The Coming Tempest

The New Testament warns believers that before Jesus returns his Church will find itself under assault from within by deceivers, “false anointed ones,” and “false prophets.” Before the “Day of the Lord” begins, disciples of Jesus will be confronted by the “Man of Lawlessness” who is linked to the “Apostasy,” the final great “falling away” from the true faith.

Jesus warned us to beware of the “many deceivers” who will come “in his name” and thereby “deceive many,” namely, “false prophets” and “false messiahs” who spread “lawlessness” among his people, disseminate false information about the “coming of the Son of Man,” and employ impressive “signs and wonders” to hoodwink, “if possible,” the very “Elect.” Only the believer who perseveres through this onslaught will be saved - (Matthew 24:5, 23-27).

Tornado 2 - Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash
[Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash]

Likewise, in
the Book of Revelation, the “False Prophet” performs “great signs” that deceive many, causing men to give their allegiance to the “Beast from the Sea” rather than to the “slain Lamb.”

Already in the first century, deceivers were infiltrating the Seven Assemblies of Asia, “false apostles,” the “Nicolaitans,” and the “Prophetess, Jezebel,” causing some members to engage in idolatry and otherwise compromise with pagan society.

Even in those early congregations, “Mystery Babylon” was at work attempting to destroy them from within, the same way that Satan has been attacking the Church over the last twenty centuries. His efforts will intensify near the end of the present age.

In Revelation, Satan does not wage “war” against Israel or nation-states, but on the “saints” who have the “Faith of Jesus” and his “Testimony.” This “war” includes the invasion of the Church by deceivers, false prophets, and clever deceptions.

The Apostle Paul was specific when writing to the Thessalonians. The “Day of the Lord” and the “arrival” of Jesus would not come until two events occurred – the “Apostasy” and the “revelation of the Man of Lawlessness.”

The English term “apostasy” or ‘apostasia’ in Greek means abandoning the true faith. When Paul warned that this “Lawless one” would deceive those who “refuse the love of the truth,” he referred to believers who would apostatize. This conclusion is borne out by his declaration that the “truth” believers must cling to is the “tradition you received” from him and his apostolic coworkers.

This master deceiver will “seat himself in the Sanctuary of God.” Elsewhere, Paul refers to the Body of Christ as the “Sanctuary of God,” not a stone building in old Jerusalem. Thus, the “Lawless One” will target the assemblies of Jesus Christ.

HOLD FAST TO THE TEACHINGS


Paul also warned Timothy about the coming apostasy. The time was approaching when “some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” In the last days, “evil men and howling imposters will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Considering what was coming, he exhorted Timothy, “To preach the word, and be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure the SOUND DOCTRINE, but having itching ears, they will heap to themselves teachers after their lusts and will turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to fables” – (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 3:13, 4:1-4).

Paul stressed “sound doctrine” as the antidote to the coming plague of deception. It was the believer’s best defense against the many deceivers who would invade the Church before the end. Peter also warned of “false prophets” and “false teachers” who would distribute false doctrines and wreak havoc in the Assembly before the return of Jesus - (2 Peter 2:1-3).

In his epistles, John wrote of the coming “Antichrist,” but of more immediate concern to him were the “many antichrists” active in his congregations. The “Last Days” were underway, and this was demonstrated by the “Spirit of Antichrist” that was at work through these deceivers – (1 John 2:18-22, 4:1-3).

Thunder - Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash
[Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash]

Scripture provides a clear warning. Before the arrival of Jesus, his followers will experience the “
Apostasy” fomented by “false prophets” and other deceivers and the unveiling of the “Man of Lawlessness.” While persecution will come, the stress of these warnings is on the danger posed by false prophets in the Church.

However, we are neither defenseless nor without hope. The fact that Jesus and his Apostles warned of these things indicates that we can avoid deception by heeding the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles.

As Paul assured his readers, faithful believers will not be overtaken by the “Lawless One” despite his mighty “signs and wondersIF they “hold fast” to the Apostolic Tradition passed on by him and the other Apostles. That “tradition” is preserved in the Greek New Testament – (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17).



RELATED POSTS:
  • Seated in the Sanctuary - (The Man of Lawlessness will be unveiled when he seats himself in the House of God - 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
  • The Apostasy - (Paul warned the Thessalonians of the future apostasy which he linked to the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Destruction)
  • His Urgent Warning - (Jesus stressed critical information that is vital for his disciples if they wish to avoid deception by false prophets and other deceivers)

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