By Min. Thomas J. Allen, Tuesday May, 28 2013
New Testament prophecies described two separate streams of "Christianity" operating side by side throughout the church age (Matt. 24:40-41). First, there will be sound apostolic churches, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. They will be persecuted, hated, despised, yet they will continue century by century until Christ's return. The Lord Jesus promised His faithful ones: "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20). Second, there will be apostate churches, which will increase and grow worse and worse as the centuries pass (2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:13; 4:3-4; Matt. 24:4,5,11, 24; 2 Pet 2:1-22; 1 John 4:1-6; Jude 44-19; Rev. 17:1-18).
Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24, "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. ... And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.. ... For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.."
Luke 18:8, "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Acts 20:29-30, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, "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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
1 Timothy 4:1-3, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
2 Timothy 3:13, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
2 Peter 2:1-3, "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. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
1 John 2:18-19, "Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
1 John 4:1, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
Jude 1:3-4, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Revelation 17:1-6, "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration."
The parables of Christ in Matthew 13, which described the course of this present "church age," portray a progression of apostasy. ("Apostasy" refers to falling away from the true faith.) The parable of the leaven, for example, describes a woman putting leaven into three measures of meal, "till the whole was leavened." Leaven in Scripture stands for sin and error (Luke 12:1; 1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). Thus the parable tells us that the error that was introduced by false teachers even during the days of the apostles will gradually increase through the centuries until the entire religious system is leavened. The ultimate fulfillment of this is Revelation 17.
The apostasy began during the lives of the apostles and has increased steadily through The centuries. John wrote, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." (1 John 2:18). John taught that there will be a future antichrist, singular; but he is preceded by many antichrists, plural. We believe that the antichrist, singular, refers to the man of sin who will rule the end-time kingdom described in Daniel 9-11; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-12; and Revelation 13. The antichrists, plural, refer to all of those that reject apostolic truth in favor of satanic deception and man-made tradition. Thus, The "antichrist" is both a man and a system; it is both one man, and many men. It is in this latter sense that the popes throughout history are identified with the antichrist.
Another passage that teaches the same truth is 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." In the days of the apostles the "mystery of iniquity" was already working, and it will culminate in the promotion of the man of sin, the Wicked One, the antichrist, who will assume the throne of this world for a brief time at the end of the age. We are told that the culmination of this will not occur until just prior to the return of Christ, because the Wicket One will be destroyed "with the brightness of his coming." The "mystery of iniquity" is that program of evil whereby the devil is attempting to corrupt the churches of Jesus Christ by sowing tares and apostasy. It is associated with "Mystery Babylon the Great" in Revelation 17.
May God Bless you, your family, and keep you all safe from the coming storm.
You are all in my prayers daily.
Yours In Christ
Min. Thomas J. Allen