Prophecies Happening NOW
MOCKING AND SCOFFING
2 Peter 3:3-7 – God’s Promise Is Not Slack
2Pe 3:3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Jude 1:16-19 – Apostates Predicted
Jude 1:16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
The Bible prophesied that in the last days people would scoff at the notion that there ever was a global flood. Are we there, and what proofs exist that the Flood really did happen?
What does the Bible say about scoffers?
The word translated "scoffer" in English can mean "one who mocks, ridicules, or scorns the belief of another." In Hebrew, the word translated "scoffer" or "mocker" can also mean "ambassador." So a scoffer is one who not only disagrees with an idea, but he also considers himself an ambassador for the opposing idea. He cannot rest until he has demonstrated the foolishness of any idea not his own. A scoffer voices his disagreement, ridicules all who stand against him, and actively recruits others to join his side. In the Bible, scoffers are those who choose to disbelieve God and His Word. They say in their hearts, "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1), and make it their ambition to ridicule those who follow God.
The Bible has a lot to say about scoffers (Proverbs 19:29; 29:8; Acts 13:41). Proverbs 3:34 says that God "scoffs at the scoffers, yet He gives grace to the afflicted." Psalm 1:1 gives us clear instruction about how to deal with scoffers: "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers" (NASB). The progression of unbelief begins with listening to ungodly counsel and ends with joining the scoffers. The Bible warns us not to entertain the company of those who actively ridicule our faith, or we risk having that faith destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 says, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm" (ESV).
We cannot totally escape the presence of scoffers. They were active in Jesus’ day, and we continue to hear from them today. Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" (John 15:18–19). A Christian should "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks . . . to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15). However, when we cease to be the influencers and start to become the influenced, it is time to "shake the dust off our feet" (Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:11).
Second Peter 3:3 warns us that "in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires" (cf. Jude 1:18). We know from Scripture that scoffing will only increase as we near the time for Jesus’ return (2 Timothy 3:1-5). We already see it happening with the blanket acceptance of evolutionary theory that excludes a Creator, the rapid expansion of false religions that deny the deity of Christ, and the numeric explosion of those who identify themselves as agnostics and atheists.
Scoffers have always been and will always be present in the world. But there is coming a promised day when "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10–11). On that day there will no longer be any scoffers. They will at last accept the truth, and their scoffing will be forever silenced.
What does it mean that there will be scoffers in the last days?
Two passages in the Bible say that “in the last days, scoffers will come.” Second Peter 3:3 and Jude 1:18 both explain what that means. A “scoffer” in this context is one who mocks Christ, ridicules the things of God, and opposes the gospel. Both Peter and Jude were writing warnings against false teachers who were intent on leading others astray. The word scoffer refers to one who denies the truths of Scripture and entices others to go along with his error.
Scoffers have been present since the Garden of Eden. Satan’s first temptation of man was in the form of scoffing at God’s command: “Did God really say—?” (Genesis 3:1). Scoffers dominated Noah’s day (Genesis 6:5–8; Hebrews 11:7), leaving God with little choice but to destroy them all and start over with Noah, the only righteous man on earth. Scoffers refuse to believe the word of the Lord and set themselves up as their own gods (2 Chronicles 36:16). The psalmist warns against the digression that leads from casual association with wicked people to sitting “in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1, ESV), embracing their worldview—and sharing their fate.
Although scoffers have always been a part of this fallen world, Scripture seems to indicate that, as the Day of the Lord draws nearer, the scoffing will increase. Peter describes these scoffers as “following their own evil desires” (2 Peter 3:3) and questioning the second coming of the Lord Jesus (verse 4). Thousands of years have passed since Jesus ascended into heaven, promising to return for His faithful ones (John 14:1–4; Revelation 22:12). Scoffers point out the lapse of time and mock those who still wait and yearn for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).
Jude describes the scoffers of the last days as people who follow ungodly desires and create division in the church (Jude 1:18). They may even present themselves as church leaders, but they “do not have the Spirit” (verse 19). Paul goes into more detail about the condition of the world before Jesus returns: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:1–5). Scoffers will fit right in with such a crowd.
We already see an increase of scoffers in our world today, and several factors may be contributing to that rise. Constant access to media, the internet, and other forms of technology provide an open platform for anyone with an opinion, and scoffing at everything once thought honorable is a favorite pastime. Scoffers are emboldened on social media by others who can instantly approve of their mockery. Many people are educated beyond their intelligence, and this new world without moral boundaries is producing scoffers instead of thinkers. Many try to use scientific training to say that, since the reality of the Creator God cannot be proved by man’s understanding, God must not exist. In rejecting Scripture, mankind has lost its moral compass, leaving us with no way to determine right or wrong, good or bad, truth or lie. In this climate, anyone who claims to know the truth is a prime target for scoffers.
