Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, (II Thes 2:3).
This passage tells us we are deceived if we think the day of the Lord is going to precede these two events. Many people believe that we are going to be taken up in the rapture before the man of sin is revealed, but that is not what the Word of God says. He will be revealed first. Then we can count down the days. We don't know the extent of the persecution of believers leading up to that time, but we must be ready to face the worst possible scenario, even the issuing of the Mark of the Beast. That is a frightening proposition. Let's look at these two events.
I. The Falling Away.
We are already witnessing a falling away. The Greek word is apostasia meaning "defection from the truth," apostacy, falling away, to forsake.
Many have departed from the truth. They no longer want sound doctrine. They want imbalanced, ear tickling messages that emphasize one side of the coin of truth while ignoring the other. They want love without chastening, grace without faith, forgiveness without repentance, prosperity without tithing, blessing without obedience, and ministry opportunities without faithfulness. This is exactly what the Bible says will happen in the last days:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (I Tim. 4:1,2).
The great falling away has come we have been in it for about ten years. There will still be a remnant that will really want the full counsel of God's Word taught in love, but they will be fewer than the itching ear crowd.
We had a woman in one of our churches in the 90's that came to church, accepted the Lord as her savior, received the Holy Spirit, and was even on the worship team. She decided to become an attorney. A couple of years after she went away to law school, she wrote her mother telling her that she no longer believed in Christ as her savior. She said she did not believe the blood of Jesus cleansed of sin. What a sad thing to see the young woman with a great Christian husband, and two beautiful children become part of the great falling away.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Mt. 7:13,14).
So how can God's people avoid the deception that will bring apostasy or even embracing the anti-Christ as the Christ? The answer is found in the context of the verse we've been examining.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thes 2:9-12).
The people who will avoid deception in the last days are those who love the truth. That means they want the full counsel of God's Word. They don't want imbalanced teaching or ear tickling messages. Instead they want the truth preached in love so they can grow up in all things. They want sound exegesis of the scriptures. And Most of all they love Jesus Christ Himself, because He is the Truth.
Embrace the love of the truth and the Lord will reveal the lie when it comes. Embrace the love of the truth and you'll avoid deception. Embrace the love of the truth and you'll reject anything contrary to the Word of God. Embrace the love of the truth and you'll stay in an attitude of worship and repentance. You will know the truth by revelation knowledge and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
Have a blessed week,
Bishop Darrell Ellis
Anointed Word International Church