PART 4 TO WARN
Chapter 17 The Church in the Last days – revival or apostasy?
One of the greatest signs that Jesus and the Apostles told us to watch for has to do with the condition of the Church. Jesus, Paul, Jude and Peter all gave us prophetic words concerning the condition of the (visible) Church as this age comes to a close.
According to the scripture, the time we are moving into as far as the Church is concerned is a time of great deception, strong delusion, falling away and apostasy.
2Th 2:3-4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day ( the day of Christ )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.
The scriptures clearly tell us that in the last days there would be a great falling away (apostasy) before the “Man of Sin” will be revealed. I used to believe this would mean a great exodus from the Churches as people would no longer associate themselves with the Christian faith. That is clearly happening. However, as the day approaches the light becomes clearer. It is becoming clear that the visible Church will not dissolve. Rather than waning and withering, it will wax great. The falling away is not going to be a renouncing of Christian faith. Instead, Christians (in name) will embrace something other than the faith that was once and for all handed down through the Apostles. The delusion that will be embraced will seem to be a great revival.
1Ti 4:1 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;
2Ti 4:3 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; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
As has already been mentioned, Paul told Timothy that in the latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. He also warned him that there would come a time when they would not endure sound doctrine. They would “heap up teachers” after their own lusts and turn away their ears from the truth.
Today, many in the Church are saying that we are about to see a great revival in the Church, greater than anything ever seen in the history of the world, led by a new generation of apostles and prophets performing great signs and wonders, even greater than those of Moses. Others are promising a great paradigm shift; a new reformation within the church. She will be transformed to “meet the needs” of the postmodern culture and becoming an agent of social change that will remold society. She will establish God’s kingdom on earth.
Many are expecting that our best days are ahead of us, that we are entering into the glorious peak of Church History. They speak of a revival sweeping the world and putting everything in order before the Lord comes back. They expect that the Church will actually “take dominion” over the major spheres of society. They believe that the Church must recover from Satan the authority which he stole from Adam. These notions contradict the expectation that we have from the Bible, which tells us that the day of Christ cannot come unless there is a falling away (apostasy) first, which lead to the revelation of antichrist.
If false believers sitting under false teachings expect a global revival, it may very well happen. However, it will not be a turning to the Lord. It will be a turning away from truth to embrace error. As Paul said, “for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.” This revival would be a great movement of delusion sweeping the earth.
The greatest manifestation of this lie will be embodied in Antichrist, the head of a new order which will be a counterfeit of the Kingdom of God. “Anti” in Greek does not just mean “against”. It means in the place of.
Apostasy and false teachings have been an issue since the time of the apostles. But what is coming is of a different order altogether. Consider:
- What if a worldwide religious system was to suddenly emerge with a leadership that was performing supernatural signs and wonders?
- What if everyone voluntarily gave all of their goods to be shared for the common welfare in a worldwide outpouring of “generosity” (wealth redistribution) for the establishing of a new order?
- What if this was all done in the name of establishing the kingdom of God on earth?
- What if the whole thing was a deception? What if the miracles were “lying signs and wonders?”
- What if the prophets pointed to a Christ who was not the Jesus of the Bible but one that had been redefined?
- What if a person emerged on the scene who seemed to be Christ Himself to those who were not familiar with the prophetic word?
- What if he was embraced by those who had been raised up in churches but conditioned for years to ignore the word, ignore doctrine, and to not discern?
This would obviously be different than anything that has occurred in the past. This doctrinal framework is being laid for just such a scenario through systematic teachings of error.