Chapter 4, Part 2
The Church Follows the Steps of the
"Congregation" of the Old Testament
In past years, when someone criticized the church, the author often answered. "Sir, you are too kind! Please have a look at how the Scriptures criticize the church in the last days." The author would immediately tum to 2 Timothy 3:1-8 and ask him to read it. After that he would have nothing to say! Thank God, He never asks us to place our faith in the church on this earth. He wants us to believe in Him---the Son of God, Jesus and the Christ. To Him be all glory, praise and power, both now and evermore, Amen!
As for the Kingdom of Preparation in the last days, or the church, 2 Timothy chapter 3 gave a vivid description of her real situation that causes everyone who read it to sigh! It is beyond imagination that the holy community can decline to such a level which is beyond recognition. How tragic! In accordance to the warning: "But realize this'', its background, situation and psychological condition are discussed as follows.
A. The Background to "But Realize This"
This passage of Scripture opens with a clear warning - "But realize this". In addition, there are several words which not only point out to us the seriousness in the degradation of the Preparation Kingdom in the last days, but also provide hints on the 'fearful' background of this seriousness! The word 'difficult' in "in the last days, difficult times will come" is used in the New Testament only twice. The other time it was used to describe the violence of the demon possessed man at Gerasenes. According to the accounts by Mark and Luke, the extent of his violence is that he could tear apart the chains and shackles used to bind him. "No one could bind him"! Why could he tear apart the chains and why was no one able to bind him? The Scriptures tell us that he was possessed by Λεγιων (Legion). Legion is the name of a Roman military unit with approximately 6,826 men. There are 6,100 infantry and 726 calvary soldiers. The poor Gerasenes man was possessed by six or seven thousand demons. No wonder he was beyond the law and could do whatever he wanted! Since the Holy Spirit used this word in both of these verses, it is telling us that in the last days the violence inflicted on the church will also come from the evil one! Today, the evil one uses all kinds of methods to hide in the church. He would even impersonate the Holy Spirit and angels to capture those of little faith or in other words those who do not know the Lord well. He would even commit murder though church goers! How frightening that is!
In addition to the list of sins in this passage, it is interesting that the Holy Spirit inserted the word διαβολοι, which is translated as malicious gossips. This word is actually the same as that which is translated as "devil" in the Chinese Bible. But in this case, the word is in the plural--so there are many demons in the church! Is this a hint that in the last days, in the Kingdom of Preparation, all lawlessness, unrighteousness, falsehood, evil are started and controlled by the demons? This is just like what the gracious Lord told Peter: "Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat!" (He can tumble a person upside down, round about without the poor soul knowing it!) Unfortunately, most people in the churches neither know anything about this nor are they alerted. Consequently, they can only follow his schemes, driven by him to waste themselves away with self delusion and degradation. Some even deceive others and themselves without even realizing it!It is so tragic!
The Scripture shows us that the devil is a puppet master who Abel was murdered, we thought it was Cain's doing but the Scriptures tell us factually that it was from the evil one (1 John 3:12). History tells us that Queen Athaliah wanted to eliminate the household of David but in fact, it is Satan who used Athaliah to terminate the blood line from which the Messiah will come so that the Savior could not be born. This is exactly what happened after Jesus' birth when Satan stirred up King Herod to look for and kill Him! For Job's family in particular, his servants thought what they encountered were natural and human disasters. What they did not know is that the plunders and slaughter by the Sabeans and Chaldeans, the fire from heaven and the great wind that struck the house and killed Job's children were all Satan's specialties! Especially when fire came down from heaven, the servant thought it was God's doing because he said, ''The fire of God fell from heaven"! This is exactly what someone said in the 1970s and 80s: "If God is love, why did He allow the Vietnamese refugees to suffer so much pain?" He actually blamed the wrong person! What an injustice to the loving Father! Since ''the whole world is in the hand of the evil one", Satan often hides behind natural disasters and human calamities so that after people suffered and were hurt by him, they would even thank him! Would you not agree that his tactics are superb? He not only hides behind good reputations, good deeds and situations in order to cause disasters.he especially likes to hide inside churches to use Scriptural and spiritual terms to deceive God's children. His desire is that they would deceive themselves and others, offend God and get sucked into his snare without any hope of extracting themselves!