No Real Bottom

The word apostasia is used twice in the New Testament. In the first instance, it is of a sin alleged (Acts 21:21), where it is said of Paul that he was teaching Jews to “forsake” or “fall away from” Moses. He wasn’t really, not the way they claimed, but the allegation was that he was encouraging apostasy.

In the second instance, Paul is predicting what will happen before the day of Christ arrives. He says it this way:

“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 . . .” (2 Thess. 2:3).

The falling away here is a forsaking that is general and visible, and will result in the manifestation of the man of sin. From the fact that this man of sin sets himself up to be worshiped in the temple of God we may infer the nature of the sin — it is a falling away from true worship into grotesque idolatry. The action of falling need not be horrendous in itself. But in this case, it is a falling away from the living God into the final death. It is a fall with no real bottom.

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Douglas WilsonTylerJames BradshawBenjamin RogersRobby B Recent comment authors

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Robby B
Robby B

Hi Pastor Wilson,
If I remember correctly, on the DG “Evening of Eschatology” with Piper and Sam Storms a few years back, you said that the man of lawlessness was the weak point of the Post-mill position. Can you expand on the Man of Lawlessness person and how it fits with the hopeful expectation of Post-mill?

Benjamin Rogers
Benjamin Rogers

Pastor Wilson, You said in a sermon on Romans 1:18-25 (“The Glory of the Obvious” @14min 55 seconds) that when it comes to grotesque idolatry, “the distance down to the rock bottom floor is a lot shorter than the distance up.” In other words, there is a rock bottom to hit, whereas when it comes to worshiping the living God, there is no ceiling. I completely agree with this, so I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind differentiating what you mean here and further expound upon the notion of “a fall with no bottom.” Wouldn’t turning toward finite idols in worship… Read more »

James Bradshaw

To not be idolatrous, one must worship God as He is, not as one imagines or wishes Him to be.   No small feat considering He cannot be seen or heard and can only be apprehended through a text whose interpretation must necessarily be tainted by one’s own subjective experience.
Everyone’s an idolater.  It’s just a matter of degree. 


Robby, If I remember correctly, his point during that discussion was that reconciling 1 and 2 Thess with regard to the coming of the Lord (if 2 Thess focuses on 70 AD and 1 Thess focuses on the Second Advent, which most preterists believe, could Paul’s audience make the appropriate distinctions?) was difficult for the preterist-postmillennialist (amillennialists tend to have an easier time speaking of cyclical or multiple fulfillments of prophetic texts. If you want good discussions of 2 Thess, look into Ken Gentry, Jr.’s ‘He Shall Have Dominion,’ and one of the appendices in Keith Mathison’s ‘He Shall Have… Read more »


Shoot, I meant Keith Mathison’s, ‘Postmillennialism.’   >_<