What does the Bible say about the future?
False false prophets
A friend told me of a conversation he'd had with someone who'd read about how so many of the big names in pastors have fallen away from true Christianity (become apostate) such as Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Brian Tamaki. I told him to be careful of such teachings. It’s true that in the last days, there’ll be many false prophets. However, there’s also many false prophets who are calling Godly people false prophets. Confused yet? That's Satan's plan - let's confuse the world so that they can be stolen away from God.
Matthew 5:11 You’re blessed when people curse you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil lies against you, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be delighted: because your reward in Heaven is great. Because they persecuted the prophets who went before you in the same way.
I’m very wary of people who accuse others who preach godliness in a different form to themselves. If you look for it, you’ll find fault in every person. Martin Luther was pivotal in the restoration of the Church, but his anti-Semitic writings fueled the holocaust of WWII. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_and_antisemitism. Was he apostate? Or was his understanding of God's Word just imperfect - like the rest of us. Even Peter was rebuked by Paul for his hypocrisy, withdrawing himself from non-Jews when some pious Jews turned up. Was Peter apostate? Or did he just get caught up in a moment of stinking humanness?
Galatians 2:11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I challenged him directly because he was wrong. 12Before some guys came from James, he ate with non-Jewish people: but when they came, he snubbed those people, fearing those who were legalistic. 13The other Jews joined him. Even Barnabas got carried away in their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they strayed from the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live like non-Jews, and not like the Jews, why do you make these non-Jews live like Jews?”
I saw some of a YouTube clip of someone explaining how some other person is an apostate false prophet. This seemed full of pride and judgement, stirring up distrust with respected leaders of the church.
Proverbs 6:16 The Lord hates these six things. Yes, seven are disgusting to him: 17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18A heart that comes up with wicked plans, feet that are quick to run into mischief, 19A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows conflict among brothers.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he’ll honor you. 11Brothers and sisters, don’t slander each other. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister, or judges them, speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you’re not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12There’s only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who’s able to save and destroy. But you, who are you to judge your neighbor?
So how do we know?
I look to the Apostle’s Creed as the basic statement of faith. i.e., what it is to be a Christian:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of Heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into Heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Note, I understand “catholic” as meaning universal, which the Catholic church claims to be, but it has much dodgy teaching (but maybe I do too).
I recognize anyone as Christian who:
- Agrees to these words completely
- Recognizes all others who agree to these words completely
Those who dismiss other believers cut themselves off from the body of Christ and contradict:
John 14:6 Jesus answered "I Am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Such people imply that they or their church are the only way to the Father. This is the primary marker for an apostate sect.
1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God”, but hates his brother, he’s a liar. Because if someone doesn’t love his brother whom he’s seen, how can he love God whom he hasn’t seen? 21We have this commandment from him, that he who loves God must love his brother too.
Love doesn’t expose another’s faults but covers them with grace.
Genesis 9:20 Noah became a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21When he drank the wine, became drunk and lay naked in his tent. 22Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked, and told his two brothers outside. 23Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it across their shoulders, and walked backwards, and covered their father’s naked body. They looked away and didn’t see their father naked.
When we see someone in error, we are to pray for them and gently correct them. It’s not for us to condemn another, because our judgement is also imperfect. In the future, they’ll repay you in the same way. Only Jesus has earned the right to pass judgement.