So here we are: many now say that we are on the brink of the greatest revival of Christianity since the Book of Acts: even surpassing the worldwide revival of the 1800's and the now nearly forgotten "Jesus People" of the late 60's and early 70's. There is also much talk about The Close of The Age and the Coming of Christ: which talk provokes a sense of urgency to hurry up and get done what can be done, so that when Christ arrives, He will find a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph.5:27). This statement is taken by many as a prophecy that describes the state of Christendom at The End of This Age. Isn't that wonderful? We have also discovered the key to unity: Forget our differences and cooperate in the things we agree on. One of the things we agree on is this: that Christ would build His church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt.16:18). The fact that we don't agree on what Jesus meant by saying, Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt. 22:14) has now become insignificant. There are but 3 requirements being made of those who wish to be recognized as real Christians in these last days: PUBLIC MORALITY, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, (and of course) CHURCH MEMBERSHIP.
Thus has the Lord directed me:
|Isa.30:8||Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:|
|9.||That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:|
|10.||Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:|
|11.||Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.|
And thus also, has the Lord spoken to those who will not receive this testimony:
|12.||Therefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel: Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:|
|13.||Therefore, this iniquity shall be to you as abreach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.|
|14.||And He shall break it as the breaking of the potters' vessel that is broken in pieces; He shall not spare; so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.|
On December 12, 1990, God commanded me through the Holy Scripture and by the witness of the Holy Ghost to write a book announcing, describing, and denouncing The Great and Final Apostasy of Christendom. I have no idea who my audience is. It has become by now quite obvious that absolutely no one besides the few we are has any interest in the fact that the Bible plainly predicts that the churches of Christendom will be in a state of terminal apostasy both BEFORE and at the return of Jesus Christ. It has been my sad and disheartening discovery that the peoples of Christendom, and especially their leaders, are all liars. What makes them liars, is that they willfully refuse to acknowledge what, in particular, the Bible has to say about the last days of Christendom.
Now I am sure that there are many who will be inquiring into my motives for writing this. "What", you may wonder, "is he after?" But my answer to you is this: WHAT DOES IT MATTER? All I am going to do here is present you with a 'book report' on what the Bible says about the last days of Christendom. Whether I am a good man or an evil man will not change WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS, and neither do I think that 'my opinions' will control the disposition of history. Those who have never endangered themselves for the sake of their "faith" will find it easy to dismiss all that they will read here; BECAUSE, in the end, they DO NOT CARE what the Bible says, and they cannot believe that anyone else really cares either. You ought to know then, that I am not writing this book for you; but for God; Who certainly knows "what I am up to", and has already decided whether I am living up to the light I have, or just inciting a controversy for some malicious and selfish purpose.
I invite you then, Dear Reader, to join me in a review of what the Bible has to say about the last days of Christendom. I will forewarn you: every chapter in this book will press you to make decisions about things you never thought you would have to confront. Many, upon reading THE GREAT DREAM, will be deciding all over again whether or not they really are Christians. Many, who need to call themselves Christians, will be reconsidering whether or not they want the plain language of the Christian Bible to be the sole and final authority on all matters of faith, life, and conduct: choosing rather to take the Roman Catholic view: in which the interpretations of the "publicly recognized, State subsidized, and bureaucratically certified clergy" are taken as the Very Word of God.
I invite you, then, whether out of concern for the welfare ofyour soul, or out of simple curiosity, to become like the Bereans, who were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11). Let us begin by considering the fact that every single mention of the future state of professing Christendom in the New Testament describes only continuous decay and never any improvement.
