Eusebius, an early Church historian, stated that Matthew wrote his Gospel in 41 A.D. If this is true, then maybe the Apostle Paul had already read Matthew’s book when Paul wrote his second letter to the church in Thessalonica in 52 A. D.
At the time, the Thessalonians were facing severe persecution and needed to be encouraged by Paul. But also, the apostle wanted to derail a false teaching that the day of the Lord had already come. This false teaching undermined Paul’s words in his first letter to the Thessalonian believers.
Paul countered the false teaching by stating:
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of the Lord had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 NKJ)
Paul gave two specific events that had to occur before the day of the Lord occurred: (1) the falling away of professed Christians from their faith and (2) the Antichrist is openly revealed for all to see.
Now, where did Paul get this information? Did he receive it solely through the Holy Spirit or was he also inspired by Matthew’s Gospel?
It’s just an interesting possibility that we’ll probably not know until we arrive in heaven. But look what Jesus said in Mathew’s Gospel:
And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another.
Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place—let the reader understand (Matthew 24:10, 15 NASB)
Even though Jesus and Paul warned us about the great falling away, what is the American church doing to prepare their congregations ahead of time?
90 – 95% of America’s Evangelical churches are not teaching on the end times or the Book of Revelation. This becomes even sadder when one considers that Jesus admonished us to understand the end times in Matthew 24:15.
In the weeks ahead, let’s take a look at what we can do to prepare ourselves for the end times so we do not end up being casualties in the “great falling away.”
(Continued in Part 2)