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As a Thief in the Night
Down through time, men have sought to understand and predict the end of the world. Prophecies both religious and secular put various earthshaking events together and ask the question, "Is this the end of the world as we know it? Are we now approaching the apocalypse?" How can Christians approach and understand the end of the world, and not be left behind? Is the rapture of the saints coming soon? How can we know and understand what the Bible teaches, avoid deception and be prepared for frightful events to come as a thief in the night?

by Jerry Gentry

"But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come" (Matt. 10:23).

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:). . . So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (Mat 24:14, 15, 33).

The end of the world is a subject of intense interest both to believers and nonbelievers alike. The study of end time events--eschatology--has remained in style for thousands of years. The last days and the consummation of the age are both captivating concepts and puzzling predicaments. How can we as Christians understand prophecies which the Bible devotes so many chapters to? How can we understand the very chapters that raise so many additional questions with almost every answer given?

In the old children's story, we heard about Chicken Little who wrongly interpreted a falling acorn, which hit him squarely on the head. He believed that event signaled the end of his barnyard world. "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" Chicken Little cried to Henny Penny, Turkey Lurky, and Goosey Lucy, who sounded the alarm to the other farmyard animals. These all took notice and ran together into the forest. There Foxy Loxy, that cunning beast, offered his den for protection. Once Foxy Loxy had the animals cornered in his cave, he ate them all up!

Have you ever experienced being "devoured" by prophecy preachers? Have you ever followed one closely, then learned later that this fox had lured you into his lair, offered you prophetic answers and scriptural interpretations, taken your money and later abandoned you and his former prophecies in favor of new interpretations? These foxes all speak in the name of the Lord, no less! In the mean time, you have been less delivered from the apocalypse and Armageddon, and more delivered of your pocket book.

Such is the history of the belief in the end of the world, which dates back for thousands of years.

Early Christians possessed a keen desire to understand the end time: ". . . the disciples came unto him [Jesus] privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3). This is a proper question for Christians to ask.

In the greatest, most detailed, end time prophecy of all, Jesus gave us some foundational principles to undergird our study of end time events.

"Take heed that no man deceive you," he warned. (Mat 24:4). One of the hallmarks of prophetic, end time prophecy promoters is that of deception. Mark it down and remember it well. For any single preacher with true prophetic understanding, you will find at least a thousand who don't have a clue about when Christ will come again and set up His millennial kingdom. How can you tell a genuine message on end time prophecy from a counterfeit one? The Bible gives some important keys.

"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Mat 24:5), Christ's warning continues. What does nearly every prophecy preacher unitedly claim today? What do they all, without exception, agree on? They all come in the name of Christ unitedly. And they all set their end time clock to 1948, when the Jews took over Palestine and became recognized as a nation. Truth is, they promote a false Jesus. The true Jesus does not know these preachers. And truth is, that date of 1948, and the Jewish nation called "Israeli," is a hoax, a giant deception, a Satanic smoke screen designed to cloud all proper understanding of the end of the world.

Whatever significance there may be in the date "1948," it is absolutely not what just about every preacher in America tells you. These preachers will all tell you unitedly that God's chosen people, the Jews, have been restored as a nation. The truth is that "Israeli" is just that&emdash;"Israel-lie." Pronounce it any way you wish, but in any language it means the same thing. Modern "Israel," so called, is a lie, a falsehood, a giant hoax, fostered by nearly every Christian pulpit in the land. Jesus warned of this deception: "I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee" (Rev. 3:9).

Who is it that call themselves Jews today? We all know who they are. Yet Christian preachers refuse to preach the clear language of the Bible. Christian preachers, nearly every single one, call the liars, who call themselves Jews, the "chosen people of God." What malarkey! What hogwash! What deception! In The Thirteenth Tribe, p. 17, by Arthur Koestler, a modern Jewish scholar, he correctly identifies that "the large majority of surviving Jews in the world. . . genetically. . . are more closely related to the Hun, Uigur and Magyar tribes [Oriental] than to the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Modern Jews are not Biblical Israelites. Biblical Israelites are found within Christianity, not within modery Jewry. Mark it down and remember it well. You will need this understanding if you are ever to make sense out of Bible prophecy.

Who will listen to Jesus' warning about deception? Gordon Lindsay and Hal Lindsay and Billy Graham and Dr. Jack VanImpe and Jerry Falwell and nearly 450,000 more preachers all over America propagate the "God's chosen people" lie. Everyone who follows these preachers will be broken up by a thief in the night when the Lord comes. When it happens to you, Christian, remember where you read it first.

Jesus continued: "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (v. 6-8 ).

