END-TIME APOSTASY IS A BIBLE DOCTRINE

End-time apostasy is not a figment of a Fundamentalist's imagination; it is a Bible doctrine. It is not only a Bible doctrine, but an ESSENTIAL doctrine. It is difficult to see how ANYONE could believe in the false notion of ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED after reading this article. Many modern day preachers have prophesied about great Revivals in the church - yet none of these have happened! Of course, they will never happen, because the Word of God says exactly the opposite will happen in the last days..

2Thess 2:2-4 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (NASB)

 I believe that many of the problems that we find in the church of today, are because of the controversial notion of eternal security for Christians. Many Christians erroneously believe that once they accept Jesus Christ, they are guaranteed their salvation. This leads to the lukewarm and comfortable Christianity that was prophesied in Revelations. The Bible clearly says otherwise...

The Bible says we are born with sin, therefore we must be born again.
Jesus said
(John 3:3) Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
The essential difference between unbelievers and those who are born again believers is this:

  1. Unbelievers do not have a choice, they are unforgiven, sinners on their way to hell. No choice in the matter.

  2. Believers have been forgiven their sins and have the right to choose whether they will continue to sin or not. This right of choice is restored to a believer when he believes that Jesus died on the cross for his sins.

God gives us the gift of His awesome Grace, also the means and the power to....  ask for salvation – but it is still a conscious SPIRITUAL choice that we have to make, from which must arise the born again experience; which, in turn should cause a genuine Christian to cast off the old sinful nature and to repent of sin – because of that person’s love for Christ. It is NOT physical work, but a spiritual work. Salvation is SPIRITUAL, not physical.

God’s Spirit quickens us (Grk zoopoieo =  to arouse by spiritual power) so that we are able to communicate with Him, in order to make the choice. He makes it possible for us to choose or respond to His Grace -
2 Peter 3:10 The Lord is patient, not wishing for ANY to perish, but for all to come to repentance.

He gives us back our free will to choose whether to ask for our salvation and whether to sin or not.

It is important to note here that this is a SPIRITUAL decision, it is NOT "of works". Certainly, there is nothing we can do to save ourselves and there is no "works" that we can do to lose our salvation - we are guaranteed that if we believe and ask for forgiveness, we will be forgiven, time and time again, for the Lord is patient and longsuffering. However, when a believer returns to his old ways of sin, there comes a point where, SPIRITUALLY, that person makes a decision to reject Jesus, and to reject his salvation; thereby falling away.

New Testament prophecy describes two separate streams of "Christianity" operating side by side throughout the church age:

1.       First, there will be true apostolic churches, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. They will be persecuted, hated, despised, yet they will continue century by century until Christ's return. The Lord Jesus promised His faithful ones: "Lo, I am with you always, EVEN TO THE END OF THE WORLD" (Matthew 28:20).

2.       Second, there will be apostate churches, which will increase in number and grow worse and worse as the centuries pass.

· 2 Thess. 2:3 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;

REVIVAL?
Jesus will not come back until there is a falling away from the faith, by "Christians"; and the AntiChrist is revealed. Therefore, anyone who prophecies REVIVAL in the modern day Western church of LAODICEA, is a FALSE PROPHET.
Revival IS happening in small home cells, small bible-based churches, small bible study groups; and revival IS happening in the East and Far East, where people are coming out of Eastern Mysticism in their thousands, out of communism, Hinduism and Buddhism; NOT going back into mysticism as is the trend in the modern day Western church.

The parables of Christ in Matthew 13 depict the course of this present "church age," and they describe a progression of apostasy. ["Apostasy" refers to falling away from the true Faith.] The parable of the leaven, for example, depicts a woman putting leaven into three measures of meal, "till the whole was leavened." Leaven in Scripture stands for sin and error (1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). Thus the parable tells us that the error which was introduced by false teachers, even during the days of the Apostles, will gradually increase through the centuries until the entire religious system is leavened. The ultimate fulfillment of this is in Revelation 17.

The apostasy began during the lives of the Apostles and has steadily increased through the centuries. John wrote, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time" (1 John 2:18). John taught that there will be a future antichrist, singular; but he is preceded by many antichrists, plural.

Another passage which teaches the same truth is 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. "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."

In the days of the Apostles the "mystery of iniquity" was already working, and it will culminate in the promotion of the man of sin, the Wicked One, the Antichrist, who will assume the throne of this world for a brief span. We are told that the culmination of this will not occur until just prior to the return of Christ, because the Wicked One will be destroyed "with the brightness of his coming." The "mystery of iniquity" is that program of evil whereby the devil is attempting to corrupt the churches of Jesus Christ by sowing tares and apostasy. It is associated with "Mystery Babylon the Great" in Revelation 17.  

