Q. I am having trouble reconciling two verses and wonder if you could help.
One is Matt 24:10-14, when Jesus predicts the great ‘falling away’ and the other is Acts 2:17 : In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
Many prophecy experts speak of the ‘Great Apostasy’, especially in relation to the ‘Florida Revival’. Many people in my church , however, believe it is a manifestation of Acts 2:17 and that in the last days God will do great things.
I must say i am quite confused over this, and would appreciate your thoughts.
A. In Matt. 24:4-14 Jesus gave a rough overview of the End Times beginning with the so-called birth pangs and ending with the gospel being preached in the whole world and the end coming. But remember, He was a Jewish prophet standing in Israel answering questions from His Jewish disciples. Put yourself in their position. They knew that Daniel’s 70 week prophecy had only 7 years to run, and He had just told them that the Temple Herod had spent the previous 40 years building was going to be torn down. They didn’t understand how that could happen, so their questions concerned Israel and its future. We can see hints of the Church in hind sight, but making the Olivet Discourse about the Church is a mistake.
In verse 9 He talked about the persecution of Jews after the birth pangs but before the end of the age. The falling away is in the context of that persecution so He has to be talking about Jews falling away. Also, the Church will be gone by then because in verse 15 the word “so” means He was backing up to the beginning of the Great Tribulation. In effect, He was saying that the persecution will begin after the introduction of the anti-Christ and that’s why they should flee when they see the Abomination of Desolation.
Concerning Acts 2:17, Peter was using the widest definition of “the last days” to include the entire church age. We know this because he used the prophecy from Joel to justify the disciples speaking in tongues. He said that signs and wonders would be characteristic of this age, from that day (Pentecost) until the 2nd Coming.
But you can’t use Acts 2:17 to justify the Florida “revival”. No where in either Peter’s sermon or Joel’s prophecy is the need for discernment abolished. The Florida revival began with the ascension of a man and ended with the fall of a man, and it was characterized by false doctrine and false claims. This was not of the Lord.