Shortly before his martyrdom, the Apostle Paul said this:
|Acts.20:29||For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.|
|30.||Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.|
|31.||Therefore watch and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.|
And there is NO, not so much as a single mention in the New Testament of any time in which this evil trend will ever be reversed; but in every case, and in every place, all of the inspired writers see nothing but infiltration by false brethren, the rise and popularity of false teachers, and the continuous corruption of Christian doctrine.
|2Tim.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;|
|4.||And THEY shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.|
Neither here nor in any other place does the inspired Apostle say that THEY will ever renounce their fables or the teachers that they have heaped to themselves. Not only that, but they will turn away their ears EVEN from the hearing of the truth: they will be obstinately unwilling to even give the truth a fair hearing! Will I receive a fair hearing from you?
|2Pet.2:1-3||But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.|
|2.||And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.|
|3.||And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgement now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.|
Please notice, again, that the inspired Apostle makes no mention here or elsewhere of any kind of reformation or revival during which these false teachers and their damnable heresies will ever be rejected. These false teachers arise, he says, from among you: they are not from outside the social network of professing Christians, but are identified as being WITH, FROM, and AMONG the Christians by the rest of the world. Because so many shall follow their pernicious ways, they are taken to represent Christianity itself; therefore, it will be presumed that every Christian agrees with their pernicious ways. This leaves those who take exception to these damnable heresies in an awkward position: they must denounce the whole of Christendom in order to claim allegiance to a Christianity that is NOT guilty of these damnable heresies, and these pernicious ways. The situation is this: every denominational group and independant church has and defends at least one irrefutable truth. They are not saved by holding to this one truth: but are empowered by God as "hirelings" to keep and defend this one truth. In this singular matter, they are right, and they know it. Because this one truth is denied by the other denominations, they find courage to hold out and maintain their independance. But, every one of these groups also presents and defends their own list of heresies, which heresies are obvious to everyone else. Therefore, the one truth that they present and defend against all others is labeled as just another one of their heresies; and even the one truth they embrace is evil spoken of. In order to embrace that one truth,you have to denounce the group that is most associated with it, or you will be regarded as a defender of their damnable heresies as well. If then, every denomination and independant group has and defends one or more irrefutable truths that you must receive, you have to denounce THEM ALL in order to avoid the appearance of defending their heresies as well.
|2Pet.2:3||And through COVETOUSNESS shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgement now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.|
Now we all know, don't we, that one of the main complaints made against the churches, is their their endless pleading for more of your money, right? And here we have it said that through the desire to get your money shall they with carefully rehearsed words make MERCHANDISE of you: or, in other words, THEY COMPETE FOR YOUR LOYALTY IN ORDER TO GET YOUR MONEY. It is impossible for me to believe that you do not see this!
And here also is one of those inspired details that most who read the Bible will have overlooked: it is said that they shall bring upon themselves SWIFT destruction. If all that was meant here was SURE destruction, then that is what would have been said. Has every false prophet and teacher of heresies in the history of Christianity been taken out by SWIFT destruction?. . . . . . . .No. As a matter of fact, many false prophets have lived to a grand old age in the midst of prosperity. So that places the time of the particular fulfillment of this prophecy at The End of This Age: for THEN, these false teachers will have their careers SHORTENED by a SWIFT destruction.
|Tim.3:13||But evil men and seducers shall wax WORSE and WORSE, DECEIVING, and BEING DECEIVED.|
This chapter of the Holy Writ begins with, This know, that in the last days perilous times shall come; and NOWHERE suggests that things will ever get any better before the return of Jesus Christ; but RATHER, that they will get worse and worse; that more and more people will be deceived; and that those who are doing the deceiving will become more and more UNTEACHABLE. In response to this ever growing deception, the Apostle recommends us to pay careful heed to the Holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15-16), and those Holy Scriptures are unanimously pessimistic about the future and final state of Christendom. So let us consider a certain question which was asked by Our Lord Jesus Christ: . . .WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMETH, SHALL HE FIND FAITH ON THE EARTH? The answer to any rhetorical question, such as this one asked by Jesus, is always implied by the context in which the question is asked. In this case, Jesus assures us of the faithfulness of God, which is set forth as a contrast to the question (Luke 18:7-8).
