Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Late Great Planet Earth...is still here Hal!

For some time I was considering getting Hal Lindsey's 1970 version of The Late Great Planet Earth to read through and see what predictions he made (or said the Bible makes) that did not come true. Well, had I ordered it and got it sent to me here in China, it would have cost a fair bit and take up to 3 months to arrive. As keen as I am to read into it all, I am not keen enough to spend that much money, so I abandoned that idea. Instead, I did some digging online and it seems that there were many others, Christian and non-Christian, who came up with the idea long before me. Some Christians who don't share Lindsey's views on Biblical prophecy rip into him on theological or interpretative grounds while the unbelievers tended to just show what he said and what did or didn't happen after the fact.

I am going to go with the latter form and just put the first of his failed predictions in order as they appear in his book (which has not been revised and is still available). I will also provide some links for further reading.

Jesus will return by 1988

“When the signs just given begin to multiply and increase in scope it’s similar to the certainty of leaves coming off the fig tree. But the most important sign in Matthew has to be the restoration of the Jews to the land in the rebirth of Israel. Even the figure of speech ‘fig tree’ has been a historic symbol of national Israel. When the Jewish people, after nearly 2,000 years of exile, under relentless persecution, became a nation again on 14 May 1948 the ‘fig tree’ put forth its first leaves.
Jesus said that this would indicate that He was ‘at the door,’ ready to return. Then he said, ‘Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.’ (Matthew 24:34 NASB).
What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs -- chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like forty years. If this is a correct deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied the Bible all their lives believe that this is so.” pp.53-54.

The Jewish Temple will be rebuilt and desecrated

“The main points are these: first, there will be a reinstitution of the Jewish worship according to the Law of Moses with sacrifices and oblations in the general time of Christ’s return; secondly, there is to be a desecration of the Jewish Temple in the time immediately preceding Christ’s return.
We must conclude that a third Temple will be rebuilt upon its ancient site in old Jerusalem.
If this is the time that the writer believes it is, there will soon begin the construction of this Temple.” p. 57.

The USSR/Russia will be at war with Israel

“Shortly after the restoration of the Jews in the land of Israel, an incredible enemy will arise to its ‘uttermost north.’ This enemy will be composed of one great nation which will gather around it a number of allies. It is this ‘Northern Confederacy’ that is destined to plunge the world into its final great war which Christ will return to end.” p. 59.
“For centuries, long before the current events could have influenced the interpreter’s ideas, men have recognized that Ezekiel’s prophecy about the northern commander referred to Russia.
Dr. John Cummings, writing in 1864, said, ‘The king of the North I conceive to be the autocrat of Russia . . . that Russia occupies a place, and a very momentous place, in the prophetic word has been admitted by almost all expositors.’” p. 63.
“In the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, such men as Bishop Lowth, Dr. Cumming, and Rev. Chamberlain, were ridiculed by many of their contemporaries. After all, who could have imagined that what we now see in modern communist Russia -- a country founded upon Atheism?” p. 65.
“You need only to take a globe to verify this exact geographical fix. There is only one nation to the ‘uttermost north’ of Israel -- the U.S.S.R. . . . General Dayan’s statement that ‘The next war will not be with the Arabs but with the Russians’ has a considerably deeper significance, doesn’t it?” p. 66.

The USSR and Iran Become Allies to give a strategic advantage
“All authorities agree on who Persia is today. It is modern Iran. This is significant because it is being wooed to join the United Arab Republic in its hostility against Israel. The Russians are seeking to gain footholds in Iran by various overtures of aid. In order to mount a large-scale invasion predicted by Ezekiel, Russia would need Iran as an ally. It would be much more difficult to move a large ground army across the Caucasian Mountains that border Turkey, than the Elburz Mountains that border Iran. Iran’s general terrain is also much easier to cross than Turkey’s. Transportation, however, will be needed through both countries.” p. 67.