We can know that there will be a time of sorrows prior to the great tribulation and end of the world. What are sorrows? The Bible defines sorrows many places. In ancient Egypt, the Israelites lived in economic, political, religious, social and personal bondage. "And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows" (Exod. 3:7). Prior to the great exodus, the Egyptian taskmasters put an even greater work load on the Israelite slaves than before, thus increasing their "sorrows." What do we see in the world today? Both husbands and wives must work, just to make ends meet. Under the current economic pressures, many marriages crash and burn. Divorce is at an all time high&emdash;some 66% of all first time marriages break up, and an equal number of second marriages. We live in a time of sorrows today, to a greater extent than any other time in the history of our nation.

As this prophetic time of sorrows comes to a peak, due to social, religious, political, economic and personal pressures, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" Mat 24:9-10). Enter: "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it" (Jer. 30:7). We live at a time of disloyalty, treachery, dishonesty, vengeance and hate like never before in our nation's history, at the family level, the church level, and the civil level. Americans decry the sins of Washington D. C., but refuse to clean up their own homes and personal lives. We are a post Christian, wicked nation under personal judgment from God and without any rational defense for our immorality.

"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Mat 24:11). Here again, Jesus warns us to watch out for the multitude of foxes (false preachers who do not correctly identify Biblical Israel, the people Jesus came to redeem) whose ministries will deliver you of your pocketbook through deception, while they shed no light on the apocalypse!

"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Mat. 24:12). Ask one hundred Christians what love is. You will get almost one hundred differing answers. Hollywood and advertising have redefined love in America. Almost no Christian today knows what true Biblical love is. "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments" (1John 5:3). We may correctly read Jesus' statement above as follows: The keeping of the commandments "of many shall wax cold." We live at a time when keeping the commandments of God is almost never preached.

Which national preacher do you know who will tell you to "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exod. 20:8). How many will stand and tell you the truth, that "the sabbath day" has been, is now and forever will be Saturday, the seventh day of the week, and not Sunday? Most preachers have vehemently "waxed cold" against the love of the Biblical Sabbath day commandment. Jesus Christ indicts these cold preachers for their confusing, compromising, backslidden stand concerning the commandments and particularly the fourth commandment. If you love God you will keep the Sabbath day holy, once you learn this truth.

"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Mat. 24:13). How many people do you know who are on fire for God? How many Christians do you know who live by Biblical standards seven days a week? Are you yourself enduring in the faith? Only those who endure the time of sorrows, the time of Jacob's trouble, all the way to the end, shall be saved from the fiery judgment that will come on the world. Think about it.

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Mat 24:14). Through various ministries, through personal evangelism, through publishing, the true gospel of Jesus Christ, including both salvation and the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6), shall go to every nation where Biblical Israelites are found.

"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:), then. . . flee. . ." (v. 15-16). If we as Christians will not be scorched when God's wrath is poured out on wicked Babylon (the worldly system, Rev. 18), then we must flee that system.

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Mat 24:21). Here is the clincher. Here is that time when the heat is turned up. Here is the den of lions, the oven heated seven times hotter, the fiery furnace where the gold and silver are purified. No wood, hay or stubble will endure this furnace. Here is the very time when rapture believers will be left behind! Yes, every fit vessel must endure the heat of the Master Potter's oven, the flames of the burning fiery furnace, the den where Satan goes about as a roaring lion and the world where the wrath of Almighty God is poured out. Christians who believe in the rapture will experience rupture, trial, pressure, tribulation, like never before. Only those who are "tried in the fire" will become worthy vessels for the kingdom.

"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God" (Zech. 13:9). What happened to the other two thirds of the people? The other "two parts therein shall be cut off and die" (v. 8). Forget the rapture. Look for the resurrection. Before that, look for blood, and lots of it (Ezek. 5:2,12; Rev. 9:15; 10:18).

"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not (Mat. 24:22-23). There will be a holocaust of flesh bodies, a reduction of populations, like never before seen, as angels pour out the vials of God's wrath on sinful man.

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Mat 24:24). Three times in one chapter, Jesus over and over and over warns us against deception. Do we get the point that Bible prophecy interpreters in the main will not have a clue about end time interpretations? Do we get the point that the only safe words to believe are those found in the Word of God?

"If they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Mat 24:26-27).

And "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" (Mat 24:29).

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (v. 30-31).

Lightning is quick and powerful. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1Ths. 4:16). "In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. . . the dead shall be raised" (1Cor. 15:52).

As a final reminder, Jesus says: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Mat 24:35).

We can trust assuredly in the Word of God, as prophetic events unfold. Even if we do not know the exact day or hour of the end, we will know the general timeframe, for surely as "the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (Mat 24:32-33).

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