APOSTASY AND FALSE PROPHETS
"All things have been created by Him and for Him."
Everything God has done, is doing, or will do, is all for His own glory. That does not mean God is egotistical; it means that God's work in us only reaches perfection when we glorify Him! And He cannot be satisfied until man and creation have reached that level of being! Man's glory can never compare with God's glory! Everything Jesus Christ created was for Himself, because that is best for His creation! It has to bring glory to Himself, because there is no self-existent life outside of His.
We are living in a time in which there is a great defection from truth; it is a defection from Christ who is the truth! This constitutes the great apostasy. Christ is spiritual truth; He doesn't only have spiritual truth! Living in spiritual truth brings us understanding which cannot be derived from our reasonings. Natural man is unable to comprehend this.
In our discussion of apostasy, we will touch on a number of topics. As we present the truth, it will reveal the errors that are being tossed about in the Christian community. Wrong ideas about Christ, heaven, the church, the future, etc., will produce a false prophetic ministry. And we have many of them! Just because a prophecy begins with "Thus saith the Lord", does not necessarily mean it is true prophecy.
"For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
It is wrong to assume that the Bible will give us life, that the Bible will bring us Christ, that the Bible will bring us healing, and that the Bible will make us rich. That assumption is a defection from truth. The Bible will do none of these things. The Bible is a witness of Jesus Christ! It presents a testimony of many different men, and relates what they heard from God in their dispensation. Jesus said in
We are very thankful to God for giving us the scriptures, and to all those who faithfully recorded what God inspired them to write! They have done a tremendous service to us! If all these stories, incidents and truths had only been passed on verbally, they would have been grossly distorted. Even now, translations do not do them
The New Testament scriptures are a testimony of the kingdom of God - of the things that are not seen! They tell us about the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit Himself has to bring us into the realization of who Christ is, and show us the unseen spiritual realities! The things that appear are made of things that do not appear. This may be hard for us to believe, but it is still true! We need faith to believe it, "and faith is the evidence of things not seen."
"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming"
"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."
This is explained in
"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."
It says that the apostasy has to come before the man of lawlessness (sin) will be revealed! He is the son of destruction, the son of perdition. Jesus called Judas the son of destruction (perdition). Does this mean another Judas has to arise from the Middle East? I don't believe the Bible teaches that. It tells us that sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin. Lawlessness and sin are translated from the same root word. Adam was this man of sin; he is the man of lawlessness; he is the son of perdition! Adam was not deceived; he may have joined Eve so that he would not become separated from her. As a corporate man, Adam is a type of Christ - "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive!"
When Jesus told some Jews that they were of their father the devil, it meant that their thoughts and ideas had not been fathered by God, but by the devil! They did not believe Jesus, but Jesus was right! Furthermore, He said, "You have never seen God...you have never heard His voice...you don't know whom He sent...you don't believe Moses...you take honor from men," etc. Since Jesus was always right, it shows that these Jews were wrong, for their deluded idea of God had been formulated in their own mind! That is why they could not recognize Jesus; He did not fit into their image of the invisible God! Natural man is unable to comprehend the true image of God. He can't get it from prophecy, testimonies, studying, etc.; he can only get it through
The big falling away from truth is called the great apostasy. Since it is a defection from truth, it is a defection from Jesus Christ who is the truth! He came to bear testimony to the truth, and gave us His Spirit of truth to be our teacher. Before Jesus came, there was no spiritual realization of truth, for truth does not reside in natural man. Therefore he cannot interpret the Bible correctly, even though it is a witness of the truth. He needs to be enlightened by the Spirit to understand the Bible's teaching and its prophecies. Unless the prophecies have been brought to realization in the Spirit, they will not be understood correctly.
The mind of the flesh brings death! The natural man, Adam, got a body formed of dust, and we know that dust was already in existence. (Gen.2) This physical, natural man was not present in Genesis 1; here man was created, not formed. A careful reading of the two accounts will reveal many differences between the two men. The man in Genesis 2 has an earthy testimony. He is the man who was divided, and through whom sin entered the world! Estrangement from God came, and man and woman were put out of the garden. The redemption of this man of dust comes by the spiritual image of God in Genesis 1 - the man who is very good!
