The Great Apostasy is Here
By Dr. Ken Matto
(2 Th 2:3 KJV) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, we were warned by the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that there would be one major sign of the impending return of Christ. Paul states that the return of Christ would be immediately preceded by a great falling away.
(2 Th 2:2 KJV) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
These teachings were believed and had actually started the Thessalonian church to waver. The word “shaken” in 2 Thess. 2:2 is the same word found in Acts 16:26 and used in the same inflection. (Acts 16:26 KJV) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. We get an idea of how bad the Thessalonian church was wavering by looking at Acts 16:26. When Paul and Silas were in the jail at Philippi, they had sung songs and praised God and then at midnight there was a great earthquake.
Paul had assured them that the Day of Christ was not at hand in their day and that they should not concern themselves with what they had heard. Apparently, there were some false teachers who had convinced the Thessalonians that the Day of Christ was at hand in their time. Paul then goes on in verse 3 to assure them that the Day of Christ will not arrive until the one major sign precedes it and that is “the great falling away.” While Satan has all the prophecy pundits and the majority of Christians looking at the nation of Israel, Satan has almost freed himself up to bring in the great apostasy unnoticed. Diversion is a great tool which Satan uses against the Christian and he continues to use it because it is his most effective tool. You can’t be watching east if you are facing west! The great end time sign which the Bible warns us of is not dealing with the nation of Israel but is dealing with Christianity. I am speaking about Christianity in total which means those who are in the churches, those who are not, preachers on the radio, shortwave radio, and TV plus the Internet.
While Satan has the Christians looking in an opposite direction, he has brought in damnable heresies which are now pervading the church and the tentacles of false teachings have reached the general Christian population. When I speak of Christians, I am speaking of those who are truly born again, not those who claim to be Christians.
(2 Pet 2:1 KJV) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 Peter 2:1 warns us that in the time of Israel and Judah, there were false prophets among the people who were leading them astray. As you know both Judah and Israel went into captivity because of their acceptance of false teachings which lead to the worshipping of other gods. The same caliber of false prophets are in the churches today causing the Christians to go astray in their beliefs. Now sometimes it is unbelievers which have undue influence over Christians and we will look at some who do.
Falling Away
The major sign which Paul gives is that there must come a falling away. The word “falling away” is the word “apostasy.” The word “apostasy” carries with it the general idea of a departure or abandonment of what one has learned. In this case it would be the orthodox teachings of Scripture. The word “apostasia” is used only twice in the New Testament. It is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 for the English words “falling away” and in Acts 21:21.
(Acts 21:21 KJV) And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
In Acts 21:21, the KJV translators rightly translated it as “forsake.” When someone has the truth of Scripture and then begins following false teachings, no matter how innocuous they are, it is still a forsaking of the truth. If a Christian sinks into heresy, they go apostate. Heresy and apostasy are cause and effect. Heresy is the cause and apostasy is the effect. The sad fact is that in our day, the majority of Christians cannot tell the difference between truth and heresy.
The great falling away, which is well under way in our day, is not an event which will take place in a short time. For Christians to accept or be duped by false teachings, they must be fed slowly and if they are fed slowly, the apostasy will take a firm foothold and when it does, Satan will have Christians defending it. The great falling away will be a progressive apostasy, where we will see where major movements have affected the teachings of the church. It started out slow and will eventually increase in intensity until it gets to the point where it is layered, that is, false teachings coming in extremely rapid progression from all areas.
(Isa 5:20 KJV) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah ran into the same problem where the theology of Israel had become so distorted, that they could no longer tell what was evil and what was good, and which was which. This same situation exists today in Christianity and we can see the fruit of it as “confusion.” Just as Israel and Judah listened to false teachers, the Christians go to commentaries to look for truth rather than the Bible itself. Where is truth, in what man writes or in what God has written?
The Progressive Apostasy
In this section I want to point out some of the major movements and their dates, which have been used of Satan to infect Christianity with false teachings thus beginning and maintaining the great falling away.
This is the date which I believe that Satan was loosed (although I will not be dogmatic) to begin to bring the great falling away which would culminate in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Prior to this there were false teachings which existed but they did not have the major effect on bible teaching as these movements.
This was the year that Jacob Arminius brought in his five points which puts man at the helm of salvation and removes God as the initiator. Arminius taught:
Free will of man - Partial Depravity
Conditional Election
Universal Redemption or General Atonement
Holy Spirit can be resisted - Resistible Grace
Loss of Salvation - Conditional Perseverance
In 1618-19 the Synod of Dort was convened in the Netherlands in Dordrecht and it was for the purpose of comparing the works of Arminius to the works of Calvin to determine which view was the true biblical one. Arminius had requested this meeting for this purpose but he died in 1609. The final determination of the meeting was that the views of Jacob Arminius were considered heretical and the teachings of John Calvin became the official teachings of the Dutch Reformed Church. Even though the teachings of Arminius was considered heretical, nevertheless, the die was cast and his views would become the major belief in 99 % of Christianity. One of the greatest proponents of Arminius was John Wesley (1703-1791) who started the Methodist Church. The views of Arminius makes God the beggar and man the higher authority with the belief that he can control God by making Him their savior.
