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Chuck Smith’s Prophetic Pronouncements Under the Microscope
American Vision ^ | 11/19/2007 | Gary DeMar

Posted on 11/19/2007 9:57:14 AM PST by topcat54

Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel and senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, has authored another prophecy book: The Final Act: Setting the Stage of the End Times Drama. The book carries the ringing endorsement of Tim LaHaye, co-author with Jerry Jenkins of the widely popular Left Behind series of prophetic novels. LaHaye offers the following complimentary words: “This unique dramatic treatment is both true to the Scripture and practical—both hallmarks of all Pastor Chuck’s teaching! I found it very interesting.” In addition to his new prophecy book, Smith has written the Foreword to Breaking the Apocalypse Code co-authored by Mark Hitchcock and Thomas Ice. Breaking the Apocalypse Code is said to be a “point-by-point” critique of Hank Hanegraaff’s The Apocalypse Code (2007).

I found it ironic that LaHaye would write that Smith’s teaching is “true to the Scripture” on the subject of prophecy when Smith has been so wrong on the subject for more than 30 years. I was surprised that Ice would want Smith to publish1 and write the Foreword to a book on prophecy when Ice has written “Why the Bible Still Prohibits Date Setting.”2 Has Smith read Ice’s paper, and has Ice read Smith’s prophecy books? Norman Geisler’s claim that Breaking the Apocalypse Code is “an excellent point-by-point critique of the fallacious claims . . . [of the] preterist interpolation of the End Times” stunned me since Smith has had a long history of making “fallacious claims” in his “interpolation of the end times.” Dr. Geisler is the dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary and the founder and president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics. He is applying a hermeneutical double standard, critiquing the interpretive methodology of Hanegraaff’s Apocalypse Code (a legitimate academic exercise) but saying nothing of the date-setting methodology of Chuck Smith.

In his 1978 book End Times, Chuck Smith wrote the following: “If I understand Scripture correctly, Jesus taught us that the generation which sees the ‘budding of the fig tree,’ the birth of the nation of Israel, will be the generation that sees the Lord’s return. I believe that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”3 If this prophetic math sounds familiar, it’s because the same end-time logic was used by Hal Lindsey in The Late Great Planet Earth (1970).

In order to cover himself against charges of date setting, Smith wrote that “it is possible that Jesus is dating the beginning of the generation from 1967, when Jerusalem was again under Israeli control for the first time since 587 B.C. We don’t know for sure which year actually marks the beginning of the last generation.”4 A 1967 starting point to begin calculations and a 40-year generation would mean the rapture should have taken place before 2000. While it sounds like Smith is simply engaging in conjecture, in his book Future Survival, which was first published in 1978 and updated in 1980, his prophetic dogmatism is retained:

“We’re the generation that saw the fig tree bud forth, as Israel became a nation again in 1948. As a rule, a generation in the Bible lasts 40 years. . . . Forty years after 1948 would bring us to 1988.”

Keep in mind that it’s not only important to show where Smith was wrong in his predictions, it’s crucial that we understand that he is using an interpretive model that leads him to make these predictions. We could easily turn Geisler’s criticism around and point it at Smith and much of the date-setting rhetoric of futurists: “This is an excellent point-by-point critique of the fallacious claims . . . [of the] futurist interpolation of the End Times”.

Smith wrote in 1980 that from his “understanding of biblical prophecies, he was “convinced that the Lord [would come] for His Church before the end of 1981.” He did add that he “could be wrong” but went on to say in the same sentence that “it’s a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief.”5 Notice the last statement. He may have voiced some doubts, but actions speak louder than words. He made plans based on his beliefs that were founded on his “understanding of biblical prophecies.” Remember, LaHaye wrote that Smith’s teaching is “true to the Scripture” which is a hallmark “of all of Pastor Chuck’s teaching.” On these and other prophetic claims, the test of time has proved Smith to be wrong.

