Friday, April 25, 2014

It feels like there's no one left who is a true believer...

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Paul reassured the Thessalonians that they had not missed the rapture and were not in the Day of the LORD. (another –pre-trib proof). He said that the Day will not come unless…certain events happened in order first
  1. Rapture
  2. Falling away (apostasy)
  3. Antichrist revealed
  4. Day of the Lord
The apostasy prepares the way for the advent of the Man of Sin.

Falling away AKA apostasy is a hard, hard thing, For anyone who is righteous, seeing loved ones succumb to the sway of a false doctrine, or follow a false teacher, it is a torture to the soul and a agony to the mind and a hardship on the soul. I see a Blackaby book on a pastor’s desk and I worry. I hear a woman refuse to acknowledge Joyce Meyer is false “because she preaches straight from the bible” and I mourn, I see a woman wear a “Walk to Emmaus” tee shirt and I fear. Encountering these things in my daily routine is like having a hot nail driven into my head. I am not exaggerating.

It’s not to say that these people or any person who reads a book, accepts a teacher or participates in a retreat once is an apostate. I participated in both the Experiencing God study by Henry Blackaby and a Beth Moore DVD retreat, but what doing so did was alert me to the falseness of their teachings. It gave me a close-up view of what it was that troubled my soul so much. That’s what false teaching does, it either grieves the soul and alerts one to its falsity or it entrenches one deeper into their lack of discernment. I worry because I know when someone doesn’t or won’t see the falseness of a particular doctrine or teacher, the false teacher or a false doctrine has successfully taken root into their mind. Satan won’t let that go. Unless they refute it and repent, it will grow like gangrene. That is the way of things. (2 Timothy 2:17; Acts 14:2)

It feels sometimes like there are hardly any people with discernment left. It feels like so many friends and family are falling away. I know from your emails and blog comments that many of you are in locations where there literally are no good churches or where false teaching abounds. Doesn’t it feel like were the only ones, sometimes!

Here is where we praise the gracious Lord for His examples for us in scripture. We are not alone! Elijah thought he was alone! Jeremiah was tortured by the apostasy around him and in his lifetime, judgment came! Noah preached 120 years and only had 7 converts! Isaiah was told to prophesy until there was literally no one left!

“And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”… God assured him, Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:9-10, 18)

My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. …These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
(Genesis 6:5-6, 9)

“Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,” (Isaiah 6:11)

In the New Testament, imagine there being no ‘church down the road’ you could switch to when apostasy is so rampant in your church you have to leave. The Corinthians were having chaotic services, drunken Lord’s Suppers, and immorality and sexual impurity were a problem. But that was the ONLY church. Can you imagine how the few pure and holy Corinthians felt?

Wikimedia commons
I’ve seen a massive defection from the faith since 2008. I’ve also seen a horrific decline in discernment since then too. The rise in apostasy to my mind and according to how I interpret 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is that the time is near when the rapture will occur. The defections of millions from the faith and the fast tsunami of apostasy in even evangelical denominations shows this, in my opinion. The curtain on this age is coming down, and fast.

Each of the prophets named above walked closely with God. Even in times of terrible apostasy when they were literally the only ones in their sphere left who were faithful. They were human, to be sure. Elijah suffered a bout of depression. Jeremiah was tearful and mourning much of the time. The key is, they clung to God.

Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)

Take encouragement! The Lord Jesus is near to us. At the time of His appearing, there were few faithful ones. His religion had been turned into a mockery. They rejected His words while clamoring for His miracles. They wanted His 'stuff' but not Him for Himself. He knew apostasy! He knows the pain we feel when people reject our precious Jesus and go astray! Don't give up the fight!

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)

He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. (Hebrews 5:2)

Pray for those who are ignorant and going astray. Pray for yourself in your weariness and sadness. Jesus is with us. It is good.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)



27 comments:

  1. Thanks for what you do. I enjoy reading your posts. It's possible that the rapture and the "falling away" are the same as described in 2 Thessalonians. Here is a wonderful viewpoint that is shared by creationist Dr. Henry Morris.
    http://www.icr.org/books/defenders/8028/
    -Greg

