Christadelphians: What they said would happen


John Hutchinson[1]

(Investigator 70,  2000 January)

Test for Predictions

For 150 years the Christadelphian sect has made numerous sensational predictions – supposedly based on the Bible – and have consistently been wrong.

In the early 1970’s, for example, they declared that Britain would not enter the E.E.C. Neighbours of mine said: ‘You wait and see – Britain will stay out of Europe. Bible prophecy says so.’

This prediction was based on books by John Thomas (1805-1871) the founder of Christadelphianism. Writing of a unification of Europe he listed the ‘toe-kingdoms’ as Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sardinia, Greece, Hungary, Lombardy and Bavaria, and commented:

I have not named Britain, although the island was a part of the Roman dominion. It is, however, no more imperative that she should be included in the ten than Egypt, which is also on Roman territory. Existing theories require Britain to be counted in; but I have nothing to do with them; I propose to show a more consistent interpretation that shall harmonise with other important and interesting parts of the prophetic word.[2]Elpis Israel 1849 p. 326

It is impossible for Britain to be a toe.[3]Exposition of Daniel 1921 edition p. 99

Every forecast faces an inevitable test – Time!  How have other Christadelphian predictions fared?

Dr Thomas

London-born Dr. Thomas, emigrated to the USA at 27 in 1832.  He joined a sect called Campbellites.  At 33 he left the sect and founded his own sect, which in the 1860s he named Christadelphians. Meanwhile he played at being a prophet.

In 1848 Dr. Thomas wrote:

The judgement upon Ireland has been siting since 1786. That crisis was the beginning of a retribution of seventy-five years. This period is called ‘THE END’ – the end of the last period, of the continuance of modern Europe, as organised into ten kingdoms, and the ”Holy Roman Empire’ in the days of Charlemagne.  A.D. 1786 was the beginning of the end, 1848 the concluding of the end, and 1864 the termination of the period.

The events of these seventy-five years are the fulfilment of the following words concerning modern Europe: ‘The Judgement shall sit and they shall take away of his (the Little Horn’s or Holy Roman) dominion, to consume and destroy it to the end.’ … After 1864 Ireland and the rest of the world will enter upon a new era, in which peace, righteousness, and blessedness will reign in the midst of the nations.[4]Gospel Banner November 1864

Speaking of the resurrection of Daniel the prophet, Dr. Thomas wrote in 1854 in his Exposition of Prophecy titled Anatolia:

But in a few years, that is, about 1866, when the 1335 years terminate, he will ‘arise to his inheritance’ in the Kingdom of God.[5]Anatolia, 1854, p. 97

Then for 40 years the resurrected “saints” would “execute vengeance upon the nations”:

How highly important is this exhortation now, seeing that in about a dozen years the resurrection will have transpired, and no further invitation to inherit it be presented to the world. The glory that shall follow is great for the approved. The world is theirs, when all nations come and do homage before the Prince of Israel, because His judgements are made manifest.  But before they can have ‘power over the nations,’ they must bind the strong that rule them.

This is their mission at the end of 1335 years: ‘To execute vengeance upon the nations, and punishment upon the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; this honor have all his saints.’  From A.D. 1866 to A.D. 1911, a period of over forty years, they will be engaged in this work, and in the organising the world upon new and better principles.[6]Anatolia, p. 97

In 1849 Dr Thomas announced:

The eleventh chapter of Daniel is therefore fulfilled as far as the first colon of the fortieth verse. The things that remain to be accomplished in the time of the end are briefly outlined in the remaining part of the chapter.

The King of Egypt, having pushed at the Little Horn, as we have seen,  the next event of the prophecy is an attack upon him by the King of the North, as it is written, `And the King shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships,’ that is the Russian-Assyrian autocrat shall attack Constantinople by sea and land, and with such whirlwind impetuosity that the Sultan’s dominion shall be swept away.

The Russian fleet of forty ships in the Black Sea is in preparation for this event.

The whirlwind nature of the attack implies, I think, not only its overwhelming character, but that when it is made, the allies of the Sultan will be off their guard; that is, by the autocrat’s assurances of peace and moderation, for they will give him credit. Constantinople will be left unprotected and it will fall into his hands before they can come to the rescue… The King of the North, however, is to do no more than push; he is actually to ‘come against’  the Sultan, which can only be done by sitting down before Constantinople.

