Dr. Couch, can you list for me the apostasy passages? You have convinced me and others that indeed we are moving into the period of the apostasy. I'd like the main verses. Thanks.
Below are the main passages, including the two that specifically use the word apostasy. I believe that Christians need to know where we are in God's timetable. But having said that, I do not believe we can be date-setters in the sense that we can say the rapture will take place, "Five months, six months, from now," etc.! The apostle Paul held to the imminent rapture position. He thought it could happen at any time, though he was not given the specific time. He constantly used the expression "we will be caught up, to us it will happen" when describing the arrival of the rapture. In other words, he included himself when speaking about the coming of the catching away of the church saints.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. In the context of this chapter, Paul comes back to the issue of the rapture when he reminds the Thessalonians of "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him." Then he brings up the issue of the apostasy that takes place first. He goes on and describes the revealing of the antichrist (the man of lawlessness), who comes at the beginning of the tribulation (v. 3).
1 Timothy 4:1-on. Paul writes "The Spirit emphatically says that in later times ("in the lastly seasons") some will "stand away from" (apostasize) THE FAITH, they will turn toward "tramp, roving" spirits and doctrines of demons."
2 Timothy 3:1-on. "But realize this, that in the last days (eschatais [eschatology]) hard-to-bear seasons "will themselves make an appearance". Paul then writes out a long list as to how the last-day culture will turn grossly immoral and evil. Men will give lip service to godliness but they will deny its authority and power!
2 Timothy 3:12-13. This all happens during the end of the church dispensation, we know by these verses! Those IN CHRIST (the church saints) who attempt to live godly will be persecuted (v. 12). Persecuted is a Future Passive Indicative of the Greek word dioko meaning to be molested, harassed, made to run, put to flight. This persecution comes on believers in the future, in reference to the time of Paul's writing.
This happens before the rapture and takes place in the apostasy! Morally, evil men will become more evil. Paul writes, "Evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (v. 13). The word imposter (Greek: go'es) refers to pretenders, those who make noise, wailers, even those who are enchanters, who perform incantations! They have a loud, emotional, external expression of Christianity! They pretend to be Christians, believers, but they simply make a lot of noise, and fool those who hear them! (Those of you who are reading this: DO YOU GET IT? HELLO!)
These men deceive and will be deceived (planao). The word means to wander away, go astray, fall into error. Planao is another word describing the apostasy!
2 Timothy 4:1-on. Paul urges Timothy to "proclaim the Word" (v. 2), because in the future "the time will come when they will not endure sound ("healthy") doctrine ("teaching"). They will want men to entertainment them: "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 THE MYTHS (the lies, muthos)" (v. 4).
2 Peter 2:1-3. "There will in the future also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them … and because of them the way of THE TRUTH will be maligned" (v. 2).
Look carefully at verses 4-9. Peter could be discussing the rapture of the church. He speaks about God (1) not sparing the ancient world, (2) bringing a flood upon the world of the ungodly, (3) reducing Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, (4) rescuing righteous Lot, (5) Finally: "The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment."
I hope this will help. And those of you who are Sunday school teachers, and pastors, you need to teach these goodies to the sheep who are terribly confused about what is happening today! –Dr. Mal Couch
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