The Falling Away from Christianity

Answering a comment on “the falling away“: Lou said; “Tom, one great deserves another great; the great falling away deserves the great tribulation. Some wrongfully claim that the “falling away” in II Thess. 2 is the pretrib rapture! Yes, the Bride is a single body, but there can be cancers within a single physical body – and there were trouble makers and false brethren in the early church. Jesus says He will have a church without spot or wrinkle, and whom the Lord loves He chastens. By the way, why does the wedding of the Lamb take place in Rev. 19 if a pretrib rapture reportedly happens many chapters earlier?”

The falling away

Great Falling Away or Falling Away?

Tom’s reply:

Lou wrote: Tom, one great deserves another great; the great falling away deserves the great tribulation.

This is what’s generally called bad hermeneutics. First of all, the term “great falling away” never once appears in the Bible. If the “great falling away” were to deserve the “great tribulation,” as you said, Jesus would at least have defined the “great falling away” as “For then shall be a great falling away, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Mat 24:21).

For it (the falling away) to justify the great tribulation, as you said, it too must be something “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” If you can prove to me that there has never been any fallings away or great fallings away since the beginning of the world, I shall change my view on the Rapture. Why hasn’t there been any great tribulations subsequent to these great fallings away?

Wheat and Tares

The majority of Christians interpret the “apostasia” in the last days as being a falling away from the faith of all those who profess to be Christians, i.e. the tares which look like the real McCoy (wheat) but do not bear the fruit of the Spirit. This seems to be highly improbable because there have been many apostasies (fallings away from the faith) since the beginning of time.

Cain and Abel

Cain’s apostasy and murder of his brother Abel became the template, if you will, of how and why so many apostasies occurred throughout mankind’s history (Jude 1:11). He refused to accept God’s way of salvation by virtue of the shedding of the blood of an innocent victim (Hebrews 9:22) and dared to present God with his own sweat and toil (good works) to gain his approval for salvation.

Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church became the main promoter of this abominable system of salvation. The biggest falling away that impacted the world in a most profound way was when Emperor Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity (not Jesus Christ) in 313 AD, put an end to persecution and established a church which began to flex its political muscle in world affairs. He took on himself the title of Pontifex Maximus (Greatest Bridge Builder; also the meaning of the office of today’s Pope) and presided over the church as Bishop of Rome. Later he moved to the East and established his permanent seat of rule in Byzantium (now Istanbul).

True born-again Christians, who became the victims of the new Roman Church during the early Crusades and later during the Albigensian Crusades (1208 and 1226), and during the butchering of 900 000 Waldensian Christians (1540-1570), to name but a few, had every reason to believe that the falling away of professing Christians in the Roman fold heralded the beginning of the seven-year tribulation. The question is – did they? I think not.

Why would God wait until the falling away from the faith of professing Christians which has been going on for centuries when this phenomenon has been part and parcel of church history since the very beginning of the world? The Word of God is to me the final authority on the Rapture.

Purification of the Church

Lou wrote: Yes, the Bride is a single body, but there can be cancers within a single physical body – and there were trouble makers and false brethren in the early church. Jesus says He will have a church without spot or wrinkle, and whom the Lord loves He chastens.

There is a vast difference between “chasten” “wrath” and “judgment.” The entire seven-year tribulation shall be a time when God is going to pour out his wrath and judgments on the “inhabitants of the earth” (“them that dwell on the earth) and not the Bride of Christ.

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Rev 3:10)

The wrath and judgment of God are always mentioned in connection with unbelievers, never the Bride of Christ. Moreover, the Bride of Christ is never called “earth dwellers” or “them that dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 13:14)

Romans 8:1 (AMP) “Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].”

By the way, what do mean by “cancers?” Are you referring to sin? If so then we all have cancers in us because —

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 Jn 1:8-10).

However, if “cancers” are false doctrines then this passage is appropriate.

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God (is not saved). He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (is truly saved). (2 Jn 1:9).

I don’t see how chastisement during the seven-year tribulation can purify cancerous saints. It sounds like the abominable RCC doctrine of Purgatory. Only Jesus’ blood can purify one from these things. To suggest that Tribulation can purify one from sin and false doctrine is as bad as trampling on the blood of Christ.