THE ANSWER IS.....NO: there may be all kinds of "faith" on the earth when the Son of man cometh, but NOT the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). There are many so called "prophecy experts" around today who have made fine careers for themselves by interpreting the "signs of the times": they compete with each other in gathering evidence to prove that we are NOW and INDEED at The End of This Age. They analyze political and social trends; they come up with queer and novel ways to interpret Bible prophecy; and they are ALL, and EVERY ONE of them, LIARS. The ONE "SIGN" of The End of This Age that has the most prophetic scripture devoted to it is The Great and Final Apostasy Of Christendom: but this they have wilfully chosen to ignore, because BRINGING UP THAT would still the applause, and jeopardize their "careers". As a matter of fact, as we shall see from the Bible itself, these modern "prophecy experts" who have refused to remind us of The Great and Final Apostasy of Prophecy are described among the very deceivers that we are told to watch out for.
|2Thess.2:1-4||Now we beseech you, brethren, (concerning) the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and our (being) gather(ed) together unto Him,|
|2.||That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the Day of Christ is at hand.|
|3.||Let no man DECEIVE you by any means: for that day shall not come,|
||EXCEPT THERE COME A FALLING AWAY (Grk. The Apostasy) FIRST,|
|and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.|
|4.||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.|
We are plainly told here, that before ANY RETURN of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and 'our being gathered together unto Him, that two distinct things will take place. First, there will be THE APOSTASY, and then the man of sin, who is the Antichrist, will be revealed. The words translated to "a falling away" in this place are 'e apostasia' in the original. The single and only other place in the New Testament where 'apostasia' occurs is in Acts 21:21, where it is translated to 'forsake.' In Acts, they are accused of apostasizing from Moses, and in 2 Thessalonians, they can only be apostasizing from Christ. In a slightly modified form, 'apostasion', this word means 'bill of divorce.' Nowhere does this word apostasia occur in any form or modification in which it does not mean the unlawful and willful abandonment of a prior commitment. Not only that, but nearly every commentator in the history of Christendom has agreed that this statement, and many others like it, PLAINLY predict that Christendom at large will be in a state of APOSTASY both BEFORE and AT the return of Jesus Christ.
The simple and obvious purpose of these inspired and infallible words is to establish that the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him, CANNOT and WILL NOT HAPPEN until AFTER "The Apostasy" and the public appearance of the Antichrist. There is simply no other way to understand these words without completely ignoring or changing the normal definitions for the words of the inspired language.
These "prophecy experts" that refuse to make a faithful report about what the Bible says about the last days of Christendom, are, according to the inspired Apostle, attempting to DECEIVE YOU.
|2Thess.2:5||Remember ye not, that when I was with you, I told you these things?|
Here, Paul reminds them that he has already told them these things. WHAT THINGS? They seem to have forgotten these things, so he has to remind them. YOU have again forgotten these things, and so I am reminding YOU.
BEFORE The Day of Christ, and all that it includes; there shall come 'a falling away' FIRST. The Greek Original, from which the KJV is translated, reads more precisely, 'THE apostasy first.' Take note that the Apostle does not say "there shall come AN apostasy first" as if to suggest a general condition of apostasy that will always be evident in Christendom. There may well have been many incidents of apostasy in the history of Christendom; and some will say that Christendom has always been 'more or less' apostate: but this is a reference to a PARTICULAR apostasy. There is no point in presenting "the apostasy" as a sign of the Lord's return, if this was a reference to some general condition of apostasy that would always be evident, for that would make this into a false prophecy. This is a PARTICULAR and UNIQUE apostasy that shall come BEFORE The Day of Christ. This apostasy cannot be just the continuance of past errors; for then it could not seen as a sign that the end is near! In order to be a "sign", it will have to be DIFFERENT from all previous incidents and manifestations of apostasy, or it could not be noticed at all.
Most of your modern Bibles will replace the words 'Day of Christ' with the phrase '<>Day of the Lord'. I agree with the reading in the KJV: but in any case, both The Day of the Lord and The day of Christ do refer to the same set of events; distinguished only in to whom particular parts of these events apply.
|Am.5:18||Woe unto you that desire the Day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness and not light.|
The term Day of Christ, however, always refers to a time of relief and blessing for those to whom it applies. The Day of the Lord begins with and includes The Great Tribulation. The Day of the Lord will not come, EXCEPT there come THE APOSTASY first. The APOSTASY does not begin with The Great Tribulation, but BEFORE it. Furthermore, the words, our gathering together unto Him are more faithfully translated to 'our being gathered up into Him.' The Greek word for 'gathering together' is EPI-SUNAGOGES. The prefix, EPI- means "above", and SUNAGOGES means "housed, or gathered". This is not a reference to each of us coming, on foot, to Jesus after he descends to stand upon the earth; but to our BEING GATHERED UP or SUMMONED FROM ABOVE by the Lord Himself. This places THE APOSTASY before the Rapture and before The Great Tribulation. If we are, as many now like to say, at The End of This Age, and that Christ returns soon: then we are NOW, according to the Bible, also in the time of The Great and Final Apostasy of Prophecy.
