The Convergence Factor



What is the Convergence Factor, and why is it important to understanding our times?

Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2013 conference theme was Living on Borrowed Time.

One of our speakers was Dr. Ron Rhodes, the president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. He's a prolific author of more than 60 books. He holds a doctorate in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and he specializes in the field of Apologetics. He also serves as an adjunct professor at several seminaries. Dr. Rhodes' topic at our conference was "The Sign of Apostasy" (watch).

Ron Rhodes on the Sign of Apostasy

The signs of the times are so critically important because they are prophetic events that point towards the end times. They let us know that we are living in the season of the Lord's return.

You might consider the signs to be intel in advance. Powerful nations have intelligent agencies like the CIA. So, too, does the Bible provide us with God's intel in advance, and God does so with signs.

The signs of the times are multiple. Categorizations include Israel and the technical signs. There are the national signs like all the nations building up to gang up on Israel, such as the Muslim nations and Russia. We've got religious and moral signs, some of which are related to apostasy, which I'll describe in more detail below. Then you've got earth and sky signs and other cosmic phenomenon.

You see, it would be significant if just one of these signs was coming to pass. It'd be more significant still if two of these signs were coming to pass. But, the fact is, we've got multiple prophetic signs that are converging in our day. It's what I call the "convergence factor" and that leads us to believe that we are indeed living in the season of the Lord's return.

Here's the thing, we need to be thoughtful observers of the times. Remember the ancient Jews. The ancient Jews should have recognized that Jesus was the divine Messiah. Back in Isaiah we are told that when the Messiah comes on the scene the blind will see and the deaf will hear and the lame will walk. What happened when Jesus came on the scene? The blind could see, the deaf could hear, and the lame could walk. The Jewish leaders naturally should have been able to see the signs of the times, but they were blind to them. They could tell the weather was going bad by looking at the sky, but they couldn't discern the signs of the times.

We shouldn't make the same mistake as the ancient Jewish leaders. There are many signs of the times pointing toward the Second Coming of Christ and the events that lead up to the Rapture. What we want to do is make sure that we're not ignorant of those. We want to understand what the Bible says about the signs that lead up to the Rapture so that we're prepared.

False Teachers

I'm going to concentrate on the sign involving the epidemic of apostasy which fits into the larger picture of the signs of our times.

Apostasy is a rich word in the Greek. Apostasy carries the idea of a departure or a falling away, a forsaking of the truth, a defection from the truth, a revolt from the truth, and a swerving away from the truth.

Let's first talk about false prophets. In every age there have been false prophets. False prophets look good, but they're deadly. They are on a lot of TV shows today. That's why I'm glad that Lamb & Lion Ministries produces a TV show called Christ in Prophecy that you can actually trust. But, there are a lot of shows out there where you channel surf and you can't trust them because they contain lots of false prophecy.

Spiritual deception has been in every age. According to 2 Corinthians 11:4, we are warned about those who preach another Jesus and a different spirit and a different gospel.

Scripture gets even more specific. It's not just general warnings we want to deal with. We want to look at the specific prophecies that deal with last day apostasy.

And so, let's begin with 2 Timothy 3:1-5, "Realize this that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, and lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossip, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; having the appearance of godliness but denying its power."

What we see in this passage among other things is Humanism, Materialism, and Hedonism. Lovers of self is Humanism. Lovers of money is Materialism. Lovers of pleasure is Hedonism. I might mention to you that Materialism and Hedonism are both part of the humanistic worldview.

Here's the danger. It's not just adults that I'm worried about. I'm worried about our kids. You see, the public school systems have become bastions of Humanism. They are religious institutions now teaching the false religion of Humanism to our children. This is the kind of garbage that a lot of kids are picking up in their schools.

Empty Religion

The last days will be characterized as having religion without power, and I think that we see that today. There will be the appearance of godliness, but denying of its power.

Do you know what these are? Counterfeits. Some of these counterfeits might make you feel good and build you up as a human using psychology and other techniques, but the fact is there is no spiritual power there.

Counterfeits kind of remind me of Jeremiah 2:13 where back in the Old Testament God told His people, "My people have committed two evils, they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." They forsook God, but they also came up with counterfeit and substitute spiritualties.

Do we see substitute spiritualties today? I think that we do. We see people coming up with their own substitute spiritualties, but it shouldn't be. Second Timothy 4:3-5 tells us this, "The time is coming when people will not endure sound doctrine but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."

Sugar-coated preaching is dangerous to your soul. This next Sunday morning I can promise you there's going to be a lot of sugar across this nation. All across this nation there is going to be sugar-coated preaching.

We need to return to the Word of God.

To just give you a couple of examples of not enduring in the truth, Scripture says that there will be denials of:

  • God in the end times (2 Timothy 3:4-5).
  • Christ (2 Corinthians 11:4).
  • Christ's return (2 Peter 3:3-4).
  • faith (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
  • sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
  • morals (2 Timothy 3:1-8).
  • authority (2 Timothy 3:4).

This is what we're going to see in the end times according to this brief survey of Scripture.

There's also going to be false prophets that seem like true prophets. There will be false gospels contrary to the biblical Gospel. There will be false concepts of Jesus Christ, substitute spiritualities, a departure from sound teaching, the embracing of religious myths, a form of godliness without true spiritual power, Humanism, Materialism, and Hedonism. That's bad news!

Watch Dr. Rhodes continue his teaching on apostasy as an end times sign!
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