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Apostasy

In Apostacy, demonisim, False Prophets on April 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrine of devils.” (I Timothy 4:1)

The Spirit here is the permanent prophetic witness.  Not in parable, allegory or  symbol; but in explicit, unmistakable, literal words.  The latter times are explained by the current period in which they are contrast.   In these last days, Heb. 1:1, stands in antithesis to the Old Testament days, and means the days of the Christian dispensation. The last days of 2 Pet. 3:3, plainly refers to the last days before the second advent; of which Martha, in John 21:24, mentions the very last day.   Seducing spirits are the demoniac opposite of The Holy Spirit.  The doctrines they teach are not about demons, but “doctrines” opposing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Their sin consist in an apostasy from the Christian faith and oppressive superstition among the people.  It is expressly said that this apostasy will take place “in the latter days.” But apostasy is not a sudden occurrence, confined to a definite point of time. It is a progressive work requiring a period of time for its accomplishment. It advances step by step as it is able to lead and control public sentiment.

In our study of the predictions of the apostasy as embodied in scripture and of their realization as attested by later history, we shall recognize two distinct phases or stages of the progressive falling away as follows:

(1) Apostasy from the Church; and

(2) The apostasy of the Church.

In the first stage we have to deal with the forsaking of the truth and severance from the Church by individuals, at times few, at other times many. Such conditions can scarcely be considered otherwise than as natural and inevitable.  We find the Church itself apostate, boasting of temporal power, making its own laws, teaching its own dogmas, preserving only a form of godliness, while denying the power thereof.

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Apostasy part II

In Apostacy, False Prophets on April 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

What is prophecy but history reversed? Nothing. Prophecy is a record of things before they transpire. History is a record of them after they have occurred; prophecy is to be more trusted for its accuracy than history: because it has for its source the unerring inspiration of Almighty God; while history —except in the case of inspired historians—is colored by the favor or prejudice of the writer, depends for its exactness upon the point of view from which he looks upon the events; and is likely to be marred in a thousand ways by the influences surrounding him for example; party considerations, national interest or prejudice— all these things may interfere with history; but prophecy is free from such influences. Historians are self-constituted, or appointed by men; but prophets are chosen of God.  Prophets are selected by divine wisdom, and illuminated by that spirit which shows things that are to come.  Thus Moses recorded what the history of Israel would be on condition of their obedience to God: and what it would be if they were disobedient. Israel was disobedient, and historians have exhausted their art in attempts to tell of their disobedience and suffering; but neither in vividness nor accuracy do the histories compare with the prophecy.

Paul recognized the fact that the people amongst whom he labored were losing the faith they had professed, and were becoming victims of the deception practiced by false teachers. In his letter to the churches of Galatia he wrote: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” And then, to emphasize the sin of those who thus sought to “pervert the gospel of Christ,” he continued: “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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

The Great Apostasy and the Antichrist.

It is decidedly and plainly predicted in the prophetic Scriptures, that evil must attain its supreme manifestation upon earth before the Lord comes. In the last times a great and widespread apostasy from Christianity will take place, and Christendom will become a complete Babylon. “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth”? (Luke 18: 8).  Worldly luxury, combined with wealth, trade, and extensive commerce, exercises a widespread dominion ; ungodliness and debauchery accompany it, for Babylon is the abode of all unclean spirits (Rev. 18: 4-24). But in “one day “ suddenly (Rev. 18: 8), Babylon will fall, a sudden catastrophe will ensue, and an overthrow of the social condition, of this whole world of culture and civilization, with its sham Christianity, will take place. Then will antichrist and the antichristian kingdom be manifested. This designates a still greater degree of wickedness than Babylon, even the climax of apostasy, the consummation of evil on earth.

This state of abounding iniquity will prepare the way for the coming of the Antichrist, the revelation of the man of sin, who will put himself at the head and gather up under his control, and as it were condense in himself and impersonate, all these forces of evil. Only John calls this prophetic personage by the significant name of ” the Antichrist,” doubtless with reference to his true character as the opposer and adversary of Christ; though, apparently, to effect his designs he will set up pretensions, by “signs and wonders of falsehood,” to be the very Christ of the predicted parousia. But Paul describes and characterizes him in connection with the apostasy which will culminate in his appearing: “The day of the Lord will not come unless there come first the falling away, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every one called God or an object of worship, so that he sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.”

Apostacy: a sign of the times before the return of Christ

In Apostacy, EVIL SPIRITS on April 5, 2012 at 8:00 am

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrine of devils.” (I Timothy 4:1)

The Spirit here is the permanent prophetic witness.  Not in parable, allegory or  symbol; but in explicit, unmistakable, literal words.  The latter times are explained by the current period in which they are contrast.   In these last days, Heb. 1:1, stands in antithesis to the Old Testament days, and means the days of the Christian dispensation. The last days of 2 Pet. 3:3, plainly refers to the last days before the second advent; of which Martha, in John 21:24, mentions the very last day.   Seducing spirits are the demoniac opposite of The Holy Spirit.  The doctrines they teach are not about demons, but “doctrines” opposing the gospel of Jesus Christ.   Their sin consist in an apostasy from the Christian faith and oppressive superstition among the people.  It is expressly said that this apostasy will take place “in the latter days.” But apostasy is not a sudden occurrence, confined to a definite point of time. It is a progressive work requiring a period of time for its accomplishment. It advances step by step as it is able to lead and control public sentiment.