Now between the pushing of the King of the South, in 1839, and the coming of the King of the North, there has, as yet, been an interval of ten years. It is not to be supposed that the Autocrat would attack the Porte without some provocation, real or pretended. It is, therefore, the mission of the Frogs, as we have seen in a former chapter, to bring about such a state of things as will involve the Autocrat and the Sultan in war.

This situation has been created, and, it is probable, that when spring arrives the Sultan will be attacked, and that 1850 will see the end of the Ottoman dominion. The reader will perceive, then, that the operation of the Frog power comes in between the attacks of the King of Egypt and the Russo-Assyrians upon the Porte.

The policy they originate is to involve the whole inhabitable in war, the more immediate effect of which will be, that the King of the North shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.’  To ‘enter into the countries’ implies invasion, but to ‘overflow and pass over indicates conquest.

The result of the conquest will be that ‘many countries shall be overthrown.’ The war will have made terrible havoc with the Horn kingdoms and the Austro-Papal Empire; the former will have lost their independence, and the latter will have been ‘destroyed unto the end.'[7]Elpis Israel 1849 pp. 375-376.  In the 14th edition, 1979, pp. 418-419

Sentences underlined are sentences deleted from subsequent editions of Elpis Israel. They were deleted because the outcome of the Crimean war was the opposite to what Dr Thomas laid down.

Russia was defeated and destroyed her own Black Sea ships to prevent their seizure!

Cop Out

Dr Thomas said that Queen Victoria was the latter day Queen of Sheba who would lay her crown at the feet of Christ upon his return to Jerusalem:

Victoria may therefore be said to be the Queen of Sheba and may possibly live (for she is young enough) to abdicate her throne and to lay her crown and treasures at the feet of the “greater than Solomon”,  who will dispose of her and her affairs according to his will.[8]Exposition of Daniel 1921 edition pp. 96-97

He said that a restored Israel would become rich through commerce with India. (Elpis Israel 1849 p. 441)  When has India made a restored Israel rich?  Some booklets that quote Thomas’ prediction of Israel omit the reference to India.

When their predictions fail, the Christadelphians cover them up and reinterpret.  As the above example illustrates they reprint the books but delete the failed forecasts – sometimes with an apology that the author’s announcements proved premature.

Robert Roberts

Robert Roberts (1839-1898) became the chief exponent of Dr. Thomas’ teachings in Great Britain. He picked up the prophetic microphone and castigated those before him who predicted and failed – but Dr Thomas was overlooked!

In his book Christendom Astray Roberts wrote:

No devout mind, receiving the word of God in all sincerity, as the manifestation of His mind – will be content to accept the fooleries of the past as a disproof of what God has made known; but under the conviction that underneath the misunderstood enigmas of his word, there lie important facts which He would have us understand, will anxiously endeavour to penetrate the obscurity which has baffled others, and get at the mind of God in a matter so important in its bearings on our mental relation to the purposes of God.[9]1940 edition p. 245

Roberts committed quite a few ‘fooleries’ of his own.  He laid down 1910 A. D. for Christ’s return and the commencement of Christ’s reign on Earth.

Read some of his fanciful deductions:

In proof that the victorious invading power described in this testimony as “the king of the north”, is Russia, let it be observed that it comes against another power, that is in occupation of the Holy Land. That power is Turkey.[10]C. A. p. 272[Note: Britain drove out the Turk – Not Russia ! ]

By establishing a Jewish colony in Palestine, the British Government will secure her communications with India – always vital to her safety. The motive of this Northern Caesar, in his advance upon the mountains of Israel – is apparent. In the attempt to sever British communications, he goes forth.[11]p. 274

The attitude of Russia points to an early probable attainment to the position assigned to her by the prophets in the time of the end. Her recovery from the disaster of the Crimean war is notorious to all the world.[12]p. 275[But Thomas had predicted the triumph of Russia in the Crimean  war!]

In the scramble for the spoil, Russia will come in for the lion’s share; Britain will doubtless lay her hand on Syria, to protect the highway to her Eastern possessions.[13]p. 275[What Eastern possessions?]

