I’ve had a number of people asking me about when Pastor Chuck Smith predicted the rapture. It’s an uncomfortable topic for a Calvary Chapel pastor, which I am, and for someone who looks up to and deeply appreciates Pastor Chuck, as I do. This is because Chuck Smith is the founder of Calvary Chapel, and I can say that his ministry has had a big, positive impact in my own life.
But I think we should talk about it for a few specific reasons:
- 1. It did happen.
- 2. It has not been publicly dealt with, to my knowledge. In fact, it appears as though it has been denied.
- 3. My own ministry has led many people to Calvary Chapels and I feel obligated to talk about this because it’s a significant issue in our past and I owe it to those who are or will attend Calvary Chapel churches because of my influence.
- 4. It wasn’t just mentioned in one message. Pastor Chuck predicted it in multiple books and over the course of years.
- 5. It’s based on a misinterpretation of Scripture which is still common among pastors today. It just so happens that this passage of Scripture is the one we are covering today in our verse-by-verse study in the Gospel of Mark.
- 6. Many pastors, in my own movement as well as beyond, have gotten in the habit of playing fast and loose with predictions related to the rapture, the tribulation, and the second coming, and I think that if we look honestly about mistakes of the past, we can be warned not to fall into the same mistakes in the future. And if my own understanding is correct, we can expect to see a great deal of reckless prophetic speculation in the years to come. We would do well to be prepared for it.
I really should have mentioned that in Mark 11, the fig tree being cursed is thought by some to specially represent Israel. Here is my response to that. The fig tree there is used to make an example that relates to Israel or the Temple, but I don’t think that’s because fig trees in general represent Israel (see my survey of its usage in the Old Testament from the video). Also, the context in Mark 13 shows Jesus is using the budding of the fig tree to refer to the two signs He mentions, and not using fig trees in general as a representation of the nation Israel existing.
In addition to this, the parallel passage in Luke shows that Jesus said “the fig tree and all the trees.” In other words, even if a fig tree might specially represent Israel in some cases, it didn’t in this passage because all the trees aren’t fig trees.
This is part 55 of the Mark Series, going verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Mark. Today we are in chapter 13:28-30. Feel free to use my videos in your own gatherings as an aid to studying Scripture.
See the WHOLE Gospel of Mark playlist by clicking here.