this Wednesday, May 12th is our 5th lesson in the study of Habakkuk. We want to introduce a word or term that is essential for Christians to know and understand (to the degree it is possible). In last week’s online notes, I began writing a statement that I purposely did not finish. The statement read, “The primary reason [or instigator] for God’s [intervening in human affairs with] wrath is…”
The bracketed words are aded for clarity as we fill in the blank and complete the statement. The word or term we will investigate thoroughly is apostasy and apostate. We will give a brief definition of the term and a few scriptures where God’s wrath is on full display. Your job and homework in preparing for Wednesday is to determine if there is a connection, a clear pattern, and a prophecy concerning the Church age and the Second Coming of Christ. For preparation, read the following text and scriptures; also, write your own answers to the questions:
Wikipedia definition of Apostasy–
: ἀποστασία apostasía
, “a defection
“) is the formal disaffiliation
from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion
by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion that is contrary to one’s previous religious beliefs
. One who undertakes apostasy is known as an apostate
. Undertaking apostasy is called apostatizing
– also spelled apostacizing
). The term apostasy
is used by sociologists
to mean the renunciation and
criticism of, or opposition to, a person’s former religion, in a technical sense, with no pejorative connotation. Occasionally, the term is also used metaphorically
to refer to the renunciation of a non-religious belief or cause, such as a political party, social movement
, or sports team.
Apostasy is generally not a self-definition: few former believers call themselves apostates due to the term’s negative connotation. Many religious groups and some states punish apostates; this may be the official policy of a particular religious group or it may simply be the voluntary action of its members. Such punishments
may include shunning
, verbal abuse
, physical violence, or even execution
Reading 1: Why God sent the flood in Noah’s day – Genesis 6:5-8
- According to God, what was the disposition of mankind? Is this apostasy?
- What is the punishment God sends?
Reading 2: Why God removed the Northern Kingdom, Israel – 2 Kings 17:7-20
- What is the disposition of those in the Northern Kingdom? Is this apostasy?
- What is the punishment God sends?
Reading 3: What is paradoxical for the prophet about God raising up Chaldeans
Habakkuk 1:12 thru 2:1
- What is the prophet’s confusion about the Holy God? (verses 12-13)
- Does the prophet accuse God of rewarding the wicked? (verses 14-17)
Extra Credit— The New Testament speaks of a coming Day of judgment and wrath of God (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12). In chapter 2 of the same book, mention is made of an apostasy that must occur prior to the Day (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 and 2 Peter 2:1-3). Do you believe (as some do) that the apostasy already happened during the time Protestants rejected and split from the Roman Catholic church or do you believe their is yet another apostasy of the church that is to come (maybe in our time)?
Again, for your pleasure, here are some Wikipedia notes on the “Great Apostasy:”
The Great Apostasy is a concept within Christianity, identifiable at least from the time of the Reformation, to describe a perception that the early apostolic Church has fallen away from the original faith founded by Jesus and promulgated through his twelve Apostles. Protestants used the term to describe the perceived fallen state of traditional Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, because they claim it changed the doctrines of the early church and allowed traditional Greco-Roman culture (i.e.Greco-Roman mysteries, deities of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus, pagan festivals and Mithraic sun worship and idol worship) into the church on its own perception of authority. Because it made these changes using claims of tradition and not from scripture, the Church – in the opinion of those adhering to this concept – has fallen into apostasy. A major thread of this perception is the suggestion that, to attract and convert people to Christianity, the church in Rome incorporated pagan beliefs and practices within the Christian religion, mostly Graeco-Roman rituals, mysteries, and festivals. For example, Easter has been described as a pagan substitute for the Jewish Passover, although neither Jesus nor his Apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival.
The term is derived from the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, in which the Apostle Paul informs the Christians of Thessalonica that a great apostasy must occur before the return of Christ, when “the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction” (chapter 2:1–12). The Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches have interpreted this chapter as referring to a future falling-away, during the reign of the Antichrist at the end of time.