On December 31, 1979, Smith told his church audience that the rapture would take place before the end of 1981. He went on to say that because of ozone depletion Revelation 16:8 would be fulfilled during the tribulation period: “And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.”6 In addition, Halley’s Comet would pass near the Earth in 1986 and would wreak havoc on the earth for those left behind as debris from its million-mile-long tail pummeled the earth.7 Here’s how Smith explained the prophetic scenario in his book Future Survival which is nearly identical to what appears on the taped message:

“The Lord said that towards the end of the Tribulation period the sun would scorch men who dwell upon the face of the earth (Rev. 16). The year 1986 would fit just about right! We’re getting close to the Tribulation and the return of Christ in glory. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.”8

Nothing significant happened in 1986 related to Halley’s Comet, and there is no reason why it should have since it’s been a predictable phenomenon for more than two millennia that can be seen every 75 to 76 years. In fact, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was a better prophet than Smith. Clemens was born on November 30, 1835, two weeks after the comet’s appearance. In his biography, he said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’” Clemens died on April 21, 1910, the day following the comet’s appearance.9

To be fair, in a March 30, 1989 interview with William Alnor, Smith admitted that he “was guilty of coming close” to “date setting,” and this was wrong.10 But when we look back over Smith’s statements about the timing of specific prophetic events, we can see that he did more than come close to date setting. He wrote, “We’re the generation that saw the fig tree bud forth, as Israel became a nation again in 1948.” We are nearly 60 years removed from the 1948 founding of Israel. The interpretive methodology used by Smith, Lindsey, Dave Hunt, and others making the 1948–1988 connection was fundamental to their claim that they were following a literal hermeneutic. If a literal hermeneutic results in near certainty of when prophetic events will take place but ends in a colossal miscalculation on a key element of their system, how should the interpretive methodology that brought them to that calculation be evaluated? To paraphrase Jesus, An interpretive tree is known by its fruit, and the 1948–1988 timetable has turned out to be rotten fruit no matter how you slice it.


1. The books are published by The Word for Today, the publishing arm of Calvary Chapel and The Word for Today Ministries.

2. Thomas Ice, “Why the Bible Still Prohibits Date Setting”

3. Chuck Smith, End Times (Costa Mesa, CA: The Word for Today, 1978), 35.

4. Chuck Smith, End Times, 36.

5. Chuck Smith, Future Survival (Costa Mesa, CA: The Word for Today, [1978] 1980), 17.

6. Chuck Smith, Future Survival, 20.

7. Halley’s Comet also appeared in A.D. 66 and passed over Jerusalem, four years before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans.

8. Chuck Smith, Future Survival, 21.

9. Twain Quotes - Haley's Comet

10. Chuck Smith’s interview with William M. Alnor in Soothsayers of the Second Advent (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1989.


Gary DeMar is the President of American Vision.
Permission to reprint granted by American Vision P.O. Box 220, Powder Springs, GA 30127, 800-628-9460.


TOPICS: Theology
KEYWORDS: bookreview; calvarychapel; chucksmith; dispensationalism; endtimes; futurism; pastor
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1 posted on 11/19/2007 9:57:15 AM PST by topcat54
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To: ItsOurTimeNow; HarleyD; suzyjaruki; nobdysfool; jkl1122; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Dr. Eckleburg; ...
Reformed Eschatology Ping List (REPL)

"For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:22)

2 posted on 11/19/2007 9:57:49 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54
What??? Nothing on re-instituting animal sacrifices during the Millennium? I’m so disappointed.
3 posted on 11/19/2007 10:01:28 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: topcat54

In the 70’s and part of the 80’s, the slogan, “Jesus is coming soon” was painted on the east side of one of their buildings. I often wondered why they painted over it.


4 posted on 11/19/2007 10:18:45 AM PST by BigFinn
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: topcat54
Page mentioned in the article from Smith's book Future Survival.


6 posted on 11/19/2007 10:25:02 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54

Politics makes lousy theology.


7 posted on 11/19/2007 10:27:47 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: topcat54; Alex Murphy; Lord_Calvinus; 1000 silverlings; Lee N. Field; tabsternager; wmfights; ...
I found it ironic that LaHaye would write that Smith's teaching is "true to the Scripture" on the subject of prophecy when Smith has been so wrong on the subject for more than 30 years.

HISTORY ERASER BUTTON

8 posted on 11/19/2007 10:33:50 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Blogger; BigFinn
"In the 70’s and part of the 80’s, the slogan, “Jesus is coming soon” was painted on the east side of one of their buildings. I often wondered why they painted over it."

They shouldn’t have.

