It says in 1 John 4 verse 1 to 6: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
Let us pause here for a minute – John writes that those who know God hear them (the disciples teaching the Gospel of the Lord), yet they who are of the world hear them not. Then he concludes by saying “hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error”.
The Amplified Bible’s translation is as follows: 5 They [who teach twisted doctrine] are of the world and belong to it; therefore they speak from the [viewpoint of the] world [with its immoral freedom and baseless theories—demanding compliance with their opinions and ridiculing the values of the upright], and the [gullible one of the] world listens closely and pays attention to them. 6 We [who teach God’s word] are from God [energized by the Holy Spirit], and whoever knows God [through personal experience] listens to us [and has a deeper understanding of Him]. Whoever is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know [without any doubt] the spirit of truth [motivated by God] and the spirit of error [motivated by Satan].
So what was John saying? He said those who truly know the Lord will hear the truth as spoken by those walking in the truth, yet those who do not know the Lord will not listen to the truth for their ears are turned towards the world. For those who know the Lord thus will want to listen to the truth of the Lord, which is the spirit of truth, and those who choose not to listen to the Lord and His Truth are thus still of the world, which is the spirit of error. Those who walk in the spirit of error as those Paul warns about in Galatians 1: 9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Let us connect what John wrote to 2 Timothy 4: 3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, 4 and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable].
So if you take into consideration what John and Paul wrote, we see clearly the manifestation of the spirit of error within churches. After all, as Paul mentioned, a time will come “when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction.” This means their ears are no longer turned to the truth, for they wish not to listen to those who are still standing and preaching the Truth. John makes it clear they therefore do not even know God or is of God.
Now, it says in Romans 8 (KJV): 9: Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Let us take stock of this … In Romans 8, Paul is writing about a life led by the Spirit of the Lord, and not the dictates of the flesh. He therefore said that those who do not have the Spirit do not belong to the Lord (take into consideration the Lord’s teaching in John 3 regarding the importance of being reborn in the Spirit). These are harsh words, but it is about the same what John said. He said those who do not listen to the Truth are not of God. Remember, the Spirit of the Lord was poured out to lead us in all truth. So if we truly are led by the Lord, we are then led by the Spirit, and then our ears should be turned to the truth and we should be embracing the truth. If our ears are turned away from the truth, then how can we truly be in the Spirit, and therefore how can we belong to the Lord?
Apostasy in the last days is marked by large scale deceptions and false teachings. It is the days as described by Paul regarding the itching ears turning to many teachers … this then also implies the teachers are also false because the itching ears are turning away from the Truth. After all, we read they are turning away their ears to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable]. Again, we see the connection between what Paul wrote and what John regarding error. Of course, what they warned about links up to the false prophets and teachers as described by Peter in 2 Peter 2. Yes, apostasy is rife in churches, because so many are turning away their ears to listen to the spirit of error, instead of the spirit of truth.
So Apostasy is very much characterised by the spirit of error, because so many are turning away from the Truth as taught by Jesus and the first disciples. Again, if our ears are turned away from the Truth, as we seeing happening more and more in churches, then you have to wonder who truly belongs to the Lord. After all, if we belong to the Lord, we shall know the voice of the Shepheard (John 10), and we shall be led by the Spirit who leads us in all truth.
Again, a mark of a true believer is who turns his ears to the Truth, who seeks the truth, and who speaks the truth of the Lord. After all, a true disciple is one who worships in spirit and truth, and therefore walks in the spirit of truth and not the spirit of error.
One should remember that apostasy deals with a falling away from key and true doctrines of the Bible into heretical teachings that proclaim to be “the real” Christian doctrine, and also to a complete renunciation of the Christian faith, which results in a full abandonment of Christ. The latter is the goal of the devil – to get the believer in a position where he becomes so confused and deceived he even abandons God. Think it cannot happen? We need to wake up then, for it is happening all around us, and many who are preaching on the pulpit are even questioning God or are not even walking in the Spirit of the Lord!
We are living more than ever in such a time of apostasy. A time of false prophets and false christs WITHIN the church. We are living in the time of 2 Timothy 4, where more than ever those within the church system are abandoning sound doctrine to believe fables and myths, and they are lured away and deceived by the lying wonders and false power and signs.