BY ROGER OAKLAND
Understand the Times
A message is burning in my heart. While I have not been active in ministry this past year because of what has been a “forced sabbatical,” I am thankful to report that God has raised me up from the brink of death. I thank God for His healing touch. Once more I am able to think properly, make observations, write, and speak out. Thank you Lord for your great grace!
Over the past few months, conversations with brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world have convinced me that a watershed standard is beginning to occur. What do I mean by this? Many believers are being led by the Holy Spirit and are waking up from their indifference and are now being called into action. They recognize that we are in the last days. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the freedom to proclaim that Gospel are under attack. All biblical standards are being eroded.
These servants of the Lord see that this is a time to stand up for our Lord and Savior whatever the cost. The time has come to proclaim the truth of His Word. An expose of apostasy has begun! The prophet Isaiah spoke it well when he stated: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).
Of course, such a move of God is not new in Christian history. Recall the Reformation! This was a time when men and women were raised up to counter the wave of darkness that had engulfed the world because true Christianity had been perverted.
The Lord has never been without His true witnesses. Countless numbers have been persecuted for standing with Jesus Christ and His Word in the past. While our generation seems to have forgotten history, the God of history proclaims that history repeats itself. What has happened before, can and will happen again.
The present apostasy that is underway will indeed be of great magnitude but will not seduce the entire world—there will be a remnant that will stand up and speak out.
The Bible Warns
The most recent attack against true Christianity and the Word of God has not happened by chance. The Scriptures are abundant with warnings. Many will be deceived by many.Lying signs and wonders will lead multitudes astray. Doctrines of demons will be embraced in the name of Jesus. Leaders who profess new enlightenment and a great awakening are deceived and deceiving others. As the Bible states, if it were possible, even the very elect will be deceived.
Knowing that Jesus warned of this deception and strong delusion in advance  should be enough to alert any person who claims to be a Christian. However, this is not always so. Deception comes in various packages and is appealing to the flesh. Pride comes before destruction and a fall. Deception is very effective when “the lie” is hidden in the truth. New Age and mystical methods authored by Satan, the father of lies, can blind the minds of even the believing. Satan is the great deceiver.  Even Christians who only know Jesus Christ are vulnerable if they follow the teachings of men rather than the revelation of God through Scripture. Paul said we are to have nothing to do with worldly fables but should know the Word so we will have sound doctrine.
How Did We Get Where We Are?
It is not easy to pinpoint exactly when the latest “falling away” began. After all, apostasy actually started when the fall of man in the Garden of Eden took place as recorded in Genesis chapter three. However, we can examine trends presently sweeping the world, which seem to have come out of nowhere and at such a rapid pace. The “wiles of the devil” are numerous. Seducing Christians to get their eyes off Jesus Christ and His Word and on to a man and his methods or movements is often the first step.
Certainly, the church growth movement in the last few decades provided the slippery slope of apostasy that we see in the world today. From a worldly perspective, what pastor wouldn’t want a big church? Small churches are considered weak and without attraction. However, a big building requires a large staff and a big budget. A big budget requires big offerings. When controversial topics are presented from the pulpit, sometimes big donors get offended. God’s Word can often be offensive to those who are pretending to be Christians.
Then there are those who believe that Christianity must change in order to be effective and appealing for the “postmodern” generation. In other words, we are supposed to “rethink” what Christianity should be today and toss out the Bible as our standard.
Postmodernism was the spawning grounds for church growth gurus who felt that the Bible was too narrow and too limiting for our generation. Emerging/New Spirituality postmodernists promoted the idea that a Christianity based on the Bible was too old-fashioned and needed to be updated to be more tolerant and more inclusive. Further, in order to advance Christianity, doctrinal walls erected in the past needed to be broken down. Some promoted the idea that we can find truth in all the world religions. Why not look for a way to find some common ground? Turning to mystical prayer practices as a union point, did they realize they were emulating New Age mystics of the past?
Such postmodern-speak created a spiritual vacuum. A vacuum is always filled with something. When you remove biblical standards from Christianity, there are no standards. Anything and everything comes in – humanism, mysticism, pragmatism, sensualism and even Marxism along with its partner evolutionism. Further, extra-biblical teachings and experiences promoted by huge religious organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church are appealing when you seek after experience rather than truth.
Soon a precarious yet inviting road that leads to a one-world religion is present. The Bible warns us that there will be a counterfeit spirituality that prepares the way for the counterfeit Christ.
God is going to bring judgment to the house of the Lord; Scripture clearly pronounces that (read I Peter 4:17). When apostate churches lose their buildings, programs, and financial backing, what will they have left? They abandoned the Word of God long ago—they will have nothing! When it all comes down it will not be a pretty picture.
