by Mike Ratliff
1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NASB)
I confess that for many years that 2 Thessalonians 2:3 seemed to me “not to fit” with the Eschatology that I was being fed on a regular basis. I even heard one very well known “Prophecy Expert” say that the “falling away” as some translations say or “apostasy” as the NASB says in v3 was describing the secret Rapture of the Church. Nowadays, with my work in this ministry, it has become apparent to me that more and more of once solid “evangelicals” and their ministries are joining the ranks of the apostate. Not only that, the “quasi-Christians” that once seemed to at least feel guilty because of their fleshly lifestyles are now viewing those of us who remain firmly fixed in our obedience to our Lord as “crazy” or “legalistic” or “judgmental” or even “dangerous.” They seem to have no issue with calling themselves “Christian” while living fleshly, sinful lifestyles. I believe that this move into apostasy that is called “the falling away” or “apostasy” by Paul is well underway.
Here is v3 from the NA28 Greek Text: Μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον. ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας,
In the NASB translation of v3 the word “apostasy” translates the Greek noun ἀποστασία (apostasia). Some English translations render this as “falling away.” In any case, in Greek this is a term used to refer to military, political, or religious rebellion. The context of this passage, however, makes it clear that this is a religious defection. This defection is described as that of following the man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. The way vv3-4 are worded indicates that this “falling away” is a specific event, not a general apostasy. However, the general apostasy that we are seeing now, which in various forms has always existed, is becoming more and more deliberate. The specific event will be the revealing of the man of sin as “god,” however, the drastic apostasy shift we are seeing now could very well be a preparation for the main event in the very near future. This specific falling away or apostasy is “The Great Apostasy” described in 1 Timothy 4.
1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 1 Timothy 4:1-3 (NASB)
The lawless one whom the apostates follow in his self-exhalation as god blasphemously assumes the place of God on earth. That place is reserved for Jesus Christ, but this person usurps that position and declares himself to be god. The growing apostasy that seems to be setting the table for the appearance of the lawless one is awaiting one event that will set the falling away into motion.
5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-7 (NASB)
The term “taken out of the way” means “a stepping aside.” It means that whatever or whoever the restrainer is, is not removed, but simply taken out of the way. This event will happen right as the lawless one is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and this will begin The Day of the Lord. This coincides with the opening of the Seventh Seal on the Scroll in Heaven.
Now, that is the Great Apostasy, or The Falling Away, or the Rebellion. In other posts we have looked at the Scarlet Woman and that the makings of a world religion made up of all religions except for genuine Christianity that is being formed. This world religion will follow after the lawless one who is the Scarlet Beast upon whom the Scarlet Woman rides. Are the building blocks in place for this? I believe we are seeing unprecedented growth in apostasy in our time.
As I posted 1 Timothy 4:1-3 (above) a series of posts on Facebook that I keep running into suddenly stood out in my mind. There is a fellow posting out-of-context scripture attempting to prove that Christians should be Vegans. Of course we are also under a lot of pressure from the ungodly progressives in our society who are making war on God’s design of the family. It is no surprise to me that the same people who are all confused about gender issues are also demanding that we do away with meat consumption. Why? Because of the Climate Change hoax. They are saying that meat production and consumption does damage to the climate stability. These same people are also committed in their pressure on Christians who stand firm on what God’s Word has to say about Men, Women, Marriage and family.
But some would say, “That’s the world, not the Church.” Really? There are large parts of the visible church that are fully onboard with the world’s values about abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBT-etc, veganism, Social Justice, and Climate Change. Of course, most of us write them off as “liberal main-stream churches” who are no longer really Christian, but there are some Christian leaders right now in The Gospel Coalition, the Southern Baptist Convention, etc. that are demanding that Christians stop getting there news from social media and start getting it from the Main Stream Media.
Now why would they want that?
Soli Deo Gloria!