What is the Great Apostasy? Both the Old and New Testaments foretell of the apostasy or great falling away. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 2 tells them that the second coming of Christ would happen after a “falling away.” The original Greek, Latin, and Spanish bibles use the word “apostasia” instead of “falling away” to describe the period that would precede the second coming of the Lord.
"NOW we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first" (2 Thes. 2: 3).
Amos 8 gives the clearest prophesy with regard to the future apostasy. Throughout the centuries, man has continually rejected the truth and fallen into apostasy. However, at no other time in history was the authority of God completely taken from the Earth. Amos says a person would travel north to east and not find the words of the Lord. The people at the time of Abraham were in a state of apostasy. However, the Bible says Abraham was inspired to leave Ur and was led to Melchizedek in Canaan. The people of Israel were in a state of apostasy during the time of Moses, however Moses left Egypt and was led to the tent of Jethro, the High Priest of Midian. The Israelites were again in a state of apostasy before the coming of Jesus Christ, but believers could find the truth preached by John the Baptist. However, during the Great Apostasy, the words and authority of the Lord could not be found anywhere on earth; not in Jerusalem, not in Constantinople, not in Europe, and not in America. During the Great Apostasy, the Earth plunged into the dark ages, the darkest period with respect to spiritual and secular enlightenment in human history.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it" (Amos 8: 11).
John the Revelator tells of the upcomming falling away:
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (Rev. 12: 1-17)
The woman is the true Church of Christ or the Kingdom of God. The red dragon is Satan. The child being delivered is the Kingdom of Heaven or the true political organization of Heaven. The woman fleeing into the wilderness represents the great spiritual famine. 1260 days is equivalent to 3 and 1/2 years which is the duration of the famine in Israel during the days of Elijah. In this case, the famine will be spiritual instead of physical.
When Daniel interprets King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he also foretells of the great apostasy:
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. . . And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2: 37).
Great Image = Kingdoms of the Earth
Head of Gold = Babylonian Empire
Breast of Silver = Persian Empire
Belly of Brass = Greek Empire
Legs of Iron = Roman Empire
Feet of Iron and Clay = European Gentile Nations
Small Stone Cut without Hands = Restored Church of Christ
Some mistakenly interpret the small stone as the Church of Christ that Christ himself established during his day. But this church was crushed by the Roman Empire. "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?" (Matt. 21: 42).
During the Day of Pentacost, Peter talks about the the future restoration of the Church of Christ:
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3: 19)
Peter is clearly talking about a day of restitution of all things that should happen at some future day after the ascension of Christ. This future day is in the Last Days, during a period that Paul refers to as the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, " That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:" ( Eph. 1: 10).
Isaiah talks about the restoration of the temple in the last days. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Isa. 2: 2-3). In the dispensation of the fulness of times all things would be gathered together. That is, all knowlege would be restored including the temple.
Some people would say that all this restoration will happen after the second coming of Jesus Christ. However Isaiah reminds us that, "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion" (Isa. 52: 8). Isaiah says that God's Kingdom will be fully established before the Lord's coming. At the second coming the Lord will accept his Kingdom from the care and custody of his watchmen.
Isaiah warns the present and future remnent of Ephraim (Gentile Nations), "But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness (excrement), so that there is no place clean. . . Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? . . . Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste" (Isa. 28: 8).
This vomit, excement of which Isaiah speaks is false doctrine and precepts of men. False doctrine is likened unto vomit because it is partially digested and only retains some of its spiritual nutients. Other false doctrine is like excrement because it is fully digested and retains none of its origional nutrients.
Isaiah also warns those of his day, Christ's day, and us in the Last Days, "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (Isa. 29: 13).
Isaiah foretells that in the Last Days the Lord will re-establish his Kingdom and Church. Israel will be gathered home to Zion and Jeruselem. This is the God's marvelous work and a wonder in the Last Days, the Dispensation of the fulness of Times.
Daniel speaks of the establishment of the God's kingdom in the Last Days before the second coming, "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. . . I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7: 9-22).
Ancient of Days is not Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ (Son of man) comes to the Ancient of days and gives him dominion over the Earth. The Ancient of Days is referring to Adam, who is Michael the Archangel and member of the heavenly council and has all the keys pertaining to government of this Earth. When God establishes his kingdom on Earth, in the Last Days, in the Dispensation of the fulness of times; The keys of the Kingdom of God will be returned to Father Adam, or Michael the Archangel, or the Ancient of Days. Later, at the second coming of Jesus Christ those keys will then be returned to Jesus Christ who will reign during the Mellenium, after the end of the world, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And at the end of the Mellenium, or End of the Earth, Jesus Christ will return the the keys of God's Kingdom back to Eloheim, or God the Father. Those who enherit the Celestial Earth will dwell with God the Father (God of gods) and Jesus Christ in everlasting burnings as the Earth will appear as a "sea of glass mingled with fire" (Rev. 15: 2).