Now some will see in this the declaration that we will be entering The Great Tribulation, for The Antichrist will be revealed BEFORE the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and our being gathered up together unto Him: thus presuming that the Antichrist cannot be IDENTIFIED by any of us BEFORE he actually comes to power. I am aware that I am now overturning 200 years of popular evangelical doctrine by saying this; for the idea that the Rapture is a 'signless event' has become a catch-phrase among prophetic expositors. But the Apostle has declared that ANYONE who denies that there shall come a falling away FIRST, and that the man of sin will be revealed BEFORE The Day of Christ, is attempting to deceive you. This language could not be any plainer. But in the next verse, the Apostle distinguishes between the first public appearance of the man of sin, and his time of power.
|2 Thess. 2:6||And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time.|
The word translated to time here is not CHRONOS, the ordinary word for ‘time’; as if to suggest that the man of sin is withheld from existing at all until some particular time. We have already been told that BEFORE the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ that the man of sin will be revealed (exposed, discovered). The word KAIROS, which is translated to time here, meansb“time of opportunity”. Whatever it is that withholdeth, is preventing the man of sin from coming into his time or ‘season’ of power. A man is said to have come into his time when he has reached the peak of his influence or power. The Apostle also says ‘ye know’ what withholds (prevents) the man of sin frombcoming into his time of power.bDo you?
|2 Thess. 2:7||For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now (urestraineth) will (restrain), until he be taken out of the way.|
The man of sin will come into his time of power WHEN he who now restraineth is taken out of the way. It is nowhere said here that the APOSTASY is restrained, but only that the man of sin is restrained from coming into his time. The mystery of iniquity, which is the root of the APOSTASY, was already at work when the Apostle wrote this. He DOES NOT SAY, however, that the PARTICULAR Apostasy that he speaks of has happened already, but that it will occur LATER, and prior to the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered up together unto Him. Only when He who now restraineth is taken out of the way will the man of sin be able to come into his time of power.
Now I must say that I have no desire to identify just who The Antichrist is; even though, like many others, I have had my own suspicions. I may well have seen him on television already. I do not want anything to stand between me and the Rapture: but the Bible declares that the man of sin will be revealed in some way before The Day of Christ, and our being gathered together unto Him. If we are in the last days of this age, then the son of perdition has already been born; and surely by now, someone knows who he is. I can only hope that his being identified by any one person will be a sufficient fulfillment of the prophecy, for the Rapture to happen at any time now.
BUT WHEN DOES THE RAPTURE HAPPEN? Well, there is, actually, no specific reference to WHEN the Rapture will happen in any of these statements: unless it is inferred by he who now restraineth being taken out of the way. A Pre-Tribulation Rapture cannot be inferred from this statement alone, unless "He" is the Holy Spirit (as many say); and that He cannot be taken out of the way without taking those He has indwelt out of the way as well. Furthermore, the words 'out of the way' are more faithfully rendered as “gone from the midst”. This implies that this unidentified “He” is in “the midst”, or, presently ‘among or with’ something or someone. It is NOT said that “He” is indwelling or permeating whatever it is that He is restraining, but that He is ‘among’ or ‘in the midst’ of them or it. Just what it is that He is ‘in the midst’ of is not clearly laid out either. These scriptures presume that ye know WHO is doing the restraining, and that ye also know WHAT He will be “gone from the midst” of. I see The Rapture here, because the Holy Spirit indwells the True Saints, who are now ‘in the midst’ of mankind. BUT, belief in the special divine inspiration of the Bible requires that we admit that God INTENDED for this passage to be very difficult to interpret: it is only addressed to those who know WHO restraineth; who know what He shall be “gone from the midst” of; and, who also know what it means for this “He” to be taken out of the way.
