Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
¶ However, the Word also prophesies, at that SAME TIME, “NOT to be DECEIVED BY ANY MEANS!” – “Let no one deceive you, BY ANY MEANS, for THAT DAY, (WHAT DAY?, The Return of the Lord, the Second Coming of Christ), THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME, except FIRST there comes a GREAT FALLING AWAY so that the man of sin be REVEALED, the SON(S) OF PERDITION.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
“BY ANY MEANS”
¶ Many of us are well aware of what it MEANS to RETURN to our old ways, you know, lying, stealing, drinking yourself into a stupor, whoring, wranglin’, honky-tonkin’, barroom brawls, cocaine, pursuing fame and fortune all in the name of “The Pursuit of Happiness” all the while runnin’ down the road in wild, vain, and even ridiculous imaginations. I know this is gonna be a tuff piece of steak for some of you to chew, but this is a well-painted picture of what many are calling the “Church” today. A well-painted picture of “The Great Falling Away”.
¶ For others, it is simply returning to a more normal life without God after being offended, shucked, and jived by Peppermint Prophets, fleeced by Hirelings, or lorded over by some “Big Baroque Hot Air Balloons”. Though we might not like the term, many of us are also well aware of what it means to be a “Backslider”. Some of us know what it means to return as a “Prodigal” after being humbled by our “weaknesses” on our long journey home. Some of the more famous “Backsliders” were Noah, Samson, Jonah, and David, not to mention the Proverbial Prodigal Son himself, however, none of them FELL AWAY! Backsliding is, indeed, an obvious danger to the man or woman of God and a very perilous neck of the woods to tread thru, nevertheless, you can make your way back home lest you fall thru thin ice or are overtaken by bandits in the Badlands. Still and all, it is what is not OBVIOUS that the Lord is warning us about when He says, “BY ANY MEANS”. Perhaps the Lord would not mind if we said, “BY ANY OTHER MEANS”. Meaning, the not-so-obvious, dangerously deceptive SELF.
¶ As we continue, BY ALL MEANS, keep in mind the Scriptural phrase, “BY ANY (OTHER) MEANS”.
¶To begin to clarify things here, let us, BY ALL MEANS, kick some stuff around back down that path that winds thru the Book of Second Thessalonians, Chapter 2, Verse 3 then strikes out all the way to our Journey’s End in The Book of Revelation, where we will pick it back up in Chapters 17 & 18. All that being said, let’s amble forth into the Book of Second Thessalonians, Chapter 2, Verse 3 where we find the scriptures speaking of “The Man of Sin & The Son of Perdition”. Just who is this Man of Sin? Who is the Son of Perdition? Why must they be revealed? We already know who Satan is. We certainly know what deception is, or do we just think we do? We already know who believes and who doesn’t! Or do we? What’s to be revealed? Who is this Great Harlot Riding on the Back of a Scarlet Beast in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 17, verses 3,4, and 5, that even the Apostle John marveled at with great admiration? Could it be that the Beloved Apostle, John, being human and still a bit imperfect, was, for a moment, OVERWHELMED by the WEALTH, POWER, AND MAGNIFICENT STATURE of this “…woman riding upon a scarlet colored beast arrayed in purple and scarlet attire, decked out in gold, precious stones and pearls, who had in her hand a golden cup “, could it be that, at first sight, The Beloved Apostle, John, was, for a moment, stunned by her stature, wealth, and influence, until he gathered his senses and came to the quick realization that she “…was full of blasphemous names…” and that her “… golden cup was full of abominations, filthiness, and fornications, (and that) upon her forehead was written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Well, the Beloved Apostle, John, goes on to say in Verse 6, “The woman was drunk, drunk on the blood of the saints, and on the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”
¶ Why was the Beloved Apostle, John, corrected by the angel of the Lord when the angel said, “Why do you marvel at her with great admiration?” (Revelation 17:6) Could it be that the Beloved Apostle was, for a brief moment or two, stunned by the magnitude of her deception? Because of her colossal stature, wealth, and power, could it be that he was momentarily disarmed? Could this be a subtle warning to us of the behemothic deception that is about to come upon all of us who dwell upon the earth? And, tell me, what does all this have to do with the “man of sin” and the “son of perdition”?
¶ WE THINK WE KNOW WHAT DECEPTION IS!!! Let me remind you, “except those days should be shortened, (even the very elect would be deceived) there would no flesh be saved: However, for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)
¶ Let’s not stun ourselves by investing too much stock in SELF.
¶ If BACKSLIDING is not the GREAT FALLING AWAY then what is the GREAT FALLING AWAY, and what does that have to do with a woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, riding on the back of a Scarlet Beast, all decked out in gold and precious stones upon whose forehead is written MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH?
¶ Our mindless, religious, bumper sticker reply to ALL that would be, “Cause Satan just copies ever’thang God does!” “Just wave a flag, blow a shofar, pay your tithe, and repeat what’s on that screen up ‘er and ever’thang ul be alright!” Well, good luck with that one!
