The definition of apostasy is: abandoning or deserting the worship and service of God, actually a rebellion against Jehovah God.
“These will battle with the Lamb, but because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those with him who are called and chosen and faithful will do so.” Revelation 17:14 For more accurate information, check out jw.org, and the book, “Reasoning From The Scriptures,” published by the WatchTower Bible and Tract Society of Penn.
Some apostates profess to know and serve God but reject teachings or requirements set out in his Word. Others claim to believe the Bible but reject Jehovah’s organization. Do we do this?
So many of us start out with good intentions. It is rare for people to choose what is really bad for themselves consciously and intentionally. Yet, sometimes we find ourselves under a veil of deception. Often when we want something to be a certain way, we can even willingly deceive ourselves. This deception, either from ourselves or others, blinds us to the truth, the real truth we are really aching to find. The clue to knowing we are on the wrong path is to pay attention to how we feel, that feeling that something is not quite right.
Many of us have left one church or another based on these very feelings. Sermons leave us wanting more. We want to see the lived and moral experience of spiritual leadership and within the congregations. Sometimes we throw the baby out with the bath water, and give up on religion altogether. Some of us refuse to learn about Jesus at all. But this is not the answer.
In our earnest effort to find truth, we can be tempted to turn back to the Old Ways, revive the pagan and intriguing Babylonian belief systems with the lies of immortality and nature gods of yesteryear, as if Truth may be found there, even if it is fragments of truth, or twisted truth. Or we may be tempted to trade religion for science and technology and modern day advancement, as if that is what feeds the soul. It does not.
What does the Bible say about apostasy? Let’s see if any of these scriptures stir our hearts:
“The inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1
“Let no one seduce you in any manner, because [the day of Jehovah] will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3
One of the identifying marks of apostates is that they seek to make others their followers. This often occurs with a mistaken intention of “helping” others, both on the part of the New Age leader, and the follower. Check out these scriptures:
“From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” Acts 20:30
“There will also be false teachers among you. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them . . . Also, with covetousness they will exploit you with counterfeit words.” 2 Peter 2:1, 3
Many of us profess to believe in Jesus Christ, but treat lightly the preaching and teaching work he assigned to his followers. Consider this:
“Why, then, do you call me ‘Lord! Lord!’ but do not do the things I say?” Luke 6:46
“Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19, 20
“This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
Others of us claim to serve God but reject his representatives, his modern day visible organization. Here are some scriptures on this matter:
“These men, too, indulging in dreams, are defiling the flesh and disregarding lordship and speaking abusively of glorious ones. Too bad for them, because they . . . have perished in the rebellious talk of Korah!” Jude 8, 11
“Korah . . . proceeded to get up, together with . . . two hundred and fifty men of the sons of Israel, chieftains of the assembly . . . So they congregated themselves against Moses and Aaron and said to them: ‘That is enough of you, because the whole assembly are all of them holy and Jehovah is in their midst. Why, then, should you lift yourselves up above the congregation of Jehovah?’ . . . [Moses said:] ‘You and all your assembly who are gathering together are against Jehovah. As for Aaron, what is he that you men should murmur against him?’ When Korah got all the assembly together against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting, then Jehovah’s glory appeared to all the assembly. Jehovah now spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: ‘Separate yourselves from the midst of this assembly, that I may exterminate them in an instant.’” Numbers 16:1-3, 19-21
We can find ourselves not only abandoning the true faith, but also tempting others away from the truth, even using public critics and ridicule and other methods to draw them under the veil of deception that we ourselves have fallen victim to. We do not realize that our efforts to apostasy are devoted to tearing down, not building up the Kingdom of God.
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? . . . But if ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites.” Matthew 24:45-51
“Shun empty speeches that violate what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness, and their word will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of that number. These very men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some.” 2 Timothy 2:16-18
It would be a paradox for us faithful Christians to welcome apostates, like we do with inter-faith religions, thinking all religions are the same. Jesus did not tell the Israelites, nor the Gentiles, to keep on with their own beliefs. Rather, he taught about the new way, and what it takes to live in this new way, about the Kingdom of God, and how to go about preaching and teaching until the Kingdom is finally here.
“Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I will reside among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “‘Therefore, get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take you in. And I will become a father to you, and you will become sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah, the Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
“I exhort you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who cause divisions and occasions for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them. . . . By smooth talk and complimentary speech they seduce the hearts of guileless ones.” Romans 16:17, 18
We might ask ourselves, would any serious harm come from satisfying one’s curiosity about the thinking of apostates?
“By his mouth the one who is an apostate brings his fellowman to ruin.” Proverbs 11:9
“The senseless one himself will speak mere senselessness, and his very heart will work at what is hurtful, to work at apostasy and to speak against Jehovah what is wayward, to cause the soul of the hungry one to go empty, and he causes even the thirsty one to go without drink itself.” Isaiah 32:6 (Compare Isaiah 65:13, 14)
How serious is apostasy?
“These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1
“Before him [God] no apostate will come in.” Job 13″16
“It is impossible as regards those who have once for all been enlightened, and who have tasted the heavenly free gift, and who have become partakers of holy spirit, and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, but who have fallen away ["if they then commit apostasy," RS], to revive them again to repentance, because they impale the Son of God afresh for themselves and expose him to public shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6
Now is a good time to realign ourselves to Truth, and avoid apostasy.