Arrogance leads to scoffing, much as it did before the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–4). When people become puffed up with their own importance, they begin to challenge anything that threatens their high opinion of themselves. Once we have removed the idea of God from consideration, then anything goes. Scoffers have tried to redefine marriage, obliterate gender binarism, and create a fantasy world in which reality becomes whatever we feel it is. Not long ago, such a mindset was the definition of insanity. Now we are told it is the ultimate wisdom. Romans 1:21–22 has never been more relevant: “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.”
The proliferation of scoffers is a sign of the last days. They profess themselves to be wise, but they are really fools (Psalm 14:1). Regardless of the eschatological timeline one prefers, we can all agree that the number of scoffers and deceivers is increasing rapidly, just as Scripture warned us it would (2 John 1:7). It is critically important that every Christian take seriously the commands to study and meditate on God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15; Joshua 1:8) so that we won’t be led astray by the lofty-sounding ideas presented to us by scoffers (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Scoffers & Mockers Then & Now :: By Gary Ritter
Back in Ezekiel’s day, he faced much scoffing and mocking when he brought forth the Word of the Lord. Despite being so faithful to God and being a conduit for many messages to the Israelites, their constant scorn of God’s prophetic Word had to weigh on Ezekiel. To reassure him, God spoke extensively about those who chose to ignore Him and make light of the Word His prophet brought forth. In Ezekiel 12:21-28, here is God’s declaration and warning:
“And the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, ‘The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. For there shall be no more any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it,’ declares the Lord God.
“And the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed,’ declares the Lord God.”
In these verses we hear God’s tone. He’s angry at the people who don’t believe. They’ve said that whatever God might have declared isn’t for today; that the prophecies might happen sometime in the future – maybe. And God makes it clear: Enough! He will perform His Word, and it will happen soon.
In reading this, it struck me how similar the situation was when Peter wrote his second epistle. Compare the above with 2 Peter 3:1-7 where he says:
“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’
“For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”
It’s said that history repeats itself, which seems relatively true. In addition, events in the Bible often have near-term and long-term fulfillment, often described as a telescoping effect. Ezekiel’s prophecy was for then. Peter’s prophetic word was for then. But both seem quite applicable to the situation we’re experiencing today.
Those of us who believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture continue to speak and warn: “Come to the Lord. He is merciful and just. Choose life through His Son, Jesus Christ. We’re in the final days of the latter times. Jesus’ Words in Matthew 24 and in Luke 17 and 21 are coming to pass. The convergence of signs foretold makes the situation urgent. Repent, and call on the Name of the Lord!”
But people ignore our pleas. They scoff that all this was supposed to happen in the 70s, 80s, or 90s. Since nothing occurred then, nothing will happen now. It’s all a myth.
In promoting a book on Facebook of my collected essays and devotionals that I regularly post on my blog, many of which have appeared on Rapture Ready, I received less than complementary comments from a couple of individuals—just for the fact of having such a book. One, who seemed to be an atheist, I had to ban from my page for esthetic reasons. His Facebook page included many derogatory Christian references. The other fellow, by the name of David, espoused some beliefs that capture well the attitude of mocking and scoffing in these last days. David’s Facebook page says that he graduated with a religious education.
I had a little back and forth with David until it grew tiresome. Below, I’m including his various comments —unedited—so you can see the aberrant so-called Christian thinking in the world that is full of mocking and scoffing. So as not to make this essay too long, I’m not including my comments to him. Suffice it to say that I tried unsuccessfully to point him to actual Bible truth.
“the end times.” OMG indeed, God spare us from these cranky beliefs.
When the scribes accused Jesus for saying that he was the Son of God, he quoted Isaiah, where it is stated, “I have said, Ye are Gods, all of you.” His point was that OT Scripture itself records that all men and women are gods, or potential gods, meaning Sons and Daughters of God, a part of the One God just as he was and is.
You are seeking an easy-peasy way out of life – just to “accept Jesus” and then you are supposedly “saved” by such an easy feat. And this is false theology.