I think it's the "soon" part that got many of them in trouble. Same today. The temple's gonna be built real soon now and Messiah will (re)appear.


9 posted on 11/19/2007 10:33:56 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54

LOL. Only if it’s decaf.


10 posted on 11/19/2007 10:36:59 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: topcat54

remind me which verse the Dispies use to claim the “budding” happened with the secular apostate nation now occupying Jerusalem.


11 posted on 11/19/2007 10:53:20 AM PST by Lord_Calvinus
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To: topcat54

Soon isn’t an issue. It is soon. Observing the times, it is soon. Soon could be 100 years. Soon could be tomorrow. We should always be ready and watching.

On June 25th, 2008 at 12:00 AM. That’s a problem.


12 posted on 11/19/2007 11:10:05 AM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: Lord_Calvinus

Why not ask a “dispie” yourself?


13 posted on 11/19/2007 11:11:00 AM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; topcat54

lol, can we all say in unison, “ker-ching ker-ching”, let the money roll on in


14 posted on 11/19/2007 11:17:26 AM PST by 1000 silverlings (Everything that deceives also enchants: Plato)
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To: topcat54

read later


15 posted on 11/19/2007 11:25:11 AM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: Blogger; BigFinn; Dr. Eckleburg; 1000 silverlings; Lord_Calvinus; tabsternager; Lee N. Field; ...
Soon isn’t an issue. It is soon. Observing the times, it is soon. Soon could be 100 years. Soon could be tomorrow. We should always be ready and watching.

You forgot the obligatory reference to 2 Peter 3:8.

The word "soon" implies a chronology that is unknowable. To say that we do not know when Jesus will return but it must be "soon" is both illogical and unbiblical.

I think you are confusing "soon" with "immanent". The Church has always believed in the imminent second coming, but not something that would necessarily happen soon.

16 posted on 11/19/2007 11:36:46 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: Lord_Calvinus
remind me which verse the Dispies use to claim the “budding” happened with the secular apostate nation now occupying Jerusalem.

Matthew 24:32ff, but not Luke 21:29ff. The second passage undermines greatly the interpretation of the "fig tree" as last days Israel.

17 posted on 11/19/2007 11:39:17 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54; Alex Murphy; Dr. Eckleburg; HarleyD; irishtenor

18 posted on 11/19/2007 12:00:12 PM PST by Gamecock (Gamecock: Declared anathema by the Council of Trent!)
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To: topcat54

Soon implies just that, soon. And it isn’t an unknowable chronology. It is known to the Father. By His standards, it is soon. And, by our standards it is imminent, whether that be tomorrow or 100 years from now.


19 posted on 11/19/2007 12:43:59 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: topcat54; Blogger

***Matthew 24:32ff, but not Luke 21:29ff. The second passage undermines greatly the interpretation of the “fig tree” as last days Israel.***

Thanks, topcat. I wonder what the Dispies are going to do when their new dating from 1967 falls apart as well? Time is just tick tick tickin’ away on that one.


20 posted on 11/19/2007 12:46:44 PM PST by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Blogger; BigFinn; Dr. Eckleburg; 1000 silverlings; Lord_Calvinus; tabsternager; Lee N. Field
Soon implies just that, soon. And it isn’t an unknowable chronology. It is known to the Father. By His standards, it is soon. And, by our standards it is imminent, whether that be tomorrow or 100 years from now.

Wait a second (literally). Didn‘t you say earlier, "Observing the times, it is soon"?

What signs are you observing that it could be another 100 years away?

Could be a 1000 or 10,000 years?

21 posted on 11/19/2007 12:55:20 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: Lord_Calvinus; Blogger
Thanks, topcat. I wonder what the Dispies are going to do when their new dating from 1967 falls apart as well? Time is just tick tick tickin’ away on that one.

I hear uber-dispie Jack Van Impe has a new date of 2012 based on the supposed end of the Incan calendar. One might legitimately wonder what "sign" that fits into?

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

22 posted on 11/19/2007 1:19:03 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: Blogger
Sounds like you are not the only one confused about the word "soon".

"This book [The Final Act] is a relevant reminder for all believers to be ready for the soon return of Jesus Christ." -- Greg Laurie

"Soon" seems to be a throw-away word in that sentence.

