The Great Apostasy’s Deception: Survive the Rising Storm of False Teachings

Why it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant and cling to the truth of the gospel

The Great Apostasy’s Deception

Many Christians believe that the Great Apostasy, as foretold in the Bible, refers to a mass defection from the faith in the end times. However, a closer reading of Scripture suggests that the apostasy may not be a simple matter of renouncing belief, but rather a more insidious form of deception and deviation from the true gospel. The apostasy may involve the rise of teachings that are against what Christ did for us, taking the penalty for our sins and being the perfect obedient spotless lamb that was sacrificed because of what he did for us (obeyed the law perfectly) and what he taught us to love each other. Instead of humble gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice and obedience, the apostasy may manifest as arrogant legalism and immorality, which deny the very essence of Christ’s message of grace and love.

The Bible contains numerous warnings against such false teachings and their proponents. For instance, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 cautions against being deceived by anyone who opposes the truth and exalts himself above God, while 2 Timothy 3:1-7 lists the traits of those who will be lovers of self, ungrateful, unholy, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Similarly, Jude 1:4-25 denounces the ungodly who turn the grace of God into sensuality and deny Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.

These warnings should not be taken lightly, as they show that the apostasy is not a distant threat, but a present reality. The mystery of lawlessness is already at work, and many are being led astray by false teachers who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). It is crucial, therefore, to stand firm in the truth, as 2 Thessalonians 2:15 exhorts us to hold to the traditions we were taught, whether by what the apostles said or wrote.

In conclusion, the Great Apostasy is not a simple matter of falling away from the faith, but a more subtle and dangerous form of deviation from the truth. We must be vigilant against the rise of legalism, immorality, and arrogance that deny the very heart of the gospel. By staying true to the teachings of Christ and his apostles, we can avoid being deceived and receive the full reward of our faith.

How can one justify denying what Jesus did for them and instead turning to their own efforts for righteousness? Is this not a form of pride?

What the Bible Says

Examine the Biblical teachings on the Great Apostasy with careful attention. Observe how it consistently directs us towards the Gospel and emphasizes our love for one another.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-15 CSB
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters, [2] not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a prophecy or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord has come. [3] Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. [4] He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s temple, proclaiming that he himself is God. [5] Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I used to tell you about this? [6] And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, [8] and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nothing at the appearance of his coming. [9] The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with every kind of miracle, both signs and wonders serving the lie, [10] and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved. [11] For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe the lie, [12] so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but delighted in unrighteousness. [13] But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. [14] He called you to this through our gospel, so that you might obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [15] So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.

2 John 1:4-11 CSB
I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. [5] So now I ask you, dear lady—not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. [6] This is love: that we walk according to his commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: that you walk in love. [7] Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. [8] Watch yourselves so that you don’t lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. [9] Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. [10] If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home, and do not greet him; [11] for the one who greets him shares in his evil works.

Micah 6:8 NLT
No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Isaiah 29:13 CSB
The Lord said: These people approach me with their speeches to honor me with lip-service, yet their hearts are far from me, and human rules direct their worship of me.

Galatians 5:1,4 CSB
For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery. [4] You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.

2 Timothy 3:1-7,10,12-14 CSB
But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. [2] For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, [3] unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, [4] traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, [5] holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people. [6] For among them are those who worm their way into households and deceive gullible women overwhelmed by sins and led astray by a variety of passions, [7] always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. [10] But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, [12] In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. [13] Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. [14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you,

2 Timothy 4:2-4 CSB
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching. [3] For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. [4] They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Jude 1:4-25 CSB
For some people, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into sensuality and denying Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. [5] Now I want to remind you, although you came to know all these things once and for all, that Jesus saved a people out of Egypt and later destroyed those who did not believe; [6] and the angels who did not keep their own position but abandoned their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deep darkness for the judgment on the great day. [7] Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns committed sexual immorality and perversions, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. [8] In the same way these people—relying on their dreams—defile their flesh, reject authority, and slander glorious ones. [9] Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” [10] But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. And what they do understand by instinct—like irrational animals—by these things they are destroyed. [11] Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion. [12] These people are dangerous reefs at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence. They are shepherds who only look after themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn—fruitless, twice dead and uprooted. [13] They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness is reserved forever. [14] It was about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied: “Look! The Lord comes with tens of thousands of his holy ones [15] to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly concerning all the ungodly acts that they have done in an ungodly way, and concerning all the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against him.” [16] These people are discontented grumblers, living according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage. [17] But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. [18] They told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers living according to their own ungodly desires.” [19] These people create divisions and are worldly, not having the Spirit. [20] But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, [21] keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. [22] Have mercy on those who waver; [23] save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. [24] Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, [25] to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

1 Timothy 4:1-16 CSB
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, [2] through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. [3] They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth. [4] For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, [5] since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer. [6] If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and the good teaching that you have followed. [7] But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. [8] For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. [9] This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. [10] For this reason we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. [11] Command and teach these things. [12] Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. [13] Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. [14] Don’t neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. [15] Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. [16] Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.


As we have seen, the Great Apostasy is not a mere matter of abandoning the faith, but rather a dangerous form of deception that leads people astray from the true gospel. The rise of legalism, immorality, and arrogance are just some of the ways that people can be led away from the truth of Christ’s sacrifice and obedience. The warnings against false teachings and their proponents in the Bible should not be taken lightly, as they reveal the present reality of the apostasy.

In order to stay true to the teachings of Christ and his apostles, we must be vigilant against these false teachings and hold fast to the traditions that we have been taught. By doing so, we can avoid being deceived and receive the full reward of our faith. We must also remember that denying what Jesus did for us and turning to our own efforts for righteousness is a form of pride.

Let us take to heart the warnings in the Bible and remain steadfast in our faith. As 1 Timothy 4:16 reminds us, we must pay close attention to our lives and our teaching, persevering in the truth so that we may save both ourselves and those who hear us. May God protect us from stumbling and make us stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy. To him be glory, majesty, power, and authority forevermore. Amen

Obey the Gospel

Acts 6:7 CSB
So the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.

Hebrews 5:9,11-14 CSB
After he was perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, [11] We have a great deal to say about this, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. [12] Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. [13] Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. [14] But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.

1 Peter 4:17-19 CSB
For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? [18] And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? [19] So then, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing what is good.

Romans 10:16-21 CSB
But not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? [17] So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. [18] But I ask, “Did they not hear?” Yes, they did: Their voice has gone out to the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world. [19] But I ask, “Did Israel not understand?” First, Moses said, I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that lacks understanding. [20] And Isaiah says boldly, I was found by those who were not looking for me; I revealed myself to those who were not asking for me. [21] But to Israel he says, All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and defiant people.

And, what was Israel’s disobedience?

Hebrews 3:18-19 CSB
And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who disobeyed? [19] So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

What is the clear evidence that you will be counted worthy?

2 Thessalonians 1:3,5-12 CSB
We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. [5] It is clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, [6] since it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you [7] and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels, [8] when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. [9] They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious strength [10] on that day when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed. [11] In view of this, we always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith, [12] so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.