Africa will be largely Communist
“The sobering conclusion is this: many of the African nations will be united and allied with the Russians in the invasion of Israel. This is in accord with Daniel’s graphic description of this invasion (Daniel 11:36-45).
The Russian force is called ‘the King of the North’ and the sphere of power which the African (Cush) force will be a part of is called ‘the King of the South.’
One of the most active areas of evangelism for the Communist ‘gospel’ is in Africa. As we see further developments in this area in the future, we will realize that it will become converted to Communism.” p. 68.

Libya will join the USSR in its attack on Israel
“The conclusion is that Russia’s ally, Put, certainly included more than what is now called Libya. Once again there are current events to show the beginning of this alliance.
The territory of Northern Africa is becoming solidly pro-Soviet. Algeria appears to be already Communist and allied with Russia.
As we watch this area in the next few years we shall see indications that it is destined to join the southern sphere of power which will attack Israel along with the ‘King of the North.’” p. 69.

Eastern Europe will back the USSR

“The conclusion is that Gomer and its hordes are a part of the vast area of modern Eastern Europe which is totally behind the Iron Curtain. This includes East Germany and the Slovak countries.” p. 70.
They will use a cavalry to invade the Middle East
“The conclusion is that Togarmah is part of modern Southern Russia and is probably to origin of the Cossacks and other people of the Eastern part of Russia. It is interesting to note that the Cossacks have always loved horses and have been recognized as producing the finest army of cavalry in the world. Today they are reported to have several divisions of cavalry. It is believed by some military men that cavalry will actually be used in the invasion of the Middle East just as Ezekiel and other prophets literally predicted. During the Korean War the Red Chinese proved that in rugged mountain terrain, horses are still the fastest means of moving a large attacking force into battle zones.
Isn’t it a coincidence that such terrain stand between Russia and the Israeli?” p. 70.

African nations will align themselves with the Arab nations
“From the standpoint of this study of alliances which make up the King of the South we saw a valuable link in the alignment of several black African nations with the Arabs in their determined plan to ‘liberate’ Palestine from Israel. This is another confirmation of prophecy as we have seen from Old Testament prophets.” p. 74.

Egypt attacks Israel
“Current events in the Middle East have prepared the stage for Egypt’s last act in the great drama which will climax with the finale, Christ’s personal return to earth.
We are not attempting to read into today’s happenings any events to prove some vague thesis. This is not necessary. All we need to do is know the Scriptures in their proper context and then watch with awe while men and countries, movements and nations, fulfill the roles that God’s prophets said that they would.” p. 77.
Our interest here is the revelation that Egypt will attack the revived state of Israel, which will them be under the control of a false Messiah. This man will probably be a Jew who works closely with the world dictator who will them come to power in Rome.” p. 77

Russia Invades Israel again
“This immediately triggers another invasion of Israel by Russia who is here called ‘the king of the north.’” p. 77.

Egypt unites the Arabs and Africans
“Are you discovering more pieces of this stirring prophetic puzzle? The Egyptian plan to unite the Arabs and black Africans into a ‘third world force’ seems to be fulfilling what the prophets have said.” p. 79.
The Nile River is diverted
“If you think the famous Aswan Dam, which diverts the main channel of the Nile River, will help the Egyptian situation, you’re mistaken. Somehow the headwaters of the Nile will be diverted and that important river will be a parched piece of real estate. Imagine the terrifying implications of this to an Egyptian.” p. 79.

The Antichrist takes Egypt
“Isaiah warns of a powerful dictator who will invade and take them over: ‘. . . I will give over the Egyptians into the hands of a hard master; and a fierce [merciless] king will rule over them’ (Isaiah 19:4 RSV). This refers to the Antichrist of Rome who will possess Egypt after Russia is destroyed.” p. 79

“We have seen that current events are fitting together simultaneously into the precise pattern of predicted events. Israel has returned to Palestine and revived the nation. Jerusalem is under Israeli control. Russia has emerged as a great northern power is the avowed enemy of revived Israel. The Arabs are joining in a concerted effort to liberate Palestine under Egyptian leadership. The black African nations are beginning to move from sympathy toward the Arabs to an open Alliance in their ‘liberation’ cause.
It’s happening. God is putting it all together. God may have his meaning for the ‘now generation’ which will have a greater effect on mankind than anything since Genesis 1. Will you be ready if we are to be part of the prophetic ‘now generation’?” p. 80.

