In these last days, we are living in perilous times of apostasy. II Timothy 3:1-15 describes them, "...but evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue, thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of..." As we see these things happening, we understand that it is a sign of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Even though we see evil around us, we don't need to be involved in this apostasy. We are to continue in the things we have learned by the teaching of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." II Timothy 3:16-17. Scripture is the mind of God and our guide to teach us how to please the Lord. If we only take certain parts of the Bible, we will not have the whole picture---we will be found lacking.
We must rightly divide the Word of God, such as the things that were written aforetime in Romans 15:4-7, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope..." Knowing the past experiences of saints helps to equip us for handling similar situations in our own lives. It provides us a picture of the person of our Lord, dealing with His people.
In these latter days before the rapture of the church, we need this insight. There is so much deception in the world right now, twisting God's Word into something false. Jeremiah 23 hows us a picture of perilous times such as we see today. There were few that stood for the gospel then, just as now. The condition of the people's heart (especially the prophets), was far from God. Verses 14-15, "I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery,, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom....for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness (hypocrisy) gone forth into all the land." Such great deception and apostasy!
We see in Jeremiah 23:16-40 how they built their whole work on their visions and dreams after the imagination of their own evil hearts. "....I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying I have dreamed...." It was not of God! We see this all around us today. How many preachers today are truely preaching the truth? They may preach a diluted gospel of salvation, but they also twist scripture to say what serves their purpose. Satan knows that if he can get the leaders to teach lies, then he can deceive the masses. We should be very fearful!
They even went so far a to say that the Lord's house was a burden. They had perverted the words of the living God with apostasy. The consequence of this attitude was devastating. They soon went into captivity again and His presence was removed from Jerusalem. What a horrible commentary. And, we see it happening today in most of the religious world. Can we learn from this example? We should, or we could fall into the same trap.
In II Timothy 4:1-4, "I charge thee therefore before God....preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables..." Does this sound similar to the time of apostasy for Jeremiah? All they heard was the 'burden of the Lord', and their end was tragic.
The majority of church-going Christians today are taught good works, fables, lies, and not the TRUTH! It is a time of apostasy!
This is the time of the last days---right NOW!
Our instruction to guard against this happening to us is in II Timothy 4:5-8, "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry..." When standing for the truth gets hard, we must endure. If we love the Word of God, then it should be a burning desire within us to get out the gospel, just as it was for Jeremiah. We are to fulfill our service to The Lord while we are on this earth.
Let's not give up when we are so close to the Lord's coming. "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at the day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." II Timothy 4:8.
IT IS HIS PROMISE, EVEN IN THIS TIME OF APOSTASY!