End Times Harvest
Great Falling Away?
Will There Be A Great End Times Harvest of Souls - Or A Great Falling Away From the Faith? It Can't Be Both! by John Lilley
There is not going to be a great harvest of souls at the end of this age. Instead, the exact opposite is going to occur – there will be a great falling away from the Christian faith.
Many Christian leaders are going around teaching that there is going to be a “great harvest of souls” and encouraging everybody to get all excited about it. Charismatic leaders (some of whom I personally have great appreciation for in other areas) seem to be the main ones who are preaching along these lines. But on this point they are dead wrong. The Bible records no great harvest of souls at the end of this age. It records the exact opposite. The Apostle Paul prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:3:
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (the day of the Lord) will not come unless the apostasy (falling away) comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed…”
Jesus also prophesied in Matthew 24:10, “Many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another”. Fall away from what? The unsaved have nothing to fall away from! Jesus and Paul are talking about people who call themselves believers in Christ, falling away from the faith!
After this, in the same chapter, Jesus said the gospel will be preached to the whole world as a witness, which implies that most people will not heed it. See my book Hell Is A Mistranslation to understand why God is not interested in "saving everybody" in this age.
Jesus’ and Paul’s prophecies about the great falling away from the faith, cannot happen simultaneously with great soul-winning success. That is a logical impossibility. How can half the world get truly saved and simultaneously fall for the deception of the antichrist? They can’t both happen – it’s got to be one or the other. And Jesus and the Apostle Paul clearly and plainly tell us which one will occur.
You see, the Biblical prophecies many modern-day Christian leaders try to use to get everyone all excited about a "great harvest of souls" are prophecies for the millennium – prophecies that will come true in the next age. But these preachers are erroneously preaching that these prophecies are for this age.
These prophecies do not foretell an end times harvest, they foretell a millennium harvest. It can be tricky to figure out the relative timing of the future fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies – whether they’re for this age or the next, etc. – because OT prophecies are almost never in any kind of chronological order. So we must use the rest of Scripture to figure out the timing of when these prophecies will come to pass, not just what we would like or what makes us excited.
When you study the Biblical testimony about the end of this age, you will find that the Biblical prophecies about the end of this age contain no information whatsoever about a great harvest of souls. It’s just not going to happen. The two chronological “hooks” God has given us for end-time prophecy, the book of Revelation and the prophetic feasts of the Lord (see my Easy-To-Understand Revelation Timeline and #2 Little-Known Key To Understanding the Book of Revelation), contain no information at all that would lead us to believe there will be a great harvest of souls at the end of this age. They tell us just the opposite!
Yes, Jesus and Revelation make it clear that a message will be preached to the whole world during the end times, as a witness (Matt. 24:14, Rev. 14:1-7, and see my Easy-To-Understand Revelation Timeline). But there is no indication that many people will heed this message, and in fact we have every indication that most will NOT heed it (Matt. 24:9, 24, Rev. 16:9), including the very use of the word "witness" to describe the purpose of the preaching, which tells us it is simply a testimony to mankind so no one who heard it can turn around later and say, "Well, nobody ever told us". (This would seem tragic except that God has a good, logical reason for not wanting or causing everyone to "get it" in this age - see my articles in the Hell Mistranslation section of this website.)
So, using Scripture to interpret Scripture, we can see that these “great harvest of souls” prophecies apply to the millennium and beyond, not to this age.
It makes perfect sense that there will be no great harvest of souls at the end of this age, because unbeknownst to the vast majority of Christians, God’s whole plan for this age is to lose. If you ever wondered why God is losing “the great battle between Him and Satan for souls” in this age, it’s because He’s doing it on purpose. Do you actually think God would lose the supposed “battle for souls” if there really was a “battle for souls” and if He really wanted to win it in this age? Satan is an atom on a bacteria on a fly on God’s pinky finger. Read my book Hell Is A Mistranslation to see why God wants to lose in this age. He has a good reason for it! It’s all part of His educational plan for humanity! (See Rom. 11:32, 1 Tim. 4:10, 1 Cor. 15:20-28, Eph. 1:10, Phil. 2:10-11.)
Again, there is absolutely no indication whatsoever in the rest of Scripture or Revelation that there will be a great harvest of souls at the end of this age, but rather the exact opposite. How can a great falling away occur if millions upon millions of people are getting saved at the same time? That doesn’t make any sense – and that’s why it’s not in Scripture.
