Two items about Christadelphians appear below:1 What They Said Would Happen J Hutchinson
2 Not All Are Prophetically Duped M Pearson
WHAT THEY SAID WOULD HAPPEN
A REVIEW OF CHRISTADELPHIAN PREDICTIONS
(Investigator 70, 2000 January)
Test for Predictions
For 150 years the Christadelphian sect has made numerous sensational predictions – supposedly based on the Bible – and have consistently been wrong.
In the early 1970's, for example, they declared that Britain would not enter the E.E.C. Neighbours of mine said: 'You wait and see – Britain will stay out of Europe. Bible prophecy says so.'
This prediction was based on books by John Thomas (1805-1871) the founder of Christadelphianism. Writing of a unification of Europe he listed the 'toe-kingdoms' as Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sardinia, Greece, Hungary, Lombardy and Bavaria, and commented:
I have not named Britain, although the island was a part of the Roman dominion. It is, however, no more imperative that she should be included in the ten than Egypt, which is also on Roman territory. Existing theories require Britain to be counted in; but I have nothing to do with them; I propose to show a more consistent interpretation that shall harmonise with other important and interesting parts of the prophetic word. (Elpis Israel 1849 p. 326)
It is impossible for Britain to be a toe.
(Exposition of Daniel 1921 edition p. 99)
London-born Dr. Thomas, emigrated to the USA at 27 in 1832. He joined a sect called Campbellites. At 33 he left the sect and founded his own sect, which in the 1860s he named Christadelphians. Meanwhile he played at being a prophet.
In 1848 Dr. Thomas wrote:
The judgment upon Ireland has been siting since 1786. That crisis was the beginning of a retribution of seventy-five years. This period is called 'THE END' – the end of the last period, of the continuance of modern Europe, as organised into ten kingdoms, and the ''Holy Roman Empire' in the days of Charlemagne. A.D. 1786 was the beginning of the end, 1848 the concluding of the end, and 1864 the termination of the period. The events of these seventy-five years are the fulfilment of the following words concerning modern Europe: 'The Judgment shall sit and they shall take away of his (the Little Horn's or Holy Roman) dominion, to consume and destroy it to the end.' … After 1864 Ireland and the rest of the world will enter upon a new era, in which peace, righteousness, and blessedness will reign in the midst of the nations. (Gospel Banner November 1864)
But in a few years, that is, about 1866, when the 1335 years terminate, he will 'arise to his inheritance' in the Kingdom of God.
(Anatolia, 1854, p. 97)
How highly important is this exhortation now, seeing that in about a dozen years the resurrection will have transpired, and no further invitation to inherit it be presented to the world. The glory that shall follow is great for the approved. The world is theirs, when all nations come and do homage before the Prince of Israel, because His judgements are made manifest. But before they can have 'power over the nations,' they must bind the strong that rule them. This is their mission at the end of 1335 years: 'To execute vengeance upon the nations, and punishment upon the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; this honor have all his saints.' From A.D. 1866 to A.D. 1911, a period of over forty years, they will be engaged in this work, and in the organising the world upon new and better principles. (Anatolia, p. 97)
The eleventh chapter of Daniel is therefore fulfilled as far as the first colon of the fortieth verse. The things that remain to be accomplished in the time of the end are briefly outlined in the remaining part of the chapter. The King of Egypt, having pushed at the Little Horn, as we have seen, the next event of the prophecy is an attack upon him by the King of the North, as it is written, `And the King shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships,' that is the Russian-Assyrian autocrat shall attack Constantinople by sea and land, and with such whirlwind impetuosity that the Sultan's dominion shall be swept away. The Russian fleet of forty ships in the Black Sea is in preparation for this event. The whirlwind nature of the attack implies, I think, not only its overwhelming character, but that when it is made, the allies of the Sultan will be off their guard; that is, by the autocrat's assurances of peace and moderation, for they will give him credit. Constantinople will be left unprotected and it will fall into his hands before they can come to the rescue… The King of the North, however, is to do no more than push; he is actually to 'come against' the Sultan, which can only be done by sitting down before Constantinople. Now between the pushing of the King of the South, in 1839, and the coming of the King of the North, there has, as yet, been an interval of ten years. It is not to be supposed that the Autocrat would attack the Porte without some provocation, real or pretended. It is, therefore, the mission of the Frogs, as we have seen in a former chapter, to bring about such a state of things as will involve the Autocrat and the Sultan in war. This situation has been created, and, it is probable, that when spring arrives the Sultan will be attacked, and that 1850 will see the end of the Ottoman dominion. The reader will perceive, then, that the operation of the Frog power comes in between the attacks of the King of Egypt and the Russo-Assyrians upon the Porte. The policy they originate is to involve the whole inhabitable in war, the more immediate effect of which will be, that the King of the North shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.' To 'enter into the countries' implies invasion, but to 'overflow and pass over indicates conquest. The result of the conquest will be that 'many countries shall be overthrown.' The war will have made terrible havoc with the Horn kingdoms and the Austro-Papal Empire; the former will have lost their independence, and the latter will have been 'destroyed unto the end.'
