Does the Death of Ariel Sharon Mean the Return of Jesus is Suddenly Imminent?
The short answer is “no,” but it won’t stop people from trying to make a prophetic connection between the death of Ariel Sharon and the return of Jesus Christ. The speculation is being energized by Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri who died shortly after Sharon suffered a stroke in 2006 that put him in a coma. According to an article on WND’s site, before Kaduri died, “he wrote a cryptic note in which he named the Messiah with whom he claimed to have had a mystical encounter. On the 108-year-old rabbi’s instructions, the note would be released a year after his death. . . . The only prophetic utterance of Kaduri concerning Ariel Sharon was that Messiah would not appear until Ariel Sharon had died.”
People have been making these types of predictions for nearly 2000 years. They all have one thing in common – they’ve all been wrong.
For decades, since Israel became a nation again in 1948, prophetic speculators have been assuring us that the return of Jesus is “imminent.” Hal Lindsey and the late Chuck Smith told us it would all come to a climatic end before 1988. Millions believed them. Lindsey made a fortune with this predictions that was the centerpiece of his 1970 bestseller The Late Great Planet Earth.
The late Jerry Falwell (1933–2007) stated on a December 27, 1992 television broadcast, that he did “not believe there will be another millennium . . . or another century.” He was wrong, but that didn’t stop him from making further predictions about Armageddon. He wrote the following on July 23, 2006:
“It is apparent, in light of the rebirth of the state of Israel, that the present-day events in the Holy Land may very well serve as a prelude or forerunner to the future Battle of Armageddon and the glorious return of Jesus Christ.”1
Something similar happened in 1990. John F. Walvoord recycled and revised his Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis to fit with what was then considered to be the latest in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in our day.
The first edition in the 1974 edition opened with this declaration: “Each day’s headlines raise new questions concerning what the future holds.”2 As we now know, Walvoord’s book was guided by the current events of his day and not sound methods of biblical interpretation. Described as “the world’s foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy,” in 1991 he expected “‘the Rapture to occur in his own lifetime.’”3 Walvoord died in 2002.
Walvoord’s book was reprinted in 1976 and then sank without a trace until a revised edition appeared in late 1990. It sold nearly 1.7 million copies.4 It was decisively predictive based on the events that were taking place at that time during the first Gulf War more than 20 years ago.
Not many people realized that the basic content of the revised edition was nearly sixteen years old when it was reissued in 1990. When the Gulf War ended abruptly, the book was being remaindered for twenty-five cents a copy, if you bought it by the case!
People have short memories about these failed prophetic predictions. Most people aren’t even aware that there is a long line of failed prophecies.
The Rabbi Kaduri “prophecy” concerning Ariel Sharon that Messiah would not appear until Ariel Sharon died is not much of a prediction because 5000 years could pass and he would still be right. Anyway, why should we listen to this guy? Hundreds of people before him have made similar predictions that never came to pass.
It’s the use of words like “imminent,” “any moment,” “near,” and “soon” that are way off base. For a study of these issue, see my books, Last Days Madness, The Early Church and the End of the World (with Francis X. Gumerlock), Is Jesus Coming Soon?, 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered, Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future, and Identifying the Real Last Days Scoffers (go to http://store.americanvision.org/).
If you want to read a 2000-year history of prophetic speculation, see Francis X. Gumerlock’s book The Day and the Hour.
- Jerry Falwell, “On the threshold of Armageddon?,” WorldNetDaily, (July 23, 2006). [↩]
- John F. Walvoord and John E. Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1974), 7. [↩]
- Quoted in Kenneth L. Woodward, “The Final Days are Here Again,” Newsweek (March 18, 1991), 55. [↩]
- Press Release, “Kudos,” Zondervan Publishing House (August 1991). [↩]