Apostasy Part 1
What is Apostasy?
Apostasy. The English word apostasy is actually not that different in spelling and pronunciation from the Greek word from which apostasy is derived. The word apostasia (ἀποστασία), is a rarely used Greek word, which literally means a defection [turning away] from [the state or mode of] truth. In the Bible, the word is rendered to mean a “falling away from” or “forsaking” of the truth. Although the word is only used twice in the entire Bible, its rather unfrequent usage does not undermine its significance in the context of the end times. Apostasy is one of the critical signs of Jesus’ return and thus it is a key part in the unfolding of biblical prophecy. Let’s take a look at this passage from the book of Matthew concerning apostasy:
Matt 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Matt 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Matt 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Matt 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
The first thing Jesus says to the disciples in regards to their question is: “Take heed that no man deceive you.” In this statement, Jesus implies that there will be men who will fall away from the truth during the last days, that will attempt to deceive people, even born-again Christians, that Christ has already come back and that the end has already come. In verse six, Jesus reminds the disciples that even though apostasy and a falling away will come, the end is not yet. Basically, the end has not yet come. However, that is not the only mention of apostasy in this passage of Scripture. Jesus mentions it again in verses 9-12:
Matt 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
Matt 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Matt 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Matt 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Jesus warns the disciples once again that they will be hated; not just disliked, hated. This outright hatred for Bible-based, New Testament, Christianity is clearly evident in our society today. Christians are constantly being persecuted right here in America for standing up against gay marriage and for being “pro-life” in regards to abortion. Christians are getting gunned down in the Middle East for merely naming the name of Jesus Christ. If that’s not biblical prophecy come true, friend, I don’t know what is. Not only does Jesus say that there will be a hatred for Christians, people will hate one another.
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” –Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:10)
Jesus said that “then shall many be offended.” This prophecy has become so real in today’s society. Homosexuals are offended each time a Christian store owner stands up for what they believe. A person who is “pro-choice” gets offended when a Christian friend tells them that their beliefs are wrong about abortion. A Muslim comes along and gets offended because a Christian names the name of Jesus Christ. A Jehovah’s Witness gets offended when you show them that their Bible is corrupted and that they have their beliefs all mixed up. A Pentecostal/Charismatic comes along and gets offended because you tell them that their pattern of worship does not follow the New Testament. A Free Will Baptist gets offended because you tell them that salvation lasts forever. A preacher’s son gets offended because you tell him that his salvation is not dependent upon his father, but rather the condition of his soul. An atheist gets offended when you tell them that there is a God who lives and abides forever. An agnostic gets offended when you tell them that Jesus Christ is the one and only True God, and that God is not just a “created being” like everything else. “Then shall many be offended…” Wow. That’s something to think about.
The next part of verse ten reads, “and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Hatred is a key part of apostasy. Apostasy is not driven by love, and it is certainly not driven by the love of the Savior. Therefore, it must be driven by hatred. It seems like we have seen more and more stories on 20/20 and the news about betrayal, hatred, and murder more than any other generation. Is that just a coincidence? Of course not. It is this hatred for God, this hatred for the things of God, this hatred for the Word of God, that allows this cold and malevolent force of apostasy to take hold of our society and sweep away our moral and ethical values like dust, and roll in a dust pan full of deception, false teachings, and lies, which prepares all unsaved people for the coming of the Antichrist, whom the Bible calls the man of sin, the son of perdition.
In verse number twelve, Jesus makes a very true, yet very surreal statement in the context of today’s churches: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” I hate to make this statement, but even some Bible-believing Christians, who attend Bible-believing, Baptist Churches have already allowed their love to grow cold. As Christians, we have allowed ourselves to become so overwhelmed with the affairs of this life that we often lose our love for others, or our love for the lost. This should not be so. We must always remember that while we are in this world, we are not of this world. Jesus instructed us in John 16:33 to “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We should be joyous in these end times, knowing that the Rapture is getting closer and closer and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is getting quicker and quicker. We must trust Jesus’ words, “Surely I come quickly.” (Revelation 22:20) He is coming quickly, and even though this falling away is becoming more and more evident, we have confidence toward God. May that blessed confidence remain “stedfast unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:14)
Previous post in this series: Introduction
Here is an outline of the future posts in this series:
When Did Apostasy Begin? (10/20/15)
Why Does God Allow Apostasy? (10/21/15)
Biblical Prophecies Regarding Apostasy (10/22/15)
Is Apostasy a Result of the Apathy of Christians? (10/23/15)
False Religions: The Result of Apostasy (10/24/15)
Religious Cults: The Result of Apostasy (10/25/15)
Illuminati&Free Masonry: The Result of Apostasy (10/26/15)
The Big Picture: Examples of Apostasy in America and around the World (10/27/15)
What Can We Do to Combat Apostasy? (10/28/15)