Now that I’m gone, I can admit it…I was wrong. But that would be obvious to anyone still living. Before the day, I had many followers, all as zealous as I…
I buttoned my jacket, worn at the sleeves, and adjusted my favorite tie with the Hawaiian flower print. I raised the window an inch to let the icy air in and pull out the stuffy hotel air. Some snow had collected on the windowsill and dusted my notes on the desk with melting crystals. I shivered at the thought of speaking without notes and stuttering again. All eyes would be on me, waiting to hear the conclusions to my ten years of research. I expected my findings to shock some, anger some, and scare the rest if they didn’t laugh. My work as a NASA scientist was easier than standing in front of a few hundred people and explaining my book.
A young couple in the third row stroked each other’s arm. She resembled Sherry, the way she covered her mouth as she laughed with long auburn curls dancing over her shoulders. I focused everywhere else. I didn’t have a wife anymore to clap and smile at for support. I spent every day of the week in the lab and every night in my study…not a good place for relationships to flourish. But I loved my work, and sacrifices were worth it.
When the clapping stopped, I took a deep breath and began: “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town” I took a sip of water. “In my latest book, after years of studying the scripture, I have explained, as in the title, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988.” I expected the murmuring, but not the shouting:
“He’s a nut!”
“Go back to your lab, Mad Scientist!”
The dean of Boston College, Mr. Williams, introduced me as an astrophysicist who has worked for NASA for twenty years. I felt less like a buffoon and ready to present my findings. Thanks to Mr. Williams, the crowd quieted. “Hush, give the man a chance to explain.”
“I am convinced that the Bible encompasses a mathematical code for the date the world will expire. Many scholars before me have attempted to calculate the numbers, but were off and therefore set the wrong date. After ten years of decoding the number symbols of words in the scripture, I can say without a doubt, the world will expire in 1988. Atonement x Completeness x Heaven equals the Day.”
I ended with my favorite scripture verse:
“Jesus said in Revelation 22: 12, ‘Behold, I am coming soon.’ So, people, open your eyes and your hearts; soon is here. And you don’t want to be left behind.” I walked off the stage to the hum of a silent audience.
At home I devoured an entire carton of chocolate ice cream and replayed the night in my mind. Did anyone believe me?
It wasn’t long before I realized my following…over 4 million of my pamphlets sold in bookstores. I couldn’t wait until the world saw I was right.
December 31, 1988…
On my knees in prayer, waiting for the last hour. A trumpet, thunder, or an explosion of light.
Nothing. Not even the birds whistled. I stood by the mirror and saw a fool, not a new spiritual body. So I poured through the Bible to find my miscalculation. I didn’t have ten more years; I had to give an answer soon or couldn’t walk the street without hecklers. So I reevaluated and wrote: The Final Shout: Rapture Report 1989.
Okay, I still didn’t learn when that year came and passed without a hiccup. I didn’t want to be remembered as one of those “False End-times Preachers,” but after a few more books, I gave up. My end came in 2001 before the world expired.
I thank the Lord; He forgave my foolishness. He knows my heart and let me squeeze in through Heaven’s gate—a difficult task with my size belly.
So if you can hear me down there, listen. One thing is certain: if someone tells you the day the world will end, you can be sure it won’t be that day.
But about the day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Mathew 24:36
A fictional account of the author and end-times preacher, Edgar Whisenant.
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