As we get ready to celebrate Passover (March 30-31) and Easter we should be reminded that as the Lord came once, He will come a second time, and that time is near.
“so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” – Heb. 9:28
The sad thing is that Jesus Himself asked “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”. The message of the Gospel has swept the earth and the Church of Jesus Christ has been in almost every nation at one time or another but, Jesus still asked this question. The Apostle Paul, when asked about the Lord’s second coming, warned about a great falling away to happen before He returned.
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him … 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, 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 (humanism).” – 2 Thes. 2:1-4
Now, you can’t fall away from something you never had so, this is talking about those who call themselves Christians. This great falling away will not only precede the appearance of Satan’s Antichrist but, will actually help it! God states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”. Most Christians do not know the story of the Maccabees even though Jesus celebrated them in the New Testament (John 10:22).
The story goes like this – the Greeks, under Antiochus Epiphanes, had taken over Israel and began to influence the Hebrews to leave their biblical roots in favor of Greek culture and many did. The Hebrew children were being systematically re-educated into a godless culture. Finally, Antiochus set up a statue to Zeus in the the Temple and sacrificed a pig on the Altar. (This was called the Abomination that Desolates.) But, what many do not know is that the Jewish High Priest actually ushered Antiochus into the Temple! This final atrocity caused Judas Mathias to rise up and lead what became known as the Maccabean revolt and cast out the Greeks. Then they had a cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple that lasted for eight days. When they re-lit the Menorah lamps, they only had enough of the specially prepared oil for one day of burning but, miraculously they continued burning for eight days until the dedication was complete. From this came the Feast of Dedication which is celebrated yet today. But, if the people had not fallen away, and even the priesthood as well, Antiochus would have never gained the foothold he did!
Jesus predicted there would yet be another Abomination of Desolation set up in a Jewish Temple (Matt. 24:15) and to Paul it was revealed that another great falling away would precede it. Do we see any evidence of this falling away today? Sadly, I have to report – YES!
The Church in Europe, once a bastion of Christianity, is almost dead. The Church of England is now headed by a confessing homosexual and is hemorrhaging members. Many of its members are applying for ‘Debaptism’ permits. “More than 100,000 former Christians have downloaded “certificates of Debaptism” in a bid to publicly renounce the faith, according to the London-based National Secular Society.” Islam is fast becoming the dominate religion in the UK.
The United States has been the last main pillar of Christianity in the world but it is under attack from humanistic secularism, which is the world view of public education and teacher’s colleges. It is now beginning to have a destructive effect on the society and the Church in America. A shocking new poll of the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States has revealed that only 39 percent of the members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Up to ½ of American seminary teachers don’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Many churches have started the Chrislam movement, which is an amalgamation of Christianity and Islam and is heresy.
The American church is accepting the world’s standards rather than God’s. Oh, they would not agree to this truth but, they will accept women in authority roles (such as pastors) when God does not.
“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Tim. 2:12
The reason Paul uses had to do with deception being allowed in the Church and the following examples prove his point –
Shannon Johnson Kershner of Chicago’s 5,500-member Fourth Presbyterian Church teaches that Christ is not the only way to salvation. Rev. Kershner is not alone among her fellow Presbyterian Pastors, 45% of whom were recently revealed not to believe that only followers of Christ can be saved.
Elizabeth Eaton, the presiding “bishop” of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) has expressed her belief that although Hell may exist, it is entirely empty because “God doesn’t give up on those who reject Him.”
Millie Horning Peters believes that Christian leaders should actively promote abortions and assist women in obtaining them. She believes that “It’s time for the religious left to rise up” in support of abortion.
Methodist Deacon M. Barclay is now accepted as a non-binary Deacon in Chicago, which means that she prefers the pronoun “they” rather than “she” and doesn’t identify as either gender.
The Episcopal Church USA has given itself over to a “Mother Earth” form of Christianity that preaches tolerance and inclusivity for everything except what some might consider traditional, biblical Christianity. The Christ Church of Alexandria is so inclusive that it does not have a single male pastor listed on its website. All four are women. One of them, the Rev. Ann Gillespie, is a former Hollywood actress who recently closed a sermon with a new version of the Apostle’s Creed. It starts out, “I believe in God, our Mother Bear, source of all being,” and it refers to the Virgin Mary as “the bad-ass womanist liberation theologian, Mary.”
And these are just a few.. When men (and women) set themselves up to change God’s rules, they are acting in the spirit of Antichrist as Daniel warned –
“And he (Antichrist) shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws …” – Dan. 7:25
The Church, even Evangelicals, has largely caved in to the world on the area of divorce and remarriage. The Assembly of God used to not allow remarriage but now allows as many divorces and remarriages as one desires. It is nothing less than legalized prostitution in the church. Does God condone this? Here is what He says –
“For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away (divorce): for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” – Mal. 2:16
Most pastors will not preach against divorce because they are afraid to offend their members – they may lose them! They would rather offend God. And God says through Malachi that because of their silence they have corrupted the covenant of God and caused many to stumble. God also instructed Timothy when appointing church leaders that they must be husbands of one wife (1 Tim. 1:6) but, today many divorced men are shepherding churches. I doubt they will preach many sermons about the absolute importance of marriage fidelity or the foundational importance of family.
These topics may not be comfortable to some but the Word of God was not given to make us comfortable but, to make us holy (separated to God). A comfortable church is a lukewarm church and Jesus is about to spew them out of His mouth –
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” – Rev. 3:16
There are many more signs that the church in the United States is falling away from the foundation laid for us by Jesus and the Apostles but, they will have to wait for the next article. If you find yourself in any of the categories I have listed here, and most of us are or have been, the Lord’s recommendation is to repent and ask Him to restore you to the paths of righteousness.