¶ The Word of God says, “For lack of knowledge MY people are destroyed!” Destroyed? DESTROYED!!! (Gone to hell in their own little, religious, man-made structure). “Because you have REJECTED KNOWLEDGE (the Whole Counsel of God, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and a Lifelong Study of the Word of God), I will reject you.” says the Lord, “You will be no priest of Mine! (You will not belong to ME!) Because you have cast aside the Word of God. (you don’t even want to get to know ME, or MY Word). As you have cast aside the Word of God, I will cast you and your children aside. I will say to you, I have forgotten you. I will say, on That Day, I don’t know you” (Hosea 4:6, Matthew 25:12)
¶ What’s going on here? The Lord is speaking to a people who think they somehow belong to HIM when they don’t!
¶ So, “BY ANY (OTHER) MEANS”, what do we have here?
¶ Are we truly in the midst of the Last Great Outpouring of the Spirit of God spoken of in Acts 2:17 and Joel 2:28 that is, indeed, bringing millions of souls to Christ? Are we here “For a Time Such as This“? Are.“…the days truly being shortened”? If so, the last GREAT OUTPOURING of the HOLY SPIRIT and the GREAT FALLING AWAY, along with the VERY CRITICAL TIMES that we are in, are certainly not being taken seriously by far too many who call themselves by His Name. If all these things are coming to pass, as we speak, then TIME is SHORT and multitudes of those who call themselves by His Name certainly do seem to be at ease living amongst the grey shadows of the mundane and the thickening fog of ignorance. This I also know, we are well into the Beginning of Sorrows upon whose heels licks a Seven Year Tribulation, the likes of which, this Present Evil World has never seen, nor will ever see again. (Matthew 24:21) That is you and me, my friend!
¶ IF this is truly the massive Outpouring of the Spirit of God spoken of in Joel 2:26 and Acts 2:17, what we are witnessing today is but the Beginning of a Walk that, IF those touched by the Spirit of God remain Faithful and WHOLEHEARTEDLY ABIDE they will then be given the opportunity to Mature in Christ, which, in turn, will keep them, and many others, from the Great Falling Away, but, we will all be tested (James 1:3) lest some are taken HOME early. Martyred! Which, of course, is the ultimate test!
¶ For the Word of God also prophesies a GREAT FALLING AWAY, and warns, “Let no one deceive you, BY ANY MEANS, for THAT DAY, (WHAT DAY?, The Return of the Lord, the Second Coming of Christ), THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME, except FIRST there comes a GREAT FALLING AWAY, so that the man of sin be REVEALED, the SON OF PERDITION. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
¶ What are we talking about here? We are talking about the simultaneous Outpouring of the Spirit of God along with the Great Falling Away, and the monumental difference between Backsliding and Falling Away. Neither is profitable! Both are dangerous, but one, if you don’t wake up, is irretractable.
¶ Please, ask yourself this question! BY WHAT MEANS can someone FALL AWAY without (seemingly) rejecting God and going “whole hog” back into the sty out of which they were once delivered?
¶ In the first place, show me someone that has never backslidden and I will show you someone that has never been born. So what are we talking about here? What we’re “looking at” is a great multitude who call themselves “By HIS NAME” that have no idea they have FALLEN AWAY.
¶ In the Second place, the Backslidden Prodigal is always welcome at the Father’s House! The great danger for the backslider is that he die in his sin before he decides to head back home where he belongs. What a horrible thought. I say that because I’ve been there. It’s terrifying, yet, know this, THE GREAT FALLING AWAY is even more so, for it is NOT RETRACTABLE!!
