The Falling Away
By Ron Graham
“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… Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”
2 Thessalonians 2:2, 5. Paul had already taught the Thessalonians about the Rapture and the Tribulation period. But something had gone wrong; these folks had received a letter as though it was from Paul telling them that the day of Christ had indeed come. Paul is reiterating to the saints at Thessalonica that the day of Christ had not come and that they had no need to be troubled or shaken of mind. How could Paul be so sure the day of Christ had not come? Because there had to first come a mass rejection of Jesus Christ prior to the Rapture, yet at that point in time people were coming to Jesus in droves, not rejecting Him in mass.
“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;” 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The Thessalonians had to be re-taught in regards to the timing of the Rapture. Paul had to dispel their anxiety, which he did by reminding them that first comes “the falling away” and then the son of perdition (the antichrist) is revealed. The Greek word “apostasia” is translated apostasy in English. Many people think this refers to the body of Christ falling away from the faith, but this cannot be so. It’s impossible for those who have been born again – born from God – to lose, reject, walk away, fall away, or in any way be removed as a child of God. Thus “the falling away” must point to some other segment of society.
This “apostasia” Paul speaks of refers to the mass rejection of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord in the last days by earth’s populous. The words in the KJV are “a falling away” but the correct translation from the original Greek language is “the falling away” which is how this verse is rendered in the NKJV. It’s an event that has a preset timing. It’s most damaging occurrence and consequence will be just prior to the Tribulation. The Ekklesia of Christ has been witnessing this rejection of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for some time. Only now, since we are at the end of this age, the rejection of Jesus Christ will become massive in scale.
The falling away which is to occur in the last days is indeed a major sign but is not the only sign that will signal the Tribulation is at hand. Paul goes on to say that the day of Christ will not occur until the son of perdition (the antichrist) is revealed. This too will occur prior to the Tribulation. Just who that person is would be purely conjecture at this point. I’d dearly love to point to a few I believe would make prime candidates. But I digress.
Remember, each of the disciples was shocked when Judas turned on Jesus Christ. They knew him, or they thought they knew him. Judas was with them and Jesus night and day for three years. Yet Judas is the one who betrayed Jesus. Even the most passionate professing Christians can turn on Jesus. Many have already done so.
Apostasy in English means to renounce a thing such as faith. But the way the Greek word is used it actually means to forsake or to revolt/rebel against a thing and in this case it means to rebel against the truth of Jesus Christ. What we are told to expect is that the falling away in the last days will not just continue progressing as in the past, but it will become a substantial movement. This apostasy may well be led by the denominational churches – those embracing the doctrines of men over God’s precepts.
Therefore, what can the adherents to faith in Christ come to expect from a populous that is “in mass” rejecting everything Jesus stands for? Persecution, trials, troubled times, hatred, condemnation from all fronts, and on it goes. Here in the US we have a sitting president who claims to be a Christian yet shows nothing but distain for those of us who diligently follow our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. America’s current president purposely stands diametrically opposed to God at every turn. He was recently re-elected by a populous of very deceived individuals. As a result, Christians stand to lose more now than ever before in regards to our God given rights. If the Lord tarries then within the next four years we should see major signs of apostasy.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed…” 2 Thessalonians 2:6 – 8. Most Bible scholars believe Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit as to the “who” which is withholding the explosion of wickedness upon the earth. The saints of Christ will be removed from earth prior to the revealing of the antichrist. Our attention as followers of Jesus Christ is not to be focused on that particular individual, but on those who are falling away. They are our mission field.
Who are they? They belong to many varying aspects of society. For example the fastest growing religion in the word is the religion of Islam; clearly here lies a huge segment of society which has already fallen away. All religions that deny the deity of Jesus Christ, all cults, the New Agers, the Spiritualists, those who contact the demonic spirit world; and anyone else aligned with any of the above are all a part of what the Bible speaks of as the “apostasia”. It won’t just be those who blatantly deny there is a God, but the falling away will involve all those who deny the death, burial, and resurrection of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Every year we, the Ekklesia of Christ, shrink in numbers as the “apostasia” grows. The overall general description of the last days’ congregation is described for us in the book of Revelation. “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8. The saints sojourning on earth just before Christ takes us home are those who Jesus is referring to in the above verses. In the original Greek the word for strength is “dynamis” and although it can mean strength such as in God’s “power” it can also mean strength as in “numbers”. Jesus can’t be referring to power such as the power of God or strength such as a mighty man’s strength because of the context of the verse. In the context of Revelation 3:8 the word “little” is used as a clarifier to the word strength. Little in the Greek is “mikros” and in this context it speaks of quantity: i.e. number, amount. Therefore Jesus must be referring to the ever shrinking numbers of His followers. The last days’ saints will be of little strength, in numbers that is, thus the falling away will have had a massive influence on this world’s populous.
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie;” Revelation 3:9. Who is it that says they are Jews? I’ll give you a hint. Their founder was Joseph Smith. Yes, Mormons. Don’t believe me? Do your own research, discover the facts for yourself. Mormons believe they are the lost tribes of the Israelites – Jews. Jesus says they are of the synagogue of Satan, He calls them liars. These, too, will be part of the falling away crowd as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and all the rest that deny the deity of Jesus Christ. But that’s not all.
There will be many professing Christians (in name only) who will also be included in the falling away crowd. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” Revelation 3:14-15. These Laodiceans were not merely lacking in their love of Christ but they were so full of themselves they felt no need for a Saviour. Although they kept the name Christian they were not Christ’s possession. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16. Jesus wasn’t merely unhappy with their lack of faith; these folks had no faith in the One who died for them. Therefore our Lord tells them He will vomit them out of His mouth, which in the Greek is even more descriptive than in our English. Jesus is pronouncing a judgment upon this apostate congregation. These folks are the same as those Jesus addresses in Matthew 7:21. Even though they performed many wonderful works in the name of Jesus Christ, He never knew them. They weren’t and aren’t His.
“I counsel 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.” Revelation 3:18. This is the clincher for the last days’ apostate congregations; they will not have the Holy Spirit sealed within them. They are not clothed in white raiment, their nakedness is their shame. These are “professing Christians” who don’t really know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. They, along with all the rest of the Christ rejecters, are blind to the truth and they will make up the multitudes of people who are falling away from the one true faith.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. Jesus is pleading with these lost souls to open the door and allow Him in. That means He’s not in and among these apostates, but standing outside – outside of their hearts. They, just like all the rest of the Christ rejecters, are being admonished to let Him in before it’s too late. It will be easy to fall in line with these folks; they are quite adept at deceiving the masses.
There are currently massive amounts of people around this world who are part of the falling away movement, which is indicative of the last days. For the rest of us, it won’t be much longer now. Our wait is just about over. Jesus says “…hold fast till I come.” Revelation 2:25. Hold fast to what? “…the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 1:3.
God bless you all,