At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.
Jesus said another sign of His return would be widespread apostasy. “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:10-12). The phrase “fall away” in this passage is the word “apostasy.” One of the signs of Jesus’s return is that people will fall away from their faith.
Now, the only people who can fall away are people who once believed something or professed to believe something. No atheist is ever guilty of apostasy. Atheists don’t fall away from faith to unfaith; they are already in unfaith. They can’t fall any further. When Jesus talked about apostasy, He was talking about people in the last days who claim to be believers, but they will fall away from faith and try to lead astray as many people as possible. We are seeing that happen today in evangelical churches across the country. In the name of unity, these churches say, “We no longer believe the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. We no longer claim that Jesus was born of a virgin. We no longer believe in the blood atonement of Christ for the sins of the world. We no longer believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. We have a more inclusive message.” They are leading people astray.
Many of you have heard the name of Rob Bell. In my opinion, he is the single greatest apostate in the church of Jesus Christ today. Rob Bell, a few years ago, was an evangelical pastor at a very popular church. He wrote a book called “Love Wins,” in which he denied the existence of hell and said that, in the end, everybody is going to be saved. And now he is leading the charge for the church to embrace same-sex marriage. Not long ago he was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. Oprah asked him when the church would embrace same-sex marriage, and Bell responded, “We’re close. … Lots of people are already there. We think it’s inevitable.” Oprah was excited. Bell continued, “I think culture is already there, and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense.” Now that’s Rob Bell. That’s modern evangelicalism. That’s what we are hearing taught not just in mainline denominations, not just in churches that have long ago given up the Scriptures, but we are also hearing that taught in churches that claim to believe God’s Word. That is the kind of widespread apostasy that Jesus said would mark His return.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus on the End Times” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
“Oprah with Rob and Kristen Bell: How to Transform Your Relationships,” season 6, episode 603, February 15, 2015, www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/Full-Episode-Oprah-with-Rob-and-Kristen-Bell-Video, 30:00.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.