Sensationalism

Creating excitement through prophetic speculations. by Norbert Restrepo


God’s revelation to man includes prophecy: predictions and promises of things that will come to pass. Through prophecy God reveals His plans of love for us. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11. Through prophecy, types, and symbols, God announced the coming of the Son of man—His mission, death, and resurrection. 

Prophecy also reveals that Jesus will come again soon to bring an end to sin, suffering, and death. The plan of salvation, the great controversy, the triumph of God’s love over Satan’s selfishness, and the glorious second coming of Christ to this world—all these wonderful truths are portrayed in Bible prophecies. Therefore, Satan continually seeks to subvert God’s prophetic revelation. 

One way of subverting the sure word of prophecy is by creating excitement through fanciful interpretations and speculative predictions. Some sincere souls believe that thus they can bring about a revival. But when the excitement subsides and the speculations prove to be untrue, unbelief is sown in the hearts of many; ridicule and scorn is brought upon our prophetic message. 

 One sensationalist approach is associating prophetic events, such as the close of probation or the judgment of the living, with a current event such as a war, a treaty that is signed, or a terrorist attack.  Another approach is predicting an event that will bring about the national Sunday law. The proponents of this method are frequently pointing to a specific incident, such as a war, a natural disaster, or a fluctuation of the financial markets, as the final trigger of the Sunday law. These are subtle ways of setting a time for Jesus’ second coming. 

We have been warned against sensationalism and time setting: “The times and seasons God has put in His own power. And why has not God given us this knowledge? Because we would not make a right use of it if He did. A condition of things would result from this knowledge among our people that would greatly retard the work of God in preparing a people to stand in the great day that is to come. We are not to be engrossed with speculations in regard to the times and the seasons which God has not revealed. Jesus has told His disciples to ‘watch,’ but not for definite time.”1

 

1White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, March 22, 1892.

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