There are only two corporate men: the Son of Man and the Adamic man - the man of lawlessness, or the man of sin. He is the natural, fleshly-minded man who is in delusion about God, Christ, self, heaven, earth, etc. Sin is actually a mystery.
Antichrist is not someone who is to be born in the Middle East or elsewhere. Prophecies that prophesy of natural fulfillment are false. In 1 John it says that many antichrists have arisen - they have gone out from us. There is only one true prophet - only one - and that is the Spirit of truth! When He comes to us, He reveals what prophecy really is. Christ is the Spirit of prophecy; He is the Spirit of the law; He is the Spirit of the Son, He is the Spirit of adoption! He is the basis for all true prophecy. He is unseen and cannot come to the natural man.
Most Christians believe the man of sin will come and be a world ruler; they also believe a temple will be built in Jerusalem! Let's remember that any temple built with human hands will also be destroyed by human hands. Natural temples are not God's dwelling place, nor the fulfillment of prophecy! God has chosen us for His dwelling place, and has given us Himself to be our dwelling place! Jesus said that He was preparing a place for us in the Father's house!
Understanding that we are the temple of God, causes us to see that a physical structure in Jerusalem can never be the temple of God. Nor can Jesus Christ come again in a physical body, because He is a many-membered body of spiritual, regenerated beings! The body of Christ does not consist of physical bodies sitting in churches. So any prophecies saying that a physical Jesus is coming back, are false. Christ is the corporate man, the new man! He is the only One who could fulfill the law, for He is the spirit of the law - not the letter.
The man of sin or the Adamic man, can only receive the awareness of God that comes through the flesh; he is limited in his understanding, and works against the true realization of God. His sense of being is rooted in the flesh. He is the lawless man, for he cannot obey the law. Anyone prophesying that the antichrist is an individual yet to be born, is bringing forth a false prophecy. John wrote that even at that time many antichrists had arisen.
(1 Jn. 2:18-19) In the Old Testament, the people were anti God, and today they are anti Christ, because God is manifested in Christ.
Another prevalent false prophecy is about heaven. Many preach that if you repent of your sins, you can go to heaven. We know that God lives in the heavens - the heavens are His throne and the earth is His footstool. His presence is everywhere! Heaven is not a geographical place, because the kingdom of God operates in the unseen realm. It is a spiritual kingdom and has no physical boundaries. So often we are illogical in our thinking. We say that God is omnipresent, and then relegate Him to a geographical place called heaven. We say he is spirit and then picture Him with a body like ours because it speaks figuratively of His eyes, ears, right hand and feet in the scriptures. Since we have never seen spirit, we don't have a mental picture of spirit. A spirit does not have flesh and bones. God is spirit and He is everywhere, sustaining all things. He is omnipotent and omnipresent! God manifested Himself in Jesus Christ! Our knowledge and evidence of this comes through Christ. The knowledge of God to the world now comes through us who have been anointed by Christ and are part of His body.
In the scriptures, heaven is usually referred to in the plural (heavens). The heavens declare the glory of God. Paul was taken up to the third heaven, and Peter writes about three heavens and three earths or three creations. Telling people to make heaven their goal is not scriptural! Christ is our goal; He is our dwelling place! Our goal is to be in the bosom of God, to live in His Spirit, and to walk by faith! All the natural temples of God have been destroyed! Any physical structure built in Jerusalem or any other place will never be God's dwelling place! Jesus said, "Destroy this temple," (meaning Himself) "and in three days I will raise it up." He is the cornerstone and the capstone of the temple in which He resides!
