As we watch the relentless downward spiral of global society, we recall that biblical prophecy states that the latter days would be marked by a collapse of faith, morality, and ethics.
The question we’re now asking ourselves is, where are we now as per bible prophecy? The book of Daniel and Revelation specifically reveals prophetic messages that will guide us as we Journey into the future.
This paper will seek to focus on one of the signs of the coming of our Savior Jesus in 2 Thessalonians 2 called the great ‘FALLING AWAY’.
The term ‘falling away’, or as it is called in some texts, ‘apostasy’ or ‘lawlessness’ means; to depart from revealed biblical truth, to lead away, seduce, mislead; to defect, to blind the eyes of the people by manipulating the truth; to turn one from the truth by lying signs and wonders. This is the devil’s final strategy that will lay the foundation for the unveiling of bible prophecy.
As we draw closer to the end of times, Satan will create a deter that will divert the minds of millions from the word of God.
He has a well-crafted strategy that is aimed at disturbing the work of God and his people. Hence, he and his counterparts are escalating their work as we speak to thwart the work of God, especially the spreading of the biblical truth.
The Bible counsels us that lawlessness will abound and love for God will decline dramatically as we approached the end times before the coming of our Savior (Mathew 24:12). This is a crucial point to ponder as we tread the edges of eternity.
There will be a great shaking time that will test the core of our faith and a lot of professed Christians will diverge from the biblical truth. Second Thessalonians 2:3 further warns us of this great falling away by saying, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
Verse 4 further gives us a description of who the son of perdition is, he is the one “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.”
It is important to note that the revealing of the one who stands in opposition to the law of God must happen first. His plans and how he executes them will be brought to the surface and those who are guided by the truth will know when that happens.
We have to carefully study the scriptures through the leading of the Holy Spirit to know and be sure of that biblical truth. God’s word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives will aid us to discern the plans of the devil that is executed in our societies today.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 further reiterates the condition of the world in these end times by saying, “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
When Humanity rejects the teachings of His word, God withdraws His Spirit and leaves them to the deceptions which they love. In other words, those who are stubborn, ignorant, and blind to the word of God will be led astray.
During this time, false prophets will arise and will deceive even the very elect, or those who claim to have known the truth (Mathew 24:24). In fact, apostasy will lay the foundation for the revealing of the beast (son of perdition) in Revelation 13 and its counterparts whose strategy is to wage war against God, his law, and his followers.
Revelation 13:13-14 expressed this in symbolic prophetic language this way, “And he doeth great wonders so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had the power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that THEY SHOULD MAKE AN IMAGE TO THE BEAST, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
It is important for Christians to be aware that apostasy in the church will prepare a way for the formation of the ‘image of the beast” (Revelation 13:13-14) which is a new organization that will carry out the work of the first beast (sea beast) in Revelation 13. The first beast represents the church in the medieval period that departed from the pure biblical truth and compromise with circular power to enforce its human dogmas.
History reveals that when the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power.
The result was a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of heresy as they claimed. Heresy to them is when a believer is not obeying the dogmas that they enforce. Hence, we have the period of the dark ages where millions of bible believing Christians are persecuted and slaughtered for their faith.
Revelation 13:15 reveals that history will repeat itself in our time as we approach the end-time and the soon appearance of Jesus. Therefore, we need to be guided by the word of God as we seek to follow the will of God and be a witness of his truth to others before it is too late!
A lot of Christians today are worried about the mark of the beast when the COVID-19 vaccines are introduced. Some even went as far as attaching the COVID-19 vaccines with the diabolic number 666. One thing for sure is that the COVID-19 vaccinations have nothing to do with the mark of the beast or our salvation for that matter.
This is because this speculative assumption cannot be proven in the bible. It is misleading to assume that the COVID-19 vaccine is the mark of the beast as that is unbiblical. In other words, the legitimacy of Covid 19 Vaccination as the diabolic number 666 is not supported exegetically and historically.
The mark of the beast in Revelation 13 cannot be interpreted literally. The symbolism in the Book of Revelation has allusions to the Old Testament.
A diligent Bible student pursuing this study further will discover that the Mark of the beast is much deeper than the COVID-19 vaccinations. It involves a system of worship that stands in contradiction to God’s system of worship.
The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic does not involve worship and loyalty to God. It is difficult to see any religious element in it at all. It does have the potential to touch on matters of personal freedom, but this is not the same as matters of worship and practice of religious belief.