23 posted on 11/19/2007 1:25:06 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54
"immanent" and "imminent" are two different words. They aren't synonyms.

I hear uber-dispie Jack Van Impe has a new date of 2012 based on the supposed end of the Incan calendar.

Maybe Jack's decided the BoM makes sense after all, which would mean the Incan calendar is really "Biblical," in a manner of speaking, since the Incans were really Israelites ... you get the picture.

24 posted on 11/19/2007 1:41:06 PM PST by Campion
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To: topcat54

The “Christian” attitude exhibited by non-dispensationalists on these threads is so underwhelming.

As is the use of straw men like Van Impe to prove points.


25 posted on 11/19/2007 1:47:32 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: Campion
"immanent" and "imminent" are two different words. They aren't synonyms.

Thank you for your correction. I meant "immanent".

26 posted on 11/19/2007 1:49:23 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: Blogger; BigFinn; Dr. Eckleburg; 1000 silverlings; Lord_Calvinus; tabsternager; Lee N. Field
As is the use of straw men like Van Impe to prove points.

How is it a straw man? Van Impe’s a real dispensationalist with impeccable credentials among the faithful. He’s merely reading the signs of the times just as he has been taught to do by all the faithful dispensationalist fathers and coming up with a date. No other dispensationalist is really in a position to say he’s wrong, at least not until January 2013.

It worked for Hal Lindsey and Chuck Smith. And they are both out there still selling their trinkets to the masses.

That’s not a straw man. They use the same interpretive principles to arrive as their conclusions as you do. No?

27 posted on 11/19/2007 1:55:37 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54
"I hear uber-dispie Jack Van Impe has a new date of 2012 based on the supposed end of the Incan calendar."

Are you sure you're not referring to the Mayan calendar which says the world ends on 12-21-2012?

28 posted on 11/19/2007 2:02:09 PM PST by joebuck
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To: Blogger
Soon isn’t an issue. It is soon. Observing the times, it is soon. Soon could be 100 years. Soon could be tomorrow. We should always be ready and watching.

On June 25th, 2008 at 12:00 AM. That’s a problem.

Shavuot on June 9th, 2008 would be a better date.

29 posted on 11/19/2007 2:09:28 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: Blogger
The “Christian” attitude exhibited by non-dispensationalists on these threads is so underwhelming.

Kind of a one sided assessment, eh?

As is the use of straw men like Van Impe to prove points.

Van Impe is "low hanging fruit". In what way is he a straw man?

30 posted on 11/19/2007 2:13:41 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: XeniaSt
Or June 15th ,2008 depending how you reckon.
shalom b'shem Yah'shua

31 posted on 11/19/2007 2:19:01 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: joebuck
Are you sure you're not referring to the Mayan calendar which says the world ends on 12-21-2012?

Jack answers your question on YouTube. Doesn't mention the Mayans, only the Incas and Aztecs. Jack's offers a titillating response, just enough to get the juices of the faithful flowing.

Could it be? We report, you decide.

32 posted on 11/19/2007 2:21:54 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: XeniaSt; Blogger; BigFinn; Dr. Eckleburg; 1000 silverlings; Lord_Calvinus; tabsternager; ...
Shavuot on June 9th, 2008 would be a better date.

Better date for what and why?

33 posted on 11/19/2007 2:23:11 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism is a disease ... as contagious as polio.")
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To: topcat54
"Jack answers your question on YouTube. Doesn't mention the Mayans, only the Incas and Aztecs."

Then Jack needs to do a little more research. The calendar in question is the Mayan calendar. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to take anything he says seriously.

34 posted on 11/19/2007 2:24:34 PM PST by joebuck
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To: topcat54

Maybe they’ll find the Mayan calendar that starts in 2013. The stones are only so big.


35 posted on 11/19/2007 2:30:51 PM PST by 1000 silverlings (Everything that deceives also enchants: Plato)
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To: joebuck
Keep this in mind when deciding whether to take anything he says seriously.

Oh, don't worry. I doubt topcat takes JvI seriously as anything but a bad example.

36 posted on 11/19/2007 2:41:50 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: Blogger

***The “Christian” attitude exhibited by non-dispensationalists on these threads is so underwhelming.

As is the use of straw men like Van Impe to prove points.***

Did I miss where he was declared a heretic by Dispensationalists? I’m sorry that he is an obvious embarrassment to Dispensationalists.


