10 The  Apostasy
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Chapter 10

The Great Apostasy

The Bible indicates that there will be a great apostasy in the last days just before the rapture and the revealing of Anti-Christ. The word apostasy means an abandonment of one's profession of Christ or departing from the doctrines of the faith. As we have mentioned previously there will be a parallel development of two churches. One will be the true church who will be raptured, the other will be the dominant, larger apostate church which will go into the great tribulation. If Satan is to present Anti-Christ as Christ who will bring peace to the world he must also have a church which will follow him.

The Falling Away

In 2 Thessalonians 2 v 1-3 we read,

Verse 1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together (rapture) unto him,

Verse 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ (the 7 year tribulation) is at hand.

Verse 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the 7 year tribulation) shall not come except there come a falling away first (apostasy), and that man of sin (Anti-Christ) be revealed, the son of perdition.

In these verses the Thessalonians were troubled and shaken by the false teaching that they were already in the great tribulation and had missed the rapture. The apostle Paul writes to remind them of the order of events, the apostasy, then the rapture, then the revealing of Anti-Christ, and then the 7 year tribulation.

The Church of Laodicea

The spiritual condition of the apostate church is represented by the description in Revelation 3 v 14-21. Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are written to seven actual churches in Asia Minor. Asia Minor was the cradle of the early church. It has been observed that the spiritual condition of each the seven churches parallels the dominant spiritual conditions of the church age. Therefore the seven churches prophetically represent the seven periods of the church age. The last part of the church age is represented by the church of Laodicea. The church of Laodicea is the dominant church of the last generation just before the rapture.

Reading Revelation 3 v 14-21,

Verse 14 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;

Verse 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Verse 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

Verse 17 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:

Verse 18 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 eye salve, that thou mayest see.

Verse 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Verse 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Verse 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

In verse 15 Jesus says their works or daily walk was unacceptable. Their religiousness was based on the efforts of the flesh and not the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit was the source of their power for daily walking they would bring a refreshing (cold) or a warm (hot) edifying presence to other believers. Their lives would reflect the true fruit of the Spirit and sound doctrine. In verse 17 Jesus reveals the inner thinking of this church. The Laodiceans believed that material blessings were a sign that they were right with God and were therefore blind to their spiritual need. The Lord Jesus describes them as poor, blind and naked. These are descriptive terms for someone who is not saved. When a person has truly been saved, that person receives as clothing, the imputed righteousness of Christ, and as eye salve for their blindness, the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals the scriptures properly which leads to holding sound doctrine. A person's works become acceptable to Christ through the Holy Spirit's power and motivation. If our understanding is correct the apostate church will profess Christ but not truly be saved. This apostate condition leads to a lack of discernment, compromise, false revivals and false doctrine.

In verse 19 the Lord Jesus is calling those who are saved within this church to repent and wake up. Anytime you fellowship with those who are false professors your faith will be weakened, compromised and dulled. One of the dominant things that happen is that the false professors will undermine the study of Bible prophecy sweeping one third of the Bible off the table. Satan knows that ignorance of prophetic scriptures will enable his false teachers to work more effectively. Another thing that will happen is that fellowship with those who teach and follow a false gospel will be promoted in the name of ecumenical unity. Instead of giving those deceived by religious Christianity the true gospel, they are given the hand of fellowship and called brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord calls those caught up in the apostate church to get back on the narrow path and off the road of compromise.

In verse 20 and 21 he offers to individuals in the apostate church the opportunity for salvation and fellowship with him. God calls sinners to repent, turn from their own will and accept Jesus Christ as Master and Savior. The door of each person's heart can only be opened from the inside, God does not force his way in.

Mystery, Babylon the Great

In Revelation chapter 17 we have a description of a woman riding a beast. It is important to understand the picture given here as it relates to church history and the ecumenical movement we are experiencing today.

Reading Revelation 17 v 1-18,

Verse 1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.

Verse 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

Verse 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Verse 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Verse 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Verse 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration (astonishment).

Verse 7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carried her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

Verse 8 The beast that thou sawest was and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Verse 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

Verse 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

Verse 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Verse 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

Verse 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

Verse 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Verse 15 And he saith unto me, the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Verse 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and

naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Verse 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

Verse 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

In order to discern who the woman and the beast are we need to make some observations. The woman is riding the same beast as described in Daniel 7 v 7, 17-26. It is a description of the Revived Roman Empire which will be led by Anti-Christ into the 7 year tribulation. This beast has seven heads and ten horns. Verse 10 identifies them as seven kings or kingdoms. At the time of the writing of Revelation five had fallen and history has revealed them. They are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. The kingdom at that time was the Roman Empire and the final seventh kingdom is the Revived Roman Empire. Verse 11 describes the Anti-Christ as coming to power out of the Revived Roman Empire. Verse 12 describes the ten leaders of this empire giving Anti-Christ their political support for a short period of time. The European Union has already stated their desire for one great leader to galvanize the whole process.

