The Apostle Paul wrote; “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
Pope Francis is the first Pontiff to visit the Arabian Peninsula last week, the birthplace of Islam, where he celebrated mass in front of 180,000 people in Abu Dhabi. The Pope had been invited to visit the United Arab Emirates by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, to take part in an international interfaith meeting as part of the Gulf state’s “year of tolerance.” Of course Islam practices anything but ‘tolerance’ except when practicing the Islamic art of taqiyyah (an Islamic form of deception and lying). When we see this historically significant event taking place between a Roman catholic Pontiff and an Islamic Sheikh there is no doubt that the Apostasy spoken of by the Apostle Paul is happening before our very eyes.
In the Bible there are three forms of apostasy.
1. A faith without works: The first form is when believers start to live below the standard of living taught in the New Testament. They may have “a form of godliness, but deny its power” to change their lives. They believe in the right things but do not live according to what they profess to believe. See: (Hebrews 6:4-6) The Apostle James also mentions this when he says that a person may believe and even ardently profess to believe in the Lord Jesus and in the Word of God but do not have works along the lines of the faith they profess. Their faith is a dead faith. They may believe the right things but do not live out their faith every day.
2. A Complete turn-around: The second form of apostasy is a complete renunciation of faith in Jesus and stepping out from the path of faith and practice and publicly denying the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a voluntary action of the will where one deliberately steps out of and away from a secure position. It is a deliberate decision to turn ones back on the Lord Jesus and to go out and as it were to “to bust hell wide open!” Of course there is no redemption for those who take this course of action. See: (Hebrews 10:26-31)
3. A turning away from the truth and taking others with them! Then there is the third form which has been mentioned in our text on 2nd Thessalonians. Paul mentions, “The Apostasy” and this is not only falling away from the faith and stepping out of the way of salvation but also seeking to turn others away from the faith and taking others with them. Those who do this are not only deceiving others but themselves as well. See: (2 Timothy 3:13) They profess to be servants of righteousness but are doing Satan’s work. When we see Satan as the Dragon we see him as the persecutor of the saints but when he appears as the serpent he is the seducer. Spiritual seduction is rampant in the professing Christian Church today.
A ‘mishmash’ of religion
Whether it is Ecumenism, Purpose Driven, Seeker friendly, Alpha, Post-Modernistic thinking, the Immerging Church with its Eucharistic Christ or interfaith worship or the hype artistry of the faith prosperity money preachers on TV or the many charlatans and false prophets around or the extreme forms of Charismania it is all spiritual seduction. Those who turn away from the Word of God and teach others to follow them will go to hell. These are the modern-day Pharisees. The Lord Jesus says to them what He said to the Pharisees of His time; “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! (Actors) You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:15) According to Paul the apostasy or falling away will pave the way for the man of sin to sit in God’s Temple to demand worship as God on earth. He will be the son of perdition and indwelt by Satan. When you consider the Temple in relation to God’s people on earth in scripture you have two Temples actually. There was the temple of God in Jerusalem and then the Church corporately is also called the Temple of God. When the man of sin sits in the Temple in Jerusalem and is worshipped in some way he will also be worshipped in Christendom (Institutionalised Denominational Christianity).
Babylon is still around!
When we see Pope Francis seeking an association with an Islamic Sheikh you see Mystery Babylon the Mother of harlots revealed in Islam and in Christendom. For the Muslims Mecca is the modern-day city of Babylon. For the Roman Catholics it is Rome and for the non-Catholic nations it is New York. All three cities reflect the character and practices of Ancient Babylon. The whole world in fact is enslaved to ‘Babylon.’ This is why as believers are warned “to flee from Babylon.”
