What did the apostle Paul mean by a "falling away" in the end times?
Why will people follow a great religious leader during what many call the great falling away or the great apostasy?
Those interested in the signs of the end times often take note of a warning given by Paul to the Thessalonians, speaking about the return of Jesus Christ to earth. He writes - “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). He then proceeds to explain this “falling away” in greater detail. Paul writes that it will involve the revealing of “the man of sin…the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Some man is going to style himself as greater than God, pretending to be God—and people will believe him. Why? Because: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11). The “man of sin” posing as God will be performing supernatural acts with the help of the devil, deceiving all those who have rejected God and putting himself in a position to be worshipped by the world. Revelation 19:20 describes this powerful religious leader as “the false prophet who worked signs” in connection with the political leader called the “beast.” The False Prophet is the same as the one called “another beast” in Revelation 13:11, who performs miraculous “signs” (verses 14-15). He is also the leader of the false church (“the harlot”) in Revelation 17:1-5. He is also referred to as “another horn” who will “persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law” in Daniel 7:8, 20-22, 24-25.