|2 Thess. 2:8||And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.|
Here, the man of sin is called that Wicked. Having come into his time of power, he gets a new title from the Holy Spirit. The word translated to ‘Wicked’ here, is the same word translated to iniquity in the phrase ‘mystery of iniquity’. As the ‘iniquitous one’, he becomes the personification of the mystery of iniquity. The mystery of iniquity conceals The Apostasy, and paves the way for that Wicked to come into his time of power. That Wicked will then be FINALLY destroyed by the brightness of His coming. The word ‘brightness’ is EPI-PHANIA, from which we derive the word ‘epiphany’. The ‘epiphany’ of anything is it’s ‘high point’, or maximum expression. The ‘high point’ of Christ’s coming is here distinguished from ‘His coming’ to gather us together unto Him in verse 1 of this chapter. The coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ includes both The Rapture, when we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with Him in the clouds (1 Thess. 4:16-17); AND, the time when His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:1-4); when the Antichrist and the False Prophet are destroyed, at the climax of His coming..
The order of events presented by the Apostle is as follows: The mystery of iniquity is already in the world and growing while he is writing to the Thessalonians; but is somewhat restrained by the mysterious and unnamed “He”. Near the end of the age, there begins The Great and Final Apostasy, which is also the fruit of the mystery of iniquity. Next, the man of sin is revealed. Next, He who restraineth is taken “out of the midst” (and I believe this includes The Rapture). The removal of all the true and faithful children of God from the earth also removes the “restraint” that they provided. There is nothing left to hinder the mystery of iniquity now; and so, the man of sin comes into his time of power. During his time “at the top” he begins to exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; his reign of terror and The Great Tribulation begin, and he is finally destroyed at the climax of Christ’s coming (Rev. 20:6).
The object of this address by the Holy Ghost is not to establish the time of the Rapture, but to assert that BEFORE the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered up together unto Him, that the ‘falling away’ (apostasy) will come FIRST, and that the man of sin (the Antichrist) will be on the scene. There are many who will use these scriptures to prove that faithful Christians must endure some of or all (Luke 21:36) of The Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21). I do not agree with this view: but I cannot present a clear and unimpeachable argument for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture from 2 Thess. 2:1-12, because God has not provided me with such evidence in this place. The Mystery Of Iniquity
Most people, upon reading that the mystery of iniquity doth already work, will see no more in this statement than the idea that “THE BAD STUFF IS ALREADY HERE.” Yes, the “bad stuff” was already there; but it is the mystery of iniquity itself that now prevents you from realizing just what, EXACTLY, this “bad stuff” IS.
The Greek word for mystery is MUSTERION, which means, “a secret, known only by a select group.” Let me clarify further by providing you with a definition for MUSTERION from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words.
MUSTERION: “a hidden knowledge, which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit”
Now I believe that God has shown me this mystery; but it is not some far-fetched esoteric thing that comes in a vision or a dream. Spiritual blindness is rooted in moral blindness, and is never the product of intellectual deficiency. As you shall see, the mystery of iniquity is really no more than the power to deceive and manipulate those whose ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes THEY HAVE closed (Matt. 13:15); or, in other words, those who take refuge in lies, will be taken in by lies.
The Greek word for iniquity is ANOMIAS; which is often translated also to LAWLESSNESS. ANOMIAS means, literally: “without-law”. Those who are ANOMIAS may well break or transgress the law; but “law-breaker” is not what this word means. ANOMIAS describes a person who does not submit himself to ANY law, rule or principle, except at his own convenience. ANOMIAS also includes the idea of ‘inconsistency’. One who is ANOMIAS will insist on YOUR OBLIGATION to abide by ‘the rules’ when it favors him; but he will reject and disobey those same rules when they do not favor him. He uses the law when he can do so to his advantage, but, he SUBMITS UNCONDITIONALLY to NO law; and, he is ready to ignore or reinterpret ANY law, if he can do so to his own advantage.
Lastly, there are the words, ‘doth already work.’ The Greek words here are literally, “has energy now”; or, “is being energized.”
