“Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT DAY (capitals mine) shall not come, except there come A FALLING AWAY FIRST (capitals mine), and that man of sin (anti-christ) be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the (then rebuilt 3rd) temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”
2 Thessalonians 2:3-5
There are two primary interpretations of the Scripture above. The first is the phrase “…falling away”, which some interpret that it refers to the Rapture and secondly, to others that it is talking about people who will “fall away” from Christian belief in the Bible. I find it interesting, if you read the footnotes to Tim LaHaye’s Prophecy Study Bible he discusses the fact the Greek word “apostesia” was translated in the first SEVEN English translations of the Bible as an actual “physical departure”, aka the Rapture. For some unknown reason however, the translators of the KJV of the Bible later called it a “…falling away” or rebellion. Of course, if it is correct as a physical departure, that gives immediate credibility to the belief of the physical Rapture of Believers prior to the “…man of sin” (anti-christ) being revealed either at the signing the 7 year covenant between the Jews and the Palestinians or at the Abomination of Desolation (midway through the 7 year Tribulation period). In other words, we can be certain as we are clearly told in the Bible “…that day”, the Glorious Return of Jesus Christ to this earth, WILL NOT happen until after either the Church is Raptured and/or after the anti-christ is revealed.
But, maybe both are correct!
As I have stated before on numerous occasions, I firmly believe the true Believers in Jesus, both dead and alive, will be Raptured prior to the beginning of the Tribulation (Revelation 3:10) escaping the wrath soon to come, but for the purpose of this article I wanted to cover how the Christian Church today is also in an absolute free fall from the Bible and its teachings. As I discussed a few months ago in Have You Ever Attended a Laodicean Church? Hopefully, you never will!!, there are striking similarities to the “Christian” church of today versus the last of the seven churches listed in Revelation 2 & 3 which gives us the symbolic types of churches existing throughout the church age of the last 2,000 years.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou art cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel (advise) thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich: and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: BE ZEALOUS THEREFORE, AND REPENT (capitals mine).“
No question here Jesus is referring to a Christian church in name only. They proclaim to teach and believe the Bible as the Holy Word of God but in their actual actions and words they are “…lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot.” Jesus called them out 2,000 years ago for their pathetic, non-Biblical teachings. He wants them to be intense and vibrant in their Holy proclamations. But, they are not!
While I believe most of us are well aware of the above Scripture, it really came home to roost with me lately when a recent study was released. Since most of the world is still in a lockdown, self quarantining, social distancing environment, many are relying on watching church services on TV on Sundays from the isolation of our homes. The study was shocking! To fully understand how comparative the church today is to the Laodicean church we must first understand the entire Bible. The entire Holy Word of God as written, is approximately one third prophetic. Yet, with the many signs occurring in the world today which point directly to those prophecies God gave us, of the 450 online sermons reviewed, only 2% discussed prophecy! Let that sink in for a moment. Only nine out of four hundred and fifty sermons reviewed discussed prophecy! God told His prophets what would happen in the Last Days so we can all be prepared. One third of His Word is prophetic but the church is only teaching prophecy 2% of the time! If prophecy is so important to God to teach us His Plan, why are we not teaching it to all others?
“And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it come to pass, ye might believe.”
Here Jesus was telling His disciples about His coming death and resurrection. He was prophesying to them so when they actually saw Him coming back after His death and burial, they might believe. By its very nature, Bible prophecy fulfillment PROVES God is real. Can you imagine if the disciples brushed His comments aside and did not tell others all what He had told them? Jesus would probably tell them they were lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. It would show they did not take His Word for how it was intended. So, how is that different than today if the churches are NOT teaching prophecy and its application in our lives today? Of course Satan DOES NOT want anyone to study prophecy or teach prophecy because the very nature of God’s Word proclaims He is Truthful in telling all what He wants us to know. Satan doesn’t want that and so his influence has not only kept people who call themselves Christian from discovering God’s Ultimate Plan, but it can belittle what the Bible actually says. This then promotes Satan’s agenda of lies and deception. Without Christian taught Bible prophecy, the Bible is no more credible than other religion’s “prophecies”. Does Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism have a 100% history of fulfilled prophecies? NO! Only the Holy Bible does which therefore again gives absolute credibility to the proof of God.
A LifeWay Research poll found that while a large majority of Americans (85%) “call” themselves Christians, only 15% agree with the core principals stated in the Bible. Furthermore, 80% of those proclaiming to be Christian DO NOT EVEN BELIEVE the Bible is the Holy Word of God, but rather was inspired and written by man. Incredible!
A recent Barna Poll says that 51% of people interviewed believe in a Biblical view of God. This is down from an astounding 73% only 30 years ago. And, the decline is speeding up!
The Pew Research study below is shocking! In just the past 10 years (2009 to 2018/2019) look at what has happened to people by various demographics of Americans claiming to be Christian. In almost every case fewer people are claiming to be Christian while those who now list themselves as “religiously unaffiliated” has grown. For example, 12% of men no longer see themselves as Christian while 10% more men see themselves as unaffiliated:
The Pew Research poll fits directly with the prophecy of 2 Timothy 3:1-7:
“This knows also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, UNHOLY (capitals mine), without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures MORE THAN LOVERS OF GOD (capitals mine); having a form of godliness, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF (capitals mine): from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH (capitals mine).”
This prophecy, while appearing to be talking about the Tribulation instead is referring to the Last Days of the Church when apostasy will be rampant. We are warned to “…turn away” from the false teaching, lukewarm nature of this church. Here Timothy is talking directly and succinctly to the very last Church of the church age. He constantly rebukes them for basically walking away from belief in Jesus, for being more concerned with personal wealth. He tells them to come back to Jesus so they may in fact “…be rich”. And then he warns them that while God loves them, He will “…rebuke and chasten” them. His final warning to them is to “…be zealous and repent”! Whether it be COVID-19, economic uncertainty, wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. God gives us every prophecy we need to know, if we will only study His Word, the Holy Bible. Unfortunately for many, the picture below sums it up better than I could ever articulate!
The comforting aspect of these polls as well as the recognition I hope we all have is that there still is a path, a stairway to Heaven for all who simply accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and ask Him for forgiveness of their sins. His Death and Resurrection was for each and every one of us if we only accept His pardon of our sins. That is so comforting and I only hope you are also comforted by His sacrifice and do as we are all told and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”
May God Bless you as we prepare for the Day of the Lord!
Great piece. I totally agree.
The Greek word from which we get the word apostacy is MISinterpreted to mean the rapture. Its usage in the New Testament always references a departure from a proper framework. An example would be the accusation against Paul the Apostle that he was urging Jews to apostacize from the Torah. In 2nd Thessalonians, Paul begins to speak about the Day of Christ and our gathering unto Him. So it would be schizophrenic for Paul to basically say, That day of the Rapture shall not come until the Rapture happens first. No, it’s a departure from the faith given once and for all to the saints.