She [Russia] is to vanquish many countries, and hold a protectorate over them –Those countries include all the nations of the continent.[14]p 273[What European nations does Russia control today?]

In the Preface to the 1958 edition of Christendom Astray note the following:

The whole of Chapter 16, on the “Evidence that the End is Near”, has been deleted… As it is desired that the book shall be left as the work of Robert Roberts, the only alternative was to delete the whole chapter, while referring readers to more recent Christadelphian publications for information on the evidence that the coming of Christ is near.

Let’s turn to more recent Christadelphian publications.

C. P. Wauchope

Charles P. Wauchope of Adelaide, South Australia, was a prominent Christadelphian who guaranteed fulfilment of what he predicted.  Wauchope’s opening statement to his lectures on Armageddon in 1921 was:

We want to build a house, as it were, and need to inspect all the material of which the house is comprised. Nothing should go into that building that will not bear the closest scrutiny. Let us be sure that when completed it will stand the test that all buildings should stand; and in laying the foundation tonight of that building, I make this request to you  to take the utmost liberty of bringing your most critical minds to bear upon everything that may be said in the course of these addresses.

I make this request, not in the spirit of boastfulness, but in the spirit of inquiry, because if the deductions I make are wrong, they are useless alike to you and to myself. Being the foundations of belief, unless they can stand the test – the severest test – of criticism, it is not the kind of belief that is well pleasing to the Author of religious truth.

Again,  I ask that you will be good enough, in your interests and mine, to put these foundations of religious belief to the strictest examination that you can, and, having done so should then find that I am in disagreement with the Bible, you will be good enough to let me know. If, on the other hand, it should be found that your religious belief has been in disagreement with the Bible, it is for you to say what course you will pursue,  although it may be permitted me to advise that you take a wiser course.[15]Four Lectures on Armageddon pages 5-6

A summary of Wauchope’s predictions was presented to the Federal Parliament of Australia by Mr Walter Marks M. H. R. and recorded in Hansard in November 1921. [Also reprinted in Investigator Magazine No. 43]  Mark’s speech was applauded and published by the Christadelphians.

Walter Marks stated that:

• Armageddon would occur in the year 1934 and said that three nations – Russia, Germany and France – would attack the British Empire.
• Christ would return the same year dressed in the tattered robe of a beggar and thief and come quietly into the British headquarters.
• The King of England would, on bended knees, offer his crown to Christ.
• Christ would direct British ships to the ends of the earth to collect the Jews and bring them to Palestine.
• There would be no war in the Pacific and the Kingdom for which we pray would be here in 1934.

Wauchope also claimed:

The purpose of God needs that the bands of the British Empire shall be strengthened so as to be well nigh unbreakable, and that what we see today proves that this Empire corresponds to the appellation given by Ezekiel.[16]The Troubled Nations 1915 p. 52

Wauchope stated that the “young lions of Tarshish” are Canada, Africa, India and Australia:

The young lions will rally at the time of the end when Britain goes to the Armageddon of Nations for her ‘last of fights.'[17]p. 61

Britain stands related to Israel as her friend. What Britain has long been, what she is today and what she will be more in the future, is the especial friend of God’s people.

Britain wasn’t too friendly to Jews at the end of World War II!

Page 84 of The Troubled Nations gave 1934 for Christ’s return.

All of Wauchope’s predictions failed.


Many Christadelphian announcements focus on the establishment of Israel. The return of the Jews to Palestine is often cited as a fulfilment of Dr Thomas’ predictions.

Logos leaflet No 14 (1988) advertised the May 1988 edition of the Christadelphian magazine Herald of the Coming Age. The leaflet’s front cover says, ‘ISRAEL 1948-1988  40 YEARS OF DESTINY’.  And lower down, ‘This Generation (40 years) shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.’