Hal Lindsey's Prophecies: A Study of The Late Great Planet Earth

Further Reading:

Hal Lindsey: The Father of Apocalyptic Christian Zionism
Hal Lindsey’s Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle: Five Predictions that Failed!
Hal Lindsey Oracle (Lindsey's official website)


Rhology said...

Hi Troy,

Not sure if you're interested in hearing what a Xtian has to say about Hal Lindsey, but what the hey!
Hal Lindsey = false prophet.
And as far as anyone who takes the Bible seriously should care, that's the end of the discussion. He is not worth listening to. He is no spokesman for anything I care about.

And to be clear; once he predicted when Jesus would return, he ran completely out of any credibility. The fact that Jesus didn't return when Hal said so is more or less moot - nobody knows when Jesus will return.

Anyway, it makes me hope you're just putting Hal L's book up here to 1) poke fun at idiots who don't listen to the Bible or reason and so get taken in by stupid fads and/or 2) fill space b/c maybe you didn't have a better idea that day. It certainly doesn't do anythg to strike some kind of blow against Christian belief.


Troy Waller said...


Thanks for dropping by my blog.

I realise that Xianity is a large body of people with various beliefs. I am simply taking pot shots at aspects that I once knew. Lindsey wasn't such a big shot around my Xian stomping grounds but his end-times evangelist clones were. Barry Smith was a big name in Australian Pentecostal circles. I moved out of that shit into more mainstream Evangelical circles where End-times evangelists wouldn't have been welcome. All the same, it is IS an aspect of your church. :)

Actually, it is an ancient and ongoing aspect of your church. The Apostles, the early church and then numerous people in various times throughout Church history all taught Jesus was coming back in their lifetime. Even Jesus himself got it wrong! I have a link to an article on my blog which gives a good overview of the supposed 1st centrury beliefs. http://whyidontbelieve.blogspot.com/2007/01/lowdown-on-gods-showdown.html

Rhology said...

Hi Troy,

I can see why you might think that Hal and his buds would be somehow "an aspect of my church" but I assure you that neither I nor pretty much anyone in my local church have an opinion of him substantially different than what I wrote in my earlier post. Not everyone is taken in by end-times hysteria, just FYI.

That article from Babinski is telling for several reasons. First, it is written by Ed Babinski, he of Debunking Christianity. That blog is a mishmash of amazingly ill-thought-out attacks on Christianity, and he is a proud contributor along w/ the verbose John Loftus. Anyway, you who are trying to run a blog against Christian teaching might want to be careful about associating yourself w/ people who are so easily refuted.
Second, the entire premise of the article is basically a complaint that Jesus hasn't returned soon enough for Mr. Babinski. "Soon" and "shortly" and things like that are taken according to HIS meanings and HIS ideas, absent an explanation of why I should lend any credibility to HIS ideas.
And then when presented w/ a defeater, an explanation for why Jesus is "slow" to return, in the form of an explanation from Jesus' own best friend the Apostle Peter, Babinski resorts to lame backhands as:

"That such an attempt was made at all in a late-dated letter that someone chose to compose in the name of an apostle, demonstrates to what lengths the church felt it had to resort in order to save face."

"Such a late attempt to make excuses for Jesus' delay is an obvious failure. It makes a mockery of all the clear predictions made by earlier authors in the New Testament."

Anyway, I guess I was expecting a little bit better than that for someone who purports to have had good reasons to leave the faith.

Good talking to you!


Troy Waller said...

When I said, 'your church' I meant the Church historical and universal, not your local parish. What I mean by that is that Apolcalypticists have been around since the church's conception and pop up all the time.

Only in terms of the return of Christ does the word 'soon' take on a new meaning for Christians. To the rest of us (and to Christians in other areans of topic), 'soon' doesn't mean 'two millenia and then some' later. It means, 'soon'.

I too am a poster on Debunking Christianity and most of my posts there are also posted here. :) I am happy to be associated with them. Now that you know the ilk of my associates, perhaps you won't want to read by blog anymmore. :( Oh well, your loss. ;P

Thanks again for stopping by.