(Elpis Israel 1849 pp. 375-376. In the 14th edition, 1979, pp. 418-419)
Dr Thomas said that Queen Victoria was the latter day Queen of Sheba who would lay her crown at the feet of Christ upon his return to Jerusalem:
Victoria may therefore be said to be the Queen of Sheba and may possibly live (for she is young enough) to abdicate her throne and to lay her crown and treasures at the feet of the "greater than Solomon", who will dispose of her and her affairs according to his will.
(Exposition of Daniel 1921 edition pp. 96-97)
When their predictions
fail, the Christadelphians
cover them up and reinterpret. As the above example illustrates
reprint the books but delete the failed forecasts – sometimes with an
that the author's announcements proved premature.
Robert Roberts (1839-1898) became the chief exponent of Dr. Thomas' teachings in Great Britain. He picked up the prophetic microphone and castigated those before him who predicted and failed – but Dr Thomas was overlooked!
In his book Christendom Astray Roberts wrote:
No devout mind, receiving the word of God in all sincerity, as the manifestation of His mind – will be content to accept the fooleries of the past as a disproof of what God has made known; but under the conviction that underneath the misunderstood enigmas of his word, there lie important facts which He would have us understand, will anxiously endeavour to penetrate the obscurity which has baffled others, and get at the mind of God in a matter so important in its bearings on our mental relation to the purposes of God. (1940 edition p. 245)
Read some of his fanciful deductions:
In proof that the victorious invading power described in this testimony as "the king of the north", is Russia, let it be observed that it comes against another power, that is in occupation of the Holy Land. That power is Turkey. (C. A. p. 272)
[Note: Britain drove out the Turk – Not Russia ! ]
By establishing a Jewish colony in Palestine, the British Government will secure her communications with India – always vital to her safety. The motive of this Northern Caesar, in his advance upon the mountains of Israel – is apparent. In the attempt to sever British communications, he goes forth. (p. 274)The attitude of Russia points to an early probable attainment to the position assigned to her by the prophets in the time of the end. Her recovery from the disaster of the Crimean war is notorious to all the world. (p. 275)
[But Thomas had predicted the triumph of Russia in the Crimean war!]
In the scramble for the spoil, Russia will come in for the lion's share; Britain will doubtless lay her hand on Syria, to protect the highway to her Eastern possessions. (p. 275)
[What Eastern possessions?]
She [Russia] is to vanquish many countries, and hold a protectorate over them –Those countries include all the nations of the continent. (p 273)
[What European nations does Russia control today?]
The whole of Chapter 16, on the "Evidence that the End is Near", has been deleted… As it is desired that the book shall be left as the work of Robert Roberts, the only alternative was to delete the whole chapter, while referring readers to more recent Christadelphian publications for information on the evidence that the coming of Christ is near.
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C. P. Wauchope
Charles P. Wauchope of Adelaide, South Australia, was a prominent Christadelphian who guaranteed fulfilment of what he predicted. Wauchope's opening statement to his lectures on Armageddon in 1921was:
We want to build a house, as it were, and need to inspect all the material of which the house is comprised. Nothing should go into that building that will not bear the closest scrutiny. Let us be sure that when completed it will stand the test that all buildings should stand; and in laying the foundation tonight of that building, I make this request to you to take the utmost liberty of bringing your most critical minds to bear upon everything that may be said in the course of these addresses. I make this request, not in the spirit of boastfulness, but in the spirit of inquiry, because if the deductions I make are wrong, they are useless alike to you and to myself. Being the foundations of belief, unless they can stand the test – the severest test – of criticism, it is not the kind of belief that is well pleasing to the Author of religious truth.
Again, I ask that you will be good enough, in your interests and mine, to put these foundations of religious belief to the strictest examination that you can, and, having done so should then find that I am in disagreement with the Bible, you will be good enough to let me know. If, on the other hand, it should be found that your religious belief has been in disagreement with the Bible, it is for you to say what course you will pursue, although it may be permitted me to advise that you take a wiser course. (Four Lectures on Armageddon pages 5-6)
Walter Marks stated that:
Wauchope also claimed:
The purpose of God needs that the bands of the British Empire shall be strengthened so as to be well nigh unbreakable, and that what we see today proves that this Empire corresponds to the appellation given by Ezekiel. (The Troubled Nations 1915 p. 52)
The young lions will rally at the time of the end when Britain goes to the Armageddon of Nations for her 'last of fights.' (p. 61)
Britain stands related to Israel as her friend. What Britain has long been, what she is today and what she will be more in the future, is the especial friend of God's people.
Page 84 of The Troubled Nations gave 1934 for Christ's return.
All of Wauchope's predictions failed.
Many Christadelphian announcements focus on the establishment of Israel. The return of the Jews to Palestine is often cited as a fulfilment of Dr Thomas' predictions.
Logos leaflet No 14 (1988) advertised the May 1988 edition of the Christadelphian magazine Herald of the Coming Age. The leaflet's front cover says, 'ISRAEL 1948-1988 40 YEARS OF DESTINY'. And lower down, 'This Generation (40 years) shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.'
Behold, the shooting forth of the "fig tree" (a symbol representing Israel) – Commencing 1948. This generation (40 year period) "Shall not pass away till all be fulfilled." (p. 3)
Israel's 40th anniversary as a modern nation in 1988, concludes the end of a special time cycle in God's purpose. (p. 4)
Israel now stands upon the thresh-hold of a new cycle of time and opportunity that will usher in their king and Saviour: the Lord Jesus Christ. (p. 7)
Israel's 40 years of restoration to their land, and the liberation of Jerusalem, proves that this wonderful blessing is about to become a fact. Christ's return is near… (p. 16)
Russia and 'Israel's Grand Destiny'
That the Russians are in the final stages of preparation for world war III, with the sole objective of subjugating all nations, there can be no doubt. (The Logos Volume 50 1983 p. 59)
The Jews are to be restored to their land. But, unlike the Christadelphians who expect to be made immortal and omnipotent and reign over the world, Jews will have mortal existence but with life spans extended a few years. The Jews will be ruled by immortal Christadelphians and will be their servants.
In May, 1985 H.P. Mansfield, a South Australian Christadelphian, claimed:
The elevation of Mikhail Gorbachev to supreme power in Russia presents exciting possibilities. Is he Gog?
…the present head of the Soviet has sufficient youth on his side to make an exciting possibility that he is the man of destiny predicted by Ezekiel.
At 53 years of age, Gorbachev is young enough to fill the role of Gog…
Whether or not Gorbachev will prove to be Gog, the future alone can tell. But the indications, the straws in the wind, suggest a most exciting possibility.
And one last thought. He comes to power at a most significant period. For this year will witness the fortieth anniversary (a Bible generation) of the conclusion of World War 2, the emergence of Soviet Russia as a world power, and the revival of the State of Israel. We recall that Christ, enigmatically declared: "This generation shall not pass away until..." (The Logos Volume 51 pp. 225, 227, 228)
In Herald of The Coming Age (March 1985) Mansfield said:
It is of the utmost significance that today, Russia occupies East Germany… The prophecy requires an Eurasian confederacy of nations headed by Russia to invade the Middle East. (pp. 8-9)
Roger Stokes of South Australia wrote in 1987:
Russia and her Soviet empire and satellites, in their policies of conquest, domination, terror, anti-Semitism, and God-denying teachings mixed with Orthodox Church patronage, are almost prepared for the final major role they will play in the greatest conflict of all ages. (The Jews, Rome and Armageddon. (p. 323)
Christadelphians often suggest tomorrow's newspaper headlines:
Current Christadelphian Anticipations
Currently Christadelphians anticipate a massive coming together of nations against Israel that will devastate the Jews – only 1 in 3 will survive:
The residue of the people in the land, finally to be reduced to only one-third of the previous population.
(The Jews, Rome and Armageddon 1987 p. 376.)
…to share in the judgments which will descend upon the apocalyptic beast and his armies. (Christendom Astray p. 224)
The saints will be removed at a particular juncture of affairs without previous intimation… all that the world in general will know of it will be that a few obscure individuals holding fanatical doctrines will have disappeared. (Christendom Astray p. 225)
Next an unprecedented storm will annihilate the Russian hordes. At a later stage the European bloc will attack Christ and be destroyed.