¶ To understand the monumental difference between Backsliding and The Great Falling Away we must take in the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD, the WHOLE WORD of GOD, from Genesis to Revelation to clearly see just who this is that is Riding on the Back of the Beast and why they cannot be led out of the “spiritual darkness” they have come to love so dearly. Just as Jesus said to the Pharisees who were trapped in their religious structure, He is, indeed, speaking to the Churches today that are trapped in their religious structure: Jesus clearly said, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you “can’t hear” My Word” (John 8:43). WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES THAT MEAN? Well, If the Lord was here in THE FLESH today He might say, “I know you see My lips moving but you ain’t understanding A WORD I AM saying”. Why can they not hear it? The Word of God is certainly speaking to them face to face and telling them the same TRUTH today as He was back then. They can’t hear because they have taken only a part (a small fraction) of the Word of God and built a religious structure AROUND IT – CUSTOMED TAILORED JUST TO FIT THEIR LIFESTYLES. This MANMADE RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE encases, holds captive if you will, a small portion of God’s TRUTH & LIGHT to be used only as they “see fit” to meet “their needs”. This MANMADE RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE then does, in like manner, HOLD THEM CAPTIVE to forever cast wooden nickels at the Feet of Jesus once or twice a week. Cheap Tokens. Consequently, they can receive no new light, because the Word of Truth that Jesus spoke to them will not fit the religious structure they have built around themselves. These are, indeed, the people of the many “so-called” Christian Fellowships of today who refuse the Whole Counsel of God. A terrifying thing has befallen them; their hearts have become hardened from resisting God’s Word and they don’t know it. This is why the Lord says in the Book of Revelation, chapter 18, Verse 4, “COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE.” He is not talking about coming “OUT OF THE WORLD”. God’s people are not “IN THE WORLD”, however, many of them are Riding on the Back of the Beast! You see, the HARLOT RIDING on the BACK of the BEAST is THE HARLOT CHURCH. MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT. The Greek interpretation for MYSTERY (Gr. <The idea of silence imposed upon someone when initiated into a “Secret Society”>), BABYLON (Gr. Confusion), (Put two & two together here) This Harlot Riding on the Back of the Beast is the MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS. MOTHER (Gr. One who gives birth). ABOMINATIONS (Gr. Filthy Idolatries & Fornications).THE MOTHER OF WHORES! THE MOTHER OF THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, of which the Lord says in The Book of Revelation, Chapter 18, Verse 4, “COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE”!
¶ Are you beginning to see BY WHAT MEANS someone can FALL AWAY without (seemingly) rejecting God and going “whole hog” back into the sty out of which they were once delivered?
¶ They can not receive any new light, because they have all the Light they desire. (I can take the guitar that I use to compose songs, Psalms, and Spiritual songs to water, but only God can tune a fish). They do not want the Whole Counsel of God. It doesn’t suit their lifestyle. They have, over time, been TAKEN CAPTIVE & HARDENED by their own seemingly harmless, religious structures. They have, indeed, been DECEIVED by SELF!
As the Prophet, Jeremiah prophesied of “Her” way back then,
“Come out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: do not be cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance when He renders unto her a recompense, double for double. (Jeremiah 51:6)
“Babylon is the Golden Cup in the LORD’S hand (Jer. 25:15,16) that made all the earth reel as a drunk. All the nations have partaken of the wine (of her filthy abominations and harlotries). It is because of her that the nations have all gone mad.” (v.7) (Jer 25:15-16; Re 14:8; 17:4)
“We would have healed Babylon, but she would not be healed: forsake her, ‘Come Out of Her, MY people’, go everyone into your own country: for her judgment reaches unto heaven, and is lifted up beyond the skies.” (V. 9) (Rev. 18:5)
“O you that dwell upon many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, your great profit by evil means has ended.” (V.13)
¶ Today, just as back then, because they have “itching ears”, they have opened up the doors of their fellowships and the windows of their souls to False Teachers, False Prophets, and Hirelings. They can now only hear what is desirable to their flesh, or should I say, acceptable to their well-constructed religious structure. They can no longer hear the Truth, neither can their eyes truly see the difference between what is Holy and what is not. Over time, their understanding becomes permanently overtaken by SELF because their man-made religious structure has become their whole source of truth, thus they become the property of False Teachers, False Prophets, Hirelings, and Seducing spirits, who come to do nothing less than “make merchandise of them”. (2 Peter 2:3) “Many of these, do indeed, see themselves as having the status of Great Men and Women of God! What do they see? They see themselves! They cannot see the Whole Counsel of God because they are continually looking at THEMSELVES! SELF! The restricted amount of Light that they do have encased within their little religious structure, they use to illuminate only themselves, and what benefits them.
¶ O yes, they operate IN THE NAME OF JESUS, but only in what pleases the FLESH, NOT IN SPIRIT, NOR IN TRUTH, for they have rejected the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD! This, my friend, is not BACKSLIDING. This, my friend, is THE GREAT FALLING AWAY spoken of in the Second Book of Thessalonians, Chapter Two, Verse Three, and it is NOT RETRACTABLE! This, my friend, is the HARLOT Riding on the Back of the Beast. (Rev.17) This, my friend, is THE HARLOT CHURCH of which the Lord says, “COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE” (Revelation 18:4) Those who REFUSE will be REVEALED as the “MAN of SIN” and the “SON of PERDITION” in whose hearts (THE TEMPLE) will reside “THE ABOMINATION of DESOLATION standing in the Holy Place (the hearts of men) where it ought not be.” (Matthew 24:15)
To sum it all up, the Holy Spirit would have me ask you one question; “IS THE STOCK YOU HAVE PURCHASED, TO GET YOURSELF THRU THIS THING, IN CHRIST OR SELF?”
RIDER COMIN’ IN ©Will Callery / William & Cynthia Pub. Co.©2008 BMI
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A great word from the Lord! May we all examine ourselves according to 2 cor.13:5. To pay heed ,”strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able Lk.13:24″. Our modern day religion presents to us a broad easy way whose end is destruction. Thank you Will for being obedient in the Lord.