Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come first a falling away. 2 Thessalonians 3:2a KJV [Adapted]
The Bible is clear that one of the signs of the end-times will be a general defection from the true God, the Bible, and the Christian faith. A further falling away of an already fallen world.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:2, Paul is clarifying this failing away to the Thessalonians. Jesus himself described the characteristics of this great end times apostasy: “Many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:10–12 (NLT)
There are two main forms of apostasy:
- slippery slope or creeping apostasy being the falling away from one or more key and true doctrines of the Bible into heretical teachings that claim to be the real Christian doctrine (Note 1), and,
- full apostasy, the complete renunciation and abandonment of the Christian faith, including Christ’s atonement on the cross
Full apostasy almost always begins with the first. The denial of key Christian truths begins a downhill slide into the second (full) form of apostasy. A heretical belief becomes a heretical teaching that splinters and grows until it pollutes all aspects of a person’s faith, and then the end goal of Satan is accomplished, which is a complete falling away from Christianity. The Bible makes clear that apostasy will increase as Christ’s return becomes closer.
- These subtle heresies are often difficult to discern, “So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each another. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which is Abel.” A. W. Tozer (1897 – 1963)