As John writes; “All the nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her immorality. The kings of the earth were immoral with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from the extravagance of her luxury.” Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or contract any of her plagues. For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18:3-5)
While we are to be in the world as witnesses and bond slaves of the Lord Jesus we are not to be of this world because our citizenship is in heaven where we eagerly anticipate the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ who will rescue us from the wrath to come. When the Lord Jesus was praying for His disciples He said to His Father; “I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:15-17). Whether it is Roman Catholicism or Protestant Christendom they commit apostasy when they depart from the sanctifying unchangeable eternal Word of the Living God. True unity is only found in the Holy Spirit and He is the Spirit of truth, not error and will never endorse false doctrine, ecumenical and interfaith unions. (John 16:13)
A famous preacher once said; “a ship in the water is okay but water in the ship isn’t!” The whole structure of Institutionalised Christendom with its headquarters in Rome and Islam with its headquarters in Mecca together is Babylon, the Mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth. This huge religious interfaith ecumaenical institution is a Titanic that has not yet hit the iceberg that will destroy it. The Beast Empire of the Antichrist will burn the harlot with fire. (Revelation 17:15-18)
There is only one instrument the Holy Spirit uses to set us apart to God as the Lord Jesus’ bond-servants from the world, the flesh and the devil and that instrument is the Word of God. (Psalm 119:11) The Lord Jesus himself said; “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Many within Christendom profess to love the Lord Jesus yet play around with his Word the Bible. Some clergy seek to do monkey tricks with scripture to fit in with their opinions and man-made doctrines while others only focus on the parts they like but conveniently skip over the parts that they do not like. You cannot love the Lord Jesus and not love His Word. Ministers of the gospel are bound to declare the whole counsel of God not just the things they feel comfortable preaching about. He is the Living Word of God made flesh and the one who tabernacled among us. (Acts 20:26-32) (John 1:14)
Continuing in the Word
The Bible is the Lord Jesus in print form and He is the Bible. When you are reading it you are reading about Him and the Bible is reading you at the same time. He is all the way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It is a written record of Him. If you do not love His Word and hold it up as absolute authority in all matters pertaining to Christian doctrine and living you do not love the Lord Jesus no matter what you profess. We live what we believe. If our doctrine is wrong then our way of living will be wrong. This is why ministers of the Word of God must watch their life and doctrine closely. As Paul writes to Timothy; “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (2 Timothy 4:16)
Those who intentionally or unintentially go down the ecumenical and interfaith road commit apostasy and will find that when the man of sin is revealed he will deal ruthlessly with them. If we love the Lord Jesus then we will love His Word and the blessed Holy Spirit will sanctify us through the Word of God. The Lord Jesus himself said; “If you love Me you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
The Apstasy in full swing!
When we see the leader of the Christian world as such holding hands with a leader of the Islamic World whose god is not the Judeo-Christian God, we see the apostasy in full swing and surely sooner than later we will see the man of sin and when he comes all hell will break loose on the earth. When this happens those who love the Lord Jesus, love His Word and are seeking to do the will of God from the heart will know that the Lord Jesus is coming very soon and that when He comes everything will change including us who believe on the Lord Jesus. When He comes back this mortal body with its imperfections will be clothed with immortality and perfect light, receiving His salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us in this world. The Lord Jesus is coming for a spotless bride that has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:6-9)
As John writes; “Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the works of the devil. Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:7-9) As Paul writes to the Galatian believers concerning the atoning death of the Messiah; “… who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” (Galatians 1:4)
The ‘Yellow Brick Road’
In the light of events happening in the Middle East the Lord Jesus is coming back soon so let us keep the oil of the Holy Spirit stocked up in the lamp of our inner spirit so that we will have the light to see in the spiritual darkness soon to engulf the earth. Let us be like those five wise virgins whose lamps were shining and were ready to meet the bridegroom when He came for His bride. Those who deliberately choose to go down the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ of ecumenism and interfaith swinging and singing to their hearts content may join their arms in delight and skip along happily together with everything lookng rosy and pleasant, but at the end of that ‘dazzling’ road of merrymaking find someone far more sinister and deadly than the Wizard of Oz!
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