Before the second coming of Christ, the Bible is clear there will be a “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Many Christians believe there will come a massive revival before the rapture, but the Scripture does not back up that belief. The verse most often cited for the “revival before the rapture” thought is Matthew 24:14. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
A few things here – the rapture is not the end and comes before the Tribulation Period. The Bible speaks of a massive revival during the Tribulation Period (see Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4). Lastly, the verse cited, Matthew 24:14, within the chapter’s narrative, falls within the Tribulation Period. Therefore, the revival comes after the rapture, during the Tribulation Period, and before Christ’s second coming.
The falling away is two-fold. There is a falling away by the church and also by the world. Since space requirements prevent the discussion of both, we will concentrate on the falling away by the church, God’s people.
As Paul wrote the Thessalonians informing them of the falling away to come, he details the coming apostasy in other passages.
1 Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.“
Scoffers will note, correctly, that these things have happened since the beginning of time. I am also sure that Timothy must have experienced these problems with people in his lifetime – so what makes the difference? Paul emphasizes here that these things happen “in the latter times.”
There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), so there must be something different about these things and “the latter days.” The difference is the same as in Jesus’ sign of earthquakes. The earthquakes and these events will happen more frequently and with higher intensity.
Let us now look at the warning of the great falling away.
From the verses above –
Departing from the faith. The Bible explains the dividing line between the Spirit of God and the spirit of Antichrist is the deity of Christ (1 John 4:3). It takes faith in the sacrificial death of Christ for salvation – I am a sinner, Christ died for my sins, and his blood washes my sins away. If Jesus Christ is not God, His death is worthless. If Jesus is not God, his blood has no more power in it than mine or yours. The deity of Christ is essential to the Christian faith and the Christian hope for eternity.
People claiming Christianity are leaving the doctrine of Christ’s deity in leaps and bounds. In a survey from Christianity Today, published in October 2018, 78% of “Americans with evangelical beliefs” said that “Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father.”
If God created Jesus, He is not God. The deity of Christ is the core of the Christian faith. Suppose the numbers of this survey are close to accurate. In that case, the Christian faith, as outlined in the Bible, is nearly evaporated.
Giving heed to seducing spirits.
When Satan seduced Eve to eat the fruit in the garden, the first thing he did was put doubt in her mind about the Word of God. “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1)
Seducing spirits have placed doubt about the inerrancy of the Scripture ever since. From a Gallop poll released in May 2017, only 30% of Americans claiming Christianity believed the Bible to be the “actual word of God.” The percentage of Christians believing the Scripture is the Word of God is not much higher than the American population in general, which is twenty-four percent.
“In the latter times,” people will depart from the faith, give heed to seducing spirits, not endure sound doctrine. We now see slightly more than 3 of 4 Christians denying the deity of Christ and 7 of 10 not believing the Bible is the Word of God; can we safely say we are in the “latter times?”
The answer is yes.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Website: www.preachers-point.com; Email: email@example.com; Mail: 410 S. Jefferson St. Rockville IN 47872. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Timothy-Preacher-Johnson-101171088326638.