A power vacuum exists today that was foretold almost two thousand years ago. Its effects on this generation and beyond are profound, and are destined to make an even more deleterious impact on America and the world in the days just ahead. The apostle Paul prophesied the following:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come… [Men] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:1, 5a).
Many pastors within Christianity today, I am sorry to have to say, are complicit in helping fulfill this prophecy on an hourly basis.
First, let’s define the term “Christian pastors.” Within the context of Paul’s prophecy that I wish to examine here, I refer to those pastors who truly preach and teach that Jesus Christ is the only way to redemption, to reconciliation with God the Father. All others who claim to be clergy within Christianity I completely disregard, because God’s Word discounts them as false prophets, as defined by the following Scripture, to give but one example:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Peter 2: 1-3)
Again, to be clear, when I say “Christian pastors,” I’m referring to genuine pastors: Bible-believing preachers who lift up Christ as the only way to salvation.
Some will say that Paul’s “perilous times” warning of men who would display the end-times characteristic of “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” applies to the false teachers of Peter’s prophecy, not to true preachers called by God to be shepherds of His flock. I agree that Paul’s 2 Timothy prophecy applies to those interlopers who deny Jesus Christ as the only way to redemption.
However, the accusation against those who have a “form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” can apply as well to God’s true shepherds. The condemnation is in some ways even more to the point than when leveled at the false preachers and teachers. It’s my contention that Christian pastors today–and, sadly, I believe this includes the majority of them–deny the power of God when they deliberately cast aside prophecy given in the Bible that is for time yet future.
We have written in these commentaries, and many others have written and spoken on the fact that God’s Word, the Bible, consists of at least 27 percent prophecy. Half of that prophecy has been fulfilled; half is yet to be fulfilled. Although it can be proven through study of the Scripture and by examining history that the Bible is always accurate in putting forth prophecy in past instances, pastors–preachers and teachers—consistently and persistently ignore preaching and teaching things to come.
By this willful disregard for presenting this vast body of scriptural truth, men of God–called and anointed by the Lord as guardians of His truth and shepherds of His flocks–deny the great power wrapped up in the astonishing reality that our God is the only One who knows the end from the beginning–and in excruciating detail, might I add.
For the most part, preachers of today seemingly avoid the prophetic Word at any cost. And, in God’s holy economy, the cost must be astronomical. These shepherds of God’s precious people are denying those people the assurance of the hope that He promises. Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior, is the fruition of God’s magnificent plan for their journey into forever. With the knowledge of Christ’s return plainly given as imminent in God’s love letter to mankind, the born again should be living victoriously, not with cringing fear or, even worse, in almost complete apathy.
The prophetic Word says:
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:12-14)
The majority of those who aren’t informed about what is going to happen next in this judgment-bound world, or who are totally unconcerned about things of God, are fed pabulum rather than meat for living life in the way the Lord intended. These are as often as not force fed the prosperity, name-it-and-claim-it false teaching that is anathema to truth from the Word of God. The only ones accumulating wealth are the preachers of such spirit-dulling poison.
To the pastors and teachers who do in fact teach doctrine and sound biblical principles, may the Lord bless you to the extent to which you remain faithful to break the Bread of Life in the way it should be fed to your flocks. But, if you don’t include prophecy as an important and generous part of your messages–that Jesus is coming again, and might come at any moment–you are falling far short of deserving full commendation. You are denying the true power of God. You are exhibiting only a form of godliness.
Respectfully, please pay attention, you who are the truth-bearing pastors of our Holy God. These are the times to which all of Bible prophecy has pointed for millennia. These are perilous times. Signals are rampant that this generation is the generation that will almost certainly see the Lord’s return in power and glory. Israel and the peace process, with all nations beginning to turn against that state, dear pastors, is the number-one signal that we are bumping up against the very end of this swiftly fleeting age. Christ’s shout, “Come up hither,” is imminent!
You will be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ for how you treat His whole Word in feeding your flock. Jesus spoke to the great power and importance resident within prophecy while addressing the churches. John recorded what the resurrected Lord directed him to write:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw…Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:1-2, 7-8)