By Terry S. Ross
It pleases me very much to be able to give credit where credit is surely due. First of all, I would like to dedicate this book to my partner and best friend, my wife, Cathy. There is just no way that I could do what I do without her. I praise the Lord for her every day!
Then I wish to give a special thanks to Sandra Pinkoski who gave me a big “kick” to get this book done. Thanks Sandra, I needed the push.
Also deserving of special thanks is Graham Cutts for his keen eye and attention to detail while proofing this manuscript.
If someone had told me that I would be publishing a book at any stage of my life I would have, like Abraham’s wife, Sarah, laughed, but here it is, and it’s folks such as my publisher, Clinton Jones and his parents Ivan and Gladys, who have made it all the easier. Clinton, founder and owner of CHJ Publishing, is a missionary in his own field. He has, at his own expense made hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousands of books available for those who otherwise could not afford them. It is this spirit that will finish the task before us and what pushes folks like me ahead, in spite of ourselves.
And to close out this “thank you” list I wish to praise our precious Lord for the generous ministry family that makes up the Servants of the Saviour’s team. This book is possible because there are folks out there who have an ear to the rail and a finger in the wind. We are proud, in the proper sense, and humbled to have such a supportive Christian family as the Lord has and is providing us with. It is to these that this missionary book is dedicated.
No longer is it the sound of distant rumblings. No longer is it from afar that we witness an attack on Christian standards and values. The greatest battle ever to be fought in these last days has already begun! It rages even now. It has come to our shores and is being waged on a global scale. It will take us into the darkest hours of earth’s history since there was a nation. Wishing it away will not change it or help us.
Even non- Christians understand that something is not right. Something is amiss. Uncertainty and fear for the future is in the very air we breathe. Something is wrong in America and no one seems able to fix it. They may not realize exactly what it is but the last battle between Christ and Satan for the souls of men has already commenced. The startling truth that a growing number of sincere Christians are discovering is that while we thought it would be “us against the world”— we have more to fear from within the “church” than without. The Trojan Horse of heresy and apostasy is already inside the gate!
In Revelation chapter three, Jesus said I want you to be hot or cold. Either be 100% or zero. But because you are luke- warm; because you want to have one foot in the world and one in the church, I will spew you out of my mouth. You make me sick!
The shaking of the church has begun! It is decision time. Do we want to be hot or cold? The choice is ours. The choice we make will decide our eternal destiny. It is now that we must take serious inventory of ourselves. No longer can we fool those around us as we “play” church. For we have entered a time of individual examination in the courts of —not man —but God. A court where all human veneer is stripped away. If we hope to retain Jesus as our friend and advocate during this trial, we must ask ourselves the most serious questions of our lives —and answer them honestly.
Do you know what you believe and why? I’m not asking if you know what your pastor believes or what your denominational creed is or what your parents believe. I’m not asking what some prominent television personality who has written “a really great book” thinks. I am asking if you know what YOU believe and the biblical reasons why you believe it.
This book is a wake- up call to Laodicea. Laodicea is the last church mentioned in the book of Revelation.
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3: 14- 18). We are living in the time of the last church— the “Laodicean” church. The Lord’s return is closer than we even dare to hope for —even at the door. Are we ready? Have we studied the Bible for ourselves? I don’t mean the kind of study that consists of spoon- fed sections given to support a point of view held by church headquarters, leaders, and pastors; I mean the kind of study where YOU find, on your own, scriptural support for what you believe.
We must not think we can acquire a saving knowledge of the Lord based upon the study of others. You have to “. . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2: 12). We each have to dig into God’s word for ourselves and see what it says to us personally. We shouldn’t think that we can be ready for the Lord’s return by merely giving money to the church, attending services once or even twice a week (or more), and then put our Bible back on the shelf when we get home without doing our own study. We have to know FOR OURSELVES what it says.
We can’t entrust television preachers or even our own pastors with our salvation. We have to work it out ourselves— the Bible says so! I have heard statements made and even Bible verses quoted from the pulpit and on television that were misquoted or taken out of context to prove a piece of faulty theology. The speaker was trying to make a point that was, at best, scripturally unsound, and, at worst, downright heresy! You must study for yourself— the “arm of flesh will fail you.”
There are many tried and true ministers of God out there in the churches. There are many who are standing strongly for Bible truth and are living up to the light they know. These are the faithful “watchmen on the wall” mentioned in Ezekiel 33: 1- 7. But there are many others who are not part of the “true and faithful” who make up God’s true church. Many are finding out today that placing a sign that reads “CHURCH” on the outside of a building does not make it one. Profession without possession is worse than worthless. In fact, Jesus said that one who makes a profession of Christianity without possessing the living, active faith of Christianity, is worse than an infidel. In the judgment it will have been better if he had never been born or if he had a millstone tied around his neck and had been cast into the depths of the sea.