But who is this woman? The word "whore" or "harlot" is a symbol of a spiritual departure from the one true God or substituting a counterfeit religion. The words "Mystery Babylon the Great" refer to the mother and child religion with its special rites, rituals and idols. The original Babylonian religion contained occultic practices such as astrology and sorcery. The first six kingdoms mentioned above were heavily into various forms of the Babylonian religion. Our initial observation is that the woman represents the religious arm of the Revived Roman Empire. What will be revealed is that the woman is a amalgamation of the pagan Babylonian religion with false Christianity under the guise of Roman Catholicism.

In Revelation 17 v 9,18 it says that the woman sitteth on the city of seven hills. This can only be the city of Rome. There is only one religious system that has the city of Rome as its center and that is Roman Catholicism. But does the rest of the picture fit?

Revelation 17 v 15 says that the waters represent peoples, nations, and tongues. Roman Catholicism is the only religious system that is worldwide in her scope and influence. She indeed sitteth upon many waters. Revelation 17 v 2 says the woman committs fornication with the kings of the earth. Roman Catholicism is the only religious system that has done this on a worldwide basis. Her history of political intrigue and influence is without rival by any other religion. There are few governments that do not have an ambassador to the Vatican. In Revelation 17 v 6 it says that the woman is drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus. Roman Catholicism qualifies as a religious system which has shed the blood of the true saints of God. Foxe's Book of Martyrs is testimony enough of Rome's persecution of the true saints of God during the middle ages. When she had both religious and political power in Europe she murdered and tortured those she labeled heretics. In the middle ages in Spain alone around 3 million were tortured and murdered by the Inquisition. For disagreeing with Rome's dogmas Christian groups such as the Albigenses, Waldenses, Huguenots, and many others in Europe suffered martyrdom in the millions. The false claim of absolute religious power given by God to the Roman Church proved to be a guise for wickedness. That is why absolute power should never be given to any human being or organization whether religious or secular because absolute power corrupts absolutely. There must be checks and balances built in. Whether it is Rome in the middle ages or Communism or Fascism of our century the results have always been the same. Satan has an easy time when he can concentrate power amongst a few. His suggestions for suppression of dissenters are readily accepted.

In Revelation 17 v 4 she has great wealth and holds a gold chalice. No religious system in all history comes even close to the incredible wealth in art treasures, gold, and silver as compared to the Roman Catholic church. She has a gold cup in her hand which points to Rome's holiest instrument, the gold cup of the Eucharist.

The woman is called "Mystery Babylon". Does this description fit with Roman Catholicism? The ancient Babylonian religion began in the days of Nimrod only a few generations after the flood. In Genesis 10 v 8-10 we read of Nimrod and his kingdom called Babel in the land of Shinar. Nimrod incited the people to rebel against God and to gather in one place instead of spreading out over the earth. He incited them to build the tower of Babel to be used for the practice of astrology. In Genesis 11 v 1-9 we read of God confounding their language in order to scatter them over the earth. At this scattering they took the Babylonian religion of Nimrod all over the earth. On virtually every continent we find the remains of high towers and structures used for pagan ceremonies and the study of the stars as the Babylonian religion spread out.

The Babylonian religion developed around certain traditions concerning Nimrod, his wife Semiramis, and her child Tammuz. When Nimrod died Semiramis claimed that he was now the "sun god". When her son was born, Semiramis claimed he had been supernaturally conceived and was the savior. In the Babylonian religion the pagan worship of the mother goddess and child developed. Along with that came numerous rites, symbols and images. Nimrod as the sun god was represented on earth by fire. This was symbolized by the lighting of fires or candles. The symbol of the cross originated as representing Tammuz or the letter "T" in his name. Mother and child statues with the sun or stars behind their heads developed. Prayer beads originated with the Babylonian religion and spread to different cultures when the people were scattered at Babel. Obelisks were part of the Babylonian sun worship. The Babylonian religion developed a plurality of gods and goddesses for every circumstance and every occupation. Whatever problem or need you had there was a specific god or goddess you prayed to.

