The Beginning of Sorrows
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, the subject of Christ’s return has been a continual theme of study and preaching. The ministers of our present generation have faithfully continued to expound upon such subjects as the Rapture, the Tribulation and the coming Kingdom of Christ. When dealing with these subjects, the vast majority of these men have been quite careful to stay within the boundaries of scripture. Men such as Charles Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Chuck Smith and many others have been obedient to the scripture, which states, "No man knows the (exact) day of Christ’s Return."
Yet throughout history and in our present generation there have always been a few "preachers" who have blatantly stepped over the boundaries of scripture by declaring outright the exact date of Christ’s return. Unlike those who stay within the parameters of scripture, these men have caused great ridicule to brought against the church, and rightfully so. Charles Schultz, the creator of the comic strip "Peanuts" who also was a Christian, pointed out that it is often the case that these same preachers, who overstep the boundaries of scripture, also greatly benefit from contributions from their followers. People tend to give a lot more if they think that Christ is coming back next Friday!
George Geftakys is one of these men who have overstepped the boundaries of scripture. During the 1980s, George preached strongly on the theme of Christ’s return, and the "Beginning of Sorrows." He stated on several occasions that the rapture was going to occur in the 1980’s. This is publicly recorded during his seminar on "Resurrection and Rapture", which was given in late 1982, or early 1983. Several people who were in fellowship during this time foolishly sacrificed their careers and education because of the emphasis George put on the brevity of time.
During the Gulf War George stated, "This is it! We are in the Beginning of Sorrows!" Some years previous to this, during Operation Desert Shield, just prior to the Gulf War, I remember reading in the Orange County Register that many evangelical leaders were warning people not to jump to conclusions. Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel specifically stated, "This is not it!" The first Sunday after the newspaper this statement from Chuck Smith, George, apparently in response, countered, "People are saying ‘This is not it!’ But they are wrong! This is it!"
Immediately after this, some people in the Assembly voiced concern. One man wisely stated, "I think we are doing a disservice to our children! What if the rapture doesn't come? They will lose confidence in what we are telling them!" He was rebuked for saying this: "The Ministry (George's ministry) teaches this!"
Today I find it interesting that many are bitter because of lost opportunities, education, careers and family relationships, due to "abandoning all to follow God." George, however, enjoys a nice home, extensive travel and a certain amount of fame, primarily among his followers. He didn’t suffer one bit from his inaccurate predictions. Does anyone remember him stating these things?
If a prophet says something and it doesn't come true is he really listening to God? Deuteronomy 18:22 says, "If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously."