Peter Ruckman’s failed attempts at guessing the approximate date of the rapture

As will be documented, starting in the late 1980’s Ruckman made several attempts to guess the approximate date of the rapture. Over the years Ruckman sent mixed signals as to whether this was an appropriate thing to do. In the 1978 edition of his commentary of the book of Matthew, he stated in certain words that it was not unscriptural to attempt to set a date for the Second Coming:

“Knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven.” The thing that is “unknown” (according to the statement) is the “day and hour” of the advent. This truth cannot be brought home with too much force to the Fundamentalist, as he has been taught from his youth that the Second Coming is “IMMINENT” (not found in the Scripture!) and that any attempts to set dates are Satanic and unscriptural. 1Thessalonians 5:1-6 contradicts this position, however, as does also the appearance of the Laodiciean church (Rev 3:22) immediately preceding the rapture – Revelation 4:1, 2. (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Matthew. 1970, 1978, pp. 554-555)

On a previous page of the same commentary, he lamented that date setting had fallen into disrepute:
“Date-setting” has fallen into such disrepute that not even pre-millennialists are bold enough to profess to know the “times and the seasons” (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Matthew. 1970, 1978, p. 552)
Only two years later he had a change of heart, and issued the following stern warning:
No man knows the DAY or the HOUR of the Rapture, and inept students of prophecy with little “do it yourself” schemes of arithmetic are going to do nothing but bring dishonor and discredit on the words of God. If Paul didn’t know it don’t you think that some American could figure out what he couldn’t. If it is going to be revealed, it will not be a date that you have to adjust every year to meet the demands of your own stupidity. (Ruckman, Peter. Setting Date of Rapture. Bible Believers’ Bulletin. March 1980, p. 5)
Without mentioning a year, Ruckman predicted the exact month in which the rapture is to take place:
Jesus Christ is calling for His Bride…The setting is May (Ruckman, Peter. The Two Raptures. 1996, p. 9)
The most specific date range I could locate is as follows:
It is now 1989. Personally, I think the Lord is coming in the late spring. I would guess somewhere between the 14th of May and the 20th of June. That, of course, is only a guess. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin January 1989, p. 5)
It is interesting to note that Ruckman’s third marriage took place on April 30, 1989, a mere two weeks before the projected earliest date that he had guessed.
In spite of his 1989 fiasco, sometime during this same year he published a pamphlet which complained of others who tried to set a date for the rapture:
In 1988, a man named Whisenant wrote a book called 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Take Place in 1988. This work did untold damage because it destroyed the faith of thousands of Christians in the Rapture (Ruckman, Peter. Millions Disappear. 1989, p. 16)
In 1997, Ruckman made the following predictions, with his “if our calendar is right” escape hatch:
Christ returns at The Feast of Tabernacles. That is more sure than the sun coming up tomorrow morning. If our calendar is right, that would be September 23, 2000 or September 23, 2001. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin Reprint Vol. 3 Doctrinal Studies. 2000, p. 411)
In February 1990, after failing at guessing a 1989 rapture, Ruckman tried again, after one of his students made some corrections to his theory:
We now enter the last tenth of the last century of the world’s history before the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. If the calendar is right (and that qualifying clause always has to be included when guessing), the year 2000 is the limit for the Advent. Some subtract four years for a birth of 4 B.C., but as one of my students pointed out to me, a 4 B.C. birth in September would be only a three and three months birth B.C. by our January to January calendar. This would give an Advent date of 1997 instead of 1996 (which subtracted four), and it would put a maximum date for the Rapture in 1990 instead of 1989. However, the calendar can be completely off; (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin Reprint Vol. 7 Strictly Personal. 2004, p. 235)
In a 2002 reprint of the second volume of his commentary on Psalms, it inadvertently continued with the prediction apparently made in the 1993 first edition, that the Tribulation would have ended by the year 2000:
The end of the Tribulation…the date is given in Hosea 6:2. It is A.D. 2000, if our calendar is correct. (Ruckman, Peter. The Book of Psalms. Vol. 2. 2002 reprint, p. 813)
The last attempt I could locate in which Ruckman attempted to guess the approximate date of the rapture was 1997. In his guess he makes a derogatory comment about one of his students who made failed predictions at guessing the date of the rapture for the same year he had guessed.
But as the deadly date of 1989 passed (three nines, occurring eleven years before the “end”—A.D. 2000 [2 Pet. 3:8]), some adjustments had to be made. 1989 would allow seven years for Daniel’s seventieth week (A.D. 2000 minus seven years equals 1993) and four years for Christ’s birth if it was 4 B. C. (1993 minus four equaling 1989). But no rapture took place in 1989…One of our students (who dropped out of school), swore it would be in 1989, which it wasn’t, and another student (who we had to ship) put it out all over the country that we were teaching an absolute definitive rapture in September of 1995, which we weren’t….I will guess. I have been “guessing” a long time. I have often guessed wrongly…I have never “set” any date without the qualifying statement that “IF our calendar is right… I think (and I could be wrong) that the best possible date for a Rapture now (after this much time has elapsed) would be Pentecost (the Jewish Pentecost) of May, in 1997. (Ruckman, Peter. The Fifth Theory on the Rapture. Bible Believers’ Bulletin Jan. 1997, pp. 3, 17)
Ruckman feels that since he was only “guessing” the date of the rapture and he included disclaimers, no harm was done, even though in the following quote he actually uses the phrase “attempting to set a date” in regard to his guesses. But he was not so willing to brush off the attempts of three of his students who set a date for the rapture:
In attempting to set a date for the Rapture, we have always qualified our guesses by saying two things: 1) “IF our calendar is right,” and 2) “IF Christ was born in 4 B.C.” (or 3, 2, 1, etc.)…He was the third student, since 1970 to date the rapture [sic] “exactly” on a fool-proof, one hundred percent scriptural basis. All three of them bombed out completely…Wrong again. We don’t teach that it is possible for ANY man on earth to locate the exact day and hour of the rapture by any system: at least, not for certain. He can guess, and he might make a very good guess, but a guess it will be at best. But this gentleman—his name is Mel Turner…made no “guesses.” (Ruckman, Peter. Sorry: You Missed the Rapture! Bible Believers’ Bulletin Nov. 1995, pp. 3, 12)
In spite of flip-flopping on whether it was right to guess the date of the rapture, Ruckman denies having changed his position on the matter. He denies that he was messed up, it was just his calendar, or the date of Christ’s birth:
Nor has my position on the Rapture and the Second Coming changed since 1958. We taught that if Christ was born in 4 B.C., and if our calendar was right, the rapture could be no later than 1989. Obviously, He was not born in 4 B.C. or else our calendar is not correct…I have never said a single time that the rapture would be at such-and-such a time, although I have said many times, that if Christ was born in 4 B.C., AND our calendar was right, it would be in 1989. Obviously, something is screwed up and it’s not me and it’s not my theology. (Ruckman, Peter. Rapture: October 28, 1992 Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Aug. 1992, p. 9)
Ruckman should have headed the advice he gave others in 1980, when he stated that date-setting schemes would “do nothing but bring dishonor and discredit on the words of God.” He may feel excused by his “if our calendar is right” disclaimer, but nonetheless the damage he ironically predicted in 1980 came to pass. Several websites exists that make a mockery of Christianity based on failed rapture date setters, with some including Peter Ruckman in their listings. (For an example, see http://www.abhota.info/end3.htm). At least one book was located that mentioned Ruckman also making a mockery of Christianity based on failed rapture date setters or guessers (The End of Days: Armageddon and Prophecies of the Return by Zecharia Sitchin, Harper, 2008, p. 166).

 

22 Responses to “Peter Ruckman’s failed attempts at guessing the approximate date of the rapture”

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  1. Born Crucified says:

    A false prophet is to be avoided like the plague. God’s Word warns one to not even allow them in one’s house.

