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The Departure

Author’s note: This article has appeared in this and other forums previously. The heads-up it represents to the Christian who should be looking for the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13) has never been more relevant than now. Because the spiritual falling away is so pronounced, the literal (spatial) “Departure”–the Rapture of the Church–has never been more in immediate prospect!

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 Timothy 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 Thessalonians 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 end time. 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 forewarned 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. (Romans 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, foretold 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 end-time signal found in God’s Word many times in these commentaries: 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 end-time 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 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, 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. (Galatians 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 Timothy 4:1-4)

There is another prophetically scheduled departure to consider. It’s the one we should be looking forward to. It is a God-ordained one that will remove every child of God of the Church Age–living and dead—from Planet Earth in one millisecond:

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)


5 Comments

  1. Ginger says:

    Great Article Terry! I’ve been sharing them all! I meant to tell you on that last one about your heavenly experience, I believe you. I’ve never heard anything more sincere in my life. God bless you. And thank you for sharing it. It was very brave, & I know how hard it must have been. But I’m behind you 100%

  2. John mikitson says:

    Such a powerful article Terry. Thank you

  3. Stanley Mathai says:

    Your article
    resurrection-rapture-reassurance
    Was a complete blessing for me.
    What a great testimony you have.

  4. Ed Wood says:

    I’ve written more than once about watching my former denomination, the Episcopal Church, fall away from the faith. It has embraced homosexual lifestyles (even among its clergy), pluralistic salvation (meaning that there are multiple paths to salvation, not just belief in Jesus and him alone), allowing Muslim prayer services in some of its parishes, and even pagan forms of worship. A quick Google search will confirm them all. Now it seems that this disease of apostasy has very much infected most of modern Protestantism in the Western World.

    I believe the biggest reason for this is the terrible job the leaders and members of these churches have done to educate themselves about the Bible. Or worse, just tossed out those things which they didn’t personally like in a game of Bible Grab Bag.

    Nor have most laypeople as individuals bothered to take the time to educate themselves and stand against the lying doctrines being increasingly pushed from the pulpits these days.

    For example, in the decades I was a member of the Episcopal Church I NEVER heard these verses presented or discussed:

    1 Timothy {4:1} 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.

    1Timothy {2:5} For [there is] one God, and one mediator between
    God and men, the man Christ Jesus; {2:6} Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He
    is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

    Romans {1:24} Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: {1:25} Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. {1:26} For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: {1:27} And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that
    which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. {1:28} And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

    Can you imagine the effect just these few passages would have had if they had been often repeated in church congregations? Apparently, just the opposite happened and I think it was by the deliberate actions of the devil planting lies in the fertile field provided by a lukewarm, anything-goes church.

    After all, how can one tell a lie if he or she never encountered the truth?

  5. Steeny Lou says:

    I am so looking forward to that twinkling of an eye departure!

    That’s excellent, professional quality writing, and right on the mark socially and scripturally.

    Maranatha!

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