The rebellion, an important marker:
The last days will come in an acceleration, when Christians apostate en masse, when they no longer consider the Christian way of life as the center of their lives.
Maybe in some parts of the world, such as Africa, there is still limited Christian growth, but this important marker of the Christian rebellion is, according to us, already passed. First in Europe and then in the rest of the world:
ASV (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9) 3 let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the rebellion come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming; 9 even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
In verse 4 Paul speaks of a false prophet, the opponent, one who exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped. In verse 6 Paul says, that they – the Christians of his time – now know what restrains him. First the rebellion has to come according to verse 3. The solid faith of the Christian communities, from the first disciples of Jesus until the appointed time, is the reason what restrains this false prophet. Who restrains him in verse 7, until ‘he’ be taken out of the way, that is not written. It is clear that the Christian communities throughout the centuries benefit divine protection:
WEB (Matthew 28:18-20) 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Amen.
WEB (1 Corinthians 10:13) 13 No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
God will not allow His people to be tempted beyond what they can bear. Jesus also watches over the Christian communities.
Because the period of ‘restraining him’ spans nearly 2000 years, it is likely that Christians are protected (for this false prophet) by an angel, until the time has come of the massive rebellion.
Then, this angel will be relieved from his task.
How can Christians distinguish this unique marker:
To understand how this new ‘wicked’ world will distinguish itself, we must first have clear what the properties of Christians are, because these properties will be the opposite of the properties of the apostate godless world.
Two of the most important are love and no greed.
Jesus gave us the command; Love your Father in heaven and your neighbor as yourself:
WEB (Matthew 22:37-39) 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
WEB (Matthew 19:19) 19 ‘Honor your father and mother.’ And, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Christians may not be greedy or have love of money:
WEB (Luke 12:15) 15 He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.”
WEB (2 Peter 2:14) 14 having eyes full of adultery, and who can’t cease from sin; enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed;…
WEB (Hebrews 13:5) 5 Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”
WEB (2 Timothy 3:1-2) 1 But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money,…..
Instead of true Christian behavior, such Christians have of form of godliness:
WEB (2 Timothy 3:5) 5 holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof. Turn away from these, also.
When Christians will massively decide, that the faith in Christ has no more a central place in their lives and they will surrender to heartlessness and greed, this period will be immediately followed by the coming of the son of destruction.
This surrender to greed has become common in the world.
If we just look at the last few years and see to what extent the salary and bonuses of managers of businesses and the financial world have increased and it never seems enough.
Also, according to several economists there is a massive tax evasion by the use of offshore tax havens. By moving capital global, no or very minimal taxes are paid by wealthy individuals and corporations. These constructions are possible by a (wrong) use of global tax rules by accountants.
The downside of this is that the taxes for public services have to be paid by others.
The coming of the lawless man is supported by Satan and is accompanied by great display of power and false signs and wonders. In Revelation is spoken of a beast resembling a lamb, as the Messiah, which was speaking lies as a dragon, as Satan: (see also end time 6. Revelation; the false prophet)
WEB (Revelation 13:11) 11 I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon.
This false prophet will perform powerful miracles:
WEB (Revelation 13:13) 13 He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people.
This will be how the false prophet can be identified, he will appear as a benefactor but speaks with devious lies and he will do great signs like fire from heaven.
Read more at: end time 11. The main themes