In 1830 in Port Glasgow Scotland, there were prophecy meetings which were held called the Port Glasgow Prophecy Conferences. One of the main attendees was a woman named Margaret MacDonald. She had trance channeled a new teaching called “the two-stage appearance of Christ.” This meant that Christ was going to return in a secret rapture and rapture all His believers before the tribulation period started. The second time He would come would be on the last day of the tribulation period and then He would establish a literal thousand years to rule on this earth.
(Dan 7:25 KJV) And he 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: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
This teaching caught on like wildfire because as we see in Daniel 7:25, Satan would change times and laws. The Bible clearly teaches that the rapture of the Saints is on the last day and not 1,007 years earlier. Satan had succeeded in changing the times. This does not mean he changed the times in the Bible because the word of God is forever settled in Heaven. This means, he took a cardinal doctrine of last things and changed it. Since the pre-trib rapture will allow Christians to escape the so-called 7 year tribulation period, it became the new teaching in the church handed down through Edward Irving and John Nelson Darby and Scofield. Now today, 98% of all churches are pre-trib and have discounted the true timing of the rapture found in the Bible. (John 6:39; 40; 44; 54; John 11:24; and John 12:48 teach a last day rapture.)
Mid-Nineteenth Century
The teachings of Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) spawned the JEDP Theory which compartmentalized the Bible and gave very late dates for its authorship.  J stands for Yahwehist which denies Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch and places it about 850 B.C. The E stands for Elohist and takes writings of the Old Testament and places them at 750 B.C. D stands for Deuteronomist which basically takes Deuteronomy and places the date of writing about 620 B.C. The P stands for Priestly and takes some of the writings from Genesis 1 to the death of Moses and places it about 500 B.C. German theological liberalism gave rise to American liberalism because it was another attack upon the Scriptures and this liberal attack on the Bible spread throughout many churches and is still in vogue today.
Up until the mid 1800’s, there was a general orthodoxy in the churches and it did not matter what Protestant denomination, they basically taught the same things with the same Bible. Then Satan made his second major move in 1859, Charles Darwin published his “Origin of Species” and many clergy began to adopt the teachings of his book and that began the concept of 1,000 years for each of the creation days, the gap theory between Genesis 1:1 and 2, the questioning of the first three chapters of Genesis. With these began the questioning and the rejection of significant parts of the Bible. If someone questions the veracity of the first three chapters of Genesis, they are, in essence, questioning the existence of God. The first four words of the Bible are, “In the beginning God…” Darwin’s book precipitated the war between science and the Bible, when before this time, they were harmonious.
Then on top of that apostasy, in 1870, in England, two professors, Hort and Westcott, both of whom accepted Darwin, had taken two of the most corrupt manuscripts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, and created their Revised Version which was published in 1881 and on the tails of that version, in America there was a translation made from the same corrupt manuscripts called the American Standard Version of 1901. These two professors were unbelievers and occultists. They rejected the first three chapters of Genesis and were Roman Catholic sympathizers. The Revised Version in 1881 did not break any sales records and contained massive omissions and deletions along with attacks on the cardinal doctrines of Scripture. Even though sales were very low, nevertheless the die had been cast for the modern versions which would prove extremely heretical.
On the tails of the 1901 American Standard Version in 1906 came the Azuza Street Mission phenomenon with the resurgence of the speaking in of tongues but these were not the tongues of Acts or Corinth which were legitimate languages, but these modern tongues were nothing but gibberish. Along with these tongues came signs, wonders, dreams, visions, and prophecies. There was also much occultic activity recorded at these meetings There were tongues phenomenon going back to the mid 1800’s but these were far and few in between but it wasn’t until 1906 when Satan made his move. The Azuza Street mission became the catalyst for the modern tongues movement. Now Satan had people looking to prophecies, signs, and wonders instead of the Bible.
In 1908 the Federal Council of Churches was formed under Harry F. Ward. He was known as the Red Dean of Union Theological Seminary. He was a communist and had persuaded many Protestant ministers to adhere to Communism. This was Satan’s first attempt to bring all the churches together regardless of whether they were true or false churches. This was the point where communism made its inroads into the church thus changing the message of many churches from the true Gospel of the Bible to the communist platform of Social Justice. Satan was successful through these unbelievers to refocus the direction of the church from Heaven to earth.
In 1909 the first edition of the Scofield Bible was published. The notes became the foundation for Zionism. When the 1967 revision of the Scofield Bible was published, it stated that no one was to speak against Israel and her policies because this would be equal to speaking against God. It is the Scofield Bible which is the catalyst for those who endorse Christian Zionism, which is the belief that if Israel wants it, then God wants it, even if it means wholesale slaughter of other people groups. The notes in the Scofield Bible have diverted many Christians from the truth.
