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Echo Evangelique

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Understanding the Time of the Day of the Lord: Church’s response to the world

Text: 2 Thess. 2:3-4

Part II

Key Concepts:

  • The term ‘apostasy’ can’t be applied to Christians
  • The nature of apostasy
  • Who is the Antichrist - the son of perdition, the man of sin?

 Can a Christian walk away from the faith, from Christ? What about those who were once fellow church members but now have nothing to do with church and God? If you rely on your experience and observations to interpret the Word of God, you may indeed be inclined to think that Christians can fall away from the faith. But if you use the Word to make sense of what you witness of those people, you will realize that it is impossible for the child of God to revert into unbelief, to lose his/her salvation. Apostasy and the revelation of the Antichrist are the two signs that will herald the seven year period of the Tribulation (also called the Day of the Lord). This refers to the time when God’s judgment will be poured out upon unbelievers. Israel will be brought to repentance, on a national level, during this time. Many others will be saved as well (Tribulation saints, Rev. 7). It will be a time of fierce persecution for Christians. Catastrophes, calamities, wars, and violence, as the world has ever known, will be widespread. Sin will reign. However, before this Tribulation phase, the Church will be raptured.  

The term ‘apostasy’ can’t be applied to Christians because…

Christians are born-again in Christ; and cannot become unborn. We are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and that cannot change. Believers are irrevocably sealed by the Holy Spirit. The child of God is indwelt permanently by the Holy Spirit, that also is irreversible. As sheep of the Good Shepperd, we have been granted eternal life, not temporary. Believers are secured in the Father’s hand and none can snatch us out of His hand (Jn. 10:28-30).  In fact, “… neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39, NKJV). God has the power to preserve His elect (Jude 24).  The child of God perseveres in the faith, living to please and glorify Christ and abiding in His Word. Believers abide in Christ as He abides in us,  we bear fruit worthy of the glory of God. We are not perfect, but we are growing daily into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through the ministries of the Church. Believers will continue to persevere, going from glory to glory. We are justified by the blood of Christ, confirmed by the Resurrection of Christ, sanctify positionally, being sanctified progressively, destined for glory. Because we are children of God, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn 3:2, NKJV). Christ will “present [us] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24, NKJV).

The nature of apostasy

An apostate is someone who has an intellectual assent to the truth of God. They know about God, they may even know the Bible from cover to cover, but their knowledge is only academic. However, the heart needs to be convinced of the truth of God to be saved (Rom. 10: 9-10). The apostate “did not receive the love of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:10, NKJV). Their heart is unaffected by the Gospel of Christ. They gradually pull away in their thinking, and lifestyle, from the truth of God. Eventually, they reject even the intellectual assent they once professed. They will return to wallow in their sin (2 Pet. 2:22). The apostate will nevertheless remain a church-goer until their final rebellion is evident and they depart openly and completely from God. Apostasy has its own agents. They are those false teachers/preachers/prophets who are preaching a religion without Christ. They are enamored by a gospel that deifies man. It is a feel-good gospel that puts people at ease and lulls them to sleep. It has nothing to do with repentance, regeneration, holiness, the character of God, or bearing fruit to the glory of God. They don’t challenge anyone’s lifestyle, or thinking, and come close to nothing that will vex their followers. They preach permissiveness. They remove the fear of God’s  judgment from their lost flock. Their doctrines seduce many and blind many more. However, these wicked prophets have devoted followers. Indeed, there is undeniably an affinity between those false teachers and their disciples. The followers are not victims but people who have offered themselves up to be persuaded. They are people who prefer to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18, NKJV). Their rejection of God is willful. God’s judgment is often to deliver them to their own delusions until they fall under His righteous wrath. 

Who is the Antichrist - the son of perdition, the man of sin?

The revelation of the Antichrist will also precede the return of the Lord (2 Thess. 2:1-5).  However, we are warned by the Apostle John that “the spirit of the Antichrist, … is now already in the world (1 Jn 4:3, NKJV). Apostasy is paving the way for the coming of the man of sin. It is no wonder that his spirit is moving the false teachers. The Antichrist will not have to create the world in his own image but rather the world, made ready by his false prophets, will be ripe for his moral, political, economic, and religious rule, and manipulation. Nonetheless, he will make things worse. The Antichrist will be a very arrogant man, who blasphemes God habitually and persecutes God’s saints (Tribulation saints) with delight, he will have no respect for law and  order except when it fits his agenda (Dan. 7:25).  He will wield seduction and deception as his favorite weapons in offering solutions to the world’s problems. He will miraculously solve problems that have never been solved previously. He will be a charismatic and ingenious leader. He will seek to unite nations politically, economically, religiously. He will seduce Israel into a treaty of peace (Dan. 9:27). He will commit the abomination that causes desolation (Matt. 24, Mk 13). Indeed, he will proclaim himself to be God and will demand to be worshiped as such. He will be the false god of a false religion that distracts from the true God. He will be a lawless man who stands in opposition to God. He will exalt himself above the true living God. Today, the Antichrist’s spirit is causing man to elevate themselves above God in self-worship. His deception will twist and woo the world and cause idolatry like never before. His rule and authority, however, is granted for a time (Rev 13:5-8).

In conclusion …

Lawlessness may be creeping into our homes and families unless we examine ourselves to make sure that our faith is true and that our convictions are Christ-centered. Be certain that you are not fooling yourselves and are just playing at church. “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for  salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:13-14). Indeed, we need to hold on to the tradition of preaching and teaching the Word of God. We need stand firm on our moral convictions and hold fast to traditional worship. Let us set the good example of faithfulness for our children and be ready to pay whatever price that may cost us. Christ died for this. As the world falls into apostasy, we must hold on to the truth of God so that we are able to sing that, “till the end we will be faithful”.

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