The Mother Goddess and Child

When Nimrod and the people were scattered by God at Babel they took the mother goddess and child worship wherever they went. In China the mother goddess with child was called "Shingmoo", in India "Indrani", in Greece "Aphrodite or Ceres", in Egypt she was called "Isis" with the child named "Horus", the Romans called her "Venus or Fortuna" with the child named "Jupiter", in Ephesus she was known as "Diana" and in the land of Canaan (Palestine) she was part of Baal worship and known by the name of "Ashtaroth" the queen of heaven. In Roman Catholicism their names are "Mary" and "Jesus". The Babylonian religion has been given a veneer of Christianity and is still with us today under the banner of Roman Catholicism.

The Confusion of Ecumenism

While the rapture of the true church approaches, the apostate church of Laodicea and Roman Catholicism are uniting. Rome is also actively seeking the other major religions to come under this ecumenical umbrella as well. One of the major points of their platform is that Christ would want his church united as a testimony to the unbelieving world. The other major plank is that we must put aside our doctrinal differences which cause division and unite under the essentials of the faith. Unfortunately these two planks are entirely the opposite of what Christ taught.

The Roman Catholic religion will be prominent during the seven year tribulation, supporting the political side of the Revived Roman Empire. This is consistent with her desire to establish the "Holy Roman Empire" as the number one power on the world scene. As we approach the rapture and the beginning of the seven year tribulation her efforts are focused on church unity with the Protestant and Evangelical groups. The major emphasis is on unity and love, and putting aside doctrinal differences. However, when scripture is examined it reveals that this type of unity is not Biblical. The Bible calls instead for separation from false gospels and false doctrine.

 

Unity

What does God say about Christians being in unity? Ecumenism misinterprets the Lord Jesus' prayer in John 17 v 21, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." They try to present this verse as justification for putting aside our doctrinal differences and presenting a type of unity to the world. However, Ephesians 4 v 1,3,13-15 reveals the real meaning of this verse.

Verse 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Verse 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Verse 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

Verse 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of (false) doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Verse 15 But speaking the truth (doctrine) in love (with respect, kindness and gentleness), may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."

In verse 3 note that we are to endeavor to keep the unity we already have! It is not a matter of coming together in unity but keeping the unity in Christ that every believer already has with every other true believer. If God calls us to keep the unity that means that there are things we can do which lose the unity we have in Christ. In verses 13-15 the emphasis is on moving from a child in Christ to a mature man in Christ in doctrine! The more one is sound in doctrine and the more one yields to the Holy Spirit to show proper fruit the more one preserves the unity of faith! 2 Timothy 2 v 15 shows that a mature man in Christ is sound in doctrine. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Think about the Lord's prayer in John chapter 17, the call to be one as God the Father God the Son are one. It is a unity based on being of one mind in doctrine, attitude, and behavior. Do you think the Father and the Son lay aside their doctrine in order to be in unity?

Therefore unity is lost by teaching and holding erroneous and false doctrines. Unity is lost by walking in the flesh with all its sinful attitudes, sharp tongue, pride and worldly behavior. Unity is restored where sound doctrine is maintained and defended. Jude 3 says, "...exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Unity is restored where forgiveness is sought for walking in the flesh and maintained by walking in the Spirit which produces good fruit.

False Gospels and False Doctrine

The present religious landscape is crowded with false teachers and doctrines. Whole ministries have developed who spend all their time refuting these teachers and doctrines. The acceptance of evolution, confusion on Bible prophecy, false faith teachings, false Holy Spirit teachings and the false gospel of self-esteem are just a few of the areas which undermine the Christian faith. It is important to understand that God wants a real believer to withdraw and separate from false gospels and doctrines, not come together in an ecumenical unity. The apostasy in the Christian church is abounding as we move towards the rapture and the 7 year tribulation. The Bible already has indicated this in l Timothy 4 v l, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 2 Timothy 4 v 3 says, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."

2 John v 9-11 shows that we are to separate and not identify ourselves with false teachers and false gospels. It reads,

Verse 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Verse 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed:

Verse 11 For he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Romans 16 v 17 says the same, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them".

God has commanded separation because he knows that Satan's methods are to infiltrate fellowships and bring leaven or false doctrine into each church. Satan knows that this method will weaken the strength and the faith of the church. Satan desires to get one of his ministers of unrighteousness to be accepted. He can then begin to water down the message and undermine the effectiveness and strength of the church witness.