Peter said, "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
Another false prophecy that is often heard, concerns death. The idea that people go to heaven after they die physically, is false. In the scriptures, death generally refers to spiritual death - not to physical death. Natural man is in Adam, and in Adam all die! Jesus said,
Christ is the presence of God within us! He is our life! Those who receive Him are given the authority to become the sons of God! Christ within us is our hope of glory! Our life is hidden with Christ in God! Paul said,
Where did death come from in the first place? It came from minding the flesh! Adam and Eve minded (obeyed) the desires of the flesh.
The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God! It is in death because its hostility brings separation from God. But when you are minding the Spirit you are joined to God by the Spirit, even while you are in this body of flesh. So the punishment of sin is death, for it brings a separation from God. Anything separated from God is in death, because only God has life! He cannot give it to anyone apart from Himself, because as soon as it departs from Him, it ceases to have life. It is an integral part of His being, and it cannot be sustained without Him. Only the self-existent God can sustain life; only He has immortality! Therefore everything that has life has to be joined to God!
I would like to clarify an important point. Just as the physical body loses its awareness when it dies, so those who are dead in their trespasses and sins do not have an awareness or consciousness of God. People constantly talk about going to heaven or hell. Actually we experience heaven and hell while we are in our physical bodies during our lifetime. In separation from God we experience death, and in union with Christ we experience life! Jesus experienced life in the Father while He was on earth. He wants us also to experience this life, for He said, "Where I am, there you may be also."
Most translations have mistranslated the word HADES, which simply means the GRAVE. In olden times the word HELL was used to indicate a hidden place. Farmers would say they had to hell the potatoes - which meant they had to hill them - covering them with dirt so they could grow in a dark unseen place.
Hell is a state of living in the natural mind, for the natural mind is separated from God and continually strives against God. So all who live in the natural mind are living in hell; the things that happen in that life bring grief. Jesus said that evil deeds proceed out of the heart - and that which is in the heart is unseen. So the source of sin cannot be seen. Jesus said,
Jesus came to take us out of our darkness and bring us into His wonderful light! When we are regenerated spiritually, we begin to hear the voice of the Son - which is the voice of the Spirit - and live! Jesus said,
Israel was a type and shadow of the true kingdom of God. The natural experiences of Israel were a type of our spiritual experiences. Israel was taken out of Egypt and brought into the Promised Land; but after they got in, they lost it again. As a matter of fact, the nation was divided, and ten of the tribes were carried into Babylon. There they re-established themselves, and were assimilated with the world; they even lost the name ISRAEL. They are never to be regathered and never to be restored, because they were only a type and shadow of the true kingdom and people of God.
In the Old Testament it was prophesied, that "you who are not My people, shall be My people." This was spoken to Israel. Peter refers to this in
We, who are regenerated, are the people of God. Before we were regenerated, we were not the people of God. We have been born again and have received the Spirit of the Son in our hearts! We know this has happened when the Spirit of God witnesses to our spirit that we are His children!
Another defection from truth, is man's understanding of the holy city mentioned in Revelation 21. This city of gold contains many twelves: it has twelve gates which are twelve pearls, twelve angels, twelve tribes, twelve foundation stones, and the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This city is called the bride of Christ. Do you think Jesus Christ is going to marry a golden city with walls? Of course not! This is all figurative. As a matter of fact the whole book of Revelation is a sign, a type, a picture.
The explanation of the
In Romans 8 we read that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. That means that Jesus Christ, the Word, reproduces Himself in us! So the
The word GOSPEL means good news!
False prophecy declares that God is going to correct this world through external laws. Jesus will not land somewhere on the Mt. of Olives to institute laws which have already been proven inadequate to change humanity. Jesus Christ was the perfect expression of God in human form! He lived what He taught. In explaining the principles of the kingdom of God, He said,
There is a world of righteousness, which God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son. Those who do not believe will perish. (John 3:16) But there is another world - a world that lies in the wicked one. Since there already is a god who rules this world, we don't need an Antichrist to rule it. The god of this world is THE antichrist who runs this world system. That is the world we are not to love! If we love that world, we make ourselves enemies of God. That is not the world that God loves, for His kingdom is not of this world." The apostle Peter differentiates between the three world systems in 2 Peter chapter 3.
