Bible References to
The Great Apostasy
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is always being accused of being a NonChristian Church by Evangelical Protestants (I don't think Catholics care one way or the other)and some even call it a cult. But to quote Enigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means," because they think just about everything not "WASPy" is a cult. It's ironic though that a church that has the name "Jesus Christ" in its title is called "NonChristian" by churches that are named for men and movements. Anyway, the main reason they cite for Mormon's not being Christians is because it isn't a traditional Christian church. This is true, it's not a traditional Christian church, but it is Christian. What they're really meaning is that we're not Catholic or Protestant. Heck, some Protestants won't even admit that Catholics are Christian so the whole Mormons not being Christian's nonsense doesn't mean anything.
So if the LDS Church is not a Protestant or Catholic Church, what is it? It is a Restored church. We believe that the church organized by Jesus Christ, along with His Priesthood Authority, Divine Revelation and key teachings were lost through the centuries. We call this the great apostasy. For me, evidence of this apostasy includes revelation ceasing sometime after the death of the New Testament apostles, and the Nicene Council being convened by Emperor Constantine to vote on and settle doctrinal disputes dividing Christians. Even Protestants believe in the apostasy they just won't admit it. Think about it Lutherans, if there wasn't a falling away from the truth then why was a reformation needed? The Reformation was a good thing, but it wasn't enough. It's like trying to put a puzzle back together with several missing pieces. There are still signs of the apostasy today. How many Christian churches are there now, and how many are threatening schisms over doctrinal disputes?
The LDS Church testifies that the church organized by The Savior during His mortal ministry, including His Priesthood authority, gospel, and keys to salvation were restored to the Earth in its entirety. It's like the puzzle maker restoring the missing puzzle pieces making it complete. Jesus Christ, and heavenly messengers, restored the Priesthood and its keys through the prophet, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829.
These are Bible references that foretold the great apostasy.
"The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant."
Isaiah is prophesying about the apostasy and what would cause it.
"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."
People have argued that there couldn't have been an apostasy because there are still believers. These verses contain the answer to that. Churches speak of Christ and talk of salvation, but their hearts are far from the Savior. They teach the precepts of men, not the inspired precepts of God. The marvelous work and a wonder performed was the Restoration of the Gospel and the Priesthood, not through the wise and the prudent, but through a simple, teenage farm boy.
"For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee."
Wow...Isaiah had a lot to say about the apostasy.
This verse is pretty self explanatory. The darkness covering the Earth was the Great Apostasy, and then the Lord, rising up and ending it with His Light of Truth. His Glory has definitely been seen upon the Mormon Church considering there were only 6 members when it started in 1830 and now there are over 12 million worldwide. The only comparison was the Church lead by the Apostles after the Crucifixion of The Savior.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."
Once again, a famine of the words of the Lord, or an apostasy, would come and the truth would not be found anywhere on the Earth.
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
This one is pretty obvious. There will be false churches rise and people claiming to be Christ to lead the people away. That's about as apostate as you get, don't you think.
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
The seeds of the apostasy are being sewn. When the apostles are present then church is fine, but after the apostles leave then people start teaching doctrines that are contrary to the church that draw the disciples away. Unfortunately, they didn't have telecommunications back then so it was nearly impossible for the apostles to correct inconsistencies and changes.
1 Corinthians 11:18-19
"For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."
Paul is saying that he has heard that there have been divisions in the church. He says that heresies have been slipping in to their teachings and have been accepted. This is another step toward the apostasy, false teachings are taking root.
Galatians 1: 6-12
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Paul is chastising the church in Galatia for already going into apostasy, and trying to pull them back. His lamentations are over their "perverting the gospel of Christ, and being persuaded by men and not God." He also teaches that the Gospel MUST be kept, directed, and taught by revelation, otherwise it gets manipulated by man. The same is true today.
Galatians 3: 1
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?"
Wow...those Galatians were sure on Paul's crap list.
2 Thessalonians 2:3
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"
Paul is coming right and saying that not only is the apostasy coming, but it has to happen before the second coming. Also, the word for "falling away" in Greek is "Apostasia". Hence, the Apostasy.
1 Timothy 1: 2-3
"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,"
In this verse, Paul is instructing Timothy to teach true doctrine. Apparently the church has been having trouble with false doctrines being taught, infecting the church.
1 Timothy 4: 1-2
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."
This verse is prophesying about the church changing doctrines and being led by the wrong spirits. This verse sounds a lot like the dark ages, doesn't it, (along with some modern televangelists.)
2 Timothy 2:18
"Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."
The resurrection already happened? Did I miss something? Um, ya...think that counts as another step toward changing truths, altering truths and being led by the precepts of men.
2 Timothy 3:5
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
How many people and churches does this sound like? They believe in God, have faith in God, but discard His modern day miracles, His Priesthood Power and His Holy Ghost. They deny His power by rationalizing that those times are long gone. Trust me, they're not.
"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
So much for being saved by faith alone. This is scriptural tongue-lashing anyone who thinks all you need is faith but not need to follow the commandments and teachings of the true gospel. Paul is saying that it isn't enough just to say that you believe in Christ, if you disobey Him, you are denying Him. This goes for churches too. It isn't enough to have a church that believes in Christ and teaches the Bible. The church must strictly teach the commandments and Gospel of God, and the members must strive to follow them, and repent when they fall short. Believers does not equal the nonexistence of the apostasy. Obviously, history has proven this, since the Apostasy did occur, even with "believers" still around.
As a side note:
The Apostasy does not mean that there were not any believers of Christ on the Earth. If this were the case, there wouldn't be any Christian churches today. The apostasy is specifically about the loss of Priesthood authority, a church led by direct revelation from Jesus Christ, and key principles of the gospel being changed or lost. There have obviously been believers that noticed this "falling away", from Christ's true gospel. Men like Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Lathrop, and William Tyndale who said "a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scripture than the clergy" (David Daniell, introduction to Tyndale's New Testament, trans. William Tyndale, 1989) and other reformers. If there were no problems in the church, there would have been no need for Luther to feel like there needed to be changes, and he never would have called for reform in the Roman Catholic Church. Luckily the Lord agreed with Tyndale and caused a plow boy named Joseph Smith to restore all things.