We said at the start of this book that most people would read it for the wrong reasons: idle curiosity; to find flaws in the theories; to work out a way to cheat fate. But I wrote the book anyway. And I did it on the off-chance that someone with real faith would read it, and be stirred into action by it. But that is a very long shot, against incredible odds.

 

Jesus said that the world that killed him was a spiritually green tree compared to the one that we are living in today. (Luke 23:29-31) He asked a sad rhetorical question about our generation: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find [any] faith [at all] on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) St. Paul promised that the return of Christ would not come without a great "falling away" amongst God's people first. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) And each of the Bible writers has promised, along with Christ himself, that the so-called Christian world will be riddled with false teachings, lukewarm faith, and cold comfort in these final days of history. (Matthew 24:4-5, 9-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 3:3-4)

 

One of the cleverest of false teachings is the one that says the false teachers will only be those who operate outside the authority of the mainline Christian denominations. It overlooks the fact that Christ said it would be the officially recognised church leaders themselves who would be most prominent in persecuting his true followers. (Luke 6:26)

 

He said, "They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues [church buildings] and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake... You will be betrayed both by parents and brothers and sisters, and by other relatives and friends. Some of you they will cause to be put to death. And you will be hated of all people for my name's sake." (Luke 21:12, 16-17)

 

The religious masses are controlled by a universal fear of something called "cults". Few dare to openly discuss what the word actually means; but they all fear it. The dictionary says the word "cult" has no objective meaning; it's an emotional term used to put down anyone who does not conform with mainstream society. A religious cult could be anything from a group of Satan worshippers to a Baptist Church that worships on Saturdays instead of Sundays. The masses can't tell the difference; but then they don't need to tell the difference. They just run from anyone whom their masters say is a "cult".

 

And where does Jesus Christ fit in with all of this cult paranoia? He did not conform with the religious mainstream of his day. He was hated and killed because he represented a threat to orthodox Judaism. And he was considered a "cult" leader. (Acts 24:5; 28:22) So, in order for anyone to follow him, they needed to have the courage to step out from under the safety net of status quo respectability.

 

Followers of the Lamb were rugged individuals, able to tell the difference between real truth and superficial religious double-talk. The Bible says that when Jesus finished his famous Sermon on the Mount, the crowds were amazed because he spoke "as one having authority" (Matthew 7:28-29) and not like the scribes and Pharisees.

 

But wait a minute! The scribes and Pharisees were the religious authorities in the eyes of the general public. So there must be more than one measure of religious "authority". The real message of this book is that if you want to follow Christ, you must recognise that real authority only comes from speaking the truth in obedience to the ultimate Authority, which is God. The underlying revelation of all Bible prophecy is that authority which comes only through acceptance by the political powers of a godless world is not authority at all in God's eyes.

 

Real character, the kind that does what is right even when it is not popular... even when it costs you everything, even when the laws of the land condemn it, is practically non-existent in today's world. But that is the quality which God is looking for, and that is what Jesus Christ taught. Real character doesn't do what is right just because your pastor or your parents or your friends support you in doing so. You do what is right because it is right. Do you have enough faith in God and enough understanding of right and wrong to take such a stand... on your own if necessary?

 

You need to ask yourself whether the message of this book is the truth. Is the world really as corrupt as the Bible says? Is the Devil really the "prince of this world"? Is friendship with the world really "enmity with God" as James said? (James 4:4) Doesn't it make perfect sense that God would ask us to take a stand for him which will put us at direct odds with the values of the rest of the world? And isn't it true that virtually all those whom we have traditionally thought of as "Christians" are more concerned with obeying the "laws of the land" than they are with obeying Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world? (John 1:29)

 

Jesus Christ has, in his teachings, zeroed in on all that matters in our lives, and asked us to forsake it all for him. (Luke 14:33) He shows us that God is jealous; he will not allow us to put anything before him. He wants our "all". But our "all" is really nothing by comparison to what we get in exchange... peace of mind, real meaning and purpose in life, immortality, and a place in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 13:45-46)

 

After all the theories about this country versus that country and this symbol versus that symbol have faded from your memory, what really matters about this book is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has a plan for your life. He wants you to conform to that plan and to become part of his eternal kingdom. If you will not do that, then you will end up becoming part of the Devil's kingdom.

 

You only have one life. Don't waste it in indecision, torn between your desire for safety and security and your desire to do what your heart tells you is right. We would like to hear from you if you are interested in following Jesus Christ in total obedience to all that he taught. But more than that, God would like to hear from you. Talk to him about it. Ask him to show you what you should do. And when he shows you, do not hesitate to do it.

 

We will be praying for you; and if we do not see or hear from you sooner, we will be looking for you when the Tribulation begins.

 

Appendix, Chapter 26

 

Luke 23:29-31. The days are coming in which they will say, "Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the paps which never gave suck. Then will they begin to say to the mountains, "Fall on us," and to the hills, "Cover us." For if they do these things in a green tree, what will be done in the dry?

 

2 Thessalonians 2:3. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

 

Matthew 24:4-5, 9-12. Many will come in my name, saying, "I am Christ ["God's anointed one"], and they will deceive many. Then will they deliver you up to be afflicted, and will kill you. You will be hated of all nations for my name's sake. Then will many be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another. Many false prophets will rise, and will deceive many. And because iniquity will abound, the love of many will turn cold.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5. Know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. People will be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it. From such turn away.

 

2 Peter 2:1-3. There were false prophets also among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who privately will bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and [they will] bring upon themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth will be evil spoken of. And through covetousness will they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you. Their judgment now, for a long time, lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.

 

2 Peter 3:3-4. Know this first, that there will come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from beginning of the creation."

 

Luke 6:26. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 

Acts 24:5. [Accusation against St. Paul]: "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, a ring leader of the sect of the Nazarenes." [Jesus was from Nazareth, and thus a Nazarene.]

 

Acts 28:22. [Jewish leaders, referring to the Christians]: "We desire to hear of you what you think. As concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against."

 

James 4:4. You adulterers and adulteresses, Don't you know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

 

John 1:29. John saw Jesus coming to him, and he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

 

Luke 14:33. Whoever you may be, if you do not forsake all that you have, you cannot be my disciple.

 

Matthew 13:45-46. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls. When he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and he bought it.