All things have become new in Christ! We are a new creation and we live in a new kingdom; we have a new heavens and a new earth! The natural has passed away and we have everything new in the spiritual realm! Our change takes place while we are living here in the flesh, through being regenerated by the Spirit! That is how we become true witnesses of the spiritual reality of Christ! To tell people that spiritual realities will come in a physical form, is false prophecy.
To have Jesus come back in a physical form would not be to our advantage! Imagine what it would be like to have a new kingdom set up in the present Jerusalem! Imagine having to travel all the way to Jerusalem to have fellowship with Jesus, and to worship Him only in a certain new tabernacle! The line-up would be incredible! We might even die before our turn came. This would be extremely impractical! How much personal contact could people have with Jesus? Now that Christ indwells the believers, all can have a personal relationship with Him! The spiritual is greater than the physical! God's plans are in the ascending order!
In the Old Testament, God's laws were literal; in the New Testament, they are spiritual. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has delivered us from the law of sin and death! The knowledge of sin came through the law. The law is a form of truth, but Christ is the truth! In
We can't explain God, but we can declare Him! People who think they can explain Christ also think they learned to know Christ through explanations, studying the Bible, dictionaries and concordances. If that is the only knowledge they have, they do not know Christ personally! They only know things about Him. Reading a biography causes us to know things about that person, but it does not bring us into a relationship with him. To know Christ we have to know Him spiritually, for He is spirit! The kingdom of God is also unseen; it's a rule of God in the Spirit! Once we experience this rule, we overcome the flesh, and become a temple of the Holy Spirit! As we are ruled by the Spirit of truth, we will be true witnesses of Christ. The Holy Spirit never gives us false hope nor false prophecy.
Correct translations of the New Testament say that Christ was raised from among the dead. There are many references to this. Who are the dead? The natural mind thinks God is speaking about all the people who were born upon this earth, and then died. But God has spiritual definitions. He said, "In Adam all die." So the dead include all who are living in Adam! We also were among the dead before we were raised into life!
"For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead."
Christ Jesus needed no resurrection. He is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever. In
Many do not understand what God means by the word DAY. It says that God rested on the seventh day. That rest came after the completion of His work of creation, and everything was VERY GOOD. Since God set aside a day of rest, Christians also believe in observing a day of rest. Some believe in keeping Sunday, and call it the Sabbath, while others keep Saturday, and call it the Sabbath.
It is interesting to see how the instructions regarding manna typified this rest. The manna was given daily for 6 days, and the Israelites were to pick up only as much as they could eat each day. But on the 6th day they were also to pick up enough for the seventh. Provision for the seventh day came in the cumulative work of the previous six days! So in creation, the rest of God came after the cumulative work of six days. The climax is reached in the rule of the spiritual man - and this man is Christ! Redemption came in the cumulative work God had been doing from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, and from Moses to Christ! Everything was consummated in Christ! He is the sum of all things!
When Jesus went to the Jordan, He fulfilled everything that these men had represented or foreshadowed. The men are not the important part; but the purpose God had for them in the redemptive message they conveyed was the important part! God works everything according to the counsel of His will! So Jesus Christ became THE REDEEMER! All those stages are included in His redemption! At the Jordan River all the cumulative redemptive work from Adam to John the Baptist was represented in spirit. But Christ is the central figure!
Jesus Christ has dealt with sin! He has finished the work of destroying the Adamic man through whom sin came into the world! He has given us the Spirit through whom we become new creatures! We can now walk in this new understanding. Those who continually talk about sin instead of Christ, are in apostasy. They are not focusing on truth, but on sin, which means missing the mark - and that does not get us into truth! We have a lot of growing to do!
Another thing I want to call to your attention, is tithing. Let's read Matt. 17:24-26.
