THE SPEED AT WHICH THE END IS APPROACHING HAS REACHED INDESCRIBABLE PROPORTIONS. All of the Biblical signs have been fulfilled, at least to a highly discernable level. The apparent signs were complete years ago and most Bible believing Christians of 30-40 years prior were sure that Jesus would come before the 1970’s or 1980’s were over. What most of us did not perceive was a whole new level of signs that our experiences and Bible understanding had not prepared us to receive. These new signs are very different, even imperceptible to anyone already caught up in the present apostasy. This second level of signs I will call the post-apostasy ones.
Let’s get a picture of what we are talking about. This great truth came like a rushing storm to my heart. The Holy Spirit filled my study and I knew He was giving me a beautiful and Biblically sound revelation. There are two levels of end time signs in the Holy Scripture. The first level we will identify as the pre-apostasy signs and the second as the post-apostasy signs. What is the difference?
Pre-apostasy signs are very clear even to the lukewarm or the non-Christian. For thirty (30) to forty (40) years much of the church world and a large amount of the non-church have seen and understood these Biblical proofs of His soon returning. Books like Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth have sold millions and were filled with these simple signs of Christ’s coming.
Post-apostasy signs are of a totally different style and cannot be understood by an unbelieving world. They are signs that have a deep Biblical significance and will not be readily acceptable to a church world already seduced by the lies of the Apostate Leaders. It’s easy to see the difference of the signs before apostasy is dominant and those signs after apostasy is in great sway. We are now experiencing the last level of end time evidence. This is the post-apostasy period.
A penetrating scripture is recorded in II Peter 3:3-4. It states, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4) We hear these kinds of remarks everywhere. There is a great departing from the once loved “Hope of His Imminent Appearance.”
Please note that this scripture is in reference to the last of the last times before the Son of God returns. The word last in this usage means remote times. Scoffers are not just critics but, “false prophets who jeer at such truth as the great return of Jesus for His chosen Bride.” These are religious leaders who find their pleasure in the lifestyle clearly evidenced by today’s television evangelists and empire building idols. They are not prophets of God because they would live like a prophet if they were. (Remember how Elijah refused the money of Naaman to perform religious activities.) Prophets scorn the world, not embrace it.
Pre-Apostasy Signs. These are the signs that excited the church world for an entire generation. I have personally been shouting over these signs for 60 years this past March. Now, nobody wants to hear them. They are actually scorned. Let’s list a few of them:
1. The nation of Israel that was born after almost 2000 years of exile: From the far corners of the globe they have returned to their promised land. Since the flag featuring the Star of David was hoisted in 1948, they have proved invincible to a myriad of enemies. This fact alone is like a time clock of certainty.
2. Signs in the elements: The natural world is reeling under a strange but escalating sense of destiny. Earthquakes are at a level of frequency unknown to history. Famines are scourging one geographic area while waste and plenty exist in another. The weather is quirky and unpredictable. Infectious diseases are rampant while wars and rumors of wars are clearly out of control. The elements of nature witness to impending judgment.
3. Growing worldliness in the church: What we used to call worldliness has now given way to apostasy. Worldliness is love for the world that draws away the person with a waning love. In the past they were easily convicted and would usually repent and change course when periods of revival came. Now they thumb their noses at holiness preaching and move to a more comfortable church setting. We’ve got plenty of preachers ready to make them satisfied in their sins.
The difference in worldliness and apostasy is two-fold. First, apostasy means to depart from the faith to another gospel. There is much evidence of such today. The gospel of soft love and self esteem, prosperity and positive confession, entertainment and feel-good theology is the antithesis of Christ’s message of crucifixion, self-denial, cross-bearing and sacrificial service. The second expression of apostasy is, “to sin without grief and to be worldly without conviction.”
There are certainly many other early signs of Christ returning but these suffice for this message. There was a time you could preach these overwhelming evidences and witness a harvest of conversions. They stir little interest today. Add to them the much evidence of a pending one world government, the United Nations of Europe, computer readiness to control the masses and the growing New Age movement and “Let him who heareth understand what the spirit is saying unto the churches.” (Revelation 2 and 3) Its time to believe the Holy Book and that it is infallible.
Post-Apostasy Signs. The post-apostasy signs move us into an entirely new and different mindset. These signs are mostly religious in nature and have an air of intellectualism. They are clearly designed to deceive people who are highly cultured and educated. Their religious nature makes them emotionally exciting and mentally captivating. “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.” (Matthew 24:24)
It is important that you understand the distinction between false Christ and antichrist. The two words are very different. One is antichristos and the other is pseudochristos. This post-apostasy period is witnessing the overwhelming effect of a pseudochristos presence. It is Christ with a little c, or Christ reduced to the control of man without His sovereignty and stripped of His blinding Holiness. The present church as a whole is a perfect picture of a Santa Claus mentality with lots of gifts but absolutely no responsibility for purity. It will be rejected.