In our study of the predictions of the apostasy as embodied in scripture and of their realization as attested by later* history, we shall recognize two distinct phases or stages of the progressive falling away as follows:

(1) Apostasy from the Church; and

(2) The apostasy of the Church.

In the first stage we have to deal with the forsaking of the truth and severance from the Church by individuals, at times few, at other times many. Such conditions can scarcely be considered otherwise than as natural and inevitable.  We find the Church itself apostate, boasting of temporal power, making its own laws, teaching its own dogmas, preserving only a form of godliness, while denying the power thereof.

The Lord foresaw the great and general departure from the principles of righteousness, and from the beginning knew that men would set up their own forms of worship, wrongfully claiming divine authority for the same. Through the mouths of His chosen prophets He has repeatedly predicted the inevitable event.  Isaiah beheld in vision the condition of the earth in the era of spiritual darkness, a period in which all classes would be involved in a general condition of unrighteousness, a time when the world of mankind would be in a helpless and practically hopeless condition. He pictures the earth as mourning and languishing in desolation and assigns the reason for the sad condition as follows: “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”  It may be thought that this prophecy has reference to a violation of the law of Moses under which ancient Israel lived. Let it be remembered, however, that the Mosaic law is nowhere called an everlasting covenant. The covenant between the Lord and Abraham antedated the giving of the law by four hundred and thirty years, and, as pointed out by Pault in his epistle to the Galatians, whom he designates as foolish because of their confusing the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ, the law could not nullify the earlier covenant the fulfilment of which could come only through Christ. The “law,” by which the inspired apostle plainly means the Mosaic statutes, was but a preparation for the “faith,” by which latter expression the gospel as revealed by Christ is clearly intended. “But before faith came,” says Paul, “we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified, by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.  For as many of you  as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Jesus Christ. And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  The Mosaic law was instituted as a disciplinary measure, temporary in character, destined to be superseded by the gospel of Christ, and assuredly not an everlasting covenant. On the other hand, the blood of Christ, through the shedding of which the atoning sacrifice was wrought, is distinctively called “the blood of the everlasting covenant.”

Christ prophesied the impending apostasy . In reply to certain inquiries concerning the signs by which His second advent would be heralded, He said: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” Then He told of approaching wars and political disturbances, and added: “And then shall many be offended and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved.”   

Further specifying the conditions incident to the growing apostasy, Christ declared to His disciples: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” And again: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or there, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect. Behold I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth: behold he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.”

After the departure of Christ from earth His apostles continued to warn the people of the darkness to come. In that memorable address to the elders at Ephesus, when, as he told them, they were looking upon his face for the last time, Paul reminded his hearers of the instructions he had previously given them, and then charged them with this solemn warning: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

The same apostle warns Timothy of the approaching apostasy, and refers to some of the erroneous teachings that would be impressed upon misguided people,—teachings which he calls “doctrines of devils.” He admonishes Timothy to put the brethren in remembrance of these things, as is becoming in a good minister of Christ, “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.” Note the inspired prediction: “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; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

In addressing the Thessalonian saints, Paul warns them against the error strongly advocated by some that the day of Christ’s second advent was then near at hand. It appears that deception was being practiced, and that even forgery was suspected, for the apostle instructs the people that they be not deceived “by word nor by letter as from us.” The admonition is forceful: “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 worshiped; so that he as God sitteth’ in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” We shall see how painfully literal has been the fulfilment of this prophecy in the blasphemous assumptions of the apostate church, centuries later.  The Apostle Peter prophesied in language so plain that none may fail to comprehend, concerning the heresies that would be preached as doctrine in the period of the apostasy; and he reminds the people that there were false teachers in olden times, even as there would be in times then future: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

Jesus coming ever imminent.

In Anti-Christ, Apostacy, The end of the AGE, The Last Days, The Second Advent on December 14, 2011 at 8:00 am

Yesterday,  we tried to show you that the coming of Jesus in the future is a certainty.  Today, we establish the fact that the coming of our Lord is ever imminent.  Imminent means impending, threatening, near. What we mean by the coming of the Lord being ever imminent is that Jesus is likely to come for His Bride at any moment.

Let us examine the 24th chapter of Matthew, the 13th chapter of Mark, the 17th and 21st chapters of Luke.  These chapters predict the second coming of the Lord.  What do we here find portrayed?  A thousand years of peace prior to the coming of Jesus and leading up to that event?  No.  The picture is a dark one. “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” How were the days of Noah?  Let God answer.  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” — (Gen. 6:5.)  This does not sound like there was a thousand years of peace and righteousness immediately preceding the flood.  Our post-millennial brethren tell us that there will be a thousand years of peace preceding the coming of our Lord; but God says‘, ” As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” — (Matt. 24: 37.)  “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot . . . even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” — (Luke 17: 28-30.)

