Scripture Text – Matthew 24:3-14
Pastor’s Note: Please keep in mind that as you read these various circumstances prophesied by Jesus, M. R. De Haan wrote and commented abut these things back in 1944.
Continuing with the nine signs began from last week:
5. Anti-Semitism and Jew Baiting
Jesus said, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation . . . and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” As you well know, Jesus was speaking to His disciples. They were Jews and already at that time under the heel of the Roman boot, and our Lord said that in the last days they would be “hated by all nations.” We realize that the ultimate fulfillment of these signs will come in the Tribulation (that period of time which will follow immediately upon the snatching away of the Church), but the dire warning signs (the beginning of these things) will precede that great event, as we shall see in a moment. Has there ever been a period in Israel’s history when her condition was more precarious? Instead of one Pharaoh in the land of Egypt there are today numerous Pharaohs and Caesars in as many lands who have revived the old anti-Semitic madness. They blame all the evils and misfortunes of the world on the Jews and propagate the hellish doctrine that the salvation of the world must come as a result of the annihilation of the Jews. It is the old story with a new satanic vengeance. It is estimated that there are some 16,500,000 Jews in the world today (as of 1944), the bulk of them in Europe. Of these 16,500,000 there are at least 10,000,000 who are not welcome in the lands where they dwell. Undetermined numbers are in concentration camps, herded together in revived ghettos, while millions have been slain for no reason other than that they were Jews—of the same nationality as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Germany, Italy and the conquered countries these brethren of the Lord, according to the flesh, are driven to desperation as the words of our Lord are being fulfilled before our very eyes. O Christian, can you not see what God is trying to tell us through these events? He is, as it were, shouting that the day—that glorious day—is near at hand when the Lord shall redeem His people Israel, plant them again in their own land, and turn again their captivity so that none shall make them afraid. May God hasten the glad day!
6. False Prophets and Deceivers
The sixth sign given in Matthew 24 is false prophets. These must not be confused with false christs. The two are thus distinguished by the Lord Jesus. False christs claim deity and lordship.
False prophets are those who come as angels of light, preaching a gospel which is not the Gospel and presenting a plan of salvation without the blood of Christ and without His Resurrection. They tell men that by keeping the Golden Rule, practicing the Sermon on the Mount, and keeping the commandments they will be saved. Preaching and teaching a gospel of works, these false prophets would have men save themselves by their own goodness and their own works, thus despising the sacrifice of God in the Person of His Son on the Cross of Calvary. The Apostle John describes and identifies these false prophets in his first epistle:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. – 1 John 4:1-3 (emphasis mine).
Solemn words are these. John says, “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” The name “Jesus” means “Jehovah Savior.” It comes from two Hebrew words, Jehovah and Hoshea. By contraction we get “Joshua.” The Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua is “Jesus.” The title “Christ” is a translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, meaning “the Anointed One.” “Jesus Christ,” therefore, means “God the Saviour,” and “the Anointed One.” According to John, anyone who does not confess that God became man is a false prophet. God was manifest in the flesh. The Word became flesh. According to the Word of God, this is the test whereby to try the spirits, whether or not they be of God. Everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh is not of God. When we think of the teaching of modern, philosophical theology, we understand what Jesus was speaking about. What confusion and what denial of the cardinal truths of the Word of God we see taking place all around! This preaching of a diluted, exsanguinated, eviscerated, decapitated and emasculated Gospel and the flattery of pretty words and high-sounding formality has led multitudes astray. Jude describes these false prophets this way:
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. – Jude 16.
If ever we Christians pray, it should most assuredly be today that we may be given the spirit of discernment lest we be led away by the error of the wicked and their appealing but false gospel, of which Paul also wrote:
If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. – Galatians 1:9.
To Be Continued