“The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and THE DECEIT OF THEIR HEART.” (Jeremiah 14:14)
Just as Satan used false prophets at the time of Jeremiah, he is using them today to lead people away from God’s Word. I am not referring only to those who start cults, although cults lead millions of people into hell, but also to those who bring shame on Christ and His church by their idiotic interpretations of Bible prophecy and by false prophecies of the end times.
In 1965 I heard a radio preacher claim that God told him Christ would return in 1985. I suppose that he thought that no one would remember what he said, but I did and God does. For that reason, I would hate to be in his shoes on the day of judgement. Nevertheless, people like that are not uncommon, and they are doing great harm to the cause of Christ.
In 1988 there was a great deal of interest in a book entitled, “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988.” However, even though the author made a lot of money from that book, the fact that Christ did not return revealed that he was a false prophet. Moreover, false prophecy is never benign, I know of at least one person who became very bitter when that book's predictions turned out to be false. Therefore, let us never forget that the Word of God warns of severe judgement for those who, by their lies and lightness, turn souls away from the truth (Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2, Jeremiah 23:32).
As I write, many are claiming that Christ will return by the year two thousand. However, even though they usually qualify their false prophecies with the words “I think” or “I believe,” they are still false prophets. If you doubt what I say, then keep this essay and time will prove that I speak the truth. Like the false prophets of old they prophesy the deceit of their own heart (Jeremiah 14:14 and 23:26, Isaiah 8:20).
The truth about Christ's return and the end of the world is not to be found in the wild imaginings of popular end times writers, nor is it to be found in the deductions and conclusions of men. Instead it is clearly stated in the Word of God, “line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little” as the Bible says (Isaiah 28:10).
In regard to the judgement seat of Christ, the Bible tells us that “when the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all His holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:31-33)
The fact that both sheep and goats are mentioned in the passage above, tells us that believers and unbelievers shall both appear, “before the judgement seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in His body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). [Notice the reference to terror in 2 Corinthians 5:11.] The Bible also tells us that when Christ returns, both believers and unbelievers, “shall hear His voice, and shall come forth” from their graves (John 5:28-29). AND THIS SHALL TAKE PLACE ON THE “ LAST DAY” (John 6:39-40) [See also John 6:44,54, John 11:24, John 12:48, Matthew 13:39.]
Since the Bible passages cited above reveal certain facts about the final judgement, let us look carefully at what they say.
1- Since Christ said, “every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40), we know as a fact that Christ will raise up believers on the last day, not before.
2- Because 1Corinthians 15:52-57 tells us that the “last trump” will sound when Christ raises all believers from the dead, we also know that the last trump will sound on the last day (Compare 1Corinthians 15:52-57, with John 6:40).
3- Since we know that Christ will raise believers “at the last day,” we can be certain that the rapture of believers spoken of in First Thessalonians 4:16-17 will take place on the last day, not before (compare John 6:40 with 1Thessalonians 4:16-17).
4- Because the Bible tells us that the corruption of our nature will not be replaced with incorruption until the resurrection, we know that the effects of sin on nature will not be taken away until the last day (compare 1Corinthians 15:50-57 with John 6:40).
5- Since Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), we know that Christ will not return before the last day to reign in this world.
6- We also know that when Christ returns (the last day), “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” and “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2Peter 3:10). [That is why it is called the “last day”.]
7- Lastly, because the Father will judge no man “but hath committed all judgement unto the Son” (John 5:22), we know that all who “stand before God” on the day of judgement (Revelation 20:12) will be standing before Christ, not the Father. That is proof positive that Christ is God.
Because the truth will never contradict God's Word, an accurate interpretation of the Book of Revelation will never contradict any of the facts I have just presented. On the contrary, a faithful interpreter will interpret John’s vision in the light of what the Bible plainly says about Christ's return, and anyone who contradicts what the Bible plainly says should be rejected as a false prophet (Isaiah 8:20, 1John 4:6).
In the eyes of God there are only two kinds of people, those who are forgiven and those who are not forgiven. Moreover, He sees no fault in those who are forgiven and no good in those who are not forgiven. In fact, without forgiveness even our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). Nevertheless, believers who do not fully understand what I have just said are sometimes disturbed when they hear what the Bible says about people being judged by their works (Revelation 20:12-13, John 5:29, 2Corinthians 5:10).
They find the idea of having to account for their sins disturbing, because they wrongly assume that if they are judged by their works they will be condemned for their sins. What they fail to understand is that, because our sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ, as far as God is concerned they no longer exist. Once we come to faith in Christ, our guilt is completely washed away, our names are written in the Lamb's book of life, and God no longer sees any fault in us. Therefore, He will not see any fault in us on the day of judgement. [Philippians 3:9, Romans 8:33, Revelation 7:14, Romans 9:30 through 10:10, 1John 1:7-9.]
What I have just said agrees perfectly with the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, which says:
Keeping those facts in mind, let us look forward to the coming of Christ, always mindful of the fact that He could come for you (or I) at any moment.