How was it in the days of Lot? Let God answer. “The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous.” — (Gen. 18: 20)  “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” — (Jude 7.)  “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” — (2 Peter 2:8) This does not sound as though we shall have a thousand years of peace before Jesus comes.

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” — (Matt. 24: 14.)  Some think that this text teaches that all the world will be converted before Jesus comes. There is no such intimation in the text. The gospel is now preached in many places, but in no place are all converted.

“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, showing himself that he is God.” — (2 Thes. 2: 3, 4)

Will ” that man of sin “ be revealed, destroyed, and then a thousand years of peace ushered in before the coming of Jesus? Let God answer. “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.” — 2 Thes. 2: 7, 8. In this text we are expressly told that the ” man of sin” (the Antichrist) will continue until Jesus comes, and that Jesus will destroy the “man of sin” with the brightness of His coming. How then can we say that a thousand years of peace will precede the coming of Jesus?

The above few passages I have given in contradiction to the post-millennial doctrine.

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The Anti-Christ

In Anti-Christ, Apostacy, demonisim, The Last Days on December 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

In Revelation,the anti-Christ is represented as the beast with ten horns which rises out of the sea (Rev. 13: 1-8). This beast of Rev. 13: 1-8 is the same one that is referred to in Rev. 17:3, 7-18, and is evidently identical with the beast of Dan. 7: 7, and seems, in the first place, to designate some antichristian world-power, either political or spiritual,—a view which does not however, exclude the notion that this power may finally culminate in one king, the eighth, the personal Antichrist, which John also describes as “the beast”, which ” goeth into perdition “ (Rev. 17: 11), recalling the language of 2 Thess. 2:3. At all times there have been many antichrists (opposers of Christ) in the world; but according to Paul (2 Thess. 2: 3-10), all the antichristian and Satanic powers will at last be concentrated in a single human being.

If we closely follow all the features drawn in Scripture, the Antichrist of the last times combines within himself also the marks of a worldly tyrant, after the pattern of Antiochus Epiphanes, a ruler who founds a secular kingdom. He is called “the adversary” (of Christ), “the man of sin “, “the wicked one”, “the lawless one “, because he exalts himself above all law, whether human or divine. His appearance is marked by Satanic signs and wonders. He denies that Christ is come in the flesh (1 John 4: 2, 3) exalts himself above all that is called God, or the worship of God, and gives out that he is God (2 Thess. 2: 4). The ally of antichrist is the false prophet, who is described in the Book of Revelation as the beast out of the earth (i. e. the ordered, cultivated world, in opposition to the beast out of the sea, nations in a state of turbulence). The false prophet, or the beast out of the earth (Rev. 13: 18), is like a lamb in appearance, but speaks like a dragon, speaks poisonous, seductive and deceitful words, brings forward such proofs against the Christian faith, that, if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived, and think that Christianity had been but a dream which Christendom had dreamed through a series of centuries, but from which it had now awakened.

Then will great tribulations befall believers, since all who do not receive the mark of the beast and pay homage to the antichristian world-power, must suffer martyrdom, while the multitudes live in worldliness and security. All who have any degree of skill in placing the signs of the times in the light of God’s Word, will not mistake the fact that those elements are more and more showing themselves from which the false prophet is to be developed; atheistic, materialistic systems, denying God and the existence of spirit, and based upon a purely physical view of existence; a literature, which by its poetry, fictions and romances diffuses the gospel of the flesh among the masses, and upsets all moral notions. Nor can the political state of the times be misunderstood, especially the prevailing tendency to banish Christianity from public life and from the public schools, to undermine all authority, and to break with all historical traditions.

But his ascendency will be of short duration, only “until a time and times and the dividing of a time,” generally understood, from comparison of prophetic statements of time, to mean three years and a half—a brief period, no doubt. In the height of his Satanic power and false pretensions and God-defying arrogance, and when his adherents “ shall say, Peace and safety, sudden destruction shall come.” (1 Thess. 5 : 3.) The Lord Jesus will appear, “coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” and ” will consume him with the breath of his mouth, and will destroy him with the brightness of his coming.” This will be the end, the closing event of the present aeon. Then will begin” the times of restoration,” “and the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” (Dan. 7 : 27 ; Rev. 20 : 4.)

The Apostle Paul has told us (2 Thess. 2: 6) that antichrist cannot come till a power, not further defined by the apostle, but a hindering power, well known to his readers of those days, be taken out of the way.  The believing Church is directed, during this whole period of tribulation and continuance of the antichristian government, to the words: “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Rev. 13: 10). The parable of ” the wise and foolish virgins” (Matt. 25: 1-13) will then be fulfilled in the widest sense. While the Lord delays his coming, while believers are surrounded by the material powers of persecution and the spiritual delusions of the false prophet, they are tempted to become spiritually faint and weary, and to slumber and sleep, with lamps burnt down and going out. The great thing for us to do is to adhere to the prophetic word, and to take heed thereto, as to a light shining in a dark place (2 Pet. 1: 19), which has faithfully told us of all these things before, that they may not overtake us unprepared.