That does not mean we are to hoard our money! Even as God is generous toward us, we are to be generous toward others! But our giving is not forced upon us - taxes are! Nor is our giving limited to 10%! We give as the Spirit directs us. God loves a cheerful giver! God gives us abundantly so that we can give to those in need and have an abundance for every good deed!
In summing up I want to emphasize the importance of understanding the scriptures correctly! Since God is spirit and His words are spirit, His words have to be understood spiritually! This is not spiritualizing the word - as some call it - for how can you spiritualize something that is spirit? Since the reasonings of our natural mind cannot understand spiritual realities, we need the Holy Spirit to teach us!
Spiritual realities always remain in death in the natural mind. That mind can only understand everything from a natural perspective. So God's kingdom, life, death, Jesus Christ, antichrist, resurrection, etc., are misunderstood. We need to understand that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh; therefore the Bible cannot be the Word of God. We need to understand that the Bible is a witness of spiritual realities, that Jesus Christ is the resurrection, and that God's kingdom is spiritual. We need to understand the purpose of the law, the difference between the meaning of world and creation, the source of death, and who Adam is. Spiritual realities can only be understood spiritually! Explanations that relegate them into the natural realm put them to death and therefore produce deception.
This also holds true in regard to prophecies. Those which pinpoint the fulfillment of prophecy in the natural realm, are in the death realm and therefore false. The following are some examples of this type of prophecy: the coming again of Christ as a physical man; the restoration of natural Israel; the restoration of Jerusalem and the building of a new temple as the focal point of worship. Natural Israel was a type of spiritual Israel; spiritual Israel includes all who are in Christ - whether Jew or Gentile. Just as natural Israel was a chosen race, so spiritual Israel is
God dealt with the man of sin through Christ's death, resurrection, and the pouring out of His Spirit. Christ has taken care of sin, and is no longer dealing with sin! He abolished death, for death came through that man. He has brought us life, for this new man is a life-giving Spirit! Life is greater than the forgiveness of our sins. It gives us a new nature which forgiveness cannot do. Without the knowledge of forgiveness, true repentance cannot take place. So it is the basis for repentance and receiving Christ. Christ is the answer; He is the Son of God (the Word made flesh); He is our life, our righteousness, our heaven, our wisdom, etc. He is the fulfillment of all God's promises, and in Him we have inherited all He is! We have been taken into God!
However, this does not mean that we are God, as some are now saying. They falsely state that they are the great I AM. Our oneness with God does not mean we are equal with Him, but that we are living by Him, just as Jesus did. Christ prayed that we might become one with the Father, as He is one with the Father. He
Many Christians think they are going to heaven as forgiven sinners! They say they have been born again, but that they are still sinners. Why do they need to be born again if no change takes place in the new birth? They agree that they are new creatures, yet still proclaim that they are only sinners saved by grace. After they die, they will go to an imaginary geographical place where a golden mansion awaits them. They think they will be disembodied spirits until the resurrection. It is so sad that they do not believe the scriptures! They do not understand that we are new creations, having a new mind - the mind of Christ - and having a new body - the body of Christ!
The shadows contained in the Old Testament are put into a spiritual perspective in the New Testament. The natural of the Old Testament is a type of the spiritual realities we have in Christ. If we see things only in a literal sense, we have not entered into the reality we now have in Christ! So prophecies that continue to deal with the shadows, like natural fire, natural heavens, natural land, etc., are not true. Neither are the concepts that the antichrist will be a physical man that death only refers to the death of the physical body, and that world and creation are synonymous. Believing that these natural ideas are the fulfillment of prophecy, constitutes the great apostasy, for it is a great defection from spiritual truth.
False prophecy abounds both in our denominational system and in the so-called outcomers - those who have come out of the denominational system and are known by various names. Only a remnant is truly hearing the Spirit. Jesus said,
Apostasy dwells in the natural man for he cannot know truth! That is why we need to be born anew and become a new creation in Christ! The rule of the Holy Spirit within us is the rule of the kingdom of God; it is the reign of Christ! This becomes evident when our faith is not in the natural seen realm, but in Christ who dwells in the unseen realm!