By the way read this article to see how Dave MacPherson misleads his readers.

Wedding of the Lamb

Lou wrote: (By the way, why does the wedding of the Lamb take place in Rev. 19 if a pretrib rapture reportedly happens many chapters earlier?).

Let us then look at Revelation 19:7-8 in which the Marriage of the Lamb is mentioned.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (Rev 19:6-8)

There are several things we need to take into account in order to understand this passage.

1) “is come does not mean that when Jesus returns at his Second Advent that the marriage will take place then. The word for “is come” is “erchomai” and refers to an already accomplished act, not something to occur at that particular moment when He returns. In other words, when He returns the marriage will already have been consummated.
2) Yet unmarried women are never called “wife.” Any reliable dictionary tells you that a wife is a married woman. Your interpretation makes marriage look silly. In fact, you are saying that when Jesus returns He is going to marry his already betrothed wife. Really?
3) Therefore, the wife must be someone else other than Christ’s Bride. Voila, here again the Bible provides the answer. The nation Israel is unlikely to be the Lamb’s bride because she has already been wed. God the Father is Israel’s husband.

“Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jer. 3:14).

“They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me,” says the Lord. (Jer. 3:1).

So the only reasonable conclusion we can make, is that the “wife” in Revelation 19 is God the Father’s wife to whom Jesus is going to return, and who needs to make herself ready so that she may be permitted to take part in the wedding supper or feast here on earth (Millennium) . The Parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins attest to this fact. So too does the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22, and even more so John the Baptist’s (a Jew’s) words in John 3,

“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” (Joh 3:29).

Your argument does not prove that the marriage will take place the moment Jesus returns at his Second Advent and therefore expels a Pretrib Rapture.

See all our articles on Rapture/Tribulation

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Deborah (Discerning the World)

Deborah Ellish is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

7 Responses

  1. Sheepdog says:

    It’s not pre trib.
    : )

  2. Sheepdog

    If “it’s not pre-trib,” what is it? – A NAR revival?

  3. Eric says:

    Hi there I thought you really had some good points and good answers but you argued terms he used were not in the Bible by from tradition yet you used the term 7 year tribulation when this tradition is not found in the Bible. There is no “7 year tribulation” mentioned in the Bible so why not take your argument all the way?

  4. Dear Eric

    You said “There is no “7 year tribulation” mentioned in the Bible so why not take your argument all the way?”

    We do, in another articles. This article is about the falling away.

    You can start with this one:

    You might want to read this one too: Amillennialism vs Dominionism

    You can read all articles on pre-trib rapture and THE 7 year tribulation here:

  5. Hi Christian, Yes, we do believe that the Rapture will occur before the seven-year tribulation and therefore it is a separate event from the Second Coming of Christ to the earth. There are many passages in Scripture that supports this.

  6. KvdR says:

    Hallo Deborah, I just read this article and I have a question concerning this verse:” Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God (is not saved). He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son (is truly saved).” (2 Jn 1:9).

    Does this “not having” the doctrine of Jesus, include the believe many men have, that looking at women lustfully, in other words, whether looking at pornography even if it is only “soft porn” (pictures of scantily clad women), or checking out body parts of women in daily life, is not sin? The reason that I am asking is because most Christian men I know believe that God made them in such a way that they will always look (go looking) at such soft porn type pictures and also that they will always check out women’s breasts and buttocks etc. It is even said that if a man doesn’t do this he should go and see a doctor, because then something is wrong with him (he is not a man).They also say that as long as they “only look” without any thoughts about adultery/undressing/kissing/touching/etc., “the looking wasn’t lustful”. So for example, seeing a woman in a newspaper article stating that she is a nude model, Burlesque stripper or pornstar and then searching her name on Google to “just see pictures” of her to “just admire” (in bikinis, underwear, seductive/see through clothing and poses) – is not lust. It is just looking.