The Condition of the So-Called Church Today
It seems increasingly apparent that few Christians have the discernment to see what is happening. Some may be aware that changes are taking place in their churches, but they are not able to grasp the whole picture. Others, when they let their pastors know they are concerned, are often told to look for another church even though they have been faithful attendees for years.
Fellowships and Bible schools that once taught the Bible no longer teach the Word of God. They have become overtaken by a “new reformation” mentality and are no longer Spirit led. They have latched onto the latest church growth gimmicks to get people to come to their churches and schools. They think they are “fundamentally transforming” Christianity.
Many pastors are now consumed with spending their time on Internet blogs or discussion groups dissecting the latest book on how to be more successful in reaching the postmodern generation. Rather than reading and gaining insight from the Bible, they tickle each other’s ears, claiming to be the authority on all subjects. If a pastor from a small church speaks out by expressing his dismay and calls his colleagues back to the Bible, he is ridiculed and scoffed at and considered a spiritual midget.
No amount of funding for entertainment is out of limits. Doctrine is ignored for the sake of unity in order to propagate the “new evangelism.” Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent for week-end “gigs” where popular bands are funded to fly half-way around the world to participate.
The pattern is quite clear throughout history. The serpent that deceived Eve by saying “hath God really said?” is still influencing the church today in the same way. If you can subtly convince Christian leaders to substitute God’s Word with a purpose-driven, seeker-friendly, new spirituality for building kingdoms and empires in the name of Christ, the flesh feels triumphant. Or if you add a few Babylonian mystical practices that provide touchy-feely sensual experiences in the name of Christ, pseudo “converts” might even believe they actually know Jesus Christ. In actuality, huge numbers of people going to church have never even heard the Gospel! Yet, they sit week after week with a false sense of security that all is well.
No denomination or fellowship of churches is immune to this delusion. Even those who once stood on the simple Word of God, warning of deception and teaching the Bible verse by verse, have fallen in the trap. The pressure is too great not to go with the flow. Even when well-respected pastors and leaders see the signs of apostasy happening in their own circles and proclaim a warning, most refuse to listen. They go on their merry way for the sake of popularity and success.
Churches that started out as modest fellowships often end up as corporations with the strategy of growing bigger and bigger. Rather than train up Bible teachers and pastors to serve the people, they expand their ministry base by broadcasting themselves on large screens to advance their own franchise. Many leave the churches they attended to sit in front of a monitor because they feel more comfortable. A relationship between the pastor and the flock is non-existent.
Biblical creation is often edited out of the Bible. They say that Moses was influenced by a Babylonian myth and that science has proven that Genesis is not trustworthy, yet they have nothing to substantiate their views. Bible prophecy is never discussed because talking about the future is too controversial.
In these consumer-oriented churches, talk about the Lord’s return or end time events, including the biblically prophetic view of the significance of the nation of Israel, is becoming near non-existent. One pastor said that when Jesus was asked by His disciples what signs would indicate His second coming he said Jesus said “it is none of your business.” This is heretical and blasphemous.
These pastors and evangelists who are looking for large crowds embrace ecumenism wholeheartedly. This usually requires an agreement and sometimes even a covenant to “evangelize together.” Some of the participants who are evangelizing together have already agreed to evangelize with Rome. Those who protest are considered old-fashioned cronies that need to have an “adjustment.” They are also called “haters” from the pulpit.
In some towns and cities, not a single church can be found that teaches the Bible anymore. Many believers are starving for the preaching of God’s Word and for the fellowship of the brethren. They search the Internet to find ministries that will stand up for the truth.
What is Going On?
So how did this apostasy happen? Not by evolution! Not by chance! No, it happened by design. Human pawns were inspired by Satan and his demons to do his bidding.
If you will read the Bible you will find that Satan hates the Bible. It is God’s Word you see. Does Satan run around in the open so he can be seen? I don’t think so. He spreads doctrines of demons using proud human beings who masquerade as Christians in many cases.
First is the plan to attack the Word. There always has been a battle for the Word ever since God’s Word was first spoken. Do you remember what Eve did and why? Disobeying God and His Word leads to every evil thing. It is ugly, you will soon see.
Check out history. There has been a battle for the Bible for a long time. In fact, people have died defending the truth in the past. Those who persecuted believers claimed they were “god’s” helpers. Could it happen again? Yes!
One more thing. There is an important biblical truth that will help you understand Bible prophecy. It is very simple. There is a queen, and there is a king. Maybe I will write about this sometime in the future.
Further, the queen and the king have supporters working in the world and the church today to establish Satan’s plan for the last days. I can tell you from experience, if you preach the Bible and tell about the signs of the End Times, you will come under big attack.