2 Corinthians 11 v 13-15 reads,

Verse 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

Verse 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Verse 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

These verses indicate that part of the spiritual battle involves people in church leadership positions who look like they represent God but in actuality are serving Satan. They present themselves as "Christian" but are not. It is likely Satan uses some unknowingly and some knowingly. For the human heart is inherently religious and we are easily deceived in our fallen condition. If you want to see the main battlefield go check out the soundness of the Seminaries and Bible Colleges. For Satan will seek to apostasize the education facility, then train his servants, and then place them in church leadership. The acceptance of some form of evolution and "Christian psychology" by many Bible colleges and seminaries are indicative of the battle. If you visit a church and find many errors taught or much doctrine considered non-essential, you would do well to check out the seminary or college to see if they are still contending for the faith. Be wary of what I call "scholarolatry". A false teacher will generally have educational credentials and present himself as a scholar. He will resort to exalting himself over others through being a scholar. Every Christian should become knowledgeable and sound in their understanding of the Bible. A Christian is also called to test the "experts" to see whether they speak for God or not.

Galatians l v 6-8 says,

Verse 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Verse 7 Which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Verse 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (The false gospel here was belief in Christ plus the keeping of the Jewish ceremonial laws).

That the church of Rome teaches another gospel is without question and has been documented from their own material by numerous authors from the Reformation onwards. Even though Rome uses the same words, she redefines them to a false gospel. We will cover briefly a few of the major points. Under Roman Catholic doctrine the death of Christ on the cross did not fully pay the debt of sin. Justification in Rome's terms means an entrance into the salvation process. Original sin is removed, and justification is added to by the sacraments and good works. It is a works oriented false gospel. As declared in Romans chapters 3-5, justification was accomplished by Christ on the cross as he paid the full penalty for sin.

Rome teaches that salvation is a lifelong process. It teaches that there is a possibility of losing salvation. It teaches that no one can know for sure if he will attain eternal life. The teaching of scripture is quite contrary to this. For at justification the Holy Spirit indwells the believer forever (John 14 v 16) and l John 5 v 13 says, "...that we may know that ye have eternal life."

Rome's confusion with mixing up salvation with sanctification is just another form of bondage to the Law. To place your eternal destiny upon your own good works and the sacraments of Catholicism is a burden with little hope and freedom of mind. We do not have the ability to maintain a righteous standing before God. If we did then we would be able to boast before God how we maintained our salvation. Ephesians 2 v 8,9 clearly states that salvation is a gift from God that excludes all boasting before him. That is why Christ had to take us out from under the Law and put us under Grace. That is why he made us new creatures in Christ breaking the power of sin in our lives.

Rome's sacrament of the Mass is the high point of their religion. They believe that the Mass perpetuates the sacrifice of the cross, that it atones for the sins of the living and the dead, and that it appeases God's wrath against sin. Hebrews 10 v 12 says, "But this man (Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." l John 2 v 2 reads, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." The word propitiation means he fully satisfied God's wrath against sin.

Rome's creation of a special priesthood and the confessional is in direct conflict with scripture. In 1 Peter 2 v 9 it says that every Christian is equal and part of a royal priesthood. In 1 John 1 v 9 it says that every Christian should confess their sins directly to God. In James 5 v 16 it says confess your "faults" to one another. This does not mean sins but your actions which have offended another. Only God can listen to our secret sins day after day and not be corrupted.

Perhaps we can quote from a few Roman Catholic sources in support of our statements above. The Canon and Decrees of the Council of Trent, 7, General, 4 says, "If anyone says that the sacraments of the new law are not necessary for salvation but... that without them... men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification ... let him be anathema (cursed)."

The Canon and Decrees of the Council of Trent, 6,16,13

"If anyone says that in order to obtain the remission of sin it is necessary... to believe with certainty (knowing you are

forgiven and saved) and without hesitation...that his sins are forgiven him, let him be anathema."

Vatican II: "For it is the liturgy through which, especially the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist (the Mass), the work of our redemption is accomplished..."

Rome has replaced the Jewish bondage of trying to keep the Law as a salvation process with a new version. She offers the new religious bondage of an intellectual belief in Jesus plus good works and the sacraments of the church as a means of acceptance with God. Definitely a false gospel to be separated from and to correct.

The False Doctrine of Self-Esteem

You need to love yourself before you can love others. Therefore you need to build up your self-esteem because you are suffering from low self-esteem. This doctrine has flooded the church through "Christian psychology". Even a most basic understanding of sound doctrine refutes this utterly.

2 Corinthians 5 v 17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." l John 3 v 9 reads, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God". Romans 7 v 18 says, For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing...".