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  2. Thank you for this article! While here in my little Alabama town, I don't always feel like I am the only Christian, but I often feel like I am the only one with an ounce of discernment and it can be very frustrating and lonely sometimes. Even in my own Baptist Church, which is still traditional and staying pretty grounded, I am often floored by the eagerness of some of my sisters in Christ to jump on almost any bandwagon that makes its debut on the shelf of a Lifeway bookstore. Speaking of Emmaus, my sister-in-law, who is a Christian as far as I can tell, is participating in a Walk to Emmaus as I type this. I did my best to talk her out of it, but she assured me that the Bible was her only source of truth and that she can handle it. Needless to say, I am lifting her up in prayer continually. There is only limited info on Emmaus on the internet. What I do know about it comes from a Christian cousin of mine who attended a couple of years ago, and was very alarmed and upset over it. She spoke up about a few things while there, and of course, only caused problems when she did. She will never attend another. Other spin offs of Walk to Emmaus are Tres Dias and De Colores. I was wondering if you might have any info to share, maybe even enough to write a blog about it. Apparently this stuff is becoming more mainstream than I realized. Thanks for all you do. I check your blog as often as possible! Keep sounding the alarm! :-)

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I did some research on Walk to Emmaus (WTE). There isn't a lot publicly available but I'll share what I found.

      First, is a blog entry by a Bapatist pastor titled "Should Baptist participate in Walk to Emmaus?" I have no clue who this pastor is and what his doctrine is but I found what he wrote about WTE extremely enlightening, and grace filled. He was reluctant, but at the urging of many in his congregation, he went to one, so he could have first-hand knowledge of what it's about. Even if someone isn't a Baptist, this is a helpful essay because he shows from scripture why he believes as he does, and scripture trumps denominations. Here is the link
      http://mikemcg58.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/should-baptists-participate-in-a-walk-to-emmaus/

      This next one is from a forum discussing the WTE.
      "According to the information it is a way for the catholic idealogies to infiltrate churches nation wide by having "pilgrims" go back, testify how good the walk is, and have the idealogies sweep over the MOTHER CHURCH of the pilgrims"

      "Cloistering people into a controlled environment out of contact with their friends and family and intensively subjecting them to a program where all information is controlled with no debating what is taught is cult behaviour. It is also very dependent on experiences which are kept secret from the pilgrims until it is time for the experience. That emotionally manipulates what the pilgrims feel and again is a cult technique."
      http://www.topix.com/forum/city/london-ky/TGG6D4SOHR648DDDR'

      This is a blog from a gal who participated in it-
      http://sleepwalkinginthelight.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/my-walk-to-emmaus/

      I found several of The Upper Room contracts and covenants online (parent organization that puts on WTE) and in those you can read an outline of what they teach. All WTE's strive to be the same so it doesn't matter if you read an outline from Texas and you're from Montana, they are all pretty much the same.

      I also found this site which claims to have online .pdfs of the manuals for the lay leaders
      http://www.freebookez.com/walk-to-emmaus-manual/

      Personally, just as I objected to the "Passion" youth conference rule against having parents accompany their children, I object to WTE separating husbands from wives. I understand that they might want to have separate, single sex prayer sessions once or twice during the weekend, but to ban the husband or wife completely from the gorunds during the entire weekend, and say that the entire weekend is only one sex or the other is wrong. Women should have opportunity to learn spiritual things with her husband present. Any time an organization has a rule like this, splitting family members from one another, I become suspicious.

      I doubt I'll do a blog on it...because I raised these concerns already with both my pastors, due to several people participating in it at my church and gave the pastors information on WTE. It's in their hands now and to write about it I feel would be usurping their authority.

      Let me know what you find out about WTE if you have time...I think it's not a good thing and I worry for those who spent three days experiencing spiritual things instead of learning them.

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  3. Elizabeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was crying out in agony yesterday before the Lord about this very thing. Your post is timely, a balm to my soul. I thank God for blogs from like minded believers, it's like meeting some of those 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

    You said, "I know from your emails and blog comments that many of you are in locations where there literally are no good churches or where false teaching abounds."

    That sums up where my husband and I live. We've watched the purposefully deceiving drivel/church growth/seeker-sensitive-entertainment-based-gotta-keep-it-"relevant" movement literally consume nearly every single Bible preaching church in our area. And hardly anyone seems to realize it or care! I'd have to start my own blog to tell all the stories of the things we've seen and heard. It's an utter reproach to the Lord's name. As the word says, "And many will follow in their (false teachers) pernicious ways, and the way of truth will be maligned (brought into disrepute)." We are watching it happen right before our eyes.

    You said, "I’ve seen a massive defection from the faith since 2008."

