OF RELIGION Field Guide to the

The abbreviation ETV below refers to the book  End Times Visions by Richard Abanes

For full bibliographical details, see the main Bibliography on the Field Guide Index page.



Edgar Whisenant had been an unknown Bible student until 1988, when he wrote and distributed two short books, titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988 and On Borrowed Time.

The two books were often printed “back to back” as shown in this example. Their message was that the Rapture of the Church was to occur on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hoshana, in 1988, sometime between Sept. 11 and Sept. 13. The 88 "proofs" of this were based on a collection of dates and calculations from Biblical and historical factors.



Whisenant had no doubts about his date, stating: "Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town." During one interview he made a declaration that dramatically demonstrated his level of confidence: "[I]f there were a king in this country and I could gamble with my life, I would stake my life on Rosh Hashana 88." (ETV p. 93)

Although many religious leaders in the US discounted Whisenant's predictions, quite a few got on his bandwagon, including Paul and Jan Crouch, and their Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) ministry.

They went so far as to alter regular programming on September 11-13. Instead of airing their nightly Praise the Lord television talk show, they ran videotapes of prerecorded shows dealing with the Rapture. For non-Christians who might be watching, the revised programming included specific instructions on what to do in case Christian family members or friends disappeared and the world was thrust into the tribulation. (ETV p. 93)

Eventually, 300,000 copies of 88 Reasons were mailed free of charge to ministers across America, and 4.5 million copies were sold in bookstores and elsewhere.

When nothing happened by the end of September 13, Whisenant revised his prediction, suggesting the Rapture would come at 10:55 AM on September 15. When that failed, he revised it to October 3.

Even when that date passed, Whisenant remained undaunted: "The evidence is all over the place that it is going to be in a few weeks anyway," he told Christianity Today.

After his "few weeks" had transpired, Whisenant finally saw his error. He claimed that he had made a slight miscalculation of one year because of a fluke in the Gregorian calendar. Jesus was actually going to return during Rosh Hashanah of 1989! Whisenant published his discovery in The Final Shout--Rapture Report 1989. "The time is short," he said. "Everything points to it." This publication was subsequently retitled The Final Shout--Rapture Report 1990 and has since been re-titled yearly as The Final Shout--Rapture Report 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and so on. He continues to revise his date annually. (ETV p. 94)

It would appear that Whisenant finally gave up. No Whisenant website exists, and he and his 88 Reasons have now entered the lore of false prophecies of the 20th century.



Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this Field Guide website
is © 2001-2011 by Pamela Starr Dewey.

Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.



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Edgar Whisenant's 88 Reasons