Both Moses and Joshua – righteous leaders of Israel – knew the dangers that would come upon God’s children if they reverted to their old ways of following other gods. They warned the people with Yahweh’s very Words numerous times, yet they were quite aware how deceitful the hearts of men were and their inclination to follow any other god.
Joshua reminded them in Joshua 24:3 what Yahweh did to bring them into the Promised Land:
“And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you.”
Don’t be foolish, he says. Remember how you got here. And, he tells them in Joshua 23:7 how it’s critical in their recollection and subsequent actions…
“that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them.”
Doing so has a cost, which he outlines in Joshua 23:12-13:
“For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.”
The book of Judges will show us how they quickly forget these admonitions, even as Joshua 23:16 expresses exactly what would happen:
“if you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”
Let’s take that lesson and apply it to the church in these latter days. Various Scriptures warn of what will happen, such as 1 Timothy 4:1:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.
The list is long as to how this is playing out. Here are numerous examples without too much explanation. In no particular order, this is how churches are falling away today into apostasy:
- Approving of and marrying those “living together in sin” without proper repentance and separation
- Ecumenicalism: the joining of various churches with different beliefs, resulting in “faith” that approves of the lowest common denominator and even falsehoods contrary to the true Gospel; e.g. Evangelicals returning “home” to the Roman Catholic church with its many unbiblical doctrines
- Welcoming homosexuals into church without any expectation of change, i.e. come as you are, stay as you are
- Chrislam: Christianity in syncretistic joining with Islam with their widely divergent beliefs; e.g. Islam does not believe that God has a Son
- Placing lesbians in the pulpit, i.e. putting those in direct disobedience to God’s commands in positions of leadership over vulnerable and naive flocks
- Embracing of the social justice gospel for salvation versus the true Gospel; this includes emphasis on “creation care” that holds to a climate change agenda with belief in a Gaia Mother Earth god
- Partnering with organizations such as Black Lives Matter that at their core follow a doctrine of demons
- Adopting the cancel culture and wokeness to be relevant rather than staying true to God’s Word to seek truth and rest in it; a recent example is Wheaton College with its intent to dishonor the work and martyrdom of Jim Elliot among the savages (yes – savages!) of the Auca tribe, who were among the most violent people groups in the world before receiving the Gospel
I’ve probably missed some examples; feel free to add your own. The point is that the church has forgotten the lessons of Israel. It has mixed with other nations (Joshua 23:7) and forgotten how Christ died for our sins, i.e. how God fought for Israel even as He did for us (Joshua 23:4).
Rather than being in the world but not of the world, the church wants the world to love it, exactly the opposite of what we’re told in 1 John 2:15:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
With the church loving the world, what does John say results? Whether speaking of an individual or the collective body of the church, the Father is not in them. Again, this has a cost.
We are in the Laodicean-Philadelphia dispensation, as it were. Apostate churches abound. The wolves have by and large consumed the hens. Conversely, a faithful remnant remains, one that’s seemingly growing smaller by the day.
Just as God promised to uproot the nation of Israel from their land, He is doing so to the church. If a church isn’t following God, it’s preparing its people to enter the Tribulation. An uprooting is happening; it is growing. Before long, the true church will be removed in the Rapture when Christ comes for His own. The remaining apostate church will completely embrace what the world tells it is true. This church, along with all others on this planet will perish. Only those who find the truth of Jesus during the coming seven years of horrendous upheaval precipitated by God’s hand will survive, some through death, others by persistent faith.
This world is doomed to extinction. However, we who love the Lord have the New Heavens and New Earth in our future. How glorious will that be? While we wait for Jesus to come for His true Bride, let’s do all we can to bring some of the lost with us.