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The Apostle Paul warned: Strong delusion is comimg before the appearance of the man of lawlessness, i.e., the antichrist. The falling away will arise from the midst of the church, the apostate church. ...

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us – whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter – asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Stand firm
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.       2THESSALONIANS 2.

In the passage quoted above, the apostle Paul elaborates on prophetic warnings that the Lord’s second coming would not come until there should be a great apostasy, followed by a revelation of ‘the man of lawlessness’, or ‘the man of sin’, i.e., the antichrist, who would be opposed to God, would exalt himself above all that is called God and would set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Paul’s emphasis is placed on the fact that His coming would be after the working of Satan bringing about strong delusion, powerful signs, miracles and lying wonders. Paul here proposes the correction of the false rumor to the church in Thessalonica, where some of the disciples had misunderstood and misrepresented Paul’s preaching about the second coming of Christ as if it had already taken place.

Concerning ‘God’s temple’ in verse 4, there are two interpretations. One views it as ‘Holy of Holies’ in God’s Temple in Jerusalem, as the early church fathers understood it as a literal, eschatological Jewish Temple. On the other hands, the phrase is several times used with the reference to Christ’s flock, the church. As the followers of Christ have nothing to do with the place where the sacrifices should be offered once that God sent His Son to die once and for all to pay the price for sin, so the phrase would not refer to a physical building but could be used as a metaphor for the church, God’s dwelling place, i.e., the body of believers called the church. For example, Paul clearly mentioned: 
‘Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives among you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple’   (1 Co.3:16-17, lines added). 
If the latter interpretation is adopted, this signifies an important message that the antichrist will rise from the middle of an eschatological church, i.e., an end time church. 

In verses 6-7, Paul foresees the restrainer who prevents the premature manifestation of the man of lawlessness, or who restrains the development of satanic iniquity to a certain future period. Although he does not clarify what is referred to by the phrase ‘what is holding him back’, he first presents it in the neuter gender, as an impersonal operative force but in the following verse in the masculine gender, which might be interpreted as some state or things under the control of an individual or some civil power or otherwise, the Holy Spirit. In other words, God’s Spirit would prevent the development of iniquity until God’s appointed time. Probably, its completion would not be permitted until the gospel should be extensively preached to the end of the world. In this chapter, Paul reminds the Thessalonians who were then in the midst of trials, of the warnings that all those who do not love the truth would be condemned, which he could even then foresee that fairly long succession of years’ events would intervene before the Lord’s coming, and it would be completed in a process of development with a series of pretended miracles, lying wonders, false teachings, false prophecies and great illusions from that time to even to the present. 

While the current global movements of church have been more exposing the tendency of human nature to degeneracy than ever, the elements of that great and corrupt apostasy already existed even in apostolic times. Many believe that those developments have steadily grown into the system of the papacy. The course of events would be allowed to occur so that all those who do not love the truth and prefer this erroneous system and delusion to the simple and pure gospel of Christ would be ultimately condemned when the Lord will appear. However, Paul encourages genuine Christ’s followers as God’s elected from eternity, to stand firm and hold fast to the teachings which they had received from himself to the end amidst all the surrounding temptations.