We are in fact all potential and will-be fully Sons and Daughters of God, Jesus having been a mortal man just as we are who grew by self-effort into the full Son he was. The true spiritual Path is that every individual has to, by full self-effort, become closer and closer to God in Wisdom, Love, and Unity until we are all that Jesus was.
These are not “end times,” silly man. Do plan on a long and full life for yourself. And also plan on humanity existing for untold thousands of years to come. Which is why we need to indeed plan for future centuries and look after our planet today. Because we’re going to be here on it for a long time.
I choose the actual and real God, the ONE GOD Who actually lives in YOUR heart and gives you life, and is your real Identity, as that GOD is the real inner nature of each person. But you have not yet grown in spiritual discernment out of the old-fashioned, illogical and irrational theology which in fact Jesus never taught. Your spiritual future and progress depends upon you, yourself – not the “vicarious atonement” via a saviour. Jesus expects you to do it all, in every thought, word, and deed, and to achieve and accomplish your own deep and genuine spirituality. It is achieved step by step, bit by bit, by oneself, as every saint has proven.
Well, I hope and trust that you have a good and healthy life…. and when you get to about eighty, as people have had to do for almost untold centuries, you might finally realise that your theology of a “saviour” appearing in the clouds in a second coming is not going to happen. “For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” It will always have been there, inside yourself, waiting for you to birth it and expand it. [end of comments by David]
According to David, we are gods and simply have to seek this self-realization. There’s nothing special about Jesus, and He’s certainly not returning for His people in the Rapture. For all of us who believe that, dream on!
Not only do we have so many who disbelieve God’s Word, but a large group who twists it to their own purposes. Ezekiel experienced this, and in Ezekiel 13:3,6,8 God didn’t mince any words:
“Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”
“They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word.”
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you,’ declares the Lord God.”
But false prophets didn’t just plague the Israelites in Ezekiel’s day. They’ve been with us ever since. Look at Matthew 7:15-23 where Jesus said:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
God is against such devious men and women who claim to speak His Word. Their fabricated utterings earn them a dark and terrifying end where God says that He never knew them, despite their supposedly speaking for Him.
The group today that most resembles this situation is the apostles and prophets in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). They declare new revelation from God; they ensnare people who come to depend on them for a fresh word from Him. In their schools, conferences, and massive rallies, they more than likely open demonic pathways with their teachings that, when examined, closely align with those of the occult. When we look at how the NAR apostles and prophets operate, it’s through pride. They seek power, control, and money. Is it any wonder that Jesus wants nothing to do with them?
We live in an astonishing period right now where God’s Word is being fulfilled at a rapid pace. The prophecies of God are happening right now before our very eyes. More and more people are scoffing and mocking. It’s the enemy’s way of trying to discourage God’s people so that they’ll back down. Instead, we need to act more boldly.
Hebrews 12:12 encourages us to:
“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”
Now isn’t the time for retreat. Let us occupy and be about the Lord’s work. He is coming soon!
Christians Mocking Christians; You May be Surprised Why :: By Ronda Lane
I’ve noticed a new trend over the last few months up to a year now. This trend is perniciously creeping in, taking root, being accepted and touted by many who profess to be Christians. What is this trend? Professing believers who are deriding other believers for knowing and sharing scripture.
Why would a believer do such a thing? Mock another believer for studying and knowing scripture? A guilty conscience, perhaps? Is it because they (those who are mocking) are not studying scripture themselves? Or is it something even worse than that?
The first time I saw this, I thought it was just a believer with a guilty conscience, possibly ashamed because they, themselves, didn’t take time to study God’s word. But then I noticed the trend, and I fear it goes deeper than that. It may not be for shame that they mock, but for another reason altogether.
Here are the conversations I’ve witnessed happen: A believer will quote several Bible verses (and/or an article which quotes much scripture); often times these deal with eschatology (of late). The new trend is this: A professing believer saying something like this to the believer who quoted scripture: “Well, it’s not about how well we know scripture, but how well we know Jesus.”
To that question my answer would be this: How can anyone know Jesus (beyond salvation alone) if they don’t study His word? Who HE says He is? Whom His word foretold Him to be? Whom His word reveals Him to be?
If it’s about a personal relationship with Jesus, how can one get to know Him without His word?
Are they making up a Jesus who doesn’t exist? One whom they feel more comfortable with? One they can try to bring down to our human (corruptible) level?
The next statement is usually this: “I know Him because I pray to Him daily.” Yes, we can and should pray daily (or more often), and we should take our concerns to the Lord. His word even tells us how to do so:
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:6-7 KJV).
