Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Great Apostasy.

PAUL WARNED THE EVANGELIST TIMOTHY... In latter times some would depart from the faith - (1Timothy 4:1)

In the earlier article I wrote about the (glory of the rapture) a sister in Christ mentioned that it has not happened yet because of TWO events that must take place first. She ask me to Look up 2 Thess. 2:1-4. The falling away from God AND the revealing of the Antichrist. First, let me say these studies are not about who is right or wrong, but are about what does the Bible really say. In this article I will address the Apostasy and in my next article I will address the antichrist.

First of all, the word Antichrist is NOT mentioned in 2 Thess. 2:1-4. The word "antichrist" is only used four times in the scriptures, all by the apostle John. In 2 Thess, 2: 3 Paul calls him the (man of sin or son of perdition not the Antichrist. Also the first century saints know was straining him THEN so it cannot be a future event 2 Thess 2:6. More on the Antichrist later.

Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of a system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.” In the first-century world, apostasy was a technical term for revolt or defection from the faith.

It is commonly taught that the "falling away" referred to by Paul concerns the modern church, in our day, which of course, meaning to take place in a far-away future from the Apostolic Age. But, the real evidence comes from the NT writings themselves, especially the TIME statements. When Paul was inspired to write this letter to the Timothy A.D.. (between the years 63-66 A. D) the apostasy
was already on the way.

When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy the Temple was still standing and “falling away” refers to those who were returning back under the Mosaic Covenant, which represented in their mind, the whole context of these Scriptures makes perfect sense. The defection from the faith was to characterize the latter days of the old covenant had already set in.

The apostle Paul’s exhortation to Timothy implies that the apostasy specified would come under the notice of Timothy. 1 Timothy 18, 20 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, (PRESENT TENSE) concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. Here Paul tells Timothy some have rejected the faith. Not some will reject the faith.

The apostasy was alive and well on planet Earth in the first century. It had already revealed itself, and the apostle Paul describes it from actual observation. Phygellus and Hermogenes, who deserted the apostle. 2 Timothy 1:15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The ‘falling away’ from the truth had already set in is evident from the reiterated exhortations and warning which the apostle addresses to Timothy.

The pull of the Old Covenant world system continued to draw many away from Christ. Paul said that Demas had forsaken him. 2 Timothy 4:10 Demas has forsaken me, shaving loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.

There was Apostasy to a great extent in the churches of Judea. Judea 1:3-4 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For (certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ). (PRESENT TENSE)

After urging his readers to contend earnestly for the faith, Jude then highlights the reason: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (vs. 4). In this one verse, Jude provides the Christians with two characteristic of apostasy and apostate teachers that was happening then.

First, Jude describes the apostates as “ungodly men” as those who use God’s grace into lewdness. Paul says in 2 Thess. 2:7 that this same lawlessness had been already (PRESENT TENSE) at work.
Second, Jude says in their apostasy they “deny the only Lord God and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (PRESENT TENSE)

Apostasy shows its true nature. Paul tells us in his letter to Titus: "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed." (Titus 1:15-16) Through their unrighteous behavior, it shows their apostasy from God and their true selves.

When the apostle John was inspired to write his letters he gives evidence of a departure from the faith - cf. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. These Jews who went apostasy were Christian origin.

The love of money causes many to stray from the faith. 1 Timothy 6:9–10 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which (some have strayed from the faith) in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:9–10 For which some have strayed from the faith. (PRESENT TENSE) Again, if these Scriptures do not relate to the apostasy of unbelieving people of that generation, who went apostates from the faith, then who do they point to?

God was taking apostasy and false teaching so seriously, it is mentioned in Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Do you see the context of all the letters together? It was impossible for those that have been enlightened (by the gospel of Christ) and have tasted the heavenly gift, (salvation) and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come (The Christian age of grace) if they fall away, apostasy (return back under the Mosaic Covenant) to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. Apostasy from the faith was so serious to God one could lose their very salvation

The "reason" here given is, that the crime of apostasy would be so great, and they would so effectually exclude themselves from the only plan of salvation, that they could not be saved. This is strong language.

The Judaizers' error gave birth to the book of Galatians about apostasy. Paul asks the Churches of Galatia, I marvel that (you are turning away) (PRESENT TENSE) so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7) What was the different gospel which is NOT another. The Gentiles must be circumcised according to the custom of Moses. (Acts 15:1)

The Judaizers were teaching a doctrine which "troubled churches" and was a perversion of the gospel of Christ ( Galatians 1:7). Those who taught this doctrine were accursed of God (1:8-9). Paul described these men as "false brethren" (2:4).

The Great Apostasy "happened in the first century. We therefore have no Biblical warrant to MOVE the apostasy Paul addressed into our history . The apostasy was alive and well in the first century and during the time of Paul and John’s writings.