I am old enough to remember the hullabaloo that arose in 1988, which marked the fortieth anniversary of Israel’s founding as a modern nation. Some people tied the date to a biblical “generation” consisting of forty years. They leaped to Jesus’s prediction in Matthew 24 concerning the end of the age, which reads, “This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (24:34).
One fanatic named Edgar Whisenant wrote a book titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. He sold 4.5 million copies of his book in the United States alone and many more in foreign markets. When the Rapture of the church did not happen in 1988, the author found his “mistake” and recalculated. He wrote another book predicting Jesus was coming in 1989, selling many more copies. You can guess what happened to Whisenant when the Rapture still did not happen in 1989.
People in every generation are fascinated by and fearful of the future at the same time. This desire leads some to seek the false advice of seers, fortune-tellers, mediums, and Bible hacks like Edgar Whisenant that claim to know what lies ahead. Always beware of such predictions.
Did Jesus make any trustworthy predictions about the future? He sure did. Most notably, during the final week of His earthly life, He gathered on the Mount of Olives with four of His disciples — Peter, James, John, and Andrew — and answered questions about the end of the age, including His Second Coming (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13:3-4).
Bible prophecy is always a worthy study because God’s promise for tomorrow is our hope for today. Of course, Jesus said unequivocally that only the Father knows the day or the hour when the end comes (Matthew 24:36). The angels don’t know, Jesus doesn’t know, and, obviously, Edgar Whisenant doesn’t know. What we do know is that when Jesus returns, His feet will touch the Mount of Olives from which He ascended to heaven after His resurrection (Zechariah 14:1-4, 9; Acts 1:9-12).