His word assures us that Jesus will give us peace in our hearts and minds when we pray with both thanksgiving (thank Him for all He has done) and with supplication (humbly and earnestly asking Him to provide for a particular need or needs – not just for ourselves, but for others as well – only according to His will, not our own will).
The Lord does already know our needs. He already knows all about us; He’s known us since before we were conceived (Jer.1:5). Yes, the Lord does know us, but do we know Him? And how can we know Him without studying His word?
There are those who merely just pick through the Psalms and other books of the Bible for ‘comfort me’ verses. How does that help a person get to know the Lord well? Yes, the Lord truly is the God of all comfort (2 Cor.1:3-4 and others), but He is so much MORE. How can we know Him without knowing His word? All of His word, not just the ear-pleasing, ego-stroking, comfort-evoking words.
Is the Lord just a comforting God? Only a loving God? Is Christ merely the meek, suffering servant who came to pay for the sins of the world? OR is He so much more? He truly is much more than that! Jesus is also the Lion from the tribe of Judah who is coming back in “righteousness to judge and make war” (Rev.19:11). His vesture will be dipped in blood (Rev.19:13), and it won’t be His blood this time!
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev.19:15).
Do these professing believers who mock those of us who study God’s word even KNOW what Jesus revealed in scripture? Do they know what’s to come? Or have they accepted Christ as ‘hell insurance’?
This new, pernicious trend reminds me of the Oprah Winfrey belief system. She said she heard God is jealous and vengeful (in a sermon) and she decided she “didn’t LIKE that kind of God.” So she made her OWN idea up of a false “god” who she wanted God to be, rather than who He truly is.
There are a lot of people walking around today claiming to be Christians, and yet they don’t know the Lord at all. There are righteous and holy reasons that God is jealous (for His people; He didn’t want them polluted with idolatry and other sinful practices which lead to generational unbelief and hell). And He is vengeful (of unrighteousness) as well. God is a JUST and righteous God whose very nature cannot allow for sin to go unpunished.
This is the very reason He sent His only begotten Son. Jesus paid for it all, and believing on His finished work (His death, burial, and resurrection) paid for our ALL of our sins when we trust in Him for salvation (1 Cor.15:1-4, John 3:16-18, Rom.10:9-13, et al).
There is no other way (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
We cannot ‘help’ or earn salvation with good works (Eph.2:8-9).
In fact, Jesus is the only acceptable payment for our sins. He is the only propitiation which could ever satisfy God’s righteous dealing with sin (Rom.3:25, 1 John 4:10). And yes, sin MUST be dealt with because we are ALL sinners in need of a savior (Rom.3:23, Rom.5:12, 1 John 1:6-10).
But I guess Oprah (and her ilk) didn’t sit in the church pew long enough to hear about that…and she sure didn’t study His word herself to find out why God would be either jealous or vengeful, and to whom.
I wonder what she (and others with similar erroneous beliefs) will feel when she realizes (as she appears before the great white throne) that Jesus did all the work. He even paid for her sins… but she rejected Him because she thought she could make up a false ‘god’ that better suited her? One that didn’t care about sin? An unrighteous false ‘god’ who would just overlook sin?
How sad that so many are relying on their own ‘righteousness’ rather than submitting to God’s righteousness, whose righteous requirements we can never meet ourselves without Christ Jesus (Isaiah 64:6, Rom.10:3, Phil.3:9, Rom.3:23).
Why is it so important that we know scripture? We need to (at bare minimum) know the gospel. How can we give the gospel to the lost if we (ourselves) don’t know where to find it in scripture? What if we gave them the wrong information, or even a false gospel? (Gal.1:8-9.) How can we have an answer ready for those who may ask us, if we don’t know His word?
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet.3:15).
Are they not ashamed that they don’t take time to study God’s word? There are many who only study the ‘comfort me’ and ‘help me’ verses. But what of scripture which convicts of sin? What of eschatology? Do they blame it on pastors who are not teaching it?
Yes, pastors should be teaching the entire Bible, the entire counsel of God – including prophecy, especially today as we witness the Biblically prophetic alignment of Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 38-39, and so many events foretold to come in the tribulation (after the rapture). Many in congregations are hungry for sermons on these topics today. Yes, it is a shame that so few pastors are teaching eschatology. But that does not relieve us of our own obligation to study God’s word ourselves!
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim.2:15).
Notice that scripture gives us an individual call to study God’s word ourselves.
