“THE APOSTASY COMES FIRST”

II Thessalonians 2:3c

Part 1 of a five part series 

By Doug Krieger

 

THE CHRONOLOGY OF DECEIT 

Recently, a brother from Oklahoma wanted me to give him a “chronology of end-times events”—you know:  “What’s coming next besides the ‘Gog-Magog War,’ and so forth.”  For fear that I’d be stoned as a false prophet, I thought it best to “divert” our attention for a brief moment—not that Tom DeLay, Tim LaHaye and President George Bush are not “hot topics”—but there’s something altogether more fundamental to what’s happening here that needs immediate attention, so that we can understand the “Biblical emphasis” upon topics like the DeLay/LaHaye/Bush triumvirate (and avoid getting stoned in the process). 

We’ll get back to this threesome, but first—what does the Bible really say about where this planet is going; and are we there yet?  Furthermore, what we said in yesterday’s blog (November 19, 2004) has (as you will soon see) everything to do with what we’re discussing today. 

Now, let’s get one thing perfectly clear here—and this is precisely directed to my buddies on the Left:  Just because a bunch of us evangelicals believe that humanity is careening out of control and that a future Armageddon awaits us, doesn’t mean that “us guys” are busying about trying to make it happen!  You probably see the same thing—but instead of despair, fleeing, fighting like mad, we’ve got a better solution . . . 

To the contrary—the inevitability of these events are cast in spiritual realities which are, once again, unalterable.  Belief in them does NOT constitute a FUNDAMENTALIST PLOT to destroy the world—nor does it mean we’re going to sit back and play “Roll Out the Barrel” on the deck of the USS Titanic; or, for that matter, “Man the bilge pumps!” because we think we’ve got a chance to save this sinking ship.  Yet, D. L. Moody once encouraged—GET IN THE LIFEBOAT AND GET IN NOW. 

The prophet bears no truck with contemporary niceties—nor should he “test the waters,” take polls, hold his wetted finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, and, last of all, remain resolute in his devotion to “seeker friendly” principals! 

So—all that to say: 

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come (namely, the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him”—II Thessalonians 2:1b) unless THE APOSTASY (Greek for “falling away”) comes first, AND the MAN OF SIN is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:3-4) (Emphasis DWK) 

Yes, it’s a “chronology of deception” that awaits the close of the age.  The Thessalonians in Grecian Province of the Roman Empire, thought they were part of Tim LaHaye’s LEFT BEHIND series and that “The day of Christ had come” (II Thess. 2:2); Alas! We’re stuck on the Late Great Planet Earth

Talk about despair—forget the white robes and, like the Millerites (Seventh-Day Adventists of old) “Let’s all head for the highest hill around and await the coming!”  They didn’t even have time to do that.  Someone(s) had led the Thessalonians into thinking it was all over—so what’s the use—the Lord has returned and that’s that—“man, I thought there was a lot more to it.” 

There is—IT’S GOING TO GET A WHOLE LOT WORSE BEFORE IT EVER GETS BETTER

 

WHERE’S THE LOVE BROTHER—WHY DON’T WE JUST ENJOY JESUS? 

While Barry Leventhal from Southern Evangelical Seminary was here in Sacramento, I had a chance to hear him speak at New Hope Christian Fellowship (a small fellowship in our area).  After the evening meeting, we talked about the TWO WITNESSES in the parking lot (strange topic to discuss—but, hey, not every day I can converse with a born-again son from Israel’s linage; especially, since a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem was listening in on our conversation. 

Barry and I really got excited about prophecy and Lord’s return.  After our conversation, my Arab Christian friend said he really felt that the Bible’s emphasis was upon “Loving Jesus” and “Loving one another” and that prophecy should not be our focus (all that much).  Well, listen—I’m all for loving Jesus and loving the brethren—but, as I told my brother from Ishmael’s linage . . . “Have you ever noticed that in the book of Revelation there’s hardly any mentioning of LOVE, aside from the Philadelphian Church “leaving its BEST LOVE” and the brethren who “LOVED NOT their lives unto the death?”  Imagine that—and the book was written by the “Apostle of Love” (you know, “For God so loved the world” . . . and a whole lot more about LOVE).   

Yet, when you get to the very last book of the Bible—all HELL and GLORY breaks out.  Nothing like getting a reality check after lots of lightning flashes, thunder and earthquakes!  Ever wonder why new believers in Jesus are always encouraged to read the “Gospel of John” – but why don’t we encourage them to read the book of Revelation (too)?  I’ll tell you why—because we claim we don’t want to confuse the young believer—it’s too hard to understand, etc., etc., etc.  But the truth be known—most Christians can’t figure it out (aside from somewhere “in there” they’re singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and somewhere, sometime, Jesus plans to come back), so let’s just “trust the Lord” and let Him figure it out for us!   

