The Imminent Return of the Lord -- By: Earl D. Radmacher

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 04:3 (Jul 1998)
Article: The Imminent Return of the Lord
Author: Earl D. Radmacher

The Imminent Return of the Lord

Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D.*

Chafer Theological Seminary

[*Editor’s note: Earl Radmacher earned his Th.D. degree at Dallas Theological Seminary and presently serves as chancellor of Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. Besides being in demand as a conference speaker, Dr. Radmacher is the general editor of the Nelson Study Bible, and author of The Nature of the Church.]

“Our great-great-great grandchildren will not starve; they will be squeezed to death,” said Professor Heinz von Foerster of the University of Illinois when he set the date for the end of the world—”Doomsday”—for Friday, November 13, 2026. He based this conclusion on the exploding world population, which the professor says is to reach infinity and overrun the earth by that time, plus or minus some five years.1

Von Foerster is only one of many, however, who have attempted to set dates for the consummation of the earth’s history. In spite of the fact that Jesus said, But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mark 13:32), there have been those throughout history who seemingly could not resist the temptation to set dates. Using the septa-millennial theory as a basis, Augustine calculated that the end of human history would be about A.D. 650.2 When this did not materialize, others attempted to salvage the idea by resetting the clock for A.D. 1000, again for the year 1044, and then again for 1065.3

Another well-known date was 1843, the year set by William Miller, forerunner of the Millerites, or Adventists, in his work entitled Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ, About the Year 1843. Again, a well-respected and effective Bible teacher of the last generation attempted to find the fulfillment of the trumpet judgments of Revelation in the events of World War II. With reference to the second trumpet he said, “The ‘great mountain burning with fire’ seems a clear reference to Germany, suddenly ‘cast into the sea’ of nations.”4

One of the leading missionary statesmen of that same generation proclaimed that according to his calculations “the Great Tribulation, the revival of the Roman Empire, the reign of the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon, must take place before the year 1933.”5 How many others are there who have identified wi...

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