Yes, if you have a good, doctrinally sound pastor who teaches the Bible, count yourself blessed and attend regularly. Yes, fellowship with other believers, especially now as we “see the day approaching” (Heb.10:25).
Both of those things can be an excellent means of growth in our Christian lives. But if a person truly desires to please the Lord and desires growth in Christ, they will study His word. And they certainly won’t be mocking or deriding other believers who do study the Bible, even (and especially) if they, themselves, are individually too lazy or complacent to do so!
What makes me sad is that so few believers are studying Bible scripture (eschatology or otherwise) on their own. I could muster up more sympathy for them if it were not for the fact that they could easily alleviate their ignorance by studying; but they are too consumed with the cares of this world to do so.
In persecuted nations around the globe, there are believers who are truly hungry for God’s word. In nations such as N. Korea and many Islamic nations (and others), they can be thrown into prison, beaten, brutalized, and even killed for owning a Bible!
And here we are in the US (and many other Western nations) with Bibles collecting dust, with a hundred different ways to access God’s word… in print, in apps, in computer programs, online, searchable, audio, Braille, even free-to-use lexicons with Hebrew and Greek word meanings, should a believer desire to delve deep. Yet so few are studying His word here in nations where there is no true persecution (no risk to life and limb) should we desire to study scripture.
Is it the ‘everybody gets a trophy’ culture (whether they deserved it or not) that gives rise to this? Do they not comprehend the rewards and loss of rewards at the judgment seat of Christ? Is it the lack of shame? Or is it even worse? Is there no fear of God at all? No desire to please Him or serve Him?
It may be one, or a combination of those things. But from what I’ve witnessed lately, this new trend seems to come predominantly from those who just don’t BELIEVE the Bible. They claim to believe the gospel (although most of them can’t tell you what the gospel is), but then cast out the rest of scripture.
It is very true that we who have believed on Christ for salvation are eternally secure (2 Tim.1:12, Eph.1:12-14, John 10:28-30, 1 John 5:13, John 14:16, Heb.13:5, 1 Pet.1:3-4, Eph.4:30, and many others). While nothing can ‘un-save’ us, is salvation all we desire? Mere ‘hell insurance’?
Do we not want to know the Lord as much as we possibly can? He reveals Himself to us in His word. Why would a believer not have a true hunger and thirst for at least the sincere milk of His word? (1 Pet.2:2). And once graduated from that, then have the strong desire for meatier topics in scripture? (Heb.5:12, 1 Cor.3:2).
And my question today is not just those two (milk and meat of scripture), but also WHY would a professing believer mock and deride those who DO study and/or know God’s word well?
I often times think that those who are distressed by those of us who do share scripture often perceived it (erroneously) as a pride problem. They think that those of us who are sharing scripture with them are only doing so to ‘show off’, or to lord it over them. I can’t speak for other believers when I share scripture with others, but I can speak for myself when I say that I certainly don’t share God’s word to ‘show off’. In fact, it’s not MY word; it’s GOD’s word I’m sharing. I can’t take any credit for it at all.
Thankfully, He also leads and guides us in His word with the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). And without salvation in Christ, NONE of us could ‘get it’ at all! (1 Cor.2:14.)
He gives us wisdom (James 1:5-8).
So again, it’s all to His credit. We have nothing to glory of; it’s His word. His wisdom. His Holy Spirit given to us. So the false accusations – that we share God’s word because we are prideful that we know His word well enough to share it – don’t hold water. It doesn’t glorify those of us sharing the Bible, it glorifies Him. It’s HIS word!
On the other hand: spiritual discernment doesn’t mean we are going to comprehend scripture by mere osmosis…we can’t just sleep with the Bible under our pillow at night and expect to absorb and comprehend it. No, we need to study His word (2 Tim.2:15) as we are told to do. He will give us lots of help and discernment, but we first must be willing to put the time in to study! Often times this means we need to study repetitively to memorize or at least become familiar with where certain topics are in scripture.
There is nothing prideful about submitting to God’s will, but rather the opposite of pride; we are humbling ourselves by submitting to His will – giving of our time to Him. What could be a better use of time than serving the Lord and studying His word to get to know Him better?
We are all individually accountable for whether or not we study scripture and whether or not we share the gospel. Yes, we are eternally secure if we’ve believed on Christ for salvation. Yet we (believers) will all appear at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor.5:10). This is not a judgment pertaining to salvation (that was settled when we believed on Jesus for salvation), but rather is a judgment on what we did to serve Him AFTER we were born again. Did we share the gospel and serve the Lord? If so, what foundation did we build upon?
