Author’s note: Because I’m convicted that we are so near the time when Jesus will say “Come up hither,” I wanted to again present an article, somewhat revised, from my past commentaries. It is vital that the Church (all born again believers) be aware of the nearness of our Departure.
The Scripture is haunting. It echoes and reverberates throughout the spiritual hallways of the Church with each passing hour.
“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” (1 Tim. 4:1).
This forewarning fits into the last-days pattern, also given by the Apostle Paul, in the familiar prophetic passage: “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 Thes. 2:3).
The “falling away,” apostasia in Greek, means a “departure from.” Paul prophesied in the 2 Timothy 4:1 passage that there will come a time at the end of the Church Age when people will depart from the “faith.” He foretells in 2 Thessalonians that this will be a general “falling away,” the apostasy of the endtime. What is this “faith” from which people will fall away, and who are the “people” who will fall away? Another crucial question is: Can the departure that God, through Paul, forewarned about be recognized when it occurs?
“Faith,” as here defined, must, by context, be the faith in the One who is at the heart of the Gospel–faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, chosen from the foundation of the world to be the propitiation for the sin that separates fallen man from God. It is the faith you and I must have in order to confess with our mouths that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and to believe in the deepest part of our spirits that God raised Him from the dead.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9).
A person can’t fall from a position (doctrinally speaking in this case) he never has attained. The “people,” then, whom Paul the apostle is writing about in his prophecies of 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 are those who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation of their souls.
This brings us to the question: Can the departure God, through Paul, forewarned about be recognized when it occurs? To recognize that “falling away”–that apostasia, or apostasy— when it begins to happen, will almost certainly give the Christian attuned to God’s will a heads-up on the nearness of the Tribulation era, thus to the nearness of the rapture of the Church.
We have looked at the “faith” as faith in Jesus for salvation, and at the “people”who will “depart” from the faith as being the Church–that is, the true Christians who are alive at the time of the end, when the apostasy takes place.
Although there are those who think this departure includes the possibility of one losing one’s salvation, the “falling away” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 cannot include that meaning. A quick look at Romans 8:38 and 39, to name just one security-of-the-believer passage, shows that God’s Word teaches that the believer can’t depart from the Heavenly Father to the point of losing his or her family status. Jesus, in John chapter 17, makes that absolutely clear. I suggest that if you have questions about this, read the Scriptures I just mentioned.
What, then, is meant by “departing from the “faith”? Glad you asked. The “faith” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy 2:3 is a collection of faith principles wrapped up in the Lord Jesus Christ. These principles are doctrines put forth by the Word of God. The Word of God is none other than the Lord Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
“People” at the time of the “falling away” will “depart” from the “faith” –the doctrines put forth by the Word of God, who is Jesus Christ. This departure will mark the generation of Christians at the very end of the Church Age.
The question that applies most relevantly to us today is: Are we seeing signals of the departure about which Paul forewarned?
We have analyzed, dissected, examined, and inspected every endtime signal found in God’s Word many times in these raptureready.com webpages: Israel again in the land of promise; the EU looking to be the reviving Roman Empire; Russia, Persia (modern Iran) and other nations looking to be a nucleus that will one day form the Gog-Magog force of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. These, plus, all of the other endtime characteristics of this generation.
However, I believe the most insidious of all the things taking place under the clever, devious hand of the devil –Satan—is the falling away, the departure from the faith being currently orchestrated by Lucifer, the fallen one This departure is evident to the spiritually discerning when looking at the church growth movement. This “seeker friendly” approach to both the saved and the lost (all who don’t know Christ) through New Age, corporation-type seminar seductiveness and brainwashing techniques that water down or completely eliminate true Bible doctrine is leading in a profound departure from the “faith once delivered” (see Jude 1: 3).
The new paradigm instituted by the champions of the church growth movement is the shift from New Testament Christianity to “New Spirituality-Driven Christianity.”
Like in the modern corporate organization, invented in large part by German economic guru Peter Drucker, who mentored some of the leading designers of the church growth movement, the system is more an organism than an organization –adopting Drucker’s model based upon Freudian psychology and Darwinian evolutionary principles. The individual is assigned a value, and he must fit in, or be removed from the system. To put it as I heard one person of the movement say: “Pillars just hold things up. So, they need to be moved out of the way.” So, those who hold to doctrine must get out of the way so no one will have their feelings hurt by talk of sin, and blood atonement, and eternal punishment in the place called Hell, if repentance is not forthcoming. Again, the Apostle Paul wrote God’s view of this watering down of doctrine: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
Are we at the point of departure from the faith that is prophesied for the very end of the Church Age? Maybe we can get a better sense by looking at one more area of Scripture pertaining to the matter: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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” (2 Tim. 4:1-4).