37 posted on 11/19/2007 2:44:18 PM PST by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Lee N. Field; topcat54; Dr. Eckleburg

JVI has nice hair.


38 posted on 11/19/2007 2:44:41 PM PST by 1000 silverlings (Everything that deceives also enchants: Plato)
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To: Lord_Calvinus

I would call him a heretic, and I’m a dispensationalist.


39 posted on 11/19/2007 3:06:25 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: Lee N. Field

Not a one-sided assessment. I have experienced nothing but the most hateful vitriol from non-dispensationalists on these threads as to rightfully put the quotations around “Christian.” It isn’t Christian. It is demonic. Even if we have missed it on our eschatology, which I do not believe we have, it is not an excuse for the level of rhetoric exhibited on these threads. I can only compare it to the CREVO threads, and frankly, I think some of the lost folks on those threads are more civil than some of the folks who no matter what you say want to demonize you on these threads.

As to Van Impe, he is not low hanging fruit any more than Charles Taze Russell would be. Van Impe has stepped well beyond where he should have scripturally and most well-informed dispensationalists would tell you that. Of course, that matters not to this crowd. But even Rapture Ready lists him as a bad apple.
http://raptureready.com/who/rap41.html


40 posted on 11/19/2007 3:12:12 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: Blogger
I have experienced nothing but the most hateful vitriol from non-dispensationalists

And dispensationalists in recent threads are not guilty of same?

41 posted on 11/19/2007 3:24:52 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: Lee N. Field

I haven’t followed the recent threads, so I couldn’t say. But by the third post on this thread, nastiness had already started. The thread itself, judging from whom it was posted, was posted for the very reason of mocking dispensationalists. As such, I have chosen to say “no thanks” to the majority of such threads recently.


42 posted on 11/19/2007 3:33:51 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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To: Blogger
I haven’t followed the recent threads, so I couldn’t say. But by the third post on this thread, nastiness had already started. The thread itself, judging from whom it was posted, was posted for the very reason of mocking dispensationalists. As such, I have chosen to say “no thanks” to the majority of such threads recently.

Join me in prayer that the preterists discover and acquire the lovingkindness of Yah'shua

43 posted on 11/19/2007 3:36:18 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: Blogger
But by the third post on this thread, nastiness had already started.

Probably because the current thread is following hard on the heels of this one. 1400 posts and climbing.

44 posted on 11/19/2007 4:04:11 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Dispensationalism -- threat or menace?")
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To: Alex Murphy

I am all the time offering burnt sacrifices of chicken and ribs to the family on my gas BBQ. Does that count?


45 posted on 11/19/2007 4:07:29 PM PST by irishtenor (History was written before God said "Let there be light.")
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To: irishtenor
I am all the time offering burnt sacrifices of chicken and ribs to the family on my gas BBQ. Does that count?

A gas BBQ? You heathen!

46 posted on 11/19/2007 4:13:18 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: Blogger; topcat54
But by the third post on this thread, nastiness had already started.

That third post would be mine. Please ping me if you're going to talk about me.

The thread itself, judging from whom it was posted, was posted for the very reason of mocking dispensationalists. As such, I have chosen to say “no thanks” to the majority of such threads recently.

And ping topcat54 when you talk about him, too.

47 posted on 11/19/2007 4:21:01 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: 1000 silverlings; Dr. Eckleburg; topcat54
lol, can we all say in unison, “ker-ching ker-ching”, let the money roll on in

And we can all say "Amen" to that. People who make such statement and then prove to be wrong used to be stoned. Now they're simply allowed to re-edit their material and people continue to buy.

48 posted on 11/19/2007 4:42:58 PM PST by HarleyD (97% of all statistics are made up.)
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To: Alex Murphy

I would repent, but it makes the job so much easier :>) Just think how much more efficient the Hebrews would have been if THEY had gas!


49 posted on 11/19/2007 4:56:22 PM PST by irishtenor (History was written before God said "Let there be light.")
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To: Alex Murphy; topcat54

Ping. Happy?


50 posted on 11/19/2007 5:22:17 PM PST by Blogger (Propheteuon.com)
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