Behold, the shooting forth of the “fig tree” (a symbol representing Israel) – Commencing 1948. This generation (40 year period) “Shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.”[18]p. 3

The advertised magazine says:

Israel’s 40th anniversary as a modern nation in 1988, concludes the end of a special time cycle in God’s purpose.[19]p. 4

Israel now stands upon the thresh-hold of a new cycle of time and opportunity that will usher in their king and Saviour: the Lord Jesus Christ.[20]p. 7

Israel’s 40 years of restoration to their land, and the liberation of Jerusalem, proves that this wonderful blessing is about to become a fact. Christ’s return is near…[21]p. 16

Russia and ‘Israel’s Grand Destiny’

That the Russians are in the final stages of preparation for world war III, with the sole objective of subjugating all nations, there can be no doubt.[22]The Logos Volume 50 1983 p. 59

Christadelphians say that Russia will invade Israel with an ‘immense confederated northern army’…’a confederacy of European and Eastern nations.’ This is depicted as a punishment and humbling of the Jews to prepare them for the Messiah’s coming. Two-thirds of the Jews will be killed.

The Jews are to be restored to their land. But, unlike the Christadelphians who expect to be made immortal and omnipotent and reign over the world, Jews will have mortal existence but with life spans extended a few years. The Jews will be ruled by immortal Christadelphians and will be their servants.

In May, 1985 H.P. Mansfield, a South Australian Christadelphian, claimed:

The elevation of Mikhail Gorbachev to supreme power in Russia presents exciting possibilities. Is he Gog? …the present head of the Soviet has sufficient youth on his side to make an exciting possibility that he is the man of destiny predicted by Ezekiel.

At 53 years of age, Gorbachev is young enough to fill the role of Gog… Whether or not Gorbachev will prove to be Gog, the future alone can tell. But the indications, the straws in the wind, suggest a most exciting possibility.

And one last thought.  He comes to power at a most significant period. For this year will witness the fortieth anniversary (a Bible generation) of the conclusion of World War 2, the emergence of Soviet Russia as a world power, and the revival of the State of Israel. We recall that Christ, enigmatically declared: “This generation shall not pass away until…”[23]The Logos Volume 51 pp. 225,  227,  228

In 1968 H P Mansfield claimed:

Present day developments in Israel, Russia and all nations can be aligned with Bible prophecy, and indicate that the world lives in the very shadow of Christ’s second coming.

When the time is ripe, Russia will emerge from its iron curtain, and having confederated other European nations under its control will invade the Middle East.

The world will appear to be on the eve of becoming completely communised.[24]Key to Understanding of the Scriptures pp. 129, 141

Are present developments in Russia conforming to Mansfield’s forecasts?

In Herald of The Coming Age (March 1985) Mansfield said:

The growth of Russian power is a notable sign of the times indicating that the world is on the eve of the most dramatic event of all history: the return of Christ in power and glory.[25]Volume 32 No. 6 p. 5

He claimed that the coinciding of Israel and Russian growth is a witness to the ‘imminent return of Christ.'[26]p. 6


It is of the utmost significance that today, Russia occupies East Germany… The prophecy requires an Eurasian confederacy of nations headed by Russia to invade the Middle East.[27]pp. 8-9

Roger Stokes

Roger Stokes of South Australia wrote in 1987:

Russia and her Soviet empire and satellites, in their policies of conquest, domination, terror, anti-Semitism, and God-denying teachings mixed with Orthodox Church patronage, are almost prepared for the final major role they will play in the greatest conflict of all ages.[28]The Jews, Rome and Armageddon. [p. 323]

Tomorrow’s Headlines

Christadelphians often suggest tomorrow’s newspaper headlines:[29]From the booklet: Tomorrows News Today


Current Christadelphian Anticipations

Currently Christadelphians anticipate a massive coming together of nations against Israel that will devastate the Jews – only 1 in 3 will survive:

The residue of the people in the land, finally to be reduced to only one-third of the previous population.[30]The Jews, Rome and Armageddon 1987  p. 376.

During Armageddon Christ will remove Christadelphians to Sinai where they will be judged. Unworthy Christadelphians will be banished:

…to share in the judgements which will descend upon the apocalyptic beast and his armies.[31]Christendom Astray p. 224

Those deemed ‘worthy’ will be made ‘immortal’ and will emerge from the valley with Christ to confront the Russian Confederacy.

Roberts wrote:

The saints will be removed at a particular juncture of affairs without previous intimation… all that the world in general will know of it will be that a few obscure individuals holding fanatical doctrines will have disappeared.[32]Christendom Astray p. 225

At this point those who in past ages have understood Christadelphian doctrine will be raised from the dead for judgement. The worthy ones will be made immortal and the unworthy banished.
Next an unprecedented storm will annihilate the Russian hordes. At a later stage the European bloc will attack Christ and be destroyed.