    Yes! Us too. I agree, since 2008, it seems everything has been going downhill at an overwhelmingly alarming rate. Apostasy abounds, and there is an utter dearth of discernment. The worst part - sadly, many pastors are not teaching sound doctrine or shepherding and guarding the flock. Just as in OT times, Israel was like sheep with no shepherd; the Lord Himself ended up having to be their shepherd. The prophets prophesy falsely, and superficially bind the wounds of My people, says the Lord. Saying peace peace when there is no peace. There's nothing new under the sun, that is going on today in the evangelical church.

    The curtain on this age definitely is coming down fast and hard. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    -Carolyn

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  4. AMEN AND AMEN!! It's like you took the thoughts right out of my own head & heart & wrote them down. Agree with every word of this essay!

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  5. Elizabeth, I think many of us have noticed this trend also in our home churches as well as all over the world. Hence the need for conferences like "Strange Fire" and even blogs as important as this one.

    Let's be reassured by the words in this famous song "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood" by William Cowper

    "Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
    Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
    Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
    Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more."

    God is Sovereign. Amen

    Colette

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  6. Oh yes, the crushing burden of false teaching. It does weigh so heavy. Thank you Elizabeth for this wonderful post. I needed the encouragement at this time and reminder to pray for strength to contend for our faith.

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  7. G compton beat me to it on the 2 thes 2:3 verse. Thomas ice has also written on it as well as don koenig of the prophetic years website. Don has the clearest easiest explanation for those interested.
    jennifer

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    1. I wanted to add, this in no way cancels out apostasy growing worse through time, the bible is clear on that. Just 2 thes 2:3 may be referring to the snatching away.
      Jennifer

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  8. Carolyn said ‘The worst part - sadly, many pastors are not teaching sound doctrine or shepherding and guarding the flock. Just as in OT times, Israel was like sheep with no shepherd; the Lord Himself ended up having to be their shepherd.’

    This is SO true. I often meditate upon Ezekiel 34, using it as a base for prayer for the pastors out here.

    I feel reassured and blessed by these lovers of God’s Word who preach in and out of season– John MacArthur, Steven Lawson, Sinclair Ferguson, to name a few.

    I am blessed by their solid teachings because I am one of the remnants that were rescued out of the chaos due to their faithfulness. These men are faithful simply because they love Jesus Christ and more simply because they took the time to get to know Him for Who He is, not for what they could gain by Him.

    Thanks again Elizabeth for these blogs. I will use them as reference links to lead other women [and men] to read with their Bible in hand. You’ve made it easier for them by doing the heavy lifting. We are now, and have always been, without excuse.

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  9. I'm so thrilled to hear from you all! You made my weekend with your sharing amens and hallelujahs, links, hymns and scriptures. I am happiest when my sisters and brothers are blessed by verses and scriptural concepts so thank you all again very deeply and humbly. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  10. Elizabeth, I too was especially blessed by this topic. I am so discouraged by the lack of churches in my area that don't fall for Moore, Blackaby and others. I left my last church when the women's group wanted to study Stasi Eldredge's Captivating. I attempted to persuade the ladies that she blatantly misused scripture, only to be "prayed for that satan would not have his way with me." Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your encouraging words. -Beth

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    1. I loved your comment! I was asked to leave a church some time ago if I continued to "use the Bible as (my) sole authority." The last one was just after we questioned the pastor's use of Star Trek (pro) as the basis for a sermon......
      Can you or anyone here enlighten me on Blackaby? I've not much familiarity.

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    2. Hi Aubryn,

      Wikipedia: Dr. Henry T. Blackaby was born in British Columbia. He studied English and History at the University of British Columbia as an undergraduate and earned his B.D. and Th.M. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds four honorary doctorate degrees. In 1970, Dr. Blackaby began pastoring at a tiny church in Saskatoon, Canada. Dr. Blackaby went on to serve on the staff at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and also served as special assistant to the presidents of the International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources. Other accomplishments include serving as a music director, an education director, pastored in California and Canada, and President of Canadian Baptist Theological College for seven years. He has notably published many spiritual books. One of his most popular publications was Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God in 1990, selling seven million copies. Dr. Blackaby also won the Gold Medallion Award for the devotionals, Experiencing God Together and Experiencing God Day by Day. end Wiki

      In the 199os unfortunately Mr Blackaby introduced mysticism into the conservative segments of the faithful denominations, which ate it up. He has a lot to answer for in this regard. His book 'Experiencing God" focused on exactly what the title said; experiencing God rather than learning about Him from scripture. Suddenly everyone was meditating and listening for whispers and seeking direct connections about His specific will for our lives. Ugh. (I took the EG study in church ten years ago as a babe in the faith and came away both disgusted and confused.)

      MacArthur said of Blackaby's approach in his essay "False Prophets and Lying Wonders"

      Similar ideas have found sweeping acceptance even among non-charismatic Christians. Southern Baptists have eagerly devoured Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King, which suggests that the main way the Holy Spirit leads believers is by speaking to them directly. According to Blackaby, when God gives an individual a message that pertains to the church, it should be shared with the whole body.[2] As a result, extrabiblical "words from the Lord" are now commonplace even in some Southern Baptist circles."
      http://www.gty.org/blog/B100111/false-prophets-and-lying-wonders

      In my opinion Blackaby's approach sets aside the doctrine of the Sufficiency of Scripture. It opened the door, for example, particularly to Beth Moore speaking direct relations, which in turn widened the door to the Charismania that is sweeping even conservative churches. Think "Jesus Calling: and we have Blackaby as spiritual father to 'thank' for that.

      Of the SBC churches' members that won't laugh or bark like a dog or fall down drunk in the spirit like the Pentecostals do, Blackaby's whisper, direct revelation personal approach is the same version, and it's still non-sola scriptura. It's still Beth Moore and her spiritual daughters saying "Be still and God will whisper to me." It's not as showy but it's still Charismania.

      Avoid Blackaby.

      Lengthy review here
      http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/09/non-sola-scriptura-blackaby-view-of_15.html#uds-search-results

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  11. I've been seeing false doctrine and other signs of apostasy almost as long as I've been saved, which is almost 30 years, so I was curious about your "2008" statement...things have been going downhill for so long that I haven't noticed them being exponentially worse since 2008. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that specifically, and what you attribute the decline to.

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  12. Great post, Elizabeth. Thank you so much.
    Melissa S.

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  13. Oh, no, no. Not TD Jakes!

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  14. When I first heard about the movie The Passion of the Christ, an uncomfortable feeling rose up inside of me. I wasn't quite sure why, but now understand it was my discernment meter clicking. This was the first time I remember being able to see the problems with something the Christian world embraced. I was at a Sunday school class meeting where they were planning to show The Passion as an outreach event. I had to leave the room because I was so uncomfortable. This feeling was new to me and I didn't know how to handle it or what to do. I did not have the ability to voice my concerns at this point, but I did know that I could not support this event. I did not attend and to this day have never seen that movie.

    Over the years God began to show me that He has given me discernment. Sometimes I don't see the error right away (I'm the one that shared about being a former Joyce Meyer junkie on your part 3 post), sometimes it has to be pointed out to me, but in the end I get it. Most of the time it's just a feeling of discomfort inside of me. When The Purpose Driven Life came out, a man in our church raved about the book and said everyone has got to read it. We started using it for our Sunday school class, and there were several things that I questioned--mainly how a book whose premise is that it's not about me ends up being all about me!

    I used to enjoy going to Women of Faith conferences, back before I had much discernment, but the last two I went to I found to be very light and fluffy...not much meat...touching emotions and feelings rather than hearts and minds. I have to confess I went to these conferences more for fellowship with women from my church than to get anything out of it. But my resolve to just go with the flow and enjoy this time with my church sisters soured when I walked into the conference and saw the vendors selling not only the speakers' books and tapes but t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, etc., all at a hefty price--and the huge crowds around each booth. I realized that bottom-line this was a money-making scheme, preying on the knowledge that the attendees will buy anything "Christian."

    It is very frustrating to me when I hear my friends--who I consider dear sisters in Christ--gushing about Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, et al. I have been praying that God would open the eyes, heart, and mind of these ladies to see Him clearly, to understand His word, and to recognize error and false teaching. I have told a few ladies my misgivings about Beth Moore and get the 'deer-in-the-headlights' look from them. They can't even comprehend someone NOT liking her! Another friend recently told me how much of a blessing Jesus Calling has been to her. This is a friend who, although younger than I, is what I call a "deep-diving friend" who spends daily time studying scripture and lives a life in devotion and obedience to Him. When I told her of my concerns, her reply was that she agrees with me but nevertheless finds the book to be of value.

    I appreciate your blog and thank you for being an example of being a watchman in these troubling times.

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  15. A wonderfully edifying article! Thank you Elizabeth. It is so comforting to know that we are never really alone. It is getting harder and harder to share about the apostasy that is happening in the church. If you try you will be called divisive and too critical. I think what you have done by pointing out the apostasy and then leave it for believers to prayerfully go to their bibles to search out the truth is the right way to handle this. It is so very frustrating at times, but if someone refuses to see the truth all you can do is pray for them. God Bless and Maranatha!

