Great Apostasy.

Great Apostasy
Dan Corner

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The Bible teaches before the rapture occurs, two things will transpire: (1) The [great] apostasy and (2) The revealing of the antichrist:

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may 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. 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 (2 Thess. 2:1-3).

If we aren’t living now, at this moment, in the days of that same apostasy, that will precede the rise of antichrist, it seems we have to be getting very close. Some think we are and might be correct. The so-called church of our day is such a poor imitation of the true church it is like comparing a ground mole to an airplane. To be more precise it is a spiritual counterfeit having a spiritually adulterous affair with popularity, money and large buildings. It is so far from dispersing wholesome Biblical truth, and has been for so long, that the vast majority in our day have never, even once, been in a congregation that closely resembles the New Testament church described in Acts. They have not heard sermons based on scripture and therefore, aren’t sure what one sounds like. There are a number of reasons why this is so.

The Leaders Are Not Qualified Spiritually
First, the ministers, overseers, superintendents, etc. of denominations and religious groups are nowhere near the spiritual caliber they need to be for the office they hold! The Bible emphasizes holiness in character and soundness in doctrine, and in that order, as being necessary for people to even qualify for such a high, influential office (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1). But in our day, secular education, money, influence in the community and a musical ability are often the basis of deciding who will or will not be the church leaders and teachers. The Bible never places a premium on any type of ignorance, but formal education, etc. has never been the basis for ministry, according to scripture. The Lord Jesus chose the Twelve and four out of that number were ignorant fishermen who reeked with no formal education, but they were qualified to hold the highest office in the church.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

The word translated ordinary in the Greek is the word we get idiot from. Peter and John might have been rejected in our day, but were qualified in God’s eyes to be among his chief spokesmen because of their heart condition. This was also the basis of choosing a replacement for Judas:

Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs” (Acts 1:24,25).

Paul said he was not a trained speaker either, but was the greatest example Christianity ever produced:

I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way (2 Cor. 11:6).

(Note: knowledge has nothing to do with being a trained speaker or not.) Elsewhere Paul wrote that false teachers can be smooth talkers. It is still like this in our day:

For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people (Rom. 16:18).

Even Moses, God’s premium choice in his day to be the spiritual leader over Israel, was not eloquent in speech, but was instead slow in speech and tongue:

Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you.” (Ex. 4:10-14)

Remember: God overlooked Aaron, who was Moses’s older brother and who spoke well, to pick Moses, who was slow of speech and tongue.

Either one of the two scriptural standards in 1 Tim. 3 or Titus would eliminate 99% of the spiritual leaders in the church of our hour—together there would be almost a clean sweep. Our present day spiritual leaders, for the most part, are ignorant of the scriptures, slothful, worldly, spiritually blind, pleasure seekers and asleep. The ones that do have zeal seem to be only zealous to spread their unique teaching, which sets them apart from all other groups. One such example would be the people who wrongly think water baptism is necessary for forgiveness of sins. Another is keeping the Saturday Sabbath for salvation.

Moreover, many leaders are there for the wrong reason. We went to one congregation and the present pastor got in that position because he lost his job and needed a source of income! If he didn’t have influential supporters from that group (his immediate family) he would not have been there as pastor. Is it any wonder why people can’t find a sound church in their area?

To have such men that are not scripturally qualified, as examples and teachers, will result in many souls perishing. Getting back to Moses and Aaron, later in Exodus we read where Aaron, as a spiritual leader, failed and stumbled the vast majority into idolatry with the golden calf. He was a prime example of a man-pleaser, like many are today.

Similarly, in our day, there are unqualified (and dangerous) spiritual leaders everywhere. Often people want some kind of ministry, but aren’t qualified. They went, but weren’t sent. They answered, but weren’t called:

I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied (Jer. 23:21).

Hence, their influence can be a detriment to others, as well as to themselves. For example, to put a new convert in the position of spiritual leadership, will jeopardize that new convert’s salvation.

He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil (1 Tim. 3:6).

scripture says blind leaders are spiritually dangerous people:

If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit (Mat. 15:14).

Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path (Isa. 3:12).

You have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble. . . (Mal. 2:8).

Blind leaders are everywhere, yet considered reputable and informed. They are even in Bible colleges and seminaries.
churinga churinga
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Jan 21, 2013