    Can this also be considered as ,”not abiding in the doctrine of Christ”? Because I do think that these men make up their own “doctrine” which suits the lust of their eyes/flesh. They proclaim God made them to behave this way permanently and that it is not sin and they use scripture to justify this claim. Apparently Adam exclaimed that Eve is beautiful (Adam actually said “flesh of my flesh”) and David did what he did (not referring to the adultery with Bathsheba but to the many wives) because he is a man (not a sinful man, just a typical male) and Song of Solomon explains that men would always want the most beautiful women because God made them to be this way (It actually describes how a man should see his own wife). There is many verses that I can give which they use to try and justify “just looking”. I think scripture (and mere logic) contradicts this view they have and that scripture actually tells us that this behaviour of men is not God’s design but sinful man’s lusts which is contrary to the Word and Spirit of God. A typical comment I have heard uttered by Christian men is this ” ‘n man is ‘n bok en ‘n bok is ‘n #$@&#*!. The swear word is however not said but implied. I do think with this remark they are calling themselves GOATS and not SHEEP!!!

    Your input would be much appreciated. Kind Regards, K (also on your “Exposing false teachings in South Africa” FB page). 😉

  7. One of mankind’s (men and women alike) most devastating sins is to make excuses for their sins. “Oh, God made me this way and therefore I am innocent.” Check this out. It speaks of women who are just as prone to sexual sins as men,

    “The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid. Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness”. (Pro 30:19-20).

    It boils down to, “Well, you know, it is quite natural for an eagle to soar through the air and for a reptile to slide on its belly and for a ship to sail on the sea. So, there is nothing wrong or wicked with my sexual desires and practices with many men.” I have heard of so-called hen parties for brides the night before their wedding where male strippers entertain the women. Oh, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun the night before your wedding, so they say. Well, if you compare it to the blinding light of God’s awesome holiness, it is extremely sinful. I am sure you get the drift.

    Having levelled the playing field, it is necessary to understand the difference between carnal sin like sexual adultery and spiritual adultery (wrong or false doctrines). Although false doctrine is extremely sinful, it is not the same as the general sins that we do. You can have all your ducks in a row regarding correct biblical doctrine and still sin otherwise. Paul mentions this in Roman 7.

    What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” (Rom 7:7-17).

    The word “concupiscence,” as you may know means to have strong forbidden sexual or lustful desires for the opposite sex outside the confines of the marital bond. Paul loved God’s laws (doctrines and teachings) and yet it slew him, i.e. it acted like a mirror that made him acutely aware of his inborn carnal nature which had nothing, NOTHING good in it; The only thing it can and could do was to make him sin, no matter how hard and earnestly he tried to please God. It is so strong that Paul compares it to being sold (a complete cop-out) under sin. Those who say, “‘n man is ‘n bok en ‘n bok is ‘n #$@&#*!.” love their cop-out of being sold under sin. They have no desire to be rid of it, and like the woman in Proverbs 30 they eat and wipe their mouth in innocence and say, “I have done no wickedness.” The danger with this is that it eventually hardens the heart so much to the extent that it becomes insensible to the promptings and convictions of the Holy Spirit.

    You may argue that Paul was not referring to adultery as in being unfaithful to your spouse because he was not married. He was also referring to porneia from whence the English word “pornography” and the Afrikaans “pornografie” comes and has more to do with looking at scantily dressed and naked women in pictures and videos or hard pornography. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines porneia as:

    1) illicit sexual intercourse
    1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
    1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
    1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mark 10:11,Mark 10:12
    2) metaphorically the worship of idols
    2a) of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

    The latter kind of adultery was why God forbade the Israelite to marry pagan women. Look what happened when they disobeyed. They were lured into the most heinous pagan festivals and sacrifices of those days, for instance, sacrificing babies to the idol Molech, a.k.a. King Solomon, and King Ahab.

    There is no justification whatsoever for looking at a woman lustfully. Jesus called it adultery and an adulterer cannot enter the Kingdom of God. (Ephesians 5:5). They need to repent and stop doing and justifying their sin. The notion that typical maleness, okay’s lustful desires, is the most anti-biblical one I’ve ever heard. It is as you said, “I do think with this remark they are calling themselves GOATS and not SHEEP!!!”

    There is a lot more we can say about the sin of adultery and pornography, but for now it is suffice to say that men in particular have a great problem with this. My heart bleeds for the young Christian men who are being exposed to this kind of thing on a daily basis, even in churches where women dress like harlots rather than like God-fearing Christian women.

    Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man (and woman) by whom the offence cometh! (Mat 18:7).

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