The Bible counsels us that the enforcement of the mark of the beast which has to do with worship will not happen until there comes a falling away first and that the son of perdition (beast/its image) be revealed (2 Timothy 2:3-4, Revelation 13:13-18).
The numerous Old Testament prophecies about the Day of the Lord will impact the Earth like a string of dominoes, propelling an unprecedented series of catastrophes that will radically alter life on planet Earth. The “falling away” hasn’t happened yet, but we are seeing the platform for it to happen setting before us. But we seem to have arrived at a tipping point when unbelievers in the church outnumber believers.
No man can accurately discern their numbers. But God knows. While we anxiously watch the unveiling of bible prophecy it is important that we are guided by biblical truth and earnestly seek to allow scripture to interpret itself rather than imposing our human assumptions into the scripture. The safest place to begin is the bible, not the internet, social media, google, or YouTube.
The word of God is “…a lamp unto my feet and a light unto our path” (Psalms 119:105). LET US SEEK TO BE GUIDED BY THE TRUTH, THE GREATER LIGHT, THE BIBLE! Paul writes that the great ‘falling away’ will involve the revealing of “the man of sin…the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
Paul said that this ‘son of perdition’ will claim to be God and will deceive many. Why? He further explained why; “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11). Revelation 13:8 concurs with what Paul said regarding the working and influence of this power by saying that “… all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
It is critical that Christians who genuinely seek to know God’s truth must not turn a blind eye to this biblical truth. Revelation 19:20 describes this powerful religious leader as “the false prophet who worked signs” in connection with the religious leader who is called the “beast.”
The False Prophet is the same as the Beast that comes up out of the sea (Revelation 13:1-3) who will combine efforts with ‘another beast’ that will come ‘up out of the earth’ (Revelation 13:11), which is a symbol of religious powers uniting with political powers to impose dictates aimed at waging the final battle against God and his faithful people who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17). He is also referred to as the leader of the false church (“the harlot”) in Revelation 17:1-5. Furthermore, in the book of Daniel, he is referred to as “a little horn” who will “persecute the saints of God and shall change times and laws (Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:20-22; Daniel 7:24-25).
This biblical description fits in well with history and confirms that this is none other than the papal power. Since its uprising in 538 A.D, it has been a dominant Religious and political power for 1260 years (538-1798). After the fall of the Roman empire, the Papal leaders filled the place of the vacant emperors of Rome, inheriting their power, prestige, and titles from Paganism. Hence, it can be said that the papacy is but a ghost of the deceased Roman empire, sitting crowned upon its grave (Stanley’s History P. 40).
History records that it developed Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, “the mystery of iniquity” carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church.
The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions.
The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.
This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of “the man of sin” foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan’s power–a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will before Jesus comes! Satan once endeavored to form a compromise with Christ.
He came to the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, offered to give all into His hands if He would but acknowledge the supremacy of the prince of darkness. Christ rebuked the presumptuous tempter and forced him to depart.
But Satan meets with greater success in presenting the same temptations to man. To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of the earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan. Satan well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power.
It was by the word that even the Saviour of the world had resisted his attacks. At every assault, Christ presented the shield of eternal truth, saying, “It is written.” To every suggestion of the adversary, He opposed the wisdom and power of the word. In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men, and establish the authority of the papal usurper, he must keep them in ignorance of the Scriptures. The Bible would exalt God and place finite men in their true position; therefore, its sacred truths must be concealed and suppressed.
This logic was adopted by the Roman Church. For hundreds of years, the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it or to have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus, the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with authority over church and state.
History will repeat itself as foretold in the bible in the last days before Jesus comes. The most important sign that must take place before the end is highlighted in Mathew 24:14 which states, ‘…this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
The spreading of the gospel of the Kingdom to all the world will happen amidst great moral decay in our society. In other words, “The Great Falling away” will escalate, especially in the church, that claim to be followers of Christ, as we approach the end times. A new organization will emerge in the midst of apostasy, which will be the final oppressive power that will seek to control all aspects of life here on earth before Jesus Comes. The Bible in Mathew 24:11-12 states, “Then Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Endurance in the biblical truth is what God needs in His church today.
Let us seek to be guided by the word of God as we wait in anticipation for the soon return of Jesus Christ. It won’t be long before Jesus will appear to put an end to sin and its decay! Maranatha!
By David Filo
Solomon Islands SDA Mission