However, even people who talk about the signs of the times can be wolves in sheep’s clothing. They may even misuse God’s Word to promote their own agendas. They want the queen to set up a One World Religion for the king who is working on a New World Order to control the people. It gets quite complicated, but it is written in the Bible.
Finally, another biblical truth that will help you understand. These imposters have crept in under the spiritual radar. They are board members, pastors, assistant pastors, teachers, evangelists, authors, conference spekers, radio hosts, and miracle workers, etc…. When they are revealed for what they are, you will be surprised.
Jude Warned the Church
Jude was frustrated when he wrote a letter to the church commenting on the spiritual climate of his day. He tried to wake up the body of Christ but few would listen. Certain men had crept in and were defiling the Gospel. Apparently, their agenda was hidden when they first came on the scene. Jude called them out.
It looks to me like certain men have crept into the church today. But if someone sounds the alarm, that person is considered to be “against everything.” I am sure the deceivers in Jude’s day were not happy with Jude’s letter. Nevertheless, Jude wrote what the Holy Spirit inspired him to write. There is a cost for speaking the truth. What is better: pleasing man or pleasing God? Scripture tells us clearly, we cannot serve both at the same time.
According to Scripture, there is a time when the Holy Spirit departs. If Christian leaders will not listen to God and act, God will find other leaders who will. God is patient and merciful, thus this departing of the Spirit’s guidance does not happen overnight.
Biblical history reveals that God has never been restricted from fulfilling His plan when humans let him down. He simply raises up others who will be obedient and humble and have a passion to proclaim the truth in love. God is not impressed with credentials given out by human organizations. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
When the Spirit of God departs, it can get quite dark. I believe this is what is about to happen. What looked like “Protestant” Christianity is no longer a reality. Few pastors actually protest anything. They are too busy building the kingdom without the King. Further, there is a clear agenda to discredit the infallible Word of God and make a man’s word infallible. When the “Protestant” “evangelical” church appears to completely fall apart, then it will look like the “only true church” will have triumphed. Lying signs and wonders will attract those who have no discernment. If you don’t believe me, read the Bible. It is all there.
Light Into Darkness
My prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ will take the words of Jesus to heart. We should shine the light of God’s Word on the spiritual deception of these days. We are so close to the return for his bride. We should glorify Him and His Word.
The forces of darkness will not be eradicated during this time of End Times apostasy, but the light of the Word can make a tremendous difference. In the midst of the deception that is taking place in the world and the church, I believe a watershed-type standard is being set. One definition for the term watershed states “A ridge of high land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems. Also called water parting.”
From a spiritual standpoint, this is what I believe is beginning to happen. Throughout the world, the Lord is opening the eyes of believers, men and women, young and old, to the times and the seasons in which we are living by His Holy Spirit.
Some pastors and ministry leaders are saying that enough is enough. They have committed themselves to teach the Word and warn about deception. If it means their churches will be reduced in size, they accept that. These leaders will stand up against the pied pipers of the New Spirituality, Babylonian mysticism, ecumenism and the many false gospels that are being promoted. They do not want to be driven by the plans of man, but instead be led by the Holy Spirit. In some cases, entire “movements” will be pruned drastically, but that will be good.
We are living at a time similar to what Elijah experienced. There will be victories that occur in the midst of great opposition. But God is on the side of the righteous.
If you are one of the people who can understand the times, you will find yourself feeling very alone in the battle. Be encouraged. Look up, for indeed you are not alone. God has raised up those who have not bowed their knee to Baal. God has set a standard for truth, and during this Last Days apostasy, He will be faithful to draw us together that we may fight the good fight and work while there is yet day.
It will be just like when Nehemiah was the foreman of a large crew that rebuilt the wall in Jerusalem stone by stone, section by section. There were no plans to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Nor were there plans to restore the whole nation of Israel. Like-minded men and women from every walk of life worked together to show their solidarity and devotion to God. They rebuilt the wall one stone at a time, one section at a time. They had a sword in one hand and a rock in the other while they were working. This is exactly how it is going to be for believers in the future.
Just as God was faithful to His people in Bible days, He will be faithful to His people today. It is possible for biblical Christianity and the true Gospel to be proclaimed in these days. I believe this watershed occurrence, that is a dividing of two different systems, is beginning to happen. Which side of the divide will you be standing on? Will you stand with the Lord in His Word and in truth?
Understand The Times
(Used with permission from Understand the Times)
 Matthew 24:5
 Matthew 24:24
 I Timothy 4:1
 2 Timothy 3:13
 Matthew 24:24
 Matthew 24:25
 Proverbs 16:18
 I Thessalonians 2:11
 Mark 7:7
 Revelation 12:9
 Colossians 2: 6-8
 2 Timothy 4:3-4
 Ephesians 6:11
 Revelation 17: 1-5
 Jude 4