The vengeance in relation to mankind as a whole will be destruction to the majority, and discipline to the remnant. Multitudes will perish by war and pestilence; multitudes more will fall victims to the fire that will descend… The earth's population will be greatly thinned – leaving a residue composed of the meek and submissive and well disposed of mankind. (Christendom Astray p. 221)
The saints [immortalised Christadelphians] will be associated with the Lord Jesus in destroying the political, ecclesiastical, and social systems… This is a work of devastation… It will involve much destruction of life…bloody and scathing the judgments ministered at the hands of Jesus and the saints. (p. 223)
…the first is before the battle of Armageddon; and the second after it; but both pre-millennial. (Elpis Israel p. 441)
Judah's submission to the Lord Jesus, as a result of seeing him, will give them no right to eternal life, or to the glory and honour of the kingdom. It just entitles them to the blessedness of living in the land under the government of Messiah and the saints. So with the ten tribes, their faith in the word preached will entitle them to no more than a union into one kingdom and nation with Judah. (Elpis Israel p. 441)
There follows a 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth, a time of peace but also:
There is sin, and degeneration, and death; and because of the existence of sin, and flesh and blood, and death; there are mediatorship, and priesthood, and ruling with an iron rod. (Eureka vol 5. p.337)
Rebuilding the Temple
…a system of universal compulsory religion, which will require the presence of every man once a year at the centre of divine government and worship, and which, for every offence against the laws, will exact the token of penitence afforded in the sacrifice of an animal of his property. (Christendom Astray p. 210.)
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.' (10:11-12)
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (10:6)
Why Christadelphian Predictions Keep on Failing
The Old Testament lays down a strict requirement for all prophets – total accuracy. False prophecy was so serious that false prophets were to be put to death. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
Why then do Christadelphians keep blundering?
If such works as "Elpis Israel" and "Eureka" are neglected an essential foundation for individual research and investigation is lacking.
(Christadelphian Standards p. 104)
Let us also treat with scorn any suggestion to hide or shelve the works of Bro Thomas and Bro Roberts. (p. 52)
Such men themselves fulfil what Jesus said:
For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24)
It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own Authority. (Acts 1:7)
Copy of a letter to which no reply has been received:
Victor Harbor 5211
To the Christadelphians
P.O. Box 220,
Findon S.A. 5023.
I have a copy of your advertised free booklet, 'Israel, Russia Christ's Coming and Armageddon.'
Would you mind explaining the following:
a. On page 8 it says, 'It is of the utmost significance that today, Russia occupies East Germany.'
Russia doesn't occupy East Germany today. Could you please explain.
b. Page 10 says that Russia has become more and more involved in the Middle East.
Where is Russia's involvement in the Middle East today?
c . The desciptions of Russia on pages 12-13 don't match up with the Russia of today. Where is the 'Iron Curtain' now? Who are its satellite nations? Who are the other European nations to be confederated? What about the Eastern European nations who have been liberated from Russian control? What about the present demise of Russia?
d. Page 14 says that 'Gog's defeat will be complete and final.' In other Christadelphian literature it says that at the end of the Millenium Gog's hordes will be as numberless as the sand of the sea and come against Christ. Isn't this a contradiction? If Gog's defeat is complete and final how can he raise such forces at a later time?
Will look forward to your reply.
NOT ALL ARE PROPHETICALLY DUPED
(Investigator 89, 2003 March)
It was with some interest and sadness that I read the Investigator article about Christadelphian Prophecies. [Investigator 70 – What They Said Would Happen, John Hutchinson]
Afterwards I felt compelled to write to you in order to clarify a few issues.
Firstly, let me state that I am a Christadelphian myself – yet I agree with most of the things that were written. What saddened me was that the article portrays Christadelphians as a bunch of prophetically duped hacks. This is most certainly not the case, as interpretation of prophecy is one of the greatest debates within our community. There is an ever growing number of us who do reject the whole "Russian" angle that has been applied to prophecy and would therefore be in total agreement with the article.
One aspect of the Christadelphian community is that unlike virtually every other religious group we do not have a head or governing body. This has many positive implications. However, one of the negative implications of the absence of such a body is that there is no 'editorial control', and therefore our members are able to put into print the sort of things mentioned in your publication.
Sadly, these sort of statements then reflect on the entire community – even those who would not agree with them. This is especially so in Australia as by far the greater percentage of Christadelphians here still hold to this Russian-European focused version of prophecy.
I guess what it comes down to is that yes – John Thomas, Robert Roberts et al should not have made such sweeping statements and to do so opens one self up for all sorts of abuse and correction. So in that regard the article was quite justified. However, the article is not a fair reflection on the Christadelphian community as a whole and that is what saddens me about its tone.
However – thank you for your efforts. I too prefer an empirical approach to life and have enjoyed your site. Ironically, it was that same empirical approach that drew me to Christadelphian doctrine (not prophetic interpretation!).
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