More than ever we live in the reality of 2Thessalonians 2, which refer to the great falling away or rebellion or in other words.
The Greek word translated “rebellion” or “falling away” in verse 3 of the Scripture is apostasia, from which we get the English word apostasy. It refers to a general defection from the true God, the Bible, and the Christian faith. Every age has its defectors, but the falling away at the end times will be complete and worldwide within the church first. The apostasy is also referred to in the KJV as the “falling away,” while the NIV and ESV call it “the rebellion.” And that’s what an apostasy is: a rebellion, an abandonment of the truth. The end times will include a wholesale rejection of God’s revelation, a further “falling away” of an already fallen world.
Apostasy means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.” In the context of 2 Thessalonians, this refers to the rebellion within the church, for the simple reason the world cannot fall away from faith when you are not in the position of faith.
Who can argue that we have not already seen an abandonment of the Truth of the Lord? Doctrines on Jesus Only, Universalism, Hyper Grace along with the Word and Faith Movement abound, leading people further down a path of spiritual darkness and confusion. The Holy Spirit has been shunned, and so has sound doctrine. The church has been totally engulfed by moral relativism, humanism and secularism as it continues to be also moulded, influenced and shaped by religious and tradition perspectives and outlooks.
We are living in the time of the Emerging Church movement, where it is about adapting to the times and the culture in order to be relevant. Yet adapting has become nothing more than the practice of conforming and compromising. And so many of the ‘faith’ have opted for tolerance and acceptance in the name of love, yet at the same time we violate God’s Truth and eternal principles. For this reason same sex marriages, abortions and tattoos are all condoned. Church worship looks like a rock concert, as we sway to the music, caught up the hypnotic hype, left confused and dazed if we were truly in the presence of God or just caught up by our own emotions.
This is a time where we opt for openness and transparency without repentance, tolerance at the cost of dismissing holiness and acceptance of all at the cost of mocking the Lord. Yes, we are all sinners, and we are caught to reach out to the broken and the lost, yet sin cannot be tolerated, condoned or even promoted.
We forget God never changes, and His truth and eternal laws never change. And so we continue to fall in the trap of humanism, secularism, and condoning the ways of the world. This movement of love is not about placing God at the centre, but man takes the centre stage. It is similar to the Flower Power movement of the 1960s where acceptance and tolerance covered up all sin. Yes, love does cover up all sins, but this speaks of a love we have for the Lord whose love for us shone bright on the cross when He shed His Blood for our redemption. And such a show of love we cannot mock, yet we do so if we condone the sin that was covered by the Blood.
Only the Truth of Jesus will set people free. Therefore not the diluted, changed or altered Gospel. We may continue to be seeker friendly, never rocking the boat or never offending, but as we continue on this path, we also become seeker friendly to the devil. The devil still roams like a lion, and he shall still devour those whom open the door to his malicious intent. Yes, we shall seek and we shall find the Lord, but in our mockery, in our rebellion and in our abandonment of sound doctrine we shall also find the serpent.
We read in 2Thessalonians 2: 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Paul reminds us that the coming of the Lord will only follow the great falling away, which will pave the way for the coming of the last Antichrist. And we are reminded that such a worker of the devil comes after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
We are also left with the following sobering truth: 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The word heresy comes from a Greek word meaning a self-chosen opinion, or a choice. We live in a time where we can all decide and choose. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Verse 11 speaks of those who choose to believe a lie instead of the truth. And this is the mark of the apostasy. Many within the church will CHOOSE to believe a lie instead of truth. And no, we cannot blame the pastor or anyone else if we walk in deception. We are all called to test all things or all spirits, to test the word and to walk in Truth by being led by the Spirit. Yes, we all have a choice, just as the false prophets on Mount Carmel had a choice.
Paul’s writing to the church in Thessalonica is reflected in Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Indeed, God shall not be mocked but this is happening all around us, all the time. This is the time we are living in. A time of the great falling away. A time of apostasy and rebellion. Paul writes in Galatians 1: 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 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.
Indeed, cursed are those who preach any other doctrine except the ones preached by the Apostles, most of who learned directly from the Lord when He walked the earth. And the apostasy and heresies will only get worse.
More than ever the Lord has revealed that the levels of apostasy and even heresy within churches will continue to intensify and leave many utterly shocked at the levels of depravity and falling away from truth.
These will truly be the days of 1 Kings 18 where one prophet stood in the presence of God, opposing 850 false prophets. These are the days of 1 Kings 22, where the king of Judah and the king of Israel received false word from 400 ‘prophets’, with only one true servant of God speaking the truth of the Lord.
Yes, these are such days says the Lord.
More than ever we will be witnessing the apostasy as spoken by Paul. It is the levels of outright rebellion as seen in Ezekiel 8.
So terrible will be apostasy within the church that indeed, we will be left shocked, and the apostasy and the rebellion will done with greater arrogance, and with greater aggression. Yet nothing is new under the sun – this is a call for great discernment.
The occasion of Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians was to correct some of the errors concerning the end times that the believers had heard from false teachers. Among the falsehoods was that “the day of the Lord has already come” (verse 2). The Christians in Thessalonica were afraid that Jesus had already come, they had missed the rapture, and they were now in the tribulation. Paul had already explained the rapture to them in his first letter (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17). Paul writes his second letter to assure them that, contrary to what they had heard, and despite the persecution they were enduring, the “day of Christ” had not yet come.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul therefore makes it clear that the day of the Lord, a time of worldwide judgment (Isaiah 13:6; Obadiah 1:15), will not transpire until two things happen. First, the falling away, or great apostasy, must occur. Second, the “man of lawlessness” must be revealed, he who is called the “son of perdition,” also known as the Antichrist.
Peter of course also spoke about the coming apostasy/falling away in 2 Peter 2: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
The King James Version speaks of damnable heresies and the NIV speaks of destructive heresies. Whatever the correct translation, it is destructive or damnable. So Peter was saying that we need to be aware of false teachers and false prophets who introduce a ‘truth’ that will be destructive and even damnable. Remember, the word “heresies” in this above Scripture means “to choose” in Greek. It carries the understanding that when people decide they will believe in a false doctrine it is by their own free will.
Shocking as it is, apostasy will abound in churches because of free will and because of a choice. On Mount Carmel, Elijah cried out to the prophets to choose whom they would serve, yet he was met with silence. Just so the indifference in churches among believers are deafening, as we remain lukewarm and silent to the butchering of God’s Truth but those who mind not to be cursed.
Something that is destructive cannot be taken lightly. We cannot read in the Bible that something is destructive, and just mark that off or think it doesn’t matter. Peter speaks to the reality of false prophets and false teachers. Their work is destructive; they not only do not edify, they destroy and they tear down. And this is the work of apostasy, and the work of rebellion which is like the sin of witchcraft.
According to Peter, these false teachers and preachers will bring in something within the church that is destructive. And this is already happening at an alarming rate. False prophets and false teachers will and are introducing something that is destructive, bringing upon those involved swift destruction. It involves shame, exploitation and condemnation. This is not something you can just overlook. This is not a simple difference in opinion or judgment or some sincere soul who just hasn’t learned something yet. This is the bringing in of error, that is called “destructive heresies,” and that is deserving of “condemnation.”
This is the apostasy as spoken about by Paul. This is the outright rebellion that will befall the church before the coming of the Lord. And this outright rebellion will become ever so clear. It is already here.