In Galatians 2 v 20 we read, "I (self) am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

A real Christian is either controlled by the flesh or the Holy Spirit. The new man (creature) is created in holiness and cannot sin but it still has about it the body (flesh) which is the seat of sin. The flesh and the new man are contrary to one another as Galatians 5 v 17 states, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other...".

Self was crucified on the cross (put to death) in Galatians 2 v 20. Understanding the old man and the new man reveals there is no need to build up self-esteem. You cannot build up the flesh; you can only feed its sinful lusts. You cannot build up the new man for he is already created holy and perfect. You are instead responsible to mortify the flesh (Romans 8 v 12,13, Colossians 3 v 5) and feed the new man with sound doctrine. There is no such thing as low or high self-esteem. There is only the fruit of the sin nature or the fruit of the Spirit.

The main effect of the fall of Adam and Eve into sin was the awful birth of self. Adam and Eve went from a perfect submissive relationship with God to a fallen condition focused on themselves. The birth of self in the garden of Eden was a tragic consequence of rebellion against God. We are now plagued with our own focus on self, selfish motives, self-consciousness and self-love. The results of the self-esteem doctrine is mentioned in the scriptures but its fruit is all bad.

2 Timothy 3 v l-5 reads,

Verse 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

Verse 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

Verse 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.

Verse 4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Verse 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Some will say that this is not the self-esteem they are talking about. The argument is that some people need to learn to love themselves so they can love their neighbors' as themselves. Generally they will quote a verse like Matthew 22 v 39 which reads, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself". Again we have a basic misinterpretation of scripture and the inner workings of man. God already knew the inner self-love enthroned on each human heart at the fall. He was saying, love your neighbor as much as you already love yourself. In other words take some of your self-love focus and put it on somebody else. People need to renew their minds with who they are in Christ and allow God to love others through them. This can only be experienced through the Holy Spirit being on the throne of your life.

Others will then counter with this statement, "I know some people who hate themselves". Yet Ephesians 5 v 29 says, "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh...". When you investigate as to reasons why one says he hates himself, it is self-pride hiding within. Disappointed because they are not as beautiful as others, as intelligent, as rich, as athletic, as popular etc. etc.. It is self on the throne disappointed in the circumstances of life. If people really hated themselves they would be happy they are not as beautiful, intelligent, rich, athletic and popular. But the opposite is true because self is the focus and we all suffer from this tyrant on the throne of our lives. We all need the cross of Christ which puts self to death and the new birth from God.

False Doctrine on Faith

A correct view of the meaning of faith is paramount in avoiding the false teaching on "faith laws". Exercising true faith always has God and the Lord Jesus Christ as its object. We are to trust in God the Holy Spirit to lead and order our lives so they give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to trust in the power, wisdom and character of God when we exercise faith. Faith is not a technique where if you say the right words and visualize your request you activate some impersonal faith law or force God to answer your prayer. Faith is exercised in the promises of God but is bound by God's sovereign will. God can answer your prayer of faith either yes, no, or wait. A prayer of faith is also bound by God's wisdom and whether it will glorify the Lord Jesus. If you compare the infinite wisdom of God to our wisdom it is better to submit our prayers to him to be answered according to his will. We do not write our own ticket with God but submit our plans into his hands to order as he sees fit. 1 Peter 1 v 21 says, "...that your faith and hope might be in God." James 4 v 15 "...If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."

 

Concluding Remarks

We've briefly covered different aspects of the apostasy. It is interesting to note that at the beginning of the Church Age the Apostle's were given signs and wonders to backup their message until the scriptures were completed. At the end of the Church Age it is the false teachers who are characterized with claiming to do great signs and wonders and having great visions. Matthew 24 v 24 reads, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders...". 2 Thessalonians 2 v 9 reads, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders". False teachers in the last days will desire to "make merchandise of you". Reading 2 Peter 2 v 3 "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you...". False teachers will speak of great dreams and visions they received directly from God. Reading in Jude v 8, "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities." False teachers will speak disrespectfully of the devil. Reading in Jude v 9, "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee".

A person's doctrine, attitude, words and actions must be measured against the character of the Lord Jesus Christ and the word of God. Religious experience must also come under the same test. If it is not something the Lord Jesus would say or do it is not of God.

 

Some Reference Material for the Apostasy

1. Babylon Mystery Babylon- Ancient and Modern by Ralph Woodrow

2. A Woman Rides the Beast by Dave Hunt

3. The Seduction of Christianity by Dave Hunt

4. Psycho-Heresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity by Martin and Diedre Bobgan Published by EastGate Publishers