    It is sad that so many flock to such a man as Peter Ruckman. But this is just evidence of a true prophecy found in the Word of God that states many will turn from the truth and turn to teachers who tickle their ears… teachers who subvert the flock.

    The deceiver is working overtime these days, because he knows time is about to wrap up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Greetings. I read your article and must confess that it does seem to contain several legitament points. I have studied much of Ruckmans material and have observed that it is not uncommon for him to make a dogmatic absolute statement then back off later and change position.

    However I must point out to you that the reversal of position is common for many ministers not just Ruckman. Although Ruckman has his faults (AS all ministers do as we still have the old nature) to label him as a false prophet because his GUESS of the date of the rapture was wrong is not fair or right, or biblical.

    A man may be saved and preach a great deal of truth (As in Ruckmans case) but be wrong on some doctrines –this would mean he preached a false doctrine, not that he was a false prophet. In this age a false prophet would be a man who preaches a False way to be saved (Gal 1:6-9)

    If the Holy Spirit onlu used and defined true prophets as men who demonstrate perfection and have a PERFECT understanding of God and the Bible then we ALL would be defined as false prophets.

    I must acknowledge that there are many who follow and believe every word and interpretation of Ruckman as all ministers have their ‘Groupies” but some who truly believe that the King James Bible is the preserved word of God as the Textus Receptus clearly proves) eventually get to the place where they grow a little spiritually and see that any man who believes the King James Bible is the word of God who wrest the scriptures in it to line up with his own interpretations from time to time demonstrates he is just as guilty of mishandeling the word as the fool who attacks the King James text claiming a superior original autograph that he does not have.

    So what Im basically saying is that Ruckman has clearly been used by God to attack “Christian” education where it attempts to overthrow the Christians faith in the Bible as being perfectly preserved, and Ruckman also preaches Salvation by Grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as well as teaching sound biblical truth generally. If he is off occasionally on a doctrine as any other minister will be howbeit unintentionally, this does not qualify him as a false prophet, you have accused a man of being a false prophet who preaches the true way of salvation.

    Ruckman has been rejected by many so called “Baptist” for his adherence to the scriptural truth of right division (His moderate dispensational stance)is disrespected by his enemies and called names far worse trhan anything he says, this is an indication that he is a true prophet.

    In closing I remind you that a man can be a truely saved minister who preaches the tru way of salvation, but is wrong on some things this does not make him a false prophet but simply would mean a false teaching was taught in a particular instance. It is obvious you have judged ruckman by your frrlings and emotions rather than scripture as to whether he is a false prophet.

  3. Webmaster says:

    As the original writer of the article, I did not use the title "false prophet." The poster who used that term is welcome to defend himself for using that term.

    "… the reversal of position is common for many ministers not just Ruckman."

    However, I quoted Ruckman denying that he had changed his postion on the rapture since 1958. If he changed, was he being truthful when he denied it?

    In your comment you mentioned that "his [Ruckman's] enemies and [sic] called names far worse trhan [sic] anything he says." Can you please document a case?

    "If he is off occasionally on a doctrine as any other minister will be howbeit unintentionally, this does not qualify him as a false prophet…"

    Ruckman was not off unintentionally, as he himself warned in 1980 (as documented) against doing what he ended up doing a few years later.

    "…a false prophet would be a man who preaches a False way to be saved…"

    We all know that Ruckman teaches in the OT people were saved by works, and that after the rapture people will be saved by works once more. Now consider that teaching in light of what Ruckman admitted on p. 471 of his Acts Commentary (1974 edition): "Belief is the opposite of works (Romans 4:5), and believing is what you do when you don’t work (Romans 4:5)."

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    i have been blessed by brother Ruckman books and he has the guts to record them. I used to waste money on water down commentaries who quote other writers repetedely. If i wanted to read about other writers then i would obtain their books. Ruckman commentaries are so far advanced of his critics and if one wants to be a serious student of the Word he should embrace the teachings presented in those books. Who could read his books and believe the brother was a False Prophet? You hate the fact that he tells it like it is. May the Lord give us more people like brother Ruckman. You hate the fact that he exposes you as a dirty rascal lost without Jesus. Thanks brother Ruckman keep up the good work, and i pray the Lord allow you to outlive your critics as you continue to wear them out with revelation knowledge.

  5. Webmaster says:

    Some people may defend Ruckman out of ignorance, that is in cases in which they have not read enough by him or about him to realize he teaches false doctrine. But that would not be your case, because you have visited this website which documents Ruckman’s unbiblical beliefs straight from his writings. You even defended him after reading on this very page how he tried to publicly guess the date of the rapture, which was unbiblical. In light of the fact that you have been presented with overwhelming evidence that Ruckman teaches several unbiblical teachings, you are a fool for continuing to insist that one should embrace the teachings presented in his books. The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. Prov. 15:14

  6. Anonymous says:

    You are an idiot – errr fool. Everything you say is clouded over by your obvious grudge. A fool is a man who lets his own pride get in the way of accepting the truth.

    A FOOL will come along, read your gossip, believe it, and start spreading it to other fools. People that let pride (i.e. a personal grudge) get in the way of the truth don’t stop to analyze information; they simply unite and feed off of one another’s willful ignorance.

    I am dumbfounded by your complete lack of understanding of the verse you just cited.

    While you are nitpicking Ruckman, why not find something a little juicier to tell us?

  7. Webmaster says:

    "Everything you say is clouded over by your obvious grudge."

    Prove it. I said very little. I merely introduced each quotation by Ruckman. Since I’m quoting Ruckman himself with proper documentation so it can be verified, how could it be gossip?

  8. Anonymous says:

    On his radio broadcast in late 1992 Ruckman said that Jesus was coming in a matter of weeks and months at the most. This is one of many false predictions he has made. Why anyone would take this clown serious is beyond me.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Romans 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    1 Corinthians 4:5  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

    Philippians 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

    Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    Proverbs 13:10  ¶Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

    Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    AMEN

  10. Webmaster says:

    Those verses have nothing to do with Ruckman failing in his unbiblical attempt to guess the date of the rapture. The verses were about judging. Why do you apply verses about judging only to a Ruckman critc, but not to Ruckman himself?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ll explain the verses and why I included them, but first…

    Why do you think it’s unbiblical to date the rapture? Why do you unbiblically judge ruckman so harshly? Why do you think I don’t apply those verses to ruckman as well? Believe me, I apply those verses to all…ruckman included.

    as to the verses,
    Romans 14:4
    You unbiblically judge ruckman for trying to guess the approximate time of the rapture. you satanically accuse (Rev 12:10) a brother in Christ of being a false prophet, and you make a mockery of his teaching in the spirit of great mockers before you – ruckman included.

    1 Corinthians 4:5
    ruckman my very well have insight to the bible that the rest of us do not which may be revealed to us when God brings all things to light. Just because the bible does not make specific mention of some of his teachings does not mean they are cultic in nature. Does the bible say anything about the Gen 1 gap? Does the bible proclude the earth from being billions of years old? does the bible mention specifics about the other flood? you can’t be sure exactly what has transpired since the beginning of time, can you?

    Philippians 2:3
    do you esteem ruckman better than yourself?

    Galatians 5:22-23
    Are your comments about ruckman tempered? gentle? meek? loving? peaceful?

    Proverbs 13:10
    why this contention with ruckman? is it well-advised?

    Philippians 4:8
    do you think Jesus Christ bore your sins on the cross so that you could host this ruckman-bashing site? What part of the great commission are you fulfilling with this stuff? Furthermore, I find you to be very busily disparaging ruckman, but where are your fruits of the Spirit? I caution you to “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

    I came here to find some objective and reasonable information about the fallacies of his doctrine, but instead what I have found is sophomoric, opinionated, fact-free, ranting about his projections, demeanor, and beliefs.

  12. Webmaster says:

    I allowed the above to be posted so our readers can have a look into the mind of a Ruckmanite. The Ruckman defender demands that Ruckman not be judged, when that’s about all Ruckman does himself other than teach some things that are not in the Bible (as the poster actually admitted). It is not worth responding to in detail.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Do you think the verse means, ‘no man can know’ the day and the hour? The next verse (Mt 24:37) compares it to Noah’s day. Noah knew when the flood was coming (within 7 days). Elijah’s servant Elisha knew (2 Ki 2:3, 5). The servant’s always know first (Jn 2:9).

    • Eli says:

      Mark 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:

      Obviously we don’t as servants of the Master

  14. Webmaster says:

    The verse means what it says and says what it means. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Mat 24:36) The context of the next verse is not about Noah knowing the hour.

  15. Visitor says:

    There is no harm in guessing and trying to figure it out, it’s actually fun to do so… get over yourself.

  16. Webmaster says:

    "Trying to figure it out" runs contrary to Mat. 24:36. If Ruckman had a guess that he would have shared privately among trusted friends it would not be such a big deal, but at the time he put his guess in print, in at least one sermon tape sold in his bookstore, and quite possibly over his radio broadcast. Also these bad public guesses are damaging because they become a source of mockery for the unsaved, as we have documented at the end of the article. The fact that you say there is no harm when we documented the exact opposite reveals that you are turning a blind eye in your efforts to defend a man who has gone contrary to the Bible in this matter among other things.

  17. Born Crucified says:

    Let me answer your post with the obvious conclusion that post leads to:

    Since you state “the servant always knows”, (and Ruckman’s “guessed” dates have come and gone, you are admitting that Ruckman is not God’s servant or he would have known.

  18. Chucky says:

    Ah yes we see yet more emotional outburst from Ruckman critics who must didtoprt the facts Here are the great horrible facts which have apparently been ignored. 1. I have never read or heard Ruckman predict the date of the rapture. 2. I have read where he GUESSED< but a GUESS is not a prediction. 3. As horrible asit may seem the Lord said "No man KNOWETH the day or hour.......as at that CURRENT TIME.
    3. He did not say no one would EVER know. 4. This does not excuse date setters but a GUESS is not a Prediction

  19. Bill Nolan says:

    Dr Peter S. Ruckman of the Pensacola Bible Institute is the most outstanding man of God alive today; an upwardly mobile super-achiever, he has written over a hundred books, preached thousands of sermons, taught hundreds of students at his amazing Bible Institute. No one, I mean NO ONE knows the book like the great PSR.
    If you want to learn the book, go to Pensacola. That is it!

    • Webmaster says:

      The above is an example of posts I usually do not approve. Why? As you can see, the comment is pure propaganda, with no intent of interacting with the facts or views presented in the article.

  20. Jeffrey Morris says:

    I see both sides of your arguments, yes it is fun to try and guess when our Lord will call us up. What a great moment it will be for those who believe in the pre mill doctrone! On the other hand I have seen the damage it causes to those that do not believe in salvation by grace through faith and the finished work of Jesus Christ and nothing else. I work with educated people and had the book Left Behind on my desk, I was told I was not a sane person by many professionals. My faith is sound anr secure I have read Dr. Ruckmans material, some very good, and other material I call in to question. Hoping for the Lord to return and take his reign here on earth should be what we are all looking foward to. OUR BIGGEST CONCERN SHOULD ALWAYS BE THE SALVATION OF PEOPLE, ALL PEOPLE! Belief in JESUS CHRIST our Lord and Saviour is and should be our mission in life. Wether he comes tomorrow or a hundred years from now we both alive and dead will not miss the Rapture. Brothers in Christ find that which the Holy Spirit guides you to do, be a positive influenece. Yes we are being watched and juged by the UNSAVED dailey. Sorry for my terrible spelling.

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