The modern charismatic movement was now on its way with the founding of the Assemblies of God in 1914. The AOG printed a booklet which is called “Our Distinctive Doctrine” and it is the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit.” This baptism would allow a person to speak in other tongues. This concept has spread like wildfire when it was first introduced. No longer was the tongues movement consigned to a mission, it was now being formed into a church denomination which would spawn other churches and denominations such as the Four Square church in 1923 founded by Aimee Semple MacPherson who claimed to be a faith healer, yet she died anyway. The charismatic movement also spawned the idea of women preachers.
In 1948 the nation of Israel was founded and it immediately became the “American Idol” of the majority of Christians. The book of Revelation focuses on the time period from the ascension of Christ to the last day in regards to the body of believers. The prophecy pundits have taken the book of Revelation and replaced the true meaning of it with all kinds of fantasy events focusing on Israel. Since that has happened, there have been prophecy books by the thousands written and they have all been wrong concerning end time events, nevertheless, Christians have taken their eyes off the true meaning of Revelation and end time events and continue to keep them focused on Israel. The dispensationalists claimed it was a fulfillment of prophecy and since it was formed, it has become an idol in most churches and has usurped the place of Christ.
In 1948 the World Council of Churches was formed which was Satan’s attempt to unify all the churches of the world under this communist organization. The WCC has sponsored terrorism and many Christians have died under the grants given to communist organizations by the WCC.
In 1950 the National Council of Churches was formed at the Rockefeller funded Riverside Chapel in New York City. It was to replace the Federal Council of Churches in name only but their goals of communism and social justice were the same. This was Satan’s second attempt to merge all the churches of the USA and the world together.
Dr. Harold Ockenga, Dr. Billy Graham, and Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse became the fathers of the New Evangelical Movement which melded the Gospel with the social justice gospel.  It was a compromise of the true Gospel and spread throughout the world.  It gave rise to statements like "Jesus was a revolutionary."  It replaced the true Gospel with the gospel of global politics.  It places souls last and material good first such as re-distribution of wealth.  It adopted the Communist agenda and many of the seminary professors who attached themselves to it were Communist sympathizers.
In 1964 the Beatles made an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York and it was from this moment that Rock and Roll took on a new form. When the Rolling Stones came on the scene shortly after the Beatles, their music went from the love style rock and roll of the 1950’s to the rebellion which finally culminated at Woodstock in 1969. This type of Rock and Roll eventually became the catalyst for Christian Rock. This music style has invaded most churches and you can tell which ones when you walk in and see all the instruments and the Praise Band looks like a Rock and Roll band. (Lev 19:30 KJV) Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. The reverence of the sanctuary of God departed when the drums and guitars walked in. Now the same churches which sang the old hymns are now using overhead projectors and rock bands to lead the singing.
In 1967, Satan made another major move and that was the introduction of the New Testament of the NIV, which was completed with the Old Testament in 1973. This counterfeit bible was going to replace the King James Bible in the majority of Churches. This counterfeit bible had two sodomites working on its translation team. This Bible made 8,000 changes in the Greek text and over 100,000 changes in the English text. It is probably the most corrupt of the modern versions and was Satan’s attempt to remove the true Bible from the churches and replace them with a counterfeit that has much missing.
Malcolm Boyd became the first openly gay clergyman in a main stream Christians denomination. He was in the Episcopal church. This opened the door for other sodomites to be ordained into the offices of Bishops and pastors of other local congregations. Today sodomy is promoted by denominations such as the Methodists, Presbyterian USA, Lutherans and others. This is not to say that every person in the denominations that I mentioned endorse sodomy. The Christian Gay and Lesbian Foundation was founded in 1976.
In 1995 Rick Warren introduces his Purpose Driven Church Movement. It is a humanistic mindset based upon numbers and growth rather than biblical truth. Rick Warren is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations which is dedicated to the destruction of the United States. This movement resulted in thousands of Christians having to leave or being thrown out of churches so the dungaree and t-shirt wearing pastor can grow his church and magnify himself.
We have seen many major movements and events which have influenced Christianity in the negative. If the Lord’s return is still in the distance, there will be more evil influences upon Christianity. (Luke 21:20 KJV) And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Just as Jerusalem was desolated in 70 A.D by the Romans, which represented the kingdom of Satan because of their hatred for Christians, the same situation will be taking place right at the end. Jesus said that when we see Jerusalem compassed, that is, surrounded by armies, then we know that desolation is near. The Jerusalem in view is the body of believers and the armies are the kingdom of Satan coming in various ways to try and destroy Christianity and knowing that he cannot, he will do his best to neutralize it which is what these movements have done. As we have seen clearly, the focus of Satan in the last days, which is from the ascension of Christ to the last day, will be the destruction of Christianity as Revelation points out in its visions. (Heb 1:1-2 KJV) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; The Great Apostasy is here and how much worse will it get, only the Lord knows. The greatest and only defense we have against the apostasy is the Bible. If we know our Bible, we will not be trapped by the movements and false teachings they bring. Christians must remain vigilant and must study their Bibles and not turn to the teachings of man but must compare all conclusions to the Scriptures. The Bible is the authority for the Christian and we must never forsake it for the teachings of man. If we have learned anything from this monograph, it is the fact that Satan has targeted Christians and not false world religions and that is why the Christian must be and remain strong in the Word.

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