The Prophets who Cry ‘Wolf’!

History is filled with prophecy speculators who claimed that some form of the end was on the horizon.

“When Mark Twain was in London, a rumor of his death or imminent death reached the editor of the New York Journal, who sent its London correspondent the following cablegrams: ‘IF MARK TWAIN [IS] DYING IN POVERTY IN LONDON SEND 500 WORDS’ and ‘IF MARK TWAIN HAS DIED IN POVERTY SEND 1000 WORDS.’ The Journal’s man showed the cable to Mark Twain, who suggested the substance of a reply to the effect that a cousin, James Ross Clemens, had been seriously ill in London, but had recovered. [Twain’s] reply ended with ‘[THE] REPORT OF MY DEATH [IS] GREATLY EXAGGERATED.’”1

Like the report of Mark Twain’s death, predictions of the end of the world and/or other significant eschatological events have been greatly exaggerated. Here are a few failed contemporary examples from various prophecy writers:

Reginald Dunlop, The Coming Russian Invasion of America — Why? (1977):

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“World-wide famine by 1986 … many will die as a result … the United States will feel hunger pains for the first time…. Human body parts will be sold in stores.”

Chuck Smith, Future Survival (1978):

  • “From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”

Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon (1980):

  • On the Jupiter Effect in 1982: “This alignment causes great storms on the sun’s surface, which in turn affect each of the planets…. They will slow down Earth’s axis slightly…. Tremendous strain on the Earth’s faults [will] touch off earthquakes … great floods and … nuclear power plant meltdowns.”

Jeane Dixon, quoted in Are These the Last Days? (1970):

  • “A child, born somewhere in the Middle East shortly before 7 A.M. EST on February 5, 1962, will revolutionize the world.”

Dave Hunt, Global Peace And the Rise of Antichrist (1990):

  • “Somewhere, at this very moment, on planet Earth, the Antichrist is almost certainly alive — biding his time, awaiting his cue.”

Hal Lindsey, The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon:

  • “This man [Antichrist] is alive today — alive and waiting to come forth.”
  • “The decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it.”


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Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

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