1. One of the first signs of the post-apostasy period is anti-Semitism spreading in the church. There is a growing distaste for national Israel among religious leaders. The unbelieving Jew is still an enemy for the gospel’s sake, but he is beloved for the Father’s sake. (Romans 11:28) Earl Paulk, Jr., of Atlanta, GA, writes “Some of the strongest fundamental churches still preach that Christ will return to gather national Israel unto Himself, and I say that is deception and will keep the Kingdom of God from coming to pass!” (Earl Paulk, The Handwriting on the Wall) “When Israel gets pushed into the sea, or converted to Christ, Scofieldism dies a fast death. Rest assured, I have a manuscript ready to go when either of these events happens.” (Letter dated April 30, 1987 to Peter Lalonde) This dear man was the International Radio Minister for the Church of God and the son of one of the great leaders in that denomination. I knew him personally. What could have turned him from this truth? One thing, SIN!
2. The second sign is the utopia/prosperity/pleasure preaching of our generation. A message of good times ahead is heard today only from the pulpit and in an election campaign. Every other messenger knows better. From the scientists to the environmentalists, we hear the warning but the feel-good theology of the church won’t allow the preachers to tell it like it is. One leading Church of God pastor wrote in a church bulletin that we are about to enter the New Age of prosperity. (Dr. Paul Leverne Walker, Atlanta, GA) Another said, “Praise God the tabernacle is being restored!” (Lifelines, Randall D. Worley, Charlotte, NC) The last statement was made in an article announcing “guru” dancing in the church. I know both of these ministers well and they are not bad men, but lead astray by the new mindset in the church world.
3. The loss of Biblical convictions and the uncommon lifestyle is one of the most disturbing signs. A recent confidential survey of ministries reported 50% admitted extramarital affairs. It was documented that 80% of all registered attendees at the 1988 Religious Broadcasters Convention in Washington, D.C., ordered X-rated movies into their rooms. It is now acceptable (to the apostate church) for a minister or laity to divorce, remarry and continue in leadership and even to be applauded as examples. If God doesn’t judge the church (He will), He would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
4. The New Age has entered the church. Choreographed tongues and dance is only the outward evidence. When ritualistic schemes replace the freedom and beauty of Christ-centered, Holy Spirit led worship you can change from Jesus Christ to a guru and never alter your program. New Testament worship cannot be choreographed. The Holy Spirit will not yield to manipulation. He is sovereign and His gifts are divided severally as He will every time they are manifested.
5. The last post-apostasy sign that I will mention in this article is concerning the new gospel being preached in our pulpits.Self-love and self-esteem with Jesus Christ will radically change a person’s life and with that alter their image of themselves. We become children of God in a redemptive sense and heirs of every appropriate promise in the Bible. But it doesn’t begin with self-love, but with conviction and disgust for our sinful self.
To preach self-love or self-esteem as a premier message is totally deceptive. It makes the individuals satisfied with themselves; it raises their human potential alright, but at the expense of truly changing the evil heart. This new individual refuses to accept Biblical instruction that convicts them of unholy lifestyles. To think negative even of one’s sins is contrary to this mindset. These individuals sweep the garbage under the rug where it will gather until an overload comes; and come it will.
The masquerading spirits of this hour are so evident in promoting this new religious thinking that the obedient Bible-believing Christian or minister feels himself under siege. The remnant who refuse to bow to such thinking will not be the most loved. Expect to be persecuted in an escalating manner.
When you view the pre-apostasy and post-apostasy signs from a Biblical perspective it becomes clear that we are at the crisis hour. Seeing these signs from the two different angles helps to understand the neglect of Bible Prophecy in most churches. When a Christian college or university has one department teaching psychology and another teaching theology, one or the other is out of place. The basic departure in our Biblical teaching is the result of the new marriage of these two competing ideas.
An article in the American Psychologist (August 1988) entitled “Psychology’s Mentalist Paradigm and the Religious/Science Tension” documents this wedding. Its author, R.W. Sherry, tells us that this convergence between science and religion has paved the way for the new man and his new world. The above statement sums up his paradigm. “Perhaps no idea is of more critical practical concern than the potential application of this paradigm in an ideology for world government.”
The new world and new ideology is unquestionably the soon-coming World Kingdom of the Antichrist. Who would have believed that Pentecostals, Evangelicals and Charismatics would succumb to this deception and be spokesmen for the man of sin? It is happening and many church members are being sucked unwittingly into its confusion. Before that Kingdom of Evil can experience its short but violent life, Jesus is coming for those who are overcomers. No wonder Revelation chapters two and three emphasize the fact that only the overcomers will escape this horrible hour! Jesus spoke these last words by the lips and hand of John in Revelation 3:10: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Only the patient (those who don’t bend when the heat is on) and the overcomers will escape the last fling of Satan’s vengeance and the wrath of God’s offended holiness.
Joseph R. Chambers