THE APOSTASY - THE GREAT FALLING AWAY
There are events that must happen before the Rapture. No matter what man says, even preachers; the Bible stands as the truth. The Word of God says there must be time of "falling away,” a time of apostasy, and that the son of perdition, the antichrist must be revealed before the return of the Lord.
Paul explained that "the apostasy" will happen first and then the revealing of the antichrist will happen before the "coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him."
2 Thessalonians 2:1- 4
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Let's break this down a little.
In “our gathering together to Him,” the original word for “gathering together” to the Lord is “episynagoge” which according to Strong's Greek and Hebrew dictionary means a complete collection assembling or gathering together especially for worship.
It is clearly seen that this section of Scripture is in direct reference to the Rapture. Now let's see what it says about this “falling away.”
The word in Greek (from the Strong's Greek and Hebrew dictionary) for “falling away” is “apostasia,” meaning a defection from truth - “apostasy” - falling away, forsake.
So this “falling away,” is a forsaking and deflection from truth. "Deflection" means “changing direction and going away from.”
What would cause people to forsake and walk away from the truth?
It has been said, that if you put “a frog” into a “pot of boiling water,” that it will “leap out right away” to escape the danger. However, if you put a frog, in a kettle that is filled with cool and pleasant water, and then “gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling,” the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late. This is a great analogy shows one of the ways, that Satan draws people way from the truth.
Little by little, wickedness has crept more and more into society. All systems of communication and media have become infected including public education; little by little, inch by inch. It has even crept into the modern church until it seems there is little difference between the people's lives who call themselves Christians and those who do not.
What are some of the devil's tools from his bag of tricks?
Here are some we can see in the world around us. Deception is such a global problem, that one can hardly know which media report to believe. Without consciences, more people are willing to deceive others for whatever their personal or corporate agendas are. Political correctness is like adult peer pressure. People live in fear of offending someone; and will not speak out at times when the truth needs to be stood for. Silence is consent. Temptation is alive and well and more available than ever. Desensitization to sin from the “little by little” technique has happened and is still going on in epidemic proportions. "Self matters," the "me, me me" attitude is out of control. Whatever is important to "me" should be important to everyone. My wants, my needs, my group, my race, my rights including to sin etc. - there is an epidemic of "me, me, me." No doubt, there are many more "tools" in his bag of tricks but these are some of his "oldie but goodies" used since the fall in the Garden.
The Lord says, “to be friends with the world - is to be at enmity with God.” Human nature is selfish and seeking to "please that nature" is the direct opposite of seeking to please God. Human nature seeks self-gratification and is even righteous in its own eyes. The darkness in this world, both of humans and of the devil and company, hate the Light and are getting bolder and bolder in showing that hate.
Why do people not recognize this evil agenda and the toll it is taking?
No matter what bag of tricks the devil draws from, “people who reject God” are almost defenseless to recognize the pitfalls that snare them...The Lord made a system and it goes like this. Each person is born with the heart to eventually choose God and His goodness or reject Him. Everyone is called (it is like the parable Jesus gave about the wedding feast). As a person lives, if they are open to God and the Light, they will have “reasoning;” the kind of reasoning that can lead a person to salvation as the Holy Spirit leads, guides, convicts of sin and helps a person to salvation and know the real truth, Jesus Christ Himself.
But If, as person goes, they eventually reject God and goodness, they will lose whatever reasoning they had. God is wisdom; to reject wisdom is to choose foolishness. This happens whether the person realizes what they are doing or not. Does it make them stupid by worldly standards? Not necessarily. Sales, politics, the corporate world, false science, etc. are all built on the use of selfishness where a person may be a great achiever. But when it comes to recognizing the truth about morality, truth and being able to hear the Holy Spirit (who is God, who is wisdom) they will be void of the ability. This is why a person “cannot reason with a fool” or “argue with someone and them ever hear the truth about God.” If a person is in the process of coming to the Light, they may be somewhat open to truth and wisdom. And those people are reachable. This is why a person witnessing, needs the direction of the Holy Spirit. Words alone save no one. And people not open to God will never hear. Only the Holy Spirit knows all. And if a person goes by His direction about when to speak and on what to say, that is wisdom. It may even be that God knows they won't use what they hear today, but one day, God will take what they heard and use it then.
