December 30, 2016 - A. V. Rauf
Apostasy Defined (Part I)
As we brace ourselves for what promises to be an exciting year in 2017, it goes without saying that prophetic events are beginning to to unfold in rapid fashion as we approach what many Bible prophecy students know as the end of the Church Age.
Jesus made a very powerful statement regarding the church in the New Testament:
Matthew 1:13-18—When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Our adversary was wary of this statement and knew full well that the forces of darkness could not and would not prevail over the Church. As a matter of fact, at the onset of the birth of the true church as evidenced in the Book of Acts, the enemy made several attempts to wipe out the Church, However, the end result of the attempted persecution eventually enabled the Church to grow stronger.
Of course the next plan of the enemy was as such: “IF YOU CANT BEAT ‘EM, JOIN ‘EM!” A thorough reading of the seven letters to the seven churches written in the Book of Revelation reveals Christ’s assessment of Church conditions. Of course, that would be a separate post in itself and a deep, lengthy study in itself as well.
With all due respect to any given Church, it has been said that one wil never find the “perfect,’ Church. The call to preach and teach the Word of God and to make disciples is a mighty and noble one. To be chosen by God almighty to lead a Church is an undaunting task in itself. The purpose of this post is not in anyway to undermine or judge and/or critique any organization claiming to be a Church. However, we will examine some things through the lense of Scripture.
The reality of the matter is as such: in a certain sense, America may no longer be a Christian nation but it can be considered a nation that honored Christianity, the Bible, the God of the Bible, as no other nation in history past. It can be said that the institutions of this nation were based on top of the foundation of Christian faith.
For example, the very concept of religious freedom in America stems from Christianity. Such freedom cannot be found in other nations. Not everyone was a believer of Christ as their personal Savior in this nation but the majority did accept the Christian principles that formed the foundation of this nation. For the most part, Biblical/Christian principles were acepted as part of what this nation is about.
Psalm 11:1-3—In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
It is clearly evident that within the last generation alone, things began to change dramatically. In government, morality, law and even education this country has now arrived at what the Scriptures referred to as The Apostasy.
The word “apostasia,” means “ to stand away from, to fall away from,”. In simplest terms it is used to describe a departure from the truth. Apostasy is a compound word, apo– (away from and stasia or histemi (to stand), thus a standing away from or a positioning oneself away from,”
2 Thessalonians 2:1-10—Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 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 is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time: For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Paul uses the word apostasy in the third verse of 2 Thessalonians where he was explaining to the church at Thessalonica that apostasy was to precede the seven year tribulation period, the Day of the Lord and the unveiling of AntiChrist. The New Testament makes it very clear that apostasy will take place near the end of the Church Age.
We are currently experiencing this apostasy in our country as well as in many of our churhes. There happens to be a form of religion but believers are denying the reality and the power of genuine and personal Christianity.
All Bible scholars agree that the apostasy has to do with a religious and spiritual departure. The Church too can fall in line with what is transpiring around the world. It is pretty evident that with both the rapid development of technology and the explosion of communication, humanity may feel it is divine and not need any other god.
Even today, many are despising the truth and are willfully turning away from it. Sin is ever increasing and evil is manifesting as the world itself is turning against Christianity, the God of the Bible and doctrinal truths and principles of the Holy Writ.
In God’s eyes humanity can be seen in three groups: The Jew, the Gentile & the Church. The enemy knows that his time is short. Satan already has the world (gentiles) deceived. He has everlastingly worked to deceive the Jews. He is now attempting to deceive the church.
In simplest terms, I believe that there are three types of churches one may come across: the informed church, the misinformed church and the disinformed church.
Information can simply be defined as facts provided or learned about something or someone.On the contrary, misinformation is to give out incorrect information; on the other hand, disinformation is to provide contrary information with a view to ‘remove’ (dis-) the existing information possessed by the receiver, i.e., make people believe something that is contrary to what they had (correctly) believed so. Whereas both misinformation and disinformation refer to information that is incorrect or misleading, disinformation much more strongly indicates that the information is made so and spread in order to deceive people. Also, if disinformation is information that is “wrong, with a deceptive strategy behind its wrongness.” then it it is pretty obvious as to who is behind this deception……
We know that behind the physical realm there lies a much more existing spiritual realm that may not be seen through the natural eyes.
Ephesians 6:10-12—Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The Bible clearly tells us tht the leader of this kingdom of darkness is none other then Satan. Furthermore, he operates through lies and deceit and is the god of this world.
John 10:10—The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
2 Corinthians 4:1-4—Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
This current apostasy will be one in which there will be a falling away from faith in Jesus which is characterized by a rejection of scriptural truth and expressed by a betrayal of the faith and faithful believers by those who have been apostasized.
(To be continued….)