Usually after the “love part” one will hear the echo:  Why can’t we just enjoy Jesus—isn’t that what the Christian life is all about? 

My answer:  NO . . . that’s NOT what the Christian life is all about.  “But what about I Corinthians 13 where love trumps all?”  Again, yes, love is the ultimate divine recourse.  But, within God’s eternal plan and purpose there is something far more important TO GOD—and, that has to do with HIS GLORY!  In order to get to that full manifestation of His Glory, He must rid the universe of “all that stuff” you read about in the book of Revelation.   

And, for those of you who are under the PROPHETICAL DELUSION that all that “eschatology” in the book of Revelation has already happened (by no later than the end of the First Century or around 70 A.D.)—let me disabuse you of this utter nonsense and “reassure” you THAT THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, who is known as THE MAN OF SIN, THE SON OF PERDITION, and THE LAWLESS ONE we just read about in II Thess. 2. 

 

THE GREAT APOSTASY—THE FINAL “TRINITY OF EVIL”  

So, this brings us back to that prickly verse:  THE APOSTACY COMES FIRST (II Thess. 2:3).  First of all, again, let’s get one thing perfectly clear—behind all of this APOSTASY there is an awful figure that has yet to come upon this earthly clod.  It is this one that the Apostle Paul says: 

. . . that he may be revealed in his own time.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  And then the LAWLESS ONE will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  The coming of the LAWLESS ONE is according to the working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe THE LIE, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:6b-12). 

Right about now you’re wondering—“Paul, where’s the love? . . . why not just ‘enjoy Jesus’ and ‘go seeker-friendly’ on us; that way, we won’t have nightmares and all can be ‘love and oneness.’”  Furthermore, my marriage will be saved, my kids will be able to attend private schools, my bills will be paid, and I can continue to enjoy my place as an elder in the Church of Happyland USA. 

Well, let’s see—maybe we’re not that close to the end—so, that thing called the APOSTASY coming first, is probably a long ways off?  Besides, there’s a bunch of Christians who teach that everything’s going to get a whole lot better and then Jesus shows up (post-Tribulationalism; Christian Reconstructionism, Kingdom Now, Reform Theology, etc.); then too, there’s a bunch of “social justice Christians, liberal and conservative,” who thought the same thing until we had TWO WORLD WARS and some gazillion disputes hither, thither and yon today!

 

THE GREAT APOSTASY COMES FIRST—and just what is it? 

Well, we know from what we discussed above, who’s behind it—but what’s THE APOSTATE’S AGENDA? 

A review of God’s final and ultimate demise of the MAN OF SIN’S Empire and Agenda is told with absolute clarity in Revelation 17, 18 and 19.  An overview of Revelation with some comment on this topic of Revelation 17-19 is covered here as well. 

The APOSTASY, i.e., The Great Falling Away from the Faith, is comprised of three distinct, yet amalgamated deceptions: 

(1)        Religious Deceptions

(2)       Commercial Deceptions

(3)       Political Deceptions  

The same APOSTATE is behind each one of them as . . .   

(1)         THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS

(2)         THE KING OF TYRE

(3)         THE KING OF BABYLON 

The MAN OF SIN, THE LAWLESS ONE, THE SON OF PERDITION, will manifest himself in a “Trinity of Evil” behind each set of the triumvirates mentioned above: 

(1)         The ANTICHRIST/BEAST

(2)         The FALSE PROPHET/SECOND BEAST

(3)         The SERPENT, DRAGON, SATAN, the DEVIL 

Furthermore, the Bible portrays THE APOSTASY or ULTIMATE DECEPTION as a “Tale of Two Cities” and juxtaposes symbolism and apocalyptic metaphors to enhance our understanding of the “END OF DAYS” – to wit: 

(1)          The Holy City, New Jerusalem vs. The Great City, Babylon

(2)          The Image of Christ vs. The Image of the Beast

(3)          The WOMAN of Revelation 12, The Bride of Christ vs.
           The WOMAN of Revelation 17, The Mother of Harlots 

Many more “contrasts” can be drawn in the Revelation—but these will suffice for now. 

 

RELIGION, COMMERCIALISM AND POLITICS 

 Let’s, as they say, “cut to the chase” – APOSTASY is when, according to the Bible, Religion—be it the Christian or the ancient Hebrews’ religion, gets involved with POLITICS and COMMERCE (specifically:  COMMERCIALISM).  Now, when I say INVOLVED, I mean INVOLVED BIG TIME!!   

THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS represents (in Revelation 17), an APOSTATE CHURCH or RELIGION which has so exposed herself to “every evil bird” of “religious sorcery and deception” – yes, everything from the so-called “Mystical Religion of Babylon” to the avant-garde New Age heresies that are exploding upon the Modern Era.  Don’t think for one minute that the sum and substance of all things Roman Catholic constitutes this egregious image seen in Revelation 17!  No, no, no—this HARLOT has morphed into a thousand hideous strains—a VIRAL INFECTION SO PERSISTENT THAT IT INCULCATES ITSELF INTO VIRTUALLY ALL THAT CALLS ITSELF CHURCH (though, thank God, they who have “the testimony of Jesus” can be found in virtually everything that calls herself Church as well!).  