Articles below would be helpful to know how to discern things present and ahead around us.
The man of sin will come wielding demonic power in a variety of forms for a variety of functions. He will not call it “demonic power;” he will have another no doubt impressive name for it. The man of sin will come bearing gifts: long-hidden, suddenly-revealed technologies; supernatural signs, lying wonders and apparent miracles. This will especially beguile those who gather in the buildings called churches and who crave such miracles, signs and wonders. The man of sin will make many “feel good about themselves” because the man of sin will place a heavy emphasis on “self.” At least at first. The man of sin will speak great things and words of great promise: peace, love, brotherhood, tolerance. However, as the world’s masses will find out, it will be the man of sin who defines what these words mean. The man of sin will promise a “new age” emphasizing the potential, will and abilities of man. Because the man of sin will set himself up as a god, he will blaspheme and attack God Almighty of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ. The man of sin will tolerate NO rivals. The man of sin will be thought of as a great spiritual leader. Because the world has been long deceived, many will mistake “spiritual” for “holy.” Because the world does not love the truth and loves to be lied to, it will be deluded into worshiping the man of sin’s other beast and the dragon [Satan]. God Almighty Himself will assist in furthering men’s delusion (
The following article is an excerpt from ‘The Bethel Church Upgrade’ by Pastor Rod Page (Discernment Newsletter in Sep. /Oct. 2016), which gives us a good perspective.
In this day and age where everything is seen from a marketing standpoint, as far as publishers and agents and business in general, it is no surprise that this would happen from within the headquarters of a now worldwide movement—Bethel Church in Redding, California. …
Bethel bailed out the Civic Auditorium and is running it well from all indications. Bethel is also becoming a major property owner. They have bought and improved several commercial properties and hope to increase their School of Supernatural Ministry to 3000 students in the next few years. (It is currently around 1400.) They want to build a museum of revival in Americana and have spent around $40,000 to purchase one man's memorabilia collection of articles from major “moves of God” going back into the 1950s. …
A few weeks ago I listened to a message by Kris Vallotton, who is the number two leader at Bethel. Kris is known for saying things that are edgy and even shocking. What struck me about his “message” was the new angle of reasonability and normalcy that it seemed to emulate. Back when the “Toronto Blessing” was inundating congregations with outlandish barking and howling, and people falling out in gatherings, where “holy laughter” was taught as a new thing that the Spirit was doing, Bethel embraced it whole hog. (Pun intended.) At that time in early 1996 there was a mass exodus from Bethel church. They went from two services on Sundays to one. But within a couple of years they began to grow again. Like other churches they didn't divorce themselves from the teachings behind the manifestations. Instead they changed the outward appearances to be more settled, more reasonable, more attractive. (Although I would say that there still are, and always will be, outlandish worship activities that are nothing but sensual in nature and do not bring glory to God within their meetings, it is just not as “out there” as it used to be.) This new upgrade season, that is indicated by Kris Vallotton's recent message, is just one in a series of attempts to bring legitimacy to a movement that I believe wants to be believable and acceptable, not only to their peers within the charismatic world, but even wider into the evangelical world as well. In the end, I think they want to impress the world around them. They believe they already are a “city on a hill” and that they are defeating the “religious spirit” of the old way of doing Christianity. If you would like to see the documentation and history of Bethel Church, and others they are connected to in the New Apostolic Reformation, there is much written on this movement on Herescope's website. By the way, in Kris' upgraded book titled Heavy Rain, C. Peter Wagner (New Apostolic Reformation) gives a hardy endorsement. For more information on Wagner search Herescope as well. …
Bethel Church has an outward form of power. They talk about power, write about power and blog about it all day. Their meetings are “powerful” in the realm of music and lighting, drama and artistic creativity. All these things are outward forms. This is the root meaning behind the exact description of the end times apostate church movement described in 2 Timothy 3. After describing perilous times where the culture is in deep bondage to sin, and is described as lovers of themselves (Kris loves to say about his own preaching, “That is a really good word”), lovers of money (Bethel is a money machine, as are most connected ministries and churches in their sphere), boasters, proud, blasphemers, etc., the aging apostle Paul says in verse 5, “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.” True godliness has a spiritual power that defeats sin and brings about holiness, sincerity, humility, and an ability to powerfully proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. A holy life is a powerful life, not a life that twists the promises of God meant for a future time and holds the church hostage with a carrot of constantly changing new things, paradigms, methodologies, and new signs and wonders.
Bethel is saying the same things they and others have been saying since the Latter Rain movement was hatched in 1949, which was soundly refuted by leaders of the Assemblies of God who found it to be spurious and extrabiblical in nature. No “wonder” that Bethel Church broke away from the AOG ten years ago last January. They wanted no real oversight. Kris Vallotton is speaking the same message that other false teachers have been speaking for at least 68 years. It is nuanced now and made to sound more “biblical.” He quotes from Romans 4:17, saying, “Abraham is not the father of Israel, but the father of nations.” He says this means we are to be fathering nations—that if the church does not father, lead or commandeer (I suppose) DISCERNMENT PAGE 4 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 PO BOX 520 – CANTON, TX 75103-0520 the nations, we are not following in Father Abe's steps, as he believes the New Testament teaches. (The New Testament does not, of course, teach this.) …
I remember the first time I opened a book by a Bethel leader, titled When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson. I remember the tremendous emphasis, not on the Word of God, but on word of faith, on signs and wonders and socalled power ministry. Now, it seems, they are countering criticism for their neglect of the teaching of God's Word in their church, and are trying to gain acceptance by quoting more verses of the same Bible that they have seriously dissed for years. I have been to their meetings and seen firsthand that most attendees do not even carry a Bible with them because they don't need it very often. Usually they “worship” for an hour or so. Then someone comes and starts with the Bible, and then it is time to share the “new thing God is doing,” which includes testimonies of so-called miracles and signs and wonders. I believe in the present work of the Holy Spirit in the earth. I believe in miracles and have experienced them. I believe some have a gift of faith and I have witnessed it being used for the glory of God. But I believe that anything we have or know can be turned into an idol or, at the least, an obsession. Bethel obsesses over miracles. Bill Johnson for years has modeled this emphasis. It is the modus operandi of his church. Kris Vallotton and all the other leaders of the movement have to fall in line or they are out. Nothing has changed at Bethel but they are talking slightly different now.... trying their best to put a Biblical stamp of approval on their tired theories and “new” ideas, many of which have more roots in the New Age movement than in the Gospel of Jesus. …
Years ago a friend of mine developed throat cancer. He had a family and a wife and was in the prime of his life. He loved to serve the church we attended by doing practical help for anyone who was in need. If a car needed repair, he would find a way to fix it. If someone needed a ride, he provided it. He loved the Lord and yet he got very sick. Our church at that time declared that he would recover—that God had told them he would beat the cancer. It did not happen that way. My friend died from the cancer, an agonizing death witnessed by his kids and wife and by all of us. A few months afterwards we were talking with some friends who happened to also be on the church staff. They told us that my friend had given up the battle and his lack of faith was the reason he died. Those words burned in me. They disgusted me. They maligned my friend’s memory and character. The church had lied. Likewise, Bethel is lying today when it says the same types of things. If you look closely at the leadership there, they are living a lie. They are living a lie in hypocrisy because their current pastor needs glasses and the son of the pastor is still deaf. So whose fault is this in their scheme of things? People in Redding and at Bethel get cancer and still get sick, so is the problem with God or with their faith… or with Bethel’s defective teaching? …
Much more can be said about this movement that is Bethel Church. Though it is constantly upgrading its message to bring more and more people and churches into its orbit, please beware of the dangers in its teaching. The “upgrade” is really a downgrade—a sophisticated and wellmarketed ploy to repackage the old Latter Rain heresy of the 1940s that has roots deep in the darkness of the old Gnostics that were plaguing the church at the time the New Testament was being written. Certainly the preacher of Ecclesiastes was right: “there is nothing new under the sun.”
Do not let anyone lead you astray to anything less than the glorious truths found in God's Word, even if it sounds innovative and relevant, and has really good music high up on the iTunes charts (Bethel’s rock group Jesus Culture). Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith! Keep looking up for your redemption draws nigh! Beware, beware, beware and don’t settle for anything less!
(, Line added)