Rhology said...

Hi Troy,

I'm sure you can understand my desire not to be lumped in as like-minded w/ everyone who calls themselves by the same name I do.
Not too long ago I was discussing evolution w/ an evolutionist and he refused, flat-out refused, to deal w/ anythg that Daniel Dennett or R Dawkins said. I would imagine there are more than a few atheists in world history w/ whom you would not take kindly to being identified. So if you look at it that way, it might become clearer to you why I reject such an identification.

But I agree w/ you - Apocalyptohysteria is a feature of human nature and pops up all the time. But to relate it ONLY to Christians? Please - it is present in other religions as well, and it is present in your own. I refer to the constant drumbeat that humanity will destroy itself (ie, Apocalypse) in the form of nature-lovers and greenies. "Global cooling will kill nearly everyone in an upcoming Ice Age!" (circa 1983). "Global warming will kill everyone via global flooding and mayhem!" (circa 2000)
So yeah, it's present everywhere. To be fair, you should write your next post about Al Gore's 'documentary'. Not that I expect you to, but it's just a suggestion.

As for "soon," I expect it to take its meaning from the context. You are obviously not a student of Scripture and its context, which again, I don't expect you to be. But when you start spouting off like you know what "soon" and "shortly" in those psgs mean, it would behoove you to do at least a little study (or at least, more than Babinski did).

--I too am a poster on Debunking Christianity
>>Yeah, I saw that after I went over there and after I posted that last comment. Oops. ;-) But it does tell me alot about you by the company you keep. And the fact that you're happy to be associated w/ them...that's a shame. But OK.
Doesn't mean I'll stop coming here or commenting. It just lowers my expectations.


Troy Waller said...

Yu wrote:

Apocalyptohysteria is a feature of human nature and pops up all the time. But to relate it ONLY to Christians? Please - it is present in other religions as well, and it is present in your own.

You keep putting words in my mouth and then arguing with yourself. I never said Apocalypticism is soley a Christian phenomenon. What I said was "Apolcalypticists have been around since the church's conception and pop up all the time."

You are obviously not a student of Scripture and its context, which again, I don't expect you to be.

Now play nice. I have a dogmatic Evangelical Bible College degree and a secular university religion post grad degree. I don't read koine Greek anymore, but I know what 'soon' and 'shortly' mean.

But it does tell me alot about you by the company you keep.

None of them have ever quite been as rude to me as you have been. Perhaps you should go to your dictionary and look up 'tact' and 'gentleness'. They might help your cause.


Troy Waller said...

I've never met Rhology (the poster above) but as you can see he started to get a little personal in the posts above. His last post (which I have deleted) went way too far and got quite personal and insulting. from this point forward I will not publish his comments.

Moth said...

I met Alan Rhology on my blog also. It didn't take him long to get dorogatory and patronizing. What a complete git.

Anonymous said...

Tom said...
I read the book last year and since reading it have seen the prophecies becoming more possible. I came here to see the 'failed' prophecies of the book. In the summary you give I don't see any 'failed' prophecies. Some noteworthy things...
-1988?-Since Hal mentions 40 years is 'generally' how long a biblical generation is(he made no conclusion), I wouldn't say the book predicts the world will end in 1988, but that Jesus would return within the lifespan of Jews alive before 1948. Even so, time is running short as those people are in their 60's.
-African/Arab Alliance-this really seems to be happening at a feverish pitch in Northern Africa this year. Plus they all really hate Israel.
I think its important to notice when Lindsey says "I think/believe this will happen" and when Lindsey says "the Bible says this will happen". He points out when he is personally extrapolating and when he is strictly interpreting the scriptures.
A lot of what has been made of "failed" prophecy merely has to do with changes to names of the USSR and Iron Curtain. Which are just the names those regions were called. Those regions can still fulfill their prophetic role without proving Lindsey wrong, at least in my opinion.
The thing that struck me was that everything happening in the world right now plays to these prophecies coming to fruition and not getting 'less true'. I think the prophecies discussed in the late great planet earth can still all come true in the next decade or two...