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  16. Thanks so much for writing this. It is very lonely. Which is part of why I enjoy your blog so much - sanity amidst the insanity. :-) Thanks for all you do!

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  17. 1 point where I have a minor disagreement, the apostasy occurs I think BEFORE the rapture. Based on the bulk of this post I'd say it's already in full swing but will culminate in the harlot of revelation 17. Just a thought

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    1. Interesting thought, hartdawg. I agree with its culmination in Rev 17. It could very well begin prior...What's your point of reference for the great falling away happening before the rapture? Educate me...:)

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  18. My point of reference is this, and keep it mind it's speculation, but I believe biblical speculation, first we have the leodicean church in revelation 3, 2nd we have 1 Timothy chapters 3 and 4. Both chapters written to the church, both describing conditions in the church, both referencing apostasy, then look at 2 Peter 2 and the book of jude, and finally looking at the current state of the church.

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  19. Jesus Christ came for the lost, not for the non sinner, if someone is preaching about God, then they are with us, not against us. I am more inclined to not listen to a person, when they start talking bad about one of us, we are not to take this to the world, for if Mrs Meyers is doing wrong somewhere, I am sure God will open her eyes to it. If he can use a donkey to speak, the I think he can use just about anyone he chooses... Even me

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    1. Anonymous, I'm sorry...I'll say this in love...but there are just so many scriptural errors in your statement that is winds up being 100% wrong. Let me explain.

      1. There is no such thing as a non-sinner. (Romans 3:10).

      2. You're talking about Mark 9:40/Mt 12:30. The verse is about the fact that there is no neutral ground regarding Jesus. In truth, Anonymous, anyone who mentions the name of God in passing isn't given a free pass into the faith, nor should they automatically be accepted as a teacher. If someone is preaching about God they MAY be with us or they MAY be against us. Example of people preaching God and were against Jesus: the demon possessed slave girl, the Nicolaitans, the Circumcision group, Satan. (Acts 16:16, Genesis 3:1, Mt 4:6.) Also Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses, and many other cults preach about God and are against Jesus. Saying something about God in your speech doesn't make you a Christian. Joyce Meyer, by the testimony of the test of scripture, is not a Christian.

      3. Alerting the brethren of a wolf is mandated in scripture. To see a wolf and not alert the brethren is not love, it is hate. It allows leaven to spoil the whole loaf and for gangrene to spread into the faith. (Gal 5:9, 2Tim2:17).

      If you are right and we are not to tell, then Paul and John and Jesus were very wrong to do so, weren't they? They named groups and they named individuals who were faithless teachers masquerading as legitimate. There are many scriptures telling us to speak up. And by NOT speaking up you are doing satan's work, and allowing him entry and access to blaspheme the name of Jesus. Who do you love more? Here is a bible page explaining about speaking out against false teachers:http://www.thebiblepage.org/avoid/soaft.shtml

      4. "IF" Meyer is doing wrong? It is clear that she is. In any regard, you're "sure" God will open her eyes to it? Are you sure that you know what God will do with any individual? Or is he allowing her to continue as a judgment on the house of the Lord? Is He using her to test your faith and your discernment? Did He open Judas' eyes to his blasphemy? Did He open the Pharisees' eyes? The Saduccees? The Scribes? Demas? Does He always? Or in a horrifying process does He sometimes "turn them over" to their sin and condemn them to hell? (Romans 1:18-32, Mt 12:41).

      4. He "CAN" use anyone. He chooses NOT to bring repentance through lies. He brings it through the true Gospel.(Rom 1:16-17). What He uses false teachers for is to bring judgment on people who follow them, and unto people who know the false teachers are doing wrong and fail to speak up. (Rev 2:20, James 4:17). Even you.

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  20. I would like to add to Hartdog's comment if I could. If the rapture happens before the apostasy as it is stated above, who is left on earth? Obviously those who are facing the wrath of God ( I will exclude the eventual 144.000 sealed by God ). If that is the case, then there is no one who will turn from the truth for they, up to this point,have already rejected it, and have no place left to turn but "to God" or remain under judgement. I believe the Thessalonians vs. indicates: #1 Apostasy, #2 pre-trib Rapture, #3 Revealing of the lawless one ( beginning of the tribulation period ) and #4 "The Day of the Lord". I'm especially looking forward to #4.

    God bless
    Brian

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