We see the direct fulfillment of these prophecies in the Christian world today. It is evident in heretical bodies such as the Roman Catholic Church and the liberal World Council of Churches denominations, none of which are founded directly and exclusively upon the apostolic Faith or the Word of God. It is also evident in the ecumenical movement, which is calling for unity in diversity at the expense of Biblical truth and which is breaking down the walls of separation between truth and error.

Consider the following Scriptures:

FROM STRONG’S CONCORDANCE:
646 apostasia = a falling away, defection, apostasy (fem. of 647)
647 apostasion = divorce, repudiation (from v. 868)
868 aphistemi = to fall away, become faithless 

Described:

·        Deut. 13: 12  If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, 13Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;  14Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

·        Heb. 3:12.     Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Both of these Scriptures indicate a departure from the Living God. You cannot depart from something if you hadn't arrived in the first place. You cannot lose faith in something that you didn't have faith in, in the first place.
But many will ask, "but were these people really saved in the first place?" Let's see...

 Caused by:

persecution,

·        Matt. 24:9,1010And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.;

The Christian walk here is described as an endurance. Only those who endure to the end shall be saved. Somewhere along the way, the love of many will wax cold - many will not endure. These will FALL AWAY, they will lose their salvation.

·        Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.;

The parable of the sower. These people believed, for a while, they received the Word with JOY! They were believers, for a while. They were saved, for a while. But, through the choices we have to make after hearing the Truth, they become tempted and FALL AWAY. Not everyone is as fortunate as you and I to have good Christian friends to disciple them when they are babies in Christ. Thank the Lord for His Mercy, for allowing us the choice, to be able to resist temptation and endure to the end. But, it is still a choice.

by worldliness,

·        2 Tim. 4:10   For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;

 

Guilt and punishment of,

·        Zeph. 1:6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.;

·        Heb. 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

·        2 Pet. 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

         Again, you cannot forsake something that wasn't part of you to begin with. These people had the RIGHT WAY, they were saved, but forsook it and went astray.

Cautions against,

·        Heb. 3:12  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.;

·        2 Pet. 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

     It is possible for us, who have experienced the Truth and have knowledge of the Truth, to be led away from our steadfastness. This is a warning to us that it IS POSSIBLE - to depart from the living God, to be led away with error and to fall from steadfastness. Again, choices to be made.

 Shall abound in the latter days,

·        Matt. 24:12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold;

·        Matthew 24:24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. ... And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. ... For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

·        Acts 20:29,30 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.  

Out of our own Body of Christ, out of our own fellowship, men WILL ARISE, and draw away DISCIPLES after them. What is a disciple? Is a disciple not saved? He most certainly is saved. But the love of the Truth, will keep us.

·        2 Thess. 2:3  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;

·        1 Tim. 4:1-31 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.

DEPART from where? FROM THE FAITH! Again, these people were in the faith, but have now departed.

Grk for “work out” = katergazomai = to perform, accomplish, achieve. We are to accomplish our OWN salvation, with fear – why with fear? If we were secure already, why do we need to fear ensuring our salvation?  If there is real belief, the real new birth experience, then we will act upon it. If not, we are warned.

What is critical in the Christian walk is that concept of repentance. WE ALL FAIL OUR LORD through sin, continuously. Through salvation, through our sanctification, we have the choice to ask for forgiveness and repent of that sin. Failure to do so, will result in A SPIRITUAL BACKSLIDING, A FALLING AWAY. From the beginning, in Adam's time, they were given a choice - to be obedient to God or to disobey. Our choices on this earth will affect our eternal destiny.

SEE ALSO THE ARTICLE ON "ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED"

 

 OTHER SCRIPTURES RELATED TO APOSTASY: Deut. 32:15; 1 Chr. 28:9; Isa. 1:28; Isa. 65:11-16; Jer. 17:5,6; Ezek. 3:20; Ezek. 18:24,26; Ezek. 33:12,13,18; Matt. 13:20,21;  Mark 4:5-17; Luke 8:13; Matt. 24:10 v. 12.; Luke 11:24-26; John 15:6; Acts 7:39-43; 1 Cor. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:3,11,12; 1 Tim. 4:1,2; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Tim. 4:3,4; Heb. 6:4-8; Heb. 10:26-29; 2 Pet. 2:1,15,17,20-22; 2 Pet. 3:17; Jude 4-6

Instances of: Israelites, Ex. 32; Num. 14. Saul, 1 Sam. 15:26-29; 18:12; 28:15,18. Amaziah, 2 Chr. 25:14,27. Disciples, John 6:66. Judas, Matt. 26:14-16; 27:3-5; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6,47,48; Acts 1:16-18. Hymenaeus and Alexander, 1 Tim. 1:19,20. Phygellus and Hermogenes, 2 Tim. 1:15.

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