Roberts says:

The vengeance in relation to mankind as a whole will be destruction to the majority, and discipline to the remnant. Multitudes will perish by war and pestilence; multitudes more will fall victims to the fire that will descend… The earth’s population will be greatly thinned – leaving a residue composed of the meek and submissive and well disposed of mankind.[33]Christendom Astray p. 221

The saints [immortalised Christadelphians] will be associated with the Lord Jesus in destroying the political, ecclesiastical, and social systems… This is a work of devastation… It will involve much destruction of life…bloody and scathing the judgements ministered at the hands of Jesus and the saints.[34]p. 223

Jewish restoration will be in two stages:

…the first is before the battle of Armageddon; and the second after it; but both pre-millennial.[35]Elpis Israel p. 441

Judah is to be restored first but:

Judah’s submission to the Lord Jesus, as a result of seeing him, will give them no right to eternal life, or to the glory and honour of the kingdom. It just entitles them to the blessedness of living in the land under the government of Messiah and the saints. So with the ten tribes, their faith in the word preached will entitle them to no more than a union into one kingdom and nation with Judah.[36]Elpis Israel p. 441

So much for the ‘Hope of Israel’.

There follows a 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth, a time of peace but also:

There is sin, and degeneration, and death; and because of the existence of sin, and flesh and blood, and death; there are mediatorship, and priesthood, and ruling with an iron rod.[37]Eureka vol 5. p.337

Rebuilding the Temple

Roberts predicts:

…a system of universal compulsory religion, which will require the presence of every man once a year at the centre of divine government and worship, and which, for every offence against the laws, will exact the token of penitence afforded in the sacrifice of an animal of his property.[38]Christendom Astray p. 210.

Such re-institution of animal sacrifices contradicts the book of Hebrews:

And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.'[39]10:11-12

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.[40]10:6

Why Christadelphian Predictions Keep on Failing

The Old Testament lays down a strict requirement for all prophets – total accuracy. False prophecy was so serious that false prophets were to be put to death. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

Why then do Christadelphians keep blundering?

If such works as “Elpis Israel” and “Eureka” are neglected an essential foundation for individual research and investigation is lacking.[41]Christadelphian Standards p. 104

Let us also treat with scorn any suggestion to hide or shelve the works of Bro Thomas and Bro Roberts.[42]p. 52

Christadelphians keep blundering because they follow John Thomas – a misguided man discredited by his failed predictions.

Such men themselves fulfil what Jesus said:

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  (Matthew 24:24)

It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own Authority. (Acts 1:7)

End of Article.


2 Elpis Israel 1849 p. 326
3 Exposition of Daniel 1921 edition p. 99
4 Gospel Banner November 1864
5 Anatolia, 1854, p. 97
6 Anatolia, p. 97
7 Elpis Israel 1849 pp. 375-376.  In the 14th edition, 1979, pp. 418-419
8 Exposition of Daniel 1921 edition pp. 96-97
9 1940 edition p. 245
10 C. A. p. 272
11 p. 274
12, 13 p. 275
14 p 273
15 Four Lectures on Armageddon pages 5-6
16 The Troubled Nations 1915 p. 52
17 p. 61
18 p. 3
19 p. 4
20 p. 7
21 p. 16
22 The Logos Volume 50 1983 p. 59
23 The Logos Volume 51 pp. 225,  227,  228
24 Key to Understanding of the Scriptures pp. 129, 141
25 Volume 32 No. 6 p. 5
26 p. 6
27 pp. 8-9
28 The Jews, Rome and Armageddon. [p. 323]
29 From the booklet: Tomorrows News Today
30 The Jews, Rome and Armageddon 1987  p. 376.
31 Christendom Astray p. 224
32 Christendom Astray p. 225
33 Christendom Astray p. 221
34 p. 223
35, 36 Elpis Israel p. 441
37 Eureka vol 5. p.337
38 Christendom Astray p. 210.
39 10:11-12
40 10:6
41 Christadelphian Standards p. 104
42 p. 52

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