We have a dark planet and growing darker.
This apostasy is what happened before the Flood and at the Tower of Babel. As people continue "to choose" to believe the lies of the devil and darkness, moral “reasoning” will diminish. Many people "playing church" or who are not "truly grounded" in the Lord and His Word, will be sucked into the deception of Satan that is coming more and more in greater measure.
As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy chapter 4, that many will "turn their ears away from the truth." In order for Christians to "make it," they need to be serious about their relationship with God and personally grounded in His Word.
When Jesus instructed John write the Book of Revelation, the first thing the Lord did was establish His love and authority and then sought to get His church in order through His letters to the seven churches by rebuke, exhortation and encouragement. In order to make it through hard times and the deception of this world; in order to make it to heaven, a person needs to be 100% sold out and right with God and not compromising with the world.
To what level will the deflection from the truth be?
Huge. How big will the deception be? Huge. So huge that even some of the elect will fall. Tremendous deception is here already and even more is coming. We must stay close to God to be able to hear the Holy Spirit and keep sharp discernment, in order not to be fooled.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish"
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
“Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold,” what does this mean?
When deception and iniquity increase, people hurt each other. Without Christ, when evil is allowed to further itself, much hurt and hate will come from it. Like the old saying says, "it's not going to be pretty."
2 Timothy 3:1-5
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!"
The delusion is coming because people "refuse the love of the truth" which is the result of loving darkness more than light.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 -12
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
The normal way God works is that when a person wants something or someone more than Him and His righteousness, if they keep rejecting wisdom in their situation, then they are given over to it. If they love the wrong more than the right, if they would rather have the lie more than the truth then the person is given over to their choices. A person will never be able to "truly move forward" until they realize that their choice of "whatever or whoever it was" was wrong to make; to have it come between them and God. People whose hearts are able to hear God, to rightly turn to Him, many times will realize the error of their ways. People whose hearts are selfish and brazenly against God, who have shut their spiritual ears to God's voice, will become more hardened. To love God first and foremost is the greatest commandment and the only way to live. To live any way less than having God first is the biggest mistake anyone can ever make.
Even in Christians, if a person wants to believe "a certain sin or choice is not harmful," if they "want the sin or their choice" more than "to not sin or do the right thing," then they will fall. It is not that God wants people "to fall or not be saved." It is that "people who choose to love darkness more than light," cannot be saved. Only when a person is willing to turn from darkness to the Light, is help and salvation possible. And only when a person stays that way, will they stay saved.
Please read this next section of Scripture about the fate of those of "mankind" who reject God and His goodness. Please also realize that this not only happens "corporately," but also "individually."
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
This is what happens when people as societies (and individuals) reject God. If they do not turn back to God, then eventually God gives them over to their own wickedness. This is happening on a large scale and eventually will be global. Christians who truly love the Lord have to hold on. By not going down the dark road with them, it will bring persecution but so be it. We must hold on to our Lord and He will hold on to us.
Here are other verses about wickedness of the last days:
"To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work."
1 Timothy 4:1-3
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."
2 Timothy 4:1-4
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
2 Peter 3:3-7
"that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
”But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
This world can mock God for now, even blaspheme Him, but there will come a day of reckoning. For everyone that chose or will choose against God, all will have to face Him. The time of apostasy is sure; a global deflection from God and His ways. But praise God, the end is also sure.
"The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”
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Copyright 2015 E. Cockrell May be used for personal study or instruction but shall not be copied and/or distributed in whole or part without permission or for financial profit.