It is very apparent that we are living in the last days. Speaking of the coming of the Lord and the catching-away of the saints, Paul wrote:
Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For that Day will not come unless a falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself as God (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
The word translated "falling away" is apostasia (pronounced ap-os-tas-ee'-ah) from which we get our English word "apostasy." Notice that this evil megatrend will come right before the Antichrist publicly assigns godhood to himself. In reality, it is the same spirit. For those who "fall away" from the truth enthrone themselves as gods over their own lives and their own belief systems, robbing the true God of His rightful place. The most sobering thought is that you can't "fall away" from something unless you once possessed it. So, is this a reference to the false church falling away from the true revelation of Scripture, or members of the true church leaving the revelation of truth they once embraced? You decide.
It is doubly disturbing to see that one Greek word translated "divorce" is apostasion (pronounced ap-os-tas-ee-on) which is closely related to the word for "falling away" (Matt. 5:31). When you connect the dots, falling away from the truth, in a sense, means divorcing God. So, the words "falling away" are apparently not a good translation. A fall is something unfortunate and accidental. A divorce is intentional. There will be a "falling away" in the last days because people will intentionally harden their hearts against God and the truth of His Word. This is not an unfortunate "fall"; this is a deliberate "break" in the relationship. It might be more appropriate to call it "the great rebellion." To Timothy, Paul prophesied:
"Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
Some of the signs of this departure from the faith will most likely be an acceptance, by supposed professing Christians, of sexual perversion, abortion, euthanasia, wrong spiritual practices (like Buddhist-like forms of contemplative prayer) and a kind of new age, universalistic outlook—accepting all religions as being legitimate paths to walk.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not proper. They were filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness ... without natural affection, calloused, and unmerciful, who know the righteous requirement of God, that those who commit such things are worthy of death. They not only do them, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Rom. 1:28-32).
The most dreadful part is this: you cannot divorce God without automatically marrying Satan. There is no middle ground. There is no gray area. Would any people in their right mind want to be married to an entity whose intention is to "kill" them mentally, emotionally and physically, to "steal" everything that is truly good in life and to "destroy" them in the end? (See John 10:10.)
Those who marry Satan can expect him to twist everything in their lives into something opposite of the truth. The word "wickedness" implies something twisted (like the wick of a candle, or wicker furniture, both of which have "twisted" strands). So, you can expect on the heels of apostasy to see a great rise in witchcraft and sexual perversity, for both are "twisted" ways of living.
This will reach a peak of manifestation when the devil fully possesses the beast (the Antichrist) and uses him as his mouthpiece, for "the dragon" (Satan) will give him "his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2c). Those nations and individuals who submit to the rule of "the son of perdition" will automatically be marrying the devil, uniting their souls with the evil force that rules his throne. Two spouse-like, corporate characters emerge in the book of the Revelation: the bride of Christ (married to the lord Jesus) and the great whore, mystery Babylon (married to the man of sin). It is of the utmost importance to decide ahead of time which one of these groups you desire to be affiliated with.
To even think of these things is sobering indeed. But we have cause to rejoice, though, for there will be "a remnant according to the election of grace" (Rom. 11:5b). Jesus spoke of this era when He said, "Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matt. 24:12-13). Stay true to God, child of the Almighty, your day of reward will come!
Mike Shreve has traveled globally since 1971 as an evangelist with an emphasis on the deeper revelation of God's Word, confirmed by a manifestation of God's healing power, the prophetic and other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Presently, he and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Cleveland, Tennessee. He is an author of 14 books, including an Amazon.com #1 best-seller titled 65 Promises from God for Your Child. His newest book is a study of 52 names and titles God has given His offspring, titled WHO AM I?
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