Aside from the seven major signs that Jesus made mention in the Books of Matthew 24 and Luke 21, the Apostle Paul also warned us that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. He wrote in 1 Timothy 4:1, “In the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” ( II Timothy 4:3-4).
In II Thessalonians 2:3-4 Paul gives a stern warning, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
“Falling away” in the above verses simply mean putting the Word of God aside in exchange for creed, dogmas and traditions. “Falling away” simply means having the Holy Spirit deposed for popes, bishops, presidents, and counselors, and the Saviour set aside for a works program, or church joining, or some type of conformity to a church system. This is what the word “apostasy” signifies. This kind of scenario in the end time has opened the door to the antiChrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition.
Reverend William Branham describes apostasy in the religious realms:
“The Roman Catholic Church calls herself today as the Mother church. She calls herself the first or original church. That is absolutely correct. She was the original First Church of Rome that backslid and went into sin. She was the first that organized. In her was found the deeds and then the doctrine of Nicolaitanism. No one will deny that she is a mother. She is a mother and has produced daughters. Now a daughter comes out of a woman. A woman robed in scarlet is sitting on the seven hills of Rome. She is a harlot and has borne daughters. Those daughters are the Protestant churches that came out of her and then went right back into organization and Nicolaitanism. This Mother of the daughterchurches is called a whore (Revelation 17). That is a woman who was untrue to her marriage vows. She was married to God and then went off fornicating with the devil and in her fornications she has brought forth daughters that are just like her. This mother and daughter combination is anti-Word, anti-Spirit and consequently anti-Christ. Yes, ANTICHRIST.” (200-5 PERGAMEAN CHURCH.AGE – CHURCH AGE BOOK CPT.5)
You know we are living in the end time. It is in this age that the churches are going to come together. And as they are even now controlling world politics, they will soon control the finances of the world. Then, if you don’t belong to the world organization of churches, you won’t be able to buy or to sell.” (314-1 PHILADELPHIAN CHURCH AGE – CHURCH AGE BOOK CPT.8)
And they’re going to bring a persecution on pretty soon and shut up all the churches. In the next few years, all organization religions will be forced to take a stand. And they will have a union of churches, and a great boycott will follow this union of churches. All denominations will be forced into it: all of them. If they don’t, there’ll be a horrible boycott. Nearly every one of them today has not knowingly joined that World Council of Churches, selling their birthrights: Protestant brethren with the mother Catholic of Rome. The Bible said that the tares would be bound, bundled first. They’re bundling all in one great group now. And the Bible said they’d make an image unto the beast.
The ecumenical move that has started on what seems such a beautiful and blessed principle (fulfilling Christ’s prayer that we all might be “one”) becomes so strong politically that she will bear pressure upon the government to cause all to join with her either directly or through adherence to principles enacted into law so that no people will be recognized as actual churches unless under direct or indirect domination of this council.
Little groups will lose charters, privileges, etc., until they lose all property and spiritual rights with the people. For example, right now unless the local ministerial association approves in many, if not most cities, one cannot rent a building for religious services. To become chaplains in the armed services, hospitals, etc., it is now almost mandatory to be recognized as acceptable to the trinitarian ecumenical groups. As this pressure increases, and it will, it will be harder to resist, for to resist is to lose privilege. And so many will be tempted to go along, for they will feel it is better to serve God publicly in the framework of this organization than not to serve God at all publicly. But they err. To believe the devil’s lie is to serve Satan, even though you may want to call him Jehovah. But the elect will not be deceived. As this move becomes the “IMAGE ERECTED TO THE BEAST,” the saints will be gone in the rapture.