The mystery of iniquity is the ‘POWER OF SECRET OR HIDDEN LAWLESSNESS’. Now what we are talking about here, is how the man that can ignore the rules, change the rules, and make up new rules when he wants to, WITHOUT BEING DETECTED, can always win the game! But how, you may ask, can anybody do this without being detected? Well of course he can’t, as long as we all know and agree on what the rules mean! But what if he insists that the rules are “subject to interpretation”? All he has to do, is to argue about the DEFINITIONS for the WORDS of THE RULES! Ah, but you say, “I wouldn’t let him get away with that”! Well, in matters of money, or business, or chess; I’m sure you wouldn’t let him, or me, or anyone else, “get away with that”. But in matters of religion, nothing is so common as to hear someone make up “new definitions” for the words of “the rules”. For example: Jesus said, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:33). Consider now, how you would understand it, if I offered to trade you ALL the money I have, for ALL the money that you have. Would you be the least bit confused about what the word “ALL” means? The common marriage vow contains these words: “FORSAKING ALL OTHERS.” Does anyone who is getting married spend any time pretending to be confused about what “FORSAKING ALL OTHERS” means? NO, there is no confusion whatsoever about the meaning of “forsake and all” in these cases. But, as soon as the insincere and uncommitted professing Christian sees the words ‘forsake all’ being presented as a requirement for discipleship by Jesus Christ; he redefines those words; so that they no longer mean the same thing they mean in every other circumstance of life. He uses the rules when they suit him; he changes the rules when he wants to; and he makes up his own rules when he needs to. It is because of this, The Mystery of Iniquity; that we now have millions of Bible toting, scripture quoting, church attending apostates, who are still both willing and able to CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS.
The Antichrist, when he arrives on the scene, will be the consummate master in the use of THE HIDDEN POWER OF LAWLESSNESS. The teeming masses of Apostate Christendom will be so blinded by their continuous refusal to acknowledge the simple and normal meaning of the words in the Bible, that they will be completely unable to detect the real significance of what the Antichrist says. Because they have sought refuge in lies, they will be blind to the lies they are being told. They will be, at least for a time, completely deceived and taken in by this man.
|2 Thess. 2:9||Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,|
|10.||And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;|
BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF
that they might be saved.
And here is confirmed what I said to you before; that they are deceived because they did not love the truth. When Pilate asked Jesus, What is truth?, Jesus refused to answer; and why should He answer?: the question itself denies that there is such a thing as truth, and it also denies that God has revealed any truth! For any professing Christian to ask, What is truth?, is to deny that the Bible we all claim to believe in is the truth. But what good does it do to SAY, “The Bible is truth,” if you make it to be so “subject to interpretation” that none of the WORDS in the Bible can be taken to mean what they always mean otherwise? I can feel the eyes and hear the thoughts of my critics and adversaries: they are watching ever so closely to see if they can catch me misdefining a word or violating the rules of context and grammar. But THEY will NOT submit to these same rules: They use the rules when it suits them; they ignore the rules when they want to; and they make up new rules when they need to: They are practitioners of The Mystery of Iniquity.
|2 Thess. 2:11||And for this cause GOD SHALL SEND them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:|
|12.||That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.|
And here, we see the end of those who take pleasure in the unrighteous “liberty” to use the rules, change the rules, and make up new rules when they want to: God shall send them STRONG delusion, and so they will be COMPLETELY DECEIVED. God is not going to tell them any lies; but is going to ENERGIZE THEIR OWN LIE, so that they lose the capacity to even consider why they might be wrong! Here we have a frightful and ominous confirmation of these words that were spoken by Our Lord: Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matt. 18:18). They have loosed the power of lies, and they have bound the power of truth; and God is granting to them exactly what they wanted!