Jesus came to make clear in person, who and what constitutes His true church. PROPHETIC PARALLELS has helped thousands to come to the understanding that Jesus came personally to bring the wonderful news that today we can know what constitutes God’s true church! But we must also realize that this life- saving discovery comes with all the ingredients the disciples had to swallow. The Lord asked them if they were able to drink of the same bitter cup He was going to drink from. Now we discover that we as individuals must face the same question.
Those pastors who do not take the time to do their homework are in the group discussed here. Those denominational leaders and church committee members who do not take time to know what God’s word truly says are also in this group. Also in this group are those preachers who predominantly read books by high profile Christian celebrities that give man’s “I think” instead of a plain “thus saith the Lord.” These authors often base entire doctrinal positions on one or two isolated texts, frequently taken out of context and unsupported by the many other Scriptures pertaining to that subject. It also includes those who are “policy” men rather than those of principle. Not a few in this group know a whole lot more than they are telling.
The pastors in our churches are to be the “watchmen on the wall” mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel. There is danger coming and they are to warn the people. But who is sounding the alarm?
“But if the watchmen see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; THEREFORE THOU SHALT HEAR THE WORD AT MY MOUTH, AND WARN THEM FROM ME. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezekiel 33: 6- 8).
The Bible interprets itself. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28: 10). If there is a passage of Scripture that seems to contradict another passage of Scripture, you can be sure that it is not the Bible that is contradicting itself, but a faulty understanding of what the Bible says. The ENTIRE BIBLE must be used to understand the principles God has laid out before us. And we must search this out for ourselves. We must ask God to remove our preconceived opinions and to give us the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. Preconceived opinion must be laid at the door of investigation. Remember what we are told in 1 John 2: 27:
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
If you are in doubt about a certain topic, take your concordance and do a word study about it. Pray about it. Ask God to send the Holy Spirit to enlighten you about it. And most important of all, don’t just take someones word for it, even if it happens to be a close friend. See what the Bible says. You may be surprised what the Bible teaches and it may totally be the opposite of what you have been taught. But make no mistake— Bible truth is not subject to what your pastor “thinks” it says, nor is Bible truth subject to popular vote! It is not majority opinion that determines the truth of Scriptures, BUT WHAT THE SCRIPTURES ACTUALLY SAY. Be not deceived!
As you choose to serve God first and relegate to man a second position, the study in PROPHETIC PARALLELS, rightly understood, will be a blessing from the Lord. In Christ’s day the “church” had strangely changed leaders and the people rejected the Originator of their movement. In our day we face this same tragedy. Most “ancient believers in God” (ancient Israel) —our spiritual ancestors— were lost because of their misplaced loyalty in a leadership (priesthood) that had become corrupt. Today their history has once again become our (Modern Israel’s – in the spiritual sense) reality.
It is now your privilege to discover and understand that this same Jesus who existed throughout the history of our ancestors, in His grace and mercy toward us, has had the Bible written not just to show us what love is, but for much deeper reasons. He is giving us a last chance to learn from the mistakes of others and take heed. Whether or not you decide to enroll in the school of Christ as an active, honest student will determine your eternal destiny!
Our prayers are with you and it is our hope and desire that you will find the freedom that our Saviour died to give you — only then will you be free indeed. But if not, you are in danger of being chained to men who have no higher concept of Christianity than did their ancient counterparts (the Sanhedrin) in the “denominational headquarters” of the ancient church.
This book is primarily dedicated to those men and women who have through the ages taken their stand on the side of the Lord at the cost of their reputation, of being misunderstood, and being persecuted for the name and cause of Christ and our Heavenly Father.
This book is also dedicated to such men as the disciples, who after the Upper Room experience went boldly forward proclaiming the truth for their day in the face of deadly opposition from a corrupt priesthood that called itself the “church”; to the first martyr, Stephen, who told it like it was but had no spirit of hatred in him, who was not blind, nor bitter; to Saul, the conference leader who became Paul the church leader, who although obeying man instead of God at first, saw the light on the Damascus road and was converted to follow Jesus anywhere He led; Paul, who became an honorable defender of Jesus and who quite possibly understood the purifying effects of trial more than any other man; to these and the many others who have sacrificed so much that God’s word might continue to shine in a world of darkness; and to those who will yet hear the call of the Master’s voice, pick up the blood- stained banner and contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.
Our study will take us through the heart of the four Gospels and into some Old Testament references. When you have finished, we hope you will be much richer and wiser for your study. May the Lord be with you.
Terry S. Ross
Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross