First, I want you to know that my new book HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT IN A WORLD GONE CRAZY has just been received in our office! We are releasing it to our partners and friends now, through the ministry, before it is released to the public on September 17. In fact, I just signed 1,200 copies, and you can get one of those while they last by going to renner.org or by calling our office at 918-496-3213 to purchase your copy. Please let me know what you think of my book when you get it!
This book is different than any book I’ve ever written. It deals specifically with issues that a last-days generation will be forced to face — issues that make this period of time different from any previous generation. I can’t urge you strongly enough to get your copy! But please pray before you read it. In it, I write candidly about delusional thinking in society and in the Church in the very end of the last days. This topic is what I want to address in my letter to you today.
But before I get any further into my letter, I want to THANK YOU for responding so generously as I’ve let you know about a recent opportunity for us to purchase property in Moscow to expand our Russia ministry offices. Real estate in this part of the world is at a premium — for this property to become available adjacent to our existing facility is amazing in itself! But we know God opened this door for us to do some much-needed expansion so we can more effectively minister to the thousands of souls who reach out to us from all over the former Soviet Union. Because of our partners’ generosity, we have received approximately 80 percent of the funds we need to move on this new part of our assignment. Again, I want to say THANK YOU!
It’s not just your generosity toward this expansion project that we’re so grateful for. Every prayer and gift you send to this ministry is helping Denise and me, our family, and our team do what God has asked us to do in Russia and around the world. In reality, we are on the frontlines of battle doing our God-called part, and we are thrilled to be here doing it! But you are supplying what is necessary for us to accomplish this work that is changing so many lives. I simply have no words to adequately express how thankful I am for you.
Today I want to speak about something very important that the Holy Spirit prophesied would occur at the very end of the age — an infiltration of seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. This is what the Holy Spirit foretold in First Timothy 4:1. He sounded this alarm to prevent deception from finding entrance into our lives, into our families — our children and grandchildren — and into our churches. And this message especially applies to those of us living at the conclusion of the age.
First Timothy 4:1 says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” The words “speaketh expressly” are a translation of the Greek word rhetos, which describes something spoken clearly, unmistakably, and vividly or something that is unquestionable, certain, and sure. By using this word rhetos, the Holy Spirit makes His point unequivocally clear. The events that He was about to describe in this verse are definite; they will certainly come to pass. Therefore the Spirit speaks of them in undeniable terms.
In light of this, one could actually translate the verse:
- “Now the Spirit speaks in absolutely clear words….”
- “Now the Spirit speaks in unmistakable terms….”
- “Now the Spirit speaks in the clearest of language….”
The use of the Greek word rhetos makes it categorically plain that what the Holy Spirit is saying is not optional or something that can be altered. He was depicting something very clearly that will take place at the end of the age. Paul delivered the Spirit’s unmistakable message: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith….”
The Holy Spirit forewarned that a dangerous plot will be concocted against the Church at the end of the age. This last-days assault would be so insidious that the Holy Spirit spoke expressly about it — in absolute, clear, vivid, unmistakable, undeniable, definite, and certain terms.
This verse states that this threatening attack will occur in the “latter times.” The word translated “latter” in the King James Version is translated from the Greek word husteros. This word emphasizes the ultimate end or the very last of something. The word “times” is from the Greek word kairos, which in this case depicts a season. When taken together as one complete phrase, these words describe the very last season or the very last period of time.
There is no doubt that the combination of these Greek words describes the very end of the age when nearly no time is left remaining in the last prophetic season. So when this invasion of seducing spirits and doctrines of demons occurs, it is a signal that the very end is upon us, for the Bible clearly prophesies that the very end of the period is the time when this emergence of error is going to transpire in the world and in the Church.
Since these seducing spirits will be working at the end of the age, it means deception and delusion in society and even in certain sectors of the Church will be a key sign that we are near the very end of the age. Jesus made this very clear in His discourse that is recorded in Matthew 24:4 when He said, “…Take heed that no man deceive you.”
The word “deceive” in that verse is translated from a Greek word that means to wander off course. It could depict an individual or even a nation that has wandered off course. It could even describe vast numbers of nations that have veered off course from a moral position they once held to be true. It suggests a moral wandering on a worldwide scale at the close of this period.
This word “deceive” tells us that there will be a mass divergence from time-tested biblical standards at the end of the age. Jesus foretold that a moment was coming when society would move away from the long-affirmed laws of Scripture. Although He enumerated many signs that would indicate the conclusion of the age, Christ declared that this mass divergence from truth — and worldwide moral wandering — would be the first, foremost, or primary sign to alert us that the end was near. That is precisely why He named it first in His list of signs that would authenticate we’ve entered the wrap-up of the age (see Matthew 24:4).
Is this our age?
You know that we are watching moral confusion rage among the nations of the world as never before in our lifetimes. This confusion is perhaps no clearer anywhere than in the debate over gender identity — a manifestation of confusion so severe that it stuns most thinking minds. The culture most of us knew as we were growing up was established on Judeo-Christian values. But now, as the winds of change are blowing, we are watching as the world is rapidly departing from time-tested beliefs and traditions based on these biblical values. As a result of this near abandonment of truth and throwing away of moral foundations, confusion abounds and society is teetering on a treacherous path. The spirit of this world is working furiously to eliminate all remnants of a godly foundation from society and to replace it with a last-days deception that will ultimately usher in a time when the antichrist rules a lost world for a temporary period of time.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul prophesied that a mass deception would occur at the end of the period as a precursor to Christ’s return. According to Scripture, this period of worldwide deception will occur at the “outer rim” of the era — marking a time when delusion will attempt to pervade every realm of society.
First Timothy 4:1 is the Holy Spirit’s way of pointing His prophetic finger into the future to apprise you and me of this forecasted period of error that would emerge in the world and also in the Church in the last season of the Church age. The Spirit was so sober about what He saw happening in that last season that He communicated it in absolute, clear, vivid, unmistakable, undeniable, definite, and certain terms.
This verse continues, “…The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith….”
The word “depart” is a translation of the Greek word aphistemi, which is a compound of two Greek words apo and istimi. The word apo means away, and the word istimi means to stand. But when these two words are compounded, it means to stand apart from; to distance oneself from; to step away from; to withdraw from; to shrink away from. It is the very Greek word from which we derive the word “apostate” or “apostasy.”
This “departing” depicts a departure of a notable sum of people that takes place very slowly, over a period of time, and it pictures a person who changes his position, withdrawing or stepping away from what he or she once believed. This departure occurs so gradually that those who are in the process of departing may not even realize that they are in transition. But little by little, bit by bit, they are transitioning away from what they once believed and adhered to, and are moving in the direction of something very different.
This means the “departing” the Holy Spirit prophesies about in this verse does not refer to a blatant, outright rejection of the faith, though it may eventually lead there. It describes something much more subtle than that. It portrays a slow, almost unnoticeable, step-by-step departure over a period of time. It is a very slow withdrawal and change of position. The verse doesn’t say people will reject the faith; it says they will depart from the faith. There is a great difference between rejecting the faith and departing from the faith. Rejecting is deliberate; departing is usually unintentional.
Why “some” are departing from the faith is not stated in this verse. However, the reason is implied. It says they shall depart from the faith, “…giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
Because the words “giving heed” are used in connection with the activity of seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, it provides the answer to what external influence is leading these people in a new direction. The Holy Spirit tells us that some believers at the end of the age will be seduced by a demonic influence that will lead them to open their minds to doctrines and systems of thought that are a departure from what they previously attested to be truth. Rather than stick with the scriptural truth that was so foundational to their lives, some will slacken their grip on what they believe in order to “become more relevant and reach more people.” But this erroneous move toward relevancy will require a disregarding of significant portions of the Bible that address the very issues they’re changing their positions on.
This step-by-step departure from once-held beliefs and convictions is happening in the disguise of open-mindedness, fairness, equality, and even in the name of God’s love. This shift in sexual morals has been seductively evolving over a number of decades. In fact, the transition has occurred so slowly and was so well disguised that those in transition were not even cognizant that a transition was taking place. But the reality is that we are entering a season of moral confusion and destruction due to this slow, methodical, seductive process that has led society off track.
Those of us who are committed to God’s Word must determine that we will not budge from the Bible on key issues and that we will keep our heads on straight on these issues even if the world seems to be going another direction. The Bible has never changed on these subjects. Its teaching has never been altered. But the authority and voice of Scripture are now being called into question by those who downgrade the Bible’s authority, relegate it to the past, and allege that it is no longer entirely applicable in the current environment.
This is what the Holy Spirit prophesied would occur both in society and even among some in the Church at the end of the age. Does this sound familiar and up-to-date to you? Do you see this being fulfilled even among those you know or love?
I want to encourage you to dig in your heels and refuse to budge when it comes to the voice of the Bible in your life. The world is off track and is going further off track all the time. But you and I are to stick with God’s Word regardless of opposing voices. If we’ll stay on track with truth, the Holy Spirit’s power will be released like a river through us as we come closer to the conclusion of this age!
This letter is a little different this month, but I pray it has caused you to perk up and think. We are living at the end of the age. The Holy Spirit did not write this to scare us, but to prepare and give us information that will protect us. That is why I wrote you this letter this month, and it is also why I’ve written my new book HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT IN A WORLD GONE CRAZY.
How I pray that you get your hands on this book! I want you to really read it and let its truths sink down deep in your heart so that your thoughts remain clear and pure amidst this darkened end-times period. But I plead with you again to lay your hands on your head and heart to pray before you read a single page of it! Also, I am seriously asking you to join with me in prayer for God’s Spirit to open the eyes of others who read it — that He will speak to people’s hearts and wake them up, bringing them into the state of spiritual sobriety that is required for them to navigate these last-days waters.
Please let us know how we can be praying for you too. We are already praying for you, but when you let us know exactly how to pray, it simply enables us to pray more effectively! Denise and I and our team are waiting to hear from you.
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families