Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question:
“Dear Dave and TA: I’ve been listening to your program for a number of years and rather enjoy it. You certainly are alerting us to the apostasy that is developing in Christendom, which I thank you for. Yet having read Acts 2 recently in which Peter quotes the prophet Joel regarding God pouring out His Spirit in the last days, I’m curious to know how you see this taking place alongside the apostasy of the last days.”
Tom: Dave, when you read what Peter says, it’s pretty impressive. What about it? Is there going to be revival or a great move of the Spirit in these last days? You know, in some circles that’s what’s being claimed. If you look to a book by James Rutz called Megashift, he tells us that Christians are going to take over the world, that God is pouring out His Spirit on common people. People are being raised from the dead; there are all kinds of signs and wonders. Is anything like that going to happen?
Dave: Well, Tom, the Bible warns that under Antichrist some amazing things will happen. He can’t raise people from the dead. I would like to have some documentation of all this, which he doesn’t really give us. He talks about this country and that country and so forth. Peter…
Tom: And some of the people who supposedly are raising the dead, their theology is, well, bogus at best.
Dave: Right. Peter says in Acts 2, “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel,” and he talks about the Spirit being poured out in the last days.
Tom: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”
Dave: Go back to the verse before: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”
Tom: On Verse 18: “And on my servants and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy; and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.”
Dave: Well, Tom, I believe we are in the last days, of course. I believe that that was the last days—when they rejected Christ, it was the last days. John tells us that in 1 John:2:18, and he says there are many antichrists, but of course the Antichrist is going to come. So what happened then Peter says was in fulfillment. Now, some…
Tom: And the day of Pentecost.
Dave: Right, and some of the things were prophesied about the sun being darkened and the moon turning to blood and so forth, but these things had not happened because Armageddon didn’t take place. There isn’t much prophesy, actually, of destruction from the Almighty that Peter is quoting there.
But the Bible is full of statements that “evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse—the Day of the Lord cannot come until the apostasy comes first.” Now, how can we have apostasy and seeming revival at the same time? I think one place we get a clue to this is—it would be in Luke 14 where Jesus tells of the rich man who made a great feast and he invited many. And, Tom, I have never heard a preacher state it like it is stated there, because, you know, I was raised in a very sound evangelical church at home, and they always said they began to make their excuses. “Oh, I married a wife. I can’t come.”
“I bought four yoke of oxen.”
“I bought a field and I’ve got to go look at them…” and how ridiculous it is to look at a field after you’ve bought it.
But that is not what it says. It says he invited many, and when the time came, the supper was ready—they didn’t show up! Apparently these were people who had RSVPd and said, “We’ll be there,” and they weren’t there! And it says, “He sent his servants out to those who had been bidden.” So what we see is apostasy. The servants are going to those who had been bidden to the feast who had said they would come, and who didn’t show up, and that is when he becomes angry. And he says, “Now, go into the highways and byways and hedges and compel them to come in.” So I would say that this has been going on.
I mean, Tom, you know we get letters from some guys on death row that could have been written by the Apostle Paul. They are so zealous. They’ve come to Christ, so zealous for sound doctrine. What has happened in China? We think maybe—I don’t know—80 million people have come to Christ. And these are people that aren’t just—these are not mega-churches, these are not feel-good churches, they’’re not positive confession. These are people who it could cost them their lives, it could cost them at least prison, and so forth. So there has been a revival in prisons, I would say.
You know, the hippie movement at one time, drug addicts and so forth, there was a great ingathering. So I get the picture that the church, which I think would be represented by these people who said, “We’ll be there,” and don’t show up. The church is not interested in the return of Christ. They’ve got their program on this earth. The Rapture is not a popular item anymore as it once was.
But at the same time…so I don’t see a revival within the church like TBN would tell us, but I see a revival as far as many souls coming to Christ from the highways, byways, the hedges, the maimed, the lame, the blind: “Bring them, compel them to come into my house” […]. So I think that would reconcile the two pictures together.
Tom: Dave, you know it’s interesting just in passing with all of the false ideas, the false teachings, and the false Christs, as Jesus said would happen in the last days, looking at when He came the first time, that wasn’t a problem. There were no false prophets, false teachers—at least I don’t read about many—and so on, but this is going to be different.