Topic: Flocking to Fables
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Thank you for sharing.
Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
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On our website: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/flocking-fables-part-2
The biblical basis for this two-part article is 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
In this part, the focus will be on a significant cause that is turning Christendom away from “sound doctrine,” away “from the truth,” and “turned unto fables.” It’s called mysticism.
As we noted, mysticism is the obscurity of biblical doctrine. It is a process of taking the truth of God’s Word and distorting it so badly that it becomes devoid of reason, logic, and common sense. It is a completely subjective process that rejects the objective truth presented in the Scriptures.
Flocking to Fables—Part 1
“Flocking to Fables” has to do with great numbers of people being overwhelmingly drawn to things that have no basis in reality. They have been bewitched by myths...or what the Bible calls "fables." Hopefully, that will be made clear as we proceed.
As we wonder what we may be facing in the year 2023, there are indications from Scripture that give us some good ideas. Actually, one is really good, and the others are not so good. The really good one is that our Lord and Savior may return to this earth to catch up His bride, His church, taking believers with Him to Heaven in the Rapture (1 Corinthians:1:5-7
; 15:51-54)! That might happen soon, and nothing could be better.
There are also a number of not-so-good things that will take place should the Rapture not happen as soon as we'd like. Knowing them is not a matter of special prophetic insight, but simply reading what the Bible declares lies ahead and checking to see if any of it has, or is, taking place. The primary prophecy for our consideration is 2 Timothy:4:3-4
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
What does it mean to "not endure sound doctrine"? Sound doctrine is simply the teachings of Scripture, the written Word of God. It is "sound" because it's given to us by God Himself. Other than God having men write down what God the Holy Spirit communicated to them, they had no input regarding its content. None. Every jot and tittle, meaning the smallest details of the Scriptures, are directly from God. That being the case, why would those who call themselves Christians "not endure" God's Word?
There are a host of reasons, but before we get into that, let's consider what is not being endured. It's what God himself has revealed. The only way anyone can know God is if He tells us about Himself. No one can figure God out without His supplying information about Himself. The closest we ourselves can get to knowing some things about Him are revealed in creation. For example, we can all recognize that the universe didn't come about by chance. The mind-boggling expanse of creation and the incredible complexity within the nucleus of a human cell tell us a few things about the Creator/Designer of everything. What are they?
Well, He is omnipotent...all powerful. The vastness of the created universe itself speaks of God's power! He is omniscient—all knowing. The complexities of His design speak to his incomparable intelligence. And He is Omnipresent...there is no part of His creation that is beyond His knowledge and power. Because those attributes are recognizable, everyone is held accountable to Him as Creator (Romans:1:19-22
). Nevertheless, it leaves a great many things about Him unanswered—very critical things. “Such as?” you may ask.
There are many! Who He is, for one. What of His eternal nature, His love for humanity, His holiness, His mercy, His sending His Son to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind, and so on? None of those things could be known unless God himself informs us. Has He done that?
Absolutely! It's called the B-I-B-L-E. The Scriptures. Holy Writ. The Word of God. The Sword of the Spirit. And a number of other titles we could name. Yet, no matter what title we use, the important point is that it's His Word, not man's. It's His truth...His revelation of Himself. They are things that man—finite men, fallen men—can only guess at, or suppose, or speculate.
God's doctrine is sound, meaning that it is thorough, complete, and perfect in all that it reveals. So, why would sound doctrine not appeal to humanity? Why would we "not endure sound doctrine"? Doesn't everyone want the truth? No, not always—even rarely in most cases. That's why people, having "itching ears, heap to themselves teachers" who tell them what they want to hear. Sound doctrine contains instructions that are at odds with some beliefs and practices that many don't want to let go of, preferring to turn from God’s ways to their own.
The "teachers" offer them reasons to continue in their sin—some even seeming to be biblical in the sense of Proverbs:14:12
and 16:25: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." “Death,” in those two verses, doesn't necessarily mean physical death, but it always involves separation. So, as used here, it may have to do with separating ourselves from the truth of God's Word to that which seems right to us—that which we desire. Examples abound. Living together prior to marriage is a big one today. The rationalizations seem endless. Christian couples are told by the ear ticklers, “If you love each other, in the eyes of the Lord you're already married.” Or they say, "We're getting to know the person we want to marry better before we make that major commitment." Then there's, "We just got a good deal on a house before our marriage date, which then had to be delayed. So, living together enables us to save money for our honeymoon." There is seemingly no end to the absurd rationalizations. Some are even promoted as being scriptural!
During the 1970s, those who were very influential in the evangelical church—meaning those who claimed to believe sound doctrine—introduced the “self” teachings: self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, self-image, and on and on. Those teachings are not to be found in the Bible. They came into the church through the influence of Christian psychologists, who got the concept from secular psychologists such as Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Eric Fromm and others.
Yet the Christian psychologists (being "Christians," of course) felt compelled to find scriptures in order to support what their godless, antichrist mentors taught them and what they were promoting. They declared that the Bible teaches three commandments: We need to love God, love our neighbor, and love ourselves—and, obviously, we can't love others until we first love ourselves. Well, they either had a reading problem, or a math problem.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew:22:37-40
The Scripture here is very simple. It’s telling us that we need to love others as we do ourselves. First Corinthians chapter 13, which is sometimes referred to as “the love chapter,” tells us that love is not to be self-seeking. It is to be other-directed. Although the “self” teachings were popularized in the 1970s and ’80s in the church, they have taken root and are still promoted widely throughout Christendom. Why do you think that is?
