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Charles Wesley: I can prove that Jesus will come back in 1793

Many have undertaken the task of predicting the year of Jesus’ return. Programs on television are dedicated to aligning biblical verses with current events in order to show that Jesus will come back in this generation of Christians. But here’s the thing, and there is really no getting around it: many Christians from the past also thought that Jesus would return soon. One of these was Charles Wesley (1707-1788), brother of John Wesley. If you haven’t heard of John Wesley, you may have heard of the denominations which claim him as inspiration: Methodists, Wesleyans, AME (African Methodist Episcopal), and AME Zion.

On April 25, 1754, Charles wrote a letter in which he explains his belief that Jesus will come back in 1793. The rest of this article consists of portions of that letter. (I will leave his spelling intact.)

"The answer of many prayers is at hand; I mean the kingdom of our Lord in its fullness upon earth. . . . The fullness of that blessed kingdom, and the day of its great things, is yet to come, and is now at such a small distance of time that you yourself may, by the course of nature, live to see it. . . . God has been pleased to lead me this winter, as it were by the hand, thro the labyrinth of the scripture Prophecies relative to the latter times. The scriptures say expressly that a great part of the contents of these Prophecies, and more especially what relates to their accomplishment, was to be shut up and sealed unto the time of the end; that is, until the very beginning of those days when they are to be fulfilled. And now these days are begun. He who hath the key of David, who shuts so as no man can open, and opens so as no man can shut, hath taken off the seals, and opened to unworthy me in a very great, tho’ not yet in a full, measure, not only the nature of these awful and glorious events which the scriptures say are to be brought to pass in the latter times, but also the very times which the scriptures point out for their accomplishment. . . . It will appear a Paradox to affirm that all these events will be accomplished in FORTY years time counted from this present year 1754 . . . But on the 21 of March last, after I had by an accurate examination of in the scripture prophesies, both of the Old and New Testament, been enable to penetrate into the nature of the great and awful events that are to be brought about in the latter days, was enable also to penetrate into the passages of scripture, which determine the time of their fulfillment. I can only now just give you a glimpse of the first step of the calculation without giving you the proofs. The first step then toward the finding out the time fixed by scripture for the accomplishment of all these things is the observing that the number 666, assigned Revelation 13.18 for determining the time of the final destruction of the Beast, hath a relative to the time, times and half time, assigned in Dan. 12 for the bringing all the events spoken of in that and the preceding chapters, to an accomplishment, and particularly, for the bringing the end of Antichrist spoken of in the end of the last verse of the 11 chapter; and the final deliverance of the Jews spoken of the 1 and 7 verse of chapter 12. And so the said period of time and times and half a time is made up of 666—666—666—333 amounting an all to 2331 years, concerning which 2331 years I am able to show that the scriptures do express point out the first year thereof to have been the year 538 before the first of the Christian Aera [Era][538 BC plus 2331 years equals AD 1793], being the first year of Darius the Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans."

©2004 Mark Nickens All Rights Reserved