There is another prophetically scheduled departure to consider. It’s the one to which we should be looking forward. It is a God-ordained departure that will remove every child of God of the Church Age –living and dead—from Planet Earth in one millisecond of time:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).
Thank you for including me in your writings. How true this article is. We’re getting really close to our departure now. Bless you Terry.
Thanks Terry for your faithfulness! I have a question about the ones who are falling away- will they be raptured? They believe in Jesus, but are doctrinally unsound. Will they be caught up in the air as we will be? Or is there a chance because of their itchy ears they would be left behind?
If they are truly saved, they will go to be with Christ in the Rapture.
God, alone, knows the condition (status so far as salvation is concerned) of each person.
I am glad I followed a link to read this article. Thank you so much. My question is about the next phrase ” and that man of sin be revealed, the son of Perdition…” (2 Thes. 2:3). Does this mean that we will have to know who this is before we hear the trumpet sound?
The son of perdition, also called the man of sin, will be “revealed,” to those who are left behind after the Rapture.
There must first come the “falling away,” this prophecy tells us. That falling away, I and others believe, is a “departure”. That’s what the term means.
The Greek word “apostasia” –the “falling away”– is defined most precisely as “departure”.
It is most often used as a “spatial” departure. That is, a physical removal from one place to another.
Therefore, I, and others, believe it means the Rapture will take place first –the church removed, before that man of sin, the son of perdition, is revealed.
Hi Terry, thanks for this message, it gives me a better understanding of something that i did not understand before when the Bible says that many will fall away. Please explain what you consider a “seeker friendly ” church? I currently go to a large church that has 6 campus sites. I have only been going to church there for about 2 months and in general they seem to have a good message and frequently talk about the large # of people that have given their lives to Christ this year. I have not heard a message about the Wrath of God or about hell etc. As a believer is this an okay place to go? What should I be looking for in a church if not. I’d love to hear back from you. Mel
My caution to anyone in considering a church body with which to worship is to avoid those that present a social gospel on a persistent basis. They pursue improvement through joining in societal and cultural causes. They do so, not to point out sin that must be dealt with, rather dwell on bringing mankind together, saving the environment, championing cultural diversity and engage in that sort of consistent rant.
These believe in bringing in worldly ideas then propose sitting down with them and discussing from their view of Christianity, thinking to bring all sides together in a common good. This is the Thesis, Antithesis equals Synthesis insanity of the seeker-friendly church.
Any church that has a negative outlook on Israel, taking the side of those who want to make the Palestinians the victims of Israel are, in my opinion, enemies, not friends of God.
Find a church that preaches the whole word, including the prophetic word –and that of the pre-Millennial, Pre-Trib view.
Terry, this article is spot on, especially in light of the massacre at the Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas. Of course, the liberals are out, shouting gun control, when it was a case of a mentally impaired person who should never have been able to get a gun. Dr. Robert Jefress was on Fox, and he has armed people attending First Baptist in Dallas, and no backpacks are allowed in the sanctuary. With the shootings taking place in churches, in a synagogue, plus the luke-warm Christians out there, we’re definitely getting really close. Joel Osteen is one of the worst offenders in pulling people away from hearing the Word of God, people who need to hear the unadulterated Word of God. A friend of mine said that she’s not been able to find a good, solid, Bible-teaching, preaching church. I believe we may have to go back to house churches, like in the early history of the Church. May God bless you and continue to bless us with your study and knowledge.
Thank you for the article, with which I mostly agree.
However, when you say that this “departure from the faith” cannot mean losing one’s salvation, I beg to differ.
Whilst I agree there are many passages in the Word which seem to support “once saved always saved” there are also many which appear to go against it. I don’t want to refer to any of these, as they are all well known to those of us who are true believers, and we could both quote these to support our respective positions, without convincing anyone to change their stance.
What I would say is this: we may disagree on the possibility of losing one’s salvation, but we shouldn’t make this any more than what it is – a mere disagreement. We all know that the true enemy is Satan and his cronies, and we also know that Satan is defeated! We as humans don’t make the decision on who is saved and who isn’t – God knows who his true followers are, and will lovingly invite them to be with him at the appropriate time.