Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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; 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.Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?( @ Thessalonains 2:1-5)
Before the day of the LORD comes, there must come first an apostasy, a falling away from revealed truth, which will lead to the revelation of “the man of sin”, who is the “son of Perdition”.
I have been taught this from the very beginning of my Christian life, and am surer of it than I have ever been. In every apostate movement which I have been exposed to in the forty years of my pilgrimage, I have oft asked my self, ‘is this it?’, ‘is this the great apostasy spoken of in second Thessalonians?’.
I have seen and sough to expose, many distortion of the Christian faith, such as The Word of Faith Movement, the Manifested Sons of God and Latter Rain movement, the various false Prophets which have arisen, the mystical but misguided “River Revivals”, Toronto Blessing, and other forms of “experienced based Christianity’. I have seen revivals of ancient heresies such as Pelagianism, Montanism, and defections from the revelation of the Trinity, such as Oneness Pentecostalism.
A good share of my pastoral ministry has been spent teaching and warning in writing against apostasy of all stripes.
In fact I have come to the point of realizing that in the whole time of my pilgrimage, the entire church World has been utterly rife with Apostasy. WE haven’t even mentioned the sub Christian cults such as Jehovah;s Witnesses and Mormons. It almost seems that we are in a place where true Orthodox Christianity is just one of many, many optional versions of ‘Christian spirituality’.
Taking a step back further, I have come to realize in my studies of Church History, that from the beginning it has always been so, the Apostle Paul warned that shortly after his departure, there would be “grievous wolves’ arising from among his own disciples, ‘not sparing the flock of God’.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.(Acts 20:28-30)
The one lesson I have learned from Church History is that in the face of such distortion and apostasy, it is truly a miracle that there still is a Christian church which is orthodox and true to the gospel. Jesus did say “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not stand against it…”.
In the light of that, and in view of the warning in Thessalonians, I have a question; how would we know that the final apostasy has come, since all of church history is a testimony of constant apostasy? ” The day of the LORD shall not come, until a falling away first…”...Which falling away would that be?
Perhaps we have made a wrong assumption. We have assumed that the ‘falling away’ would be an apostasy among Christians, that they would fall away from the faith into various cults and false movements, (as has been the case since the time of the Apostles).
What if Paul is referring to something a whole lot broader; not just an apostasy of confessing Christians from the revealed truth of the Gospel, but a worldwide apostasy of humanity from things God has revealed to all of mankind.
Such a defection has happened before in the days of the Tower of Babel, and it ended in a catastrophic judgment which separated mankind, to this very day.
My thoughts on this subject were aroused after reading Isaiah 24, and already having been pondering 2 Thessalonians 2. Isaiah 24-27 is called the ‘mini apocalypse’, and it describes the events occurring in the day of the LORD.
Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.(Isaiah 24:1-6)
The Judgment is universal, the earth staggers , all classes of people are afflicted. The earth itself is seen as being morally sensitive, it mourns, languishes and fades away under the heavy curse put upon it.
The people of the earth are charged with specific crimes, “They have transgressed the laws”, “changed the ordinance” and “Broken the everlasting covenant”.
What are these laws and ordinances? What would the everlasting covenant consist of?
I do not believe this to be reference to the Law of Moses, nor to the New Covenant, for these are chargeable to all of the people of the earth, not just Jews and Christians.
What he is talking about here is a universal apostasy, a rebellion against something God has put into the hearts of all mankind, from Creation itself. This is Primal Law, ordinances for all of humanity to live by… the everlasting covenant.
It goes back to the earliest chapters of Genesis, from chapter 1 to chapter 11, the account of the Babel rebellion, the earliest “World Apostasy”. In those early chapters, starting at chapter One, God establishes everything necessary for all of mankind to be able to live. I quote from my book, Creation,Fall and The Hope Of Redemption,
“Genesis 1-11 contains a divine revelation of all that is basic to a true understanding of man; his world, his fall into sin and alienation from God, his present lost condition, and the possibility of his salvation.
It contains truths that are universal, in that they apply to all men, and not just to the church or to Israel. All men are created in the image of God, (though we have shattered and distorted that image). All men share in the sin of Adam, and have original sin. Marriage is for all people, male and female.
Genesis 1-11 is truth. In other words, it is reality. The hu- man race truly did all descend “from one blood” as Paul told us in Acts 17. There are truly God-given roles for male and female to live out, and marriage is an objective reality, not a
mere social construct. There really was a worldwide Flood, which altered the geography, lifespan, and the weather pat- terns of the earth.
A civilization which has been largely based upon the acceptance and recognition of these primal truths cannot help but flourish for it is based upon reality. The extent to which any human enterprise is based upon reality, i.e., “true truth” as Francis Schaeffer used to call it, is the extent to which it will prosper.
The Judeo-Christian West has flourished for centuries, expanding and developing into the greatest, most powerful, secure, prosperous beneficial civilization which have ever existed. The West’s liberal, democratic republics have afforded to the most people, the greatest freedoms ever known to any on earth.
But now the West is dying.
The second psalm is a prophecy, which explains it all so
well. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us (Psalm 2).
The expression, “kings of the earth and the rulers”, should not be understood to refer only to our government officials. The phrase refers rather to all of the leaders in education, government, religion, academia, the intellectuals, news and media, the opinion shapers and molders, and entertainers, who have achieved among themselves a remarkable con- sensus.
Our ruling elites, the so called “kings of the earth and the rulers”, have for too long “taken counsel together against the Lord and His Christ”. Where have they taken this godLess counsel? In my view, they have been taken it for the past eighty years or so to the institutions of higher learning.
It is for many of us an all too familiar story. You scrimp and sacrifice to send a son or daughter to the university. They come home after the first semester saturated with “environmental awareness”. By the end of the first year they have adapted progressive notions about economics, taxes and “social justice”. Eventually they are holding to feminist positions and hate America. After about four years, if the brainwashing does its work, they are virulently anti-Israel,
The psalmist predicted that the ruling class elite, would launch a misguided liberation movement against the very foundations that undergird our blessed and once prosperous societies. They preach, “Let us break their bands asunder . . . let us cast aside their cords.”
Whose bands? The Lord and His Anointed (Christ)! Whose cords? Has the Lord and His Messiah put us in bond- age? Are their societal cords that have been cut and cast aside?
I believe that one of the evils of our day and the reason for our rapid societal decline has been this very thing. Our elites are in rebellion against reality! They are leading a “liberaation movement” against Judeo-Christian moral teaching, seeking to throw it all out!
They are repudiating, everything that Genesis 1-11 says about reality, point by point.
The Creator……………………………………………………Worship the creation God Created everything…………. Impersonal time & chance; evolution
Man made in God’s image.……………………Man as highly evolved animal Man as steward of the earth ……………. Man as blight/disease on earth
Marriage; male and female ….. Sexual anarchy; decide for yourselves Two distinct gender roles ……………………….Gender as a mere construct
“Be fruitful and multiply” ……. ZPG; Children as an unwanted burden
Every seed bearing fruit…………………………..Genetically modified “seed”
Death penalty for murder………….No death penalty (except abortion)
Man to spread out & subdue the earth ……………………………….Earth to be protected from man’s destruction
Nations of the world to be separated …………………. The United Nations
You are allowed to eat meat ……………………………………………Vegetarianism
I could go on and on. It seems like man has repudiated everything that God ordained for man in Genesis 1-11.
Our atheistic leadership elites are trying to remake the world in their own image, which is a godless utopia. But this puts us all on a collision course with the God of the Bible, who has His own purpose for this world.”