PROPHECY OR APOSTASY?
THE AFFECTS AND EFFECTS OF APOSTASY
by Pastor John Stephen Brown
In times of spiritual decline, in times of compromise, in times of apostasy, in times of tribulation, holy Scripture plainly shows us how that domestic tranquility is violently reduced. Family members viciously turn on one another. Believers often experience persecution from their very own loved ones, who are either not believers, or if they are believers they have compromised themselves. The disintegration of the family is a painful indication of apostasy during any era. Micah 7:6: "For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies [are] the men of his own house."Some believe that Micah may have been a disciple of the Prophet Isaiah (The Defender's Study Bible by Henry Morris)*. At any rate these two prophets were contemporaries. Their ministries were performed over seven hundred years before Christ. Both Isaiah and Micah predicted and preached the glorious success of the gospel during the last days (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1).In addition to intimate family relationships being destroyed during dark apostate times, Micah warned that friendships suffer as well during those trying times when a society becomes degenerate. The prophet Micah counsels, "Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom" Micah 7:5.The great worth of a true friend is inestimable; the Bible certainly teaches that glorious truth in Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Truly, a real friend is one source of tremendous joy in our living experience. What Micah warns against is those fair weather friends. Sunshine companions. Alas, when the storms of life begin to howl these pseudo friends are blown away as street debris carried along by the wind. Insincere friends prove to be so universally false and faithless; dependence on them proves fatal.Our LORD Jesus foretold HIS apostles that during the dark days of the rapidly approaching tribulation that apostate Israel would witness betrayals of those close to them. Luke 21:16: "And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death."Perhaps you, my reader, are thinking as the disciples did during the last supper "LORD, is it I?" Or perhaps you have convinced yourself, albeit falsely, as Peter, "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not..." Jesus said of true, faithful friends: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13. True this verse is speaking of Jesus being a true friend; however, the principle of friendship is clearly set forth. A true friend can be depended upon, he or she is faithful not fickle. So during times of compromise, in times of apostasy Micah and Jesus warns us against having a trust in so called friends because they shall prove to be false and faithless. Of course one should not place his trust in any flesh counsels the prophet Jeremiah."Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." Jeremiah 17:5The apostle Paul also cautions us about times of apostasy as he reminded Timothy of the deplorable conditions of apostasy when he wrote, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Timothy 3:1-5.Unhappily many people when reading Paul's caution to Timothy assume that "the last days" mean the end times. This error has crippled the Church. It has become self fulfilling prophecy. When one thinks or believes something is true, then they tend to respond according to their perception. Consequently there has been a retreatist defeatist mindset fashioned over the past two hundred years.Futurists * when reading these portions of the Word of God see no future here on earth for the people of God, all is dark. Whereas, the preterits * (those realizing that many - not all - of the predictions of Scripture have already been fulfilled) see a bright and glorious ray of hope for an expansion of the gospel of Christ to spread abroad.Actually, the "the last days" were addressing Israel specifically, not the Church. The eleven Apostles were all ministering in the last days - the last days of apostate Israel. I know that statement is foreign to many of you readers, but I implore you to have an honest, disciplined mind as did the Bereans recorded by Luke for us in Acts 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."Question: Was the outpouring of the holy Spirit of God on the famous day of Pentecost at the onset of the Church era or "the days"? Would you believe Peter? In the first century three thousand people did (Acts 2:41). When explaining the phenomenon that had just transpired, Peter used the Bible, like any good preacher would, to make his point. Keep in mind that he is giving an explanation to what those at Jerusalem had witnessed. The critics had accused the apostles of our LORD of being drunk (Acts 2:13) early in the morning.Consider Peter's reply: "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: Acts 2:14-17This, what you men of Judaea and Jerusalem have seen, Peter insists, is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. The Holy Spirit of God had Peter apply Joel's prophecy showing that it was fulfilled "in the last days."Paul, the human author of Hebrews * inspired by the holy Spirit says it was already the last days as he wrote his epistle in the first century. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds[.]" Hebrews 1:1-2.The outpouring of the holy Spirit of God, therefore, on the famous day of Pentecost happened at both the onset of the Church era as well as "the days." That is because the last days were referring to those of the apostate nation of Israel.America like ancient Israel has experienced a great turning away from Almighty God. What would better graphically illustrate this departure than the Roe v. Wade infamous decision of the United States Supreme Court in 1973. America has as a nation now entered the twenty-ninth year of whole sale slaughtering innocent unborn babies under the color law with vile legalization to foster this practice of killing innocents. George Mason's profound, prophetic words from over two hundred years ago are certainly never more true today than when he first said them. "As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of cause and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities."Therefore, the conditions listed by Micah, our LORD Jesus, and the apostle Paul are strikingly similar. What will become of America? The answer first given by God through Moses to Israel and was later echoed by the Psalmist. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God" Psalms 9:17.All nations shall be turned into hell that abandons God and HIS Word. No exemptions! King David pondered over the deplorable state of affairs of his time asking, "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalms 11:3. Far too long the dogma of dispensationalism has taught a defeat retreat position. It is inevitable, they say, the Bible predicts these matters. Yes and no.Yes. The Bible certainly foretold of the consequence to disobedience, be it personal or public. Such admonitions when read must be understood within its immediate context. E.g., the grammatical, historical, geographical, political, and cultural circumstances of the passage of Scripture must be properly understood before making any application to our time. These questions should be answered when exploring any portion of Scripture: To whom was it addressed? What was being stated? When did these events occur? Where was this taking place? Why did God have this warning in HIS holy Word?While these warnings issued by God's servants were truly predicted, as we saw, they were to specific peoples during their times of apostasy. Which means that it does not necessarily following when reading them that there is no future hope and help from our LORD.Charles Haddon Spurgeon's insightful comments on Psalm 11.3 are quite helpful. "It was equally correct that the very foundations of law and justice were destroyed under Saul's unrighteous government: but what were all these things to the man whose trust was in God alone? He could brave the dangers, could escape the enemies, and defy the injustice which surrounded him. His answer to the question, "What can the righteous do?" would be the counter question, "What cannot they do?" When prayer engages God on our side, and when faith secures the fulfilment of the promise, what cause can there be for flight, however cruel and mighty our enemies? With a sling and a stone, David had smitten a giant before whom the whole hosts of Israel were trembling, and the Lord, who delivered him from the uncircumcised Philistine, could surely deliver him from King Saul and his myrmidons. There is no such word as "impossibility" in the language of faith; that martial grace knows how to fight and conquer, but she knows not how to flee" (Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon).Although the affects of apostasy are painful and far reaching, beloved we must not lose sight of victory (1 John 5:4). Let us each faithful heed the apostle Paul' exhortation recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:58: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."Micah's resolve is mine. Perhaps you, too, would say as did he: "Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. 8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD [shall be] a light unto me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness. Micah 7:7-9In the midst of apostasy and impending judgment Micah decided to do the following: Look unto the LORD. Wait for God. Pray unto the LORD, which included a confession of his sin. Expect deliverance from situation and condition he had described. A confidence to behold the righteousness of the LORD God Almighty.As our LORD used Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah et al, it is my humble desire to be used of God as well. Perhaps you would join me in praying, "Here am I LORD send me." *May God be glorified in each of our lives!
1. The Defender's Study Bible by Henry Morris, page 960.2. Futurists often miss or ignore the fulfillment of certain portions of Scripture in promoting their eschatological position.3. Preterits. There are those claiming to be among the preterits camp that are extreme perterist alleging to be "full peterist", denying a future resurrection or literal return of our LORD Jesus Christ at the end of time; they are radical and have displayed a hyper preterism which is a caricature and distortion to the truth. Tragically many people confuse the biblical preterit with an extreme preterit. As a matter of fact, every born again, blood bought child of God by faith in Christ Jesus our LORD is a Preterits to some degree. E.g., the prophecies concerning our LORD such as Isaiah 7:14 fulfilled in Matthew 1:23. Isaiah 9:6,7 was fulfilled in Luke 1:27-33; Luke 2:11 et al. Micah 5:2 was fulfilled in Matthew 2:5,6. Psalm 22:1 was fulfilled in Matthew 27:46. Psalm 16:9-11 was fulfilled in Acts 2:25-28. Daniel 7:13-14 was fulfilled in Acts 1:9-11. These are simply a sampling of passages showing the birth, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ Jesus our LORD. Blindness is still upon many of those of Jewish heritage because they cannot see that these Old Testment prophecies of a Messiah were already literally fulfilled in Christ Jesus our LORD. Unhappily, believers of the futurist school of thought have made a similar mistake.4. It is the position of this writer that Paul was the human author of Hebrews.5. Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from the On the Online Bible CD.6. Isaiah 6:87. From the Title: Prophecy or Apostasy? (The Affects * and Effects * of Apostasy) Affects = Influences.8. Effects = results."I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do." - Edward Everett Hale
Pastor John Stephen Brown graduated from Tennessee Temple University, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Currently doing work on a Masters in Theology at Andersonville Baptist Seminary with the intention of earning a Doctorate.
Pastor John Stephen Brown has pastored, for over sixteen years, the Eternal Grace Baptist Church which is a historical, particular, unregistered Baptist congregation that believes and proclaims the Victory of Christ, King of the saints, in time as well as throughout all eternity. The Eternal Grace Baptist Church gladly subscribes to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, and is an unregistered Baptist Assembly, not a religious 501 C (3) tax exempt, not for profit corporation or religious association. The Church facility is located on 8965 N. County Road 675 E. Bainbridge, Indiana (actually in New Maysville).Pastor John Stephen Brown is married to his one and only wife, Tina Marie. They were married in June 30, 1973. The LORD has wonderfully blessed their union with seven children (5 sons and 2 daughters) ages ranging from 25 to 6. All of their children have been, or are currently being instructed and trained in the home, rather than the public fool system.You may listen to Pastor Brown on Saturday evenings over short wave radio on WWRB 5.085 on the broadcast "Simple Truth" 9:30 -10 P.M. eastern standard time. He may be contacted for revival or special meetings by calling 765-522-1308. Or e-mail him at either [email protected] or [email protected]