The Bible describes many end time events that occur before the Second Coming of Christ. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss just two: 1) the Final Apostasy of the church, and 2) a worldwide rebellion of fallen mankind. Christians must be aware of them, as one occurs inside the church; the other outside the church. Both happen against God and His Son, Jesus Christ. And both happen according to God’s ordained purposes.
The End Time Apostasy
The Final Apostasy is the falling away from the faith during the end times within the visible church. Many people who sit in church pews and look like Christians will ultimately prove their allegiance to something other than the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Will Christians Know Who the Antichrist Will Be?) This happens as the offense of the cross and the scandalous nature of following the real Jesus Christ are side-stepped by those in leadership. God’s actual salvation, in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ of the gospel, will be either watered-down or rejected outright. Those in the church will be self-absorbed and abandon any real love for the truth of God’s Holy Name.
This great evangelical compromise of the end time does not happen overnight. It happens slowly and steadily as the pure preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified takes a back seat to other seemingly important things. (1 Corinthians 1:17,18,23,24) (See The Church’s New Agenda)
We can see signs of this happening even now. Once doctrinally sound churches have begun to look just like the world, catering to man’s fallen interests. They pander the Word of God. They use Biblical terms out of context to manipulate people to false conclusions rather than speak the truth about what it actually means to be converted to Christ. This will and is happening for the purposes of God’s judgments. His judgments will (and have) come to the visible worldly church because of God abandoning it to its own folly.
Don’t be fooled if this Final Apostasy is disguised as a spiritual awakening! It may appear good, but its source will be the spirit of demons, disguising themselves as if they are of the Spirit of God. It will be led by one person, the Antichrist (also known as The Beast From the Sea in Revelation 13). It is “final” in that it will include massive numbers of people, and it will ensue before the second coming of Christ.
Those who truly have the Holy Spirit and the Word of Christ richly dwelling in them will see the great deception. But true Christians who desire to be a true and faithful witness to Jesus Christ need to be prepared for great opposition. We should cling to this hope-filled Scripture in Hebrews.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Hebrews 13:12-14 NASB
The other end time event is the worldwide rebellion, which starts ramping up after the Final Apostasy. The heart of this final rebellion is easily described in Psalm 2:1-6. Rulers, peoples, and nations all defy God. It will happen through state and economic control, as well as worship and religious unity against Him. (See “Side Note” below as well as links provided that go into greater detail regarding this and other end-time events.)
This worldwide rebellion will be led by the same person who leads The Final Apostasy. He is the head of what is known to be “the beast system.” (The Beast From the Sea.) He will be joined by another leader – another beast – the False Prophet (Revelation 13). The Beast from the Sea will use the Great Harlot of Revelation 17 towards his own purposes. This entire rebellion is summed up in the book of Revelation using the symbol “Babylon.” (See Babylon in Revelation)
Conclusion & Further Study
So, rebellion against God will occur both inside and outside of the church at the end of this age. As already mentioned, these will happen based upon the pre-ordained and sovereign reasons of God. He will still be in complete control (Psalm 2). Each Christian must take heed and make yourself ready! Be sober and on the alert! Don’t be lulled into a false spiritual stupor, a bewitching, but be steadfast in the truth!
*Side Note: Some have said this end-time scenario of Revelation is like a three-legged stool of man’s final rebellion. The over-arching phrase used for this rebellion is called “Babylon” and although it is used figuratively, it is very clear and specific as to its nature in context. The three aspects of this three-legged stool are:
1. State/Economic Control by the Beast/Antichrist and his System: Babylon
2. Worship of the Beast/Image through the False Prophet and his Manipulating Powers and Passion
3. Religious Control through the Great Harlot