But it’s not just HERESEY that we’re taking about—IT’S WHEN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST not only embraces FALSE PROPHETS and their FALSE TEACHINGS and DOCTRINES (i.e., known as “doctrines of demons”) but it is when this COMPROMISED HARLOT (and that’s what the Lord calls her) perpetuates and sustains her “life-style” and “influence” through COMMERCIALISM and POLITICS!   

THAT’S THE APOSTASY—the Marriage of Commerce and Politics with this compromised, weakened, deceived and abused expression that claims sanctification, but is FULL OF ABOMINATIONS and THE FILTHINESS OF HER FORNICATION! (Rev. 17:4). 

The “old cults” of the 1700s-1800s were so overt and obvious—and the bizarre schemes foisted upon the Church in the 1900s were, though cleverer, still discernable to most who claimed the work of Christ in their life.  But, Alas!  The horrific incursion of the New Age and the GOSPEL OF PROSPERITY, along with the POLITICIZATION OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH within the last twenty-five years has simply staggered the theological and sanctified imagination of the people of God! 

Today’s immediate deceptions are packaged in the finest of “evangelical wrappings” – and they are embraced by the faithful who have found common cause with an ever-growing number of “concerned souls” who, like them, wish to rise up and contend for the “common good” here in
America—and that means a RETURN TO TRADITIONAL VALUES AT ALL COSTS! 

What the America Church faces—now that its “doctrinal underpinnings” have been so compromised, watered down, deemphasized and, quite frankly, scripturally demoralized to insignificance—is the greatest effort ever launched to amass MATERIAL WEALTH and POLITICAL POWER that the world has witnessed since the birth of Greco-Roman Man—i.e., Western Civilization! 

Yes, from “Brag it to bag it” – from “Name it to claim it” – from “The Gospel of Prosperity” to “the Prayer of Jabez” – the Church’s coffers are being stuffed with the wealth of the world—“I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” – this is the condition of today’s Laodicean Church in the world.  There simply is no doctrinal nor spurious teaching that can justify the proliferation of wealth DISPLAYED by the Mega-Church movement of today—NONE! 

And, with money comes power—and power begets political involvement at the highest of levels.  The stories of Jezebel and King Ahab in the book of the Kings and the peculiar “Shrine of Micah” in the book of the Judges tell it all—we’ll be sharing on these in the daily blog to EXPOSE these wretched practices of APOSTASY in today’s MARKET PLACE—for surely it is NOT the Temple of the Lord!   

To decry this AMALGAMATION OF EVIL—this TRIUMVIRATE ALLIANCE OF RELIGIOUS DECEPTION, MATERIAL GREED, and GLOBAL POLITICAL POWER is the calling of those who shall, in the End of Days, embrace THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS.   

 

WHAT SHALL WE DO? 

Friend—if you truly know our Lord Jesus and the simplicity of His wondrous forgiveness and life—then, the Holy Spirit indwells you.  As a true child of God, “He will lead you into all truth!” (John 16:13).  That is His promise; I John 2:20-21:  “But you have an anointing (an “unction”) from the Holy One, and you know all things . . . I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie of the truth.”). 

Ultimately—the Lord Himself is our last resort—the only One Who can “keep you from falling, and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).   

He has given you His Word—read it, meditate upon it, pray over it—until “thy words were found and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and the rejoicing of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).  

Even so, as the tide of deception rises—‘till the one who shall ascend from the bottomless pit appears (Revelation 11:7)—you and I must utterly identify with the Apostle of Love, who, like Jeremiah the prophet . . .  

. . . took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.  But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.  And he said to me, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:10-11). 

If we remain silent . . . while the GREAT APOSTASY “prevails” – then, dear friends (and I say this with holy trepidation), the Lord shall hold us accountable.  But, by His grace—even with SHOUTINGS OF GRACE, GRACE (Zechariah 4:7b)—this GREAT MOUNTAIN shall become a plain and the MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD shall fill the earth! 

But, if “the apostasy comes first” and the “man of sin be revealed” – remember this:  “The Lord will consume (i.e., THE LAWLESS ONE) with the breath of His mouth and destroy (him) with the brightness of His coming” (II Thess. 2:8).   

God bless and sustain us all in these end of days . . .

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Back to the Table of Contents
Part 2 - The "Shrine of Micah" or "The seeker-friendly Church"
Part 3 - Jezebel  Religion - Politics - Commerce Apostasy Then, Apostasy Now.
Part 4 - Apostasy: The marriage of the State& the Christian Religion through commercialism
Part 5 - Apostasy's final enticements & Judgment