The Bible plainly and repetitively declares that in the last days, Christendom will be in a terminal and irrevocable STATE OF APOSTASY. The Bible contains many explicit and detailed descriptions of this APOSTASY. Virtually every popular past commentator in the history of the Church has declared that the last and final state of Christendom is that of APOSTASY. And, as you shall see, as you read the rest of THE GREAT DREAM: every single description of this apostasy has now and already been SUFFICIENTLY fulfilled to warrant the conclusion that this apostasy has already begun. BUT, you may object, “It can’t be! Things are just too normal!” You want to believe that there can be no Great and Final Apostasy unless the whole world has also gone completely mad, and that gloom and fear are driving everyone to a state of desperation: you expect to see inquisitions, persecutions, mass defections from the churches, and the interruption of all the normal business of this life. But that is not what the Bible says:
|1 Thess. 5:3||For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.|
It can hardly be said that they shall be saying, Peace, and safety!, if the world has gone mad, and fearful and shocking events are taking place one after another! Concerning the days just preceding His return, Jesus said:
|Luke 17:26||And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it also be in the days of the Son of man.|
|27.||They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.|
|28.||Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;|
|29.||But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.|
|30.||Even THUS SHALL IT BE in the day when the Son of man is revealed.|
LOOK AROUND YOU! All those professing Christians you
know that so glibly admit that we are in the
last days, are going about their lives as if to morrow shall be as
this day, and much more abundant (Isaiah 56:12). Anyone who
really believes that the world as they know
it may end very soon would have little interest in making long range
plans that depend on the continuation of the present social and
Jesus says, as it was in the days of Noah, and as it was in the days of Lot, the overwhelming majority would be going on with all the normal business of their earthly lives until the day when the “few” are removed to safety. In other words, AFTER The Rapture, all hell will break loose, and those who are left behind shall not escape.
|Luke 21:36||Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.|
It was an easy thing for the Bible scholars of past centuries to SAY, that the last state of Christendom was of APOSTASY, for they DIDN’T THINK that they were denouncing their contemporaries as apostates by doing so. From Augustine in the 5th century to Luther in the 16th century, to Scofield in the 20th century, there was almost unanimous agreement that Christendom as a whole would descend into a state of terminal apostasy BEFORE the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. By such assertions, none of these men were accusing their audience of being apostates, so there was no outcry raised against them for saying this. They, and their audience, always thought that this apostasy was in the future; that other people, in some future time, were going to be the apostates. However, the day would finally have to come when this apostasy actually began; and THEN, anyone who dared to mention it would be seen as the enemy of “the Church;” and anyone who dared to describe it, would have to be describing the people of that church! Such was Jeremiah’s case: he was commanded by God to denounce the “Church” of his own day, and he says, Woe is me, my mother that thou hast born me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! (Jer. 15:10). Jeremiah was a most unpopular man in his own time, and it is not hard to find out why, for he said many things like this:
|Jer.6:10||To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.|
|11.||Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding it in: I will pour it out on the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.|
|12.||And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, SAITH THE LORD.|
|13.||FOR FROM THE LEAST OF THEM EVEN UNTO THE GREATEST OF THEM EVERY ONE IS GIVEN TO COVETOUSNESS; AND FROM THE PROPHET EVEN UNTO THE PRIEST EVERY ONE DEALETH FALSELY.|
|14.||They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.|
Jeremiah denounced them ALL, and specifically pointed out the religious leaders of his own day as the greatest offenders. Not only that, but he also predicted ruin, loss, and death for all that stood against him. There were then, as there are today, MANY who will stand up to defend the status quo, and say:
|Jer. 18:18||. . . Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah: for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.|
Such bravery is commonplace with men who stand at the front of and defend a crowd. But in the end, Jeremiah was RIGHT, and all of his critics and adversaries were wrong. These also, stood up to prophecy of peace and prosperity to their congregations until the day when God sent Nebuchadnezzar’s army to destroy their city, their “church”, and their temple What makes my preaching altogether more scandalous than Jeremiah’s is this: Jeremiah was authorized to say that if they would repent, all would be well. I can make no such offer, for the Bible nowhere suggests that any kind of reformation or revival will hinder or stop the progress of The Great and Final Apostasy of Christendom once it has begun. It’s all ‘down hill’ from here.
To anyone who would ask me what they should DO in regard to these things; I can say to you that your question is inappropriate, and I refer you to Revelation 18:4-8. The rest of this book will present to you a clear and sufficient explanation of how EVERY SINGLE prophetic mention of The Great and Final Apostasy of Prophecy is also a characteristic description of the churches of Christendom in these last days.
Therefore seeing we have received this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:1-6)
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