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor.3:11).
We are then (at the judgment seat of Christ) either given rewards, or lose rewards, depending on whether or not our desire was for selfish reasons or whether it was to serve the Lord and bring glory to Him.
12 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
So to answer those who mock us… those who deride us for sharing God’s word unapologetically? We love the Lord; we want to know everything we can about Him. This is found in His word. And if we are not doing these things for God’s glory, then we are doing them for our own selfish reasons. We would lose rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. So the question to those who mock us… Why would we share God’s word for our own glory knowing full well that if we did so (for selfish reasons) we would be losing rewards at the judgment seat of Christ?
There’s nothing wrong with prayer and listening to good hymns that give glory to the Lord. In fact, we are encouraged to do so in scripture. However, if that’s all we are doing in our ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus, we are missing out on getting to know Him. And truly none of us can ever exhaust God’s word; there is always something more to be gleaned.
Even if we’ve read the same chapter a dozen or a hundred times… we can always learn more!
In Acts 18 we are told of those who were in Berea. They searched the scriptures daily. They’d heard a message, a teaching, and they wanted to be sure it was scripturally sound. We should be more like the Bereans.
God (in the past) told Israel that they were “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). They rejected God’s word. They also likely claimed to have a ‘personal relationship’ with Him because they were His chosen people, the apple of His eye. Yet they slacked off and took it for granted, so much so that by the time Christ came they didn’t even recognize Him, even though scripture had foretold His coming! Many of them didn’t know His word, and so they didn’t even know the time of His visitation (Luke 19:44).
It takes both a firm foundation in scripture as well as BELIEF.
Sadly, many then didn’t believe God’s word. So too today do we see the same problem. The answers are all there in scripture, yet so few believe the Bible. And then, many of those who claim they do believe what the Bible says don’t even take time to read and study to know what His word says.
In Amos 8:11-12 God warned of a coming time when there would be a famine for His word. What we see today are those who are purposefully starving themselves of God’s word.
There is a cure for this starvation diet: “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4).
Job said he esteemed God’s word more than his necessary food (Job 23:12).
We should desire to study His word more than we desire to eat. We should want to serve Him with a glad heart. We don’t do it for vain-glory for ourselves, but to help others, and especially to serve the Lord! After all, it’s HIS word we share when we share scripture, not our own.
We expect these types of insults and attitudes from the lost, but it’s very troubling when it comes from those who profess to be fellow believers. We desire for other believers to also delve into God’s word. We try to nudge them; we even try to help them by showing them the scriptural location for the answers to questions they ask. Yet now, in these perilous last days, we are now mocked and derided for knowing scripture?
Why did I write this article? I almost didn’t. Those who need to hear this will likely be the last to read it. But I wrote it because there are many of us sharing God’s word every day, trying to reach the lost with the gospel, trying to comfort fellow believers with scriptural promises and Bible prophecy aligning.
We can expect to get buffeted by the unsaved world. And often times we even get attacked by those who profess to be fellow believers. But this newest attack? If you aren’t aware of this new trend in attacks yet, you soon will be.
We should expect these kinds of things in the perilous last days. I’m not going to stop sharing God’s word because another professing Christian is upset, jealous, ashamed, or worse… just has no desire to serve the Lord or study His word! I don’t think you will be cowered into silence either – especially now, as God’s prophetic word is precisely aligned.
So why did I write this? To encourage you all to keep on sharing the gospel, studying His word and serving the Lord.
You’re not alone. I want you to know that those who are serving Him are also going through these same trials. But since we do know scripture, we have a comfort that those who don’t study His word lack. We have the comfort of knowing the season, the lateness of the hour. We have a comfort and surety knowing that what is foretold in Bible prophecy is aligned and will soon come to pass. We also have the comfort of knowing that Jesus has promised to deliver us (believers) from the wrath to come (1 Thes.1:10, Rom.5:9, 1 Thes.5:9).
All of this is a comfort and a joy we just couldn’t have without having put in the devoted time to study His word.
I almost feel sad for those who don’t have this same comfort. Don’t you? They are missing out on so much! I say I ‘almost’ feel sorry for them, because they can choose to study His word right now!
No, we can’t all be pastors or missionaries. We can’t all head a committee or serve a prominent function. But what we CAN all do is study His word and share it with others (whether we are mocked or not).
And don’t we all want to be found being about our Father’s business when He comes to take us up?
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).