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Great Falling Away

by Daniel J.M. Galpin

Could it be, the great falling away foretold of in Scripture is because of a wide spread error in teaching in the modern church? It could of course be for other reasons; but then again, if we as a church people expect a certain event to occur at a certain time and it does not happen as it has been taught, such would logically lead to believers questioning other truths that have been taught by church leaders to the extent they walk away from the faith.

True believers will of course not be affected in such a manner. Shaken a bit perhaps, but they will not leave the faith for they are in the Father's hand and shall not be lost from His protection. However, those who claim our faith and are among us in service to the Master, yet in sincerity do not possess the faith, will indeed question that which was taught and leave accordingly for they were never in the hands of Christ in the first place. Such may be of those whom the Lord spoke of “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46

Did not those in Jesus' time expect someone different? They were on the watch for a man that would deliver them from the bondage of the Romans, thus when Christ came they did not see Him as the Messiah. They were taught, in error, to seek for one that would be mighty in a military sense and free them from their oppressors. Jesus spoke of peace and submission to their enemy, not of overthrowing them. The religious leaders even used this to their advantage by agreeing that it would be better for one to die rather than the whole to follow Christ and all die: John 11:45-53. Left alone the religious leaders believed the Jews as a whole would come to the conclusion that Jesus' was the Messiah and the Romans would therefore crash the nation. Therefore they sought to kill Christ to “protect” the nation. Their misconception of who Christ was to be, led to their incorrect conclusion, which lead to the death of Christ, which of course did not take God by surprise, rather it fulfilled the Scriptures.

In the same way, could it not be that a modern error in teaching, which is highly accepted as true, will again be used to fulfill Scripture in regards to the great falling away spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3? So then, what is this great error?

There are three teachings regarding the timing of the Rapture of the church, but one is widely held to as the true way. These three views are the Pre-Rapture, Post-Rapture and Mid-Rapture. The Post view says, we as believers will suffer the whole seven years of the tribulation period, the Pre view says we will be taken up before the seven years starts and the Mid view says sometime during of the seven years is when the church will ascend. All views agree that it will be as Paul states: in the twinkling of the eye: 1 Corinthians 15:52.

The view held by most is the Pre-Rapture and the number one reason given for this view is that God will not have His children to suffer His wrath. While I too agree, God will not cause believers to suffer His wrath, we are told we can suffer His judgement: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17. Therefore, we are not guaranteed by the above agreement to have a Pre-Rapture of the church. At the same time, the Post view can be dismissed because the latter suffering of the seven years is because of God's wrath: “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. Rev 15:1

Thus, it is between the most popular view, the Pre-Rapture, and the Mid-Rapture. There are a number of Scriptures that bring the answer to light. 1 Corinthians 15:52 already mentioned also mentions the timing: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” The sign of the timing of the Rapture is at the last trumpet sounding AND Revelations 10:7 mentions this timing too: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” This verse in Revelations also gives another conformation: the mystery of God should be finished.

Paul also refers to the church as the mystery of God: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”Romans 11:25 AND “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel Ephesians 3:3-6.

For these reasons it appears that the Rapture will not occur as commonly held, before the seven years, rather in the mists of the seven years, thus causing a great falling away because those who hold to such do so primary because a preacher or seminary instructor told them it was so and they did not study the issue themselves to know it. When I have appealed to preachers to at least teach the possibility of all three views rather than just the Pre-Rapture view, the answer has been that they are so convinced that it will happen before the seven years that there is no need to teach any other. One did say it best: Pray for Pre, but prepare for Post.

While I'm convinced that the Rapture will take place sometime in the middle, I'm not of too much pride to acknowledge all three views and tell of all three so that others know they exist. Then if I'm wrong and it happens either Pre or Post, at least you will know of the possibility of each. While I adhere to the Mid-Rapture view, I do Pray for Pre and acknowledge the possibility of Post. God has a way of surprising us, causing things to be different than we anticipate: Isa 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa 55:9).