It all has to do with Self. The older I get, and the more I read the Word, the more uncomplicated it becomes. People have two options for their lives. They can live for God, or they can live for self. It all comes down to submitting to God or living for Self. Most Christians actually try to do both, but that doesn't work. Well, it works...sorta. And then it doesn't work, and then it works and it doesn't work, and then it doesn't work, and it doesn't work. That's because Self has a way of taking over one's life and gradually doing away with the submitting to God part.
Do you know what the first sin was, and where it took place? It had to do with self, and it took place in Heaven. Isaiah:14:14
: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Those were the words of Lucifer, whose name means light-bearer. However, the light went out after his self-promotion. His name then became Satan, which means Adversary, or one who opposes God. He is called the father of lies (John:8:44
), no doubt because he brought his lie of exalting himself to earth and sold it to Eve. He began by contradicting God regarding the consequence of sin, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die." Then he added, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis:3:4-5
The father of lies is the initiator of The Lie that tells us that created beings can become as gods. The Lie has worked its way throughout human history and will ultimately culminate in the person and religion of the Antichrist. He's also called the “man of sin, the son of perdition: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians:2:4
). There's an interesting phrase in that verse, “shewing himself that he is God.” Satan, who possesses and empowers the Antichrist, is a liar and a deceiver as we noted, but he is also a pathological liar. That's someone who absolutely believes some of his own lies! I think that's indicated in the phrase “shewing himself that he is God.” Or we could understand that phrase as convincing himself that he is God. When you consider all the lying statements out of the mouth of God's adversary, you have to wonder how anyone could pursue—for thousands of years—a goal of replacing God if he didn't believe it could happen? Nevertheless, it ain't gonna happen!
And if that thought ever crossed Satan's debauched and self-deluded mind, his fall-back position is to take everyone down with him. He will try to destroy all that he can, especially the fruit of true Christians. He "does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy..." (John:10:10
). Yet, he cannot steal a believer's salvation, because that's secure in Christ for all born-again Christians. But he can destroy the fruitfulness of one's life in Christ through his many devices. Nevertheless, we are told to be aware of Satan's wiles, meaning his strategies, his schemes, and his deceptions (Ephesians:6:11
). Scripture warns us that his schemes can and do ensnare true believers. Second Timothy 2:25-26 declares, regarding those who have been deceived, that God can grant them repentance so that they may be restored to the truth, "and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." They have been seduced.
An objective in these two articles is to point out one of the Adversary's major schemes, perhaps his chief scheme that has been in process and has been expanding over the years. It has now reached a level of effectiveness that to me is mind numbing. Not unexpected, but nevertheless, mind numbing. Why shouldn't we be surprised at what's taking place in the world and the church? Scripture makes it very clear. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine....And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
See how the verses start? It's a prophecy. "The time will come...." About one-third of the Bible is predictive prophecy, and most of these verses are given to alert God's people as to what's ahead. This particular warning has to do with turning from God's Word. I believe that time is here—big time. It's an extraordinary period involving different degrees of the abandonment of the Word of God. In some cases, it's an outright rejection of God's Word. In others it involves one’s slipping away from God's instructions. Hebrews:2:1
makes that clear: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard [referring to the teachings of Scripture], lest at any time we should let them slip.” Slippage has a way of turning into an avalanche, like a snowball starting down a mountainside.
I'm sure most of us had a zeal for the things of the Lord during the years right after we committed our lives to Jesus. But too often zeal loses its zeal over time. That often starts us down the path of "not endur[ing] sound doctrine."
To help us recognize whether or not we're on that path, here are a few things we should all consider. How often am I reading the Bible? I can't “endure sound doctrine” (the Word of God) if I don't read the Word of God. If that's the case, I'm pretty much clueless about what the Bible says.
For all the good that comes from hearing Sunday sermons, if I'm not also reading the Bible myself, I have no way of knowing whether or not the preacher is preaching "sound doctrine." If my only source of spiritual food is being spoon-fed once a week at church, at best I'm being malnourished regarding my spiritual growth.
Am I involved in a Bible study? Sometimes when folks tell me they are attending a Bible study, I get excited for them. And I immediately ask what book they are studying. Many times the response is "Oh, it's the latest book by such and such" (let's say John Piper, as only one example). My response is: "Seriously? John Piper? What book of the Bible did he write?" I'm not trying to be funny here. This is serious stuff, as you will see.
The questions I'm asking all have to do with strengthening a believer in Jesus Christ. He is the Word. And therefore, He is the author of "sound doctrine." He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John:14:6
). If we are not being strengthened in the Lord, we are not "enduring sound doctrine."
Continuing with 2 Timothy:4:4
. "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth…." The obvious thing here is that the Adversary is turning people away from the truth. All his schemes and devices have that as their ultimate goal. The numbers of those he has deceived are overwhelming, not only in the world but in Christendom, in the professing church, and as well among many true believers.
That may not be news to many Christians, so why is it more effective today than it has been in previous times?
I believe it has to do with the addition of mysticism to Satan's baggage of deceptions, which I'll explain. Noah Webster defined “mysticism” in his 1828 Dictionary as the obscurity of doctrine. He adds that it is "an immediate spiritual intuition of truths believed to transcend ordinary understanding." In other words, it involves taking the truth and distorting it so badly that it becomes devoid of reason, logic, and common sense. It transcends ordinary understanding.
Truth is the antithesis of mysticism—and that's the battleground.
That is all.....
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