The Apostle Paul tells us that Christ will not return until the apostasy happens, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first…” (2 Thess 2:1-3).
Suffice it to say, for all those watching for Christ’s return, we should have an understanding of what we should be looking for. The Greek word the Apostle Paul uses in this verse is “APOSTASIA”, which means rebellion, desertion, to leave or depart, to forsake, or to defect from. It is translated several different ways including, “the falling away”, “the apostasy”, “the rebellion”, “a revolt”, and “a departure”. It is from the Greek word “APHISTEMI”, which means to draw away, to cause to withdraw from, to seduce away or to shun, leave or let go.
Unfortunately, scripture does not tell us the circumstances for the APOSTASIA, but the word is used one other time in the New Testament at Acts 21:21. The Apostle Paul had been preaching the Gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and the Jews accused Paul of forsaking, abandoning, or turning away from the Law of Moses. So the context of this word can be understood as something that causes entire denominations to forsake, leave, or let go of basic tenets of their faith. Something that causes a great division in the church. Something that causes brothers and sisters in Christ to turn against each other, one side standing on the truth of God’s word, the other side turning away from the truth of God’s word. Compromise versus uncompromise.
Many people in Jesus’ day said “I can follow You this far, and no further.” They turned away when He didn’t meet their expectations. They turned away when He was leading them somewhere they didn’t agree with or couldn’t understand, “From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” (John 6:66). Today, entire denominations are falling away into apostasy, churches are splitting apart, brothers and sisters in Christ are turning against each other, because they follow Christ until they get to His laws about sexual immorality, then they say, “I can follow You no further.” So they devise their own version of Christianity and follow that. Compromise versus uncompromise.
Prophecy is unfolding before our eyes and many cannot even see it. As we go on with our business-as-usual mindset, many of us are part of this prophesied APOSTASIA and we don’t even realize it. We like to say that Satan is the great deceiver, but if truth be told, “self” is the greatest deceiver of them all. God is at work, bringing about the culmination of this present age. Satan is also at work, either getting us all wrapped up in our emotions or crippling us with apathy, so that we are blind to the hour at hand. And that hour is very, very late indeed, because the rest of 2 Thess 2:3 says, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first….and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”
I have come to realize that I am in error when I say that judgment is coming to this nation, because judgment is already here. We are already living through God’s judgment upon our waywardness and lukewarm commitment to Him, because He is simply allowing us to reap what we’ve sown in this nation. He is allowing us to drink the cup of the maddening wine of our adulteries (Rev 14:8; Rev 18:3; Jer 51:7). As the world continues to fall apart all around us– and make no mistake, it will continue to get increasingly worse– how many of us will be able to weather the storm with our flawed perceptions of God?
“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another… But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Matt 24:9-13)
“For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’ Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’ For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.” (Rev 18:3-8)