There is much
talk going around these days about how unified, triumphant and
glorious the Church will be in the end times right before the
return of Jesus. This pollyanna image of the Church is certainly
attractive, but it does not correspond with what the Bible prophesies.
of the Church in the end times that is portrayed in the Bible
is not a very pretty one. For one thing, the Bible prophecies
that the Church will be racked by apostasy. Jesus prophesied that
"many will fall away" (Matt. 24:10). Likewise, Paul
said the Anti-Christ cannot be revealed until "the great
apostasy" takes place (II Thess. 2:3).
the source of the apostasy in II Timothy 3:5 - "Men will
hold to form of religion but will deny its power." The fulfillment
of this prophecy began in the 1920's with the ascendancy of the
German School of Higher Criticism. This school of thought, which
quickly swept American seminaries, advocated that the Bible should
be approached like any other piece of literature - with a critical
eye. The concepts of the special inspiration and inerrancy of
the Bible were rejected. The Bible came to be viewed as Man's
search for God rather than God's revelation to Man. As a human
product, it was considered to be full of myth, legend, and superstition.
This assault on the integrity of God's Word opened the floodgates
of apostasy. Before long Christian theologians and ministers were
laughing about the virgin birth of Jesus, discounting His miracles,
casting doubt on His resurrection, and flatly denying His second
As the uniqueness of Jesus was downplayed, many denominations
began to embrace the damnable doctrine of Universalism. And that
is where we are today, caught up in the midst of a gross apostasy
which says, "Believe what you want. The important thing is
to be sincere. There are many roads to God." All of which
makes a liar of Jesus who said: "I am the way, the truth
and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me"
(John 14:16). The result is that there are a lot of sincere people
who are sincerely going to Hell.
A second set
of prophecies warn that the Church will be assaulted by cultic
deception in the end times. Jesus emphasized this point repeatedly
in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:5, 11 & 24). And Paul underlined
it in the strongest possible language when he wrote: "The
Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away
from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines
of demons" (I Tim. 4:1).
of these prophecies began in the 19th Century with the rise of
Mormonism and its demonic teaching that Jesus is the brother of
Lucifer, one of thousands of Gods created by the super god, Adam,
an exalted man. The Jehovah's Witnesses were next on the scene
with their perverted teaching that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.
has witnessed the rapid multiplication of the cults, just as prophesied.
Today, life long Christians who do not know why they believe what
they profess to believe are being sucked into the cults by the
tens of thousands.
Equally appalling is the direct penetration of the Church by cultic
doctrine. Well known Christian leaders are advocating the ancient
Shamanistic practice of visualization as the key to prayer. Others
are teaching one of Satan's oldest lies - that those who have
been born again are "little gods."
cultic fad is the concept of Satanic salvation; namely, that we
do not owe our salvation to the blood Jesus shed on the Cross
but rather to some imaginary torment which He suffered at the
hands of Satan for three days in Hell. And then, of course, there
is Masonry, the oldest form of cultic penetration of the Church,
with its secret blood oaths, its works salvation, and its Universalism.
of cultic penetration into the Church is perhaps best illustrated
by two recent events.
Not long ago
the number one rated "Christian" televangelist in America
served as the< main speaker for the dedication of the new international
headquarters of the Unity Church. The Unity Church is a classic
cult that teaches reincarnation and denigrates the uniqueness
of Jesus by advocating that the Christ potential resides in each
of us. That same televangelist continues to hold church growth
seminars for the Unity Church.
one of the leading Charismatic spokesmen in America has called
for Christians to embrace the Mormons!
A third group
of prophecies indicate that in the end times the Church will be
assailed by doctrinal error. These are doctrines that do not damn
the soul but which confuse and weaken the spirit.
In II Timothy
4:3-4, Paul says: "For the time will come when they will
not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled,
they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to
their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth,
and will turn aside to myths." There are many popular myths
in Christendom today that either rob people of the power of their
faith or else deceive them into practicing a presumptuous faith.
there is a myth that God retired in the First Century and that
with Him went all manifestations of the supernatural, including
angels, demons, spiritual< gifts, and miracles. Among Charismatics
the doctrinal abuses have been epidemic, including the following
is to be placed in your faith and not in God.
2) It is always God's will to heal.
3) The believer has the authority of Jesus.
4) It is God's desire that believers be financially prosperous.
5) Believers can have what they want through positive confession.
The winds of
doctrine (Eph. 4:14) are blowing through the Church at gale force
and believers are being tossed here and there by the waves, all
in the fulfillment of prophecy.
A fourth characteristic
prophesied about the Church in the end times is that it will be
compromised and corrupted by worldliness. The prophetic picture
of this worldly church is found in Revelation 3:14-22, where the
church at Laodicea is described.
The seven churches
depicted in Revelation 2 and 3 are symbolic of seven periods of
church history. The church at Laodicea, the last to be presented,
is representative of the type of church that will prevail in Christendom
at the end of the Church Age.
is a pathetic one. The Church is apathetic, neither hot nor cold.
The apathy is a product of the Church's adoption of a worldly
attitude expressed in the words, "I am rich, and have become
wealthy, and have need of nothing." Jesus responds with a
scathing rebuke: "You don not know that you are wretched
and miserable and poor and blind and naked."
of this prophecy, our churches today are filled with cultural
Christians who have accepted Jesus as Savior but not as Lord.
They are schizophrenic Christians who walk with one foot in the
Church and the other in the world. They are carnal Christians
who shout "Hallelujah!" on the weekend but who live
like pagans during the week. They are greedy Christians in pursuit
of health, wealth, and power. The Cross and its message of sacrifice
is as offensive to them as it is to the world.
the apostasy, heresy, cultism, and worldliness that the Bible
says will characterize the end time Church, the Bible prophesies
that the Church will come under judgment. In Revelation 3:19 Jesus
says to the church at Laodicea, "Those whom I love,< I
reprove and discipline."
overindulgent church of the 70's and 80's is now tasting the judgment
of< God. Sin is being exposed. Religious empires are being
dismantled. The Lord is calling us from the Cadillac to the Cross.
Through discipline, the Spirit is motivating us to humility, righteousness
begun in the House of the Lord, where it always begins (Ezek.
9:6 and I Peter 4:17). The Lord is disciplining His Church as
a prelude to the pouring out of His wrath upon the world.
Is there any
good news about the Church in prophecy? Yes, there is. The incredibly
good news is that the Bible prophesies a great pouring out of
God's Spirit in the end times to empower those who are receptive
to stand against the onslaught of Satan.
is found in Joel 2:28-30. Because this prophecy was quoted by
Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost to explain the phenomenon
of tongues (Acts 2:14-21), many have assumed that it was fulfilled
on that day. That assumption is erroneous.
before the passage (verses 18-27) makes it clear that there will
be two< outpourings of the Spirit (the "early and latter
rain") and that the final outpouring will occur after the
Jews are regathered to their land and re-established as a nation.
Also, the context after the passage (verses 31 & 32) indicates
clearly that the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy will occur
at the time of the Second Coming.
We have been
in the period of the "latter rain" ever since the re-establishment
of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Spirit is being poured
out, and the gifts of the spirit are being manifest in a way unparalleled
since the First Century. The praise and worship of the Tabernacle
of David are also being restored to the Church to further empower
it for spiritual warfare.
anointing of the Spirit is producing a remnant that is immersed
in the Word, committed to righteousness, crucified to self, dedicate
to prayer, surrendered in worship, zealous for evangelism and
yearning for the soon return of Jesus. It is this remnant that
will usher in the Lord's return on a cloud of praise.
A Modern Day
Concerning the Church
is an excerpt from a prophecy given by the late Stanley Frodsham,
former editor of the Pentecostal Evangel. The prophecy was delivered
at the Elim Bible Institute Summer Camp Meeting in 1965.
I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them
for the darkness
ahead. . .Take heed to yourselves lest you be puffed up and think
that you have arrived. Many shall be puffed up as in the olden
days. . .
to the messengers, but do not hold men's persons in admiration.
For many whom I shall anoint mightily, with signs and miracles,
shall become lifted up and shall fall by the wayside. I do not
do this willingly; I have made provision that they might stand.
I call many into this ministry and equip them; but remember that
many shall fall. They shall be like bright lights, and people
shall delight in them. But they shall be taken over by deceiving
spirits and shall lead many of My people away.
diligently concerning these things, for in the last days shall
come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones
away. Many shall fall through divers lusts and because of sin
abounding. . .
you to search the Scriptures diligently concerning these last
days, for the things< that are written shall indeed be made
manifest. There shall come deceivers among My people in increasing
numbers who shall speak for the truth and shall gain the favor
of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and
say, 'What these men say is true.' Then when they have gained
the hearts of the people, then and then only shall they bring
out these wrong doctrines. Therefore, I say that you should not
give your hearts to men, nor hold people's persons in admiration.
For by these very persons shall Satan enter into My people. Watch
deceived, for the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts
of many, and then he shall bring forth his insidious doctrines.
You cannot discern those that are of Me and those that are not
of Me when they start to preach. But seek Me constantly, and then
when these doctrines are brought out you shall have a witness
in your heart that these are not of Me.
of righteousness shall be on this wise: his life shall agree with
the word and his lips shall give forth that which is wholly true,
and it will be no mixture. When the mixture appears, then you
will know he is not a minister of righteousness. The deceivers
speak first the truth and then error to cover their own sins which
they love. . .
you to be firmly established in My Word and not in the personalities
of men that you will not be moved as so many shall be moved. .
. Diligently inquire of Me when you hear something that you have
not seen in the Word, and do not hold people's persons in admiration,
for it is by this very method that Satan will destroy many of
thing about this prophecy is that it was published in Jimmy Swaggart's
magazine, The Evangelist, in October 1987. Later on, the problems
encountered in his life and ministry were to serve as a partial
fulfillment of the prophecy.
is clear. We must all be on guard spiritually. None of us is immune
to deception. Everything must be tested by the Word. If a doctrine
fails the test of Scripture, it is to be rejected, regardless
of who is teaching it. Our trust is to be placed in the Word and
not in men.
We must stop
chasing after men and miracles. A fixation on either will result
in deception. False teachers can appear as angels of light. Miracles
can be performed by the power of Satan. Our eyes are to be fixed
on Jesus, and Him only. Our authority in all things is to be His