary Church also predicted the rapture would take place on October 28, 1992.

In 1997, the 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide because their leader (Marshall Applewhite) told them this would qualify them for rapture via a comet.

Cults draw their strengths from end-of-the-world panic. Through it, they gain blind obedience and foster isolation. Even within the Christian church, excessive prophetic speculations about the last days can discourage a genuine study of Bible prophecy.

For instance, different personalities have been fingered as the future antichrist at different times – Kaiser, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Kennedy, Reagan, Prince Charles, Obama and the Catholic pope.

Yet, as any serious Bible student agrees, the identity of the antichrist cannot be revealed until after the rapture, when the church is removed and its restraining influence is gone (2Thess. 2:7-12).

A Christian’s obsession with the identity of the antichrist or the mark of the beast not only generates panic, but also alters his focus, such that rather than spreading the Gospel of Christ and contending for the faith, he gets caught up with tabloid sensationalism, conspiracy theories and “bible codes.”

Some folks get so much wrapped up that they hardly read their Bibles outside the book of Daniel and Revelation, and they start to develop a cult-like disposition to reality.

There was a man who used to teach on a TV programme several years ago that all those who have a Yahoo account have received the mark of the beast because “Yahoo” means “beast,” so they will burn in hell. Little wonder that programme went down the drain after a while.

Suggesting or setting dates for Jesus’ return is contrary to Scripture (Matt 24:36). It is this ploy that leads some Christians to stop believing in Bible prophecy altogether.

Everything Jesus listed in Matthew 24 – wars, famine and earthquakes – are to be expected throughout the Church Age until He returns. They do not necessarily prove the end has come.

When preachers say things like “In 7 years’ time, it will be over,” they are speculating, not preaching. No one knows how long we have until Jesus comes.

All the speculations people have made up about dates for Jesus’ return are bound to fade into the sands of time like the others.

Dr. Daniel Mitchell aptly stated that: “Speculating on the date of Christ’s return not only breeds bad theology, but it is the original sin all over again – trying to know as much as God.”

As Christians, how can we avoid falling into this extremism?

1. Interpret current events in light of the Bible prophecy, not Bible prophecy in light of current events.

Randall Price wrote: “This ‘common sense’ principle is a necessary corrective to discourage what has been called ‘newspaper exegesis,’ or interpreting the biblical stories based on stories that appear in the media” (World of the Bible News and Views, 1999, 1)

There is a difference between general prophecies and specific events. General prophetic themes about the last days are: increase in wickedness (Matt. 24:12); rise of false prophets (Matt. 24:4, 24); the return of Israel to their land (Ezk 20:34); the development of a global economy (Rev. 13:16-17); the formation of a world government (Rev. 17:15-18) and a false sense of peace and security (1Thess. 5:2-3).

Specific events, like the Internet, bank codes, credit cards, microchips or epidemics are not directly related to Biblical prophecies.

Time will tell if these things have anything to do with the fulfilment of future events. It may later turn out that the Bible was referring to something else (as the mark of the beast, for instance).

As time goes on and world leaders change, some Bible passages that seem to link with a person or event today will turn out to be different. In the meantime, we need to be careful not to make too many assumptions based on our limited perspectives.

2. Most of the end time prophetic passages revolve around the people and nation of Israel.

For example, the great tribulation (Matt. 24:22), the rise of the antichrist (2Thess 2:3-8), the signing of a peace treaty (Daniel 9:25-27), the invasion of Israel by Gentile forces (Zech. 14:12-13), and the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:16) – are all related to Israel – and will not take place until the end of the Church Age.

Some have used the crises in the Middle East to speculate that the end is a few years away, but this in itself doesn’t prove the end is near, because Israel has not yet regained its original biblical borders (David’s kingdom included what today exists as Jordan and Syria) and the rebuilding of the temple has not begun.

These key events are yet to happen (2Thess. 2:4). So, we can’t set dates based on current political situations.

3. Check your use of Bible texts.

Some Christians just grab a Bible verse, tie it with a current event and run off with it to create a hype, when the text doesn’t provide enough data to warrant such a conclusion.

In the book, The Islamic Antichrist, the author, riding on the wings of current Islamic resurgence, attempts to prove that the antichrist will be a Muslim.

The problem is that the proof texts he offered have to be astutely wrenched from their contexts to arrive at that conclusion. For example, the description of the antichrist in Daniel 11:36 doesn’t fit that of a Muslim.

A similar error is seen in The Four Horsemen by Alberto Rivera. He claimed that the pope is the antichrist and the Jesuit general is his “false prophet.” But these suggestions are incorrect for the fact that there is no final one world religion which will be dominated by the false prophet yet.

There are still many questions that remain unanswered at this time. Speculations occur when people attempt to view the future with the eyes of the present.

4. Distinguish between the last days of the church and the last days of Israel.

There are some prophecies about the last days of the church: its growth (Mt. 16:18); the gospel being proclaimed to the ends of the earth (Mt. 24:14) and the eventual rapture of the church into heaven (1Thess. 4:16-17).

The major end time prophecies apply to Israel. We must consider these distinctions in interpreting Bible prophecies. What applies to the last days of Israel does not apply to the last days of the church.

Only the Bible gives a clear understanding of the future and it’s all there for all to read and learn. You don’t need to pluck down some money to buy “secret mysteries of the Last Days” DVD or Bible code books.

Why run around with guesswork and suggestions, when the Lord has given us what we need to know in His Word?

We are not to get tossed to and fro with the hypes but “stand firm” and hold to the teachings of Scripture (2Thess. 2:17). We are to watch, stay ready and keep serving until He comes.