All the exciting prophecies that some preachers and Christian leaders use to get you all ramped up to go out and “bring in the harvest”, are not going to come true in this age. These preachers and leaders are unwittingly setting up their flock for a fall – a huge disappointment and massive confusion when the really crazy end times stuff begins to happen and no great harvest of souls has occurred.
What will cause this great end times falling away? What events would cause millions or even billions of people who today call themselves “Christians” to turn away from faith in Christ?
The answer is simple. In short, the first blow to the weak/lukewarm/ignorant Christians’ faith will be the drastic, traumatic, and chaotic end time events that precede the antichrist’s rise, the first of which will be a heavenly body (probably a dwarf star) the Bible calls Wormwood drawing near earth. (See my article on Wormwood in the End Times Explained section of this site.) The natural disasters this causes are going to catch everyone but the informed elite, and the Biblically-informed wise amongst the common people, completely by surprise (Dan. 12:10). The masses of mankind including most Christians will be a confused and desperate bunch.
Then will come world nuclear wars in which, among other things, one of the world’s major nations is destroyed (again, see my Revelation Timeline and #6 Little-Known Key To Understanding the Book of Revelation). Then will come the antichrist’s and the false prophet’s signs & wonders, which according to the Bible will be so convincing that even some of the elect might be deceived (2 Thess. 2:9-11, Matt. 24:24, Rev. 13:12-15).
So you see, at the end of this age there will be a triple-whammy to confuse anybody who doesn’t fall into the category of the “wise” the angel mentioned in Daniel 12:10 (or into the category of the super-high-level Satanically-handpicked elite, who will know what's going on too). The wise amongst the common people (a tiny minority) will see all this coming beforehand, but everybody else will be in a state of chaos and confusion – most “Christians” included.
Most people who call themselves Christians believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, and thus they will be exceedingly surprised when the “end of the world as we know it” hits as Wormwood draws near, and since their preachers didn’t tell them about this, they will doubt everything else their preacher said too. See my articles on the Rapture and on Wormwood (the #4 Little-Known Secret to Understanding the Book of Revelation).
Even many of the more on-fire and excited Christians, besides believing in a pre-trib rapture, are taught that “it is impossible or very hard to understand end-times prophecy, so there is little use studying it”, and then, on top of these two severe handicaps, they are going to be expecting a great harvest of souls. When this doesn’t happen, and all sorts of traumatic and confusing things happen instead, which their soul-winning spiritual heroes didn’t tell them about or help them prepare for, many will seriously doubt their faith.
The last point I want to submit to you is that perhaps God WANTS this great falling away to happen. Why would He want that? In order to purify and refine some of the elect (Dan. 12:10) – just as Peter was refined when he betrayed Christ as things got confusing and tough, and ended up learning a valuable lesson – that nothing depends on his/our own goodness, it all depends on God’s.
For another example of God using this principle to humble someone so they realize it's God's strength in them, not their own greatness, that counts, see Phil. 2:13, Eph. 2:9-10, and John 21:15-19. Notice in the passage in John, Jesus and Peter are using two different words for “love” in the Greek - so in essence Peter is admitting to Jesus that he doesn’t love Him unconditionally, but Jesus gives him a job to do anyway and promises that in the end Peter will die for Him by God’s grace and strength, not Peter’s own strength or goodness.
You see, just as Peter didn’t understand why Jesus had to die (see my article The Kingdom Time-Gap in the More Questions section of this site), many sincere and on-fire Christians at the end of this age will not understand why there is no great harvest of souls, and all sorts of crazy, traumatic, and confusing things are happening instead. They will not understand why God seems to be “losing”. The reason for their confusion will be the same as the reason for Peter’s – they don’t understand the big picture of God’s plan. They don’t understand the simple fact that the age they live in is only one stage in God’s overall plan to train humanity.
Most Christians naturally expect an end times harvest because they're expecting God to try to win everything He can in the age in which they live. That’s just not gonna happen my friends. God is not interested in a half-victory or in merely getting some people reconciled to Him (see Rom. 5:18) as most of today’s Christians think, or in merely ruling over the earth with Israel for a while as Peter thought (see my article The Kingdom Time-Gap). God is not a loser in any sense of the word. He’s seemingly “losing” on purpose in this age (and in every age but the last) so that He can teach all of mankind important lessons and win every person’s heart at the consummation of the ages (1 Cor. 15:20-28 – be sure to translate the word “consummation” accurately in vs. 24, not “end”, Phil. 2:10-11).
An end times harvest is just not part of God's plan, because it doesn't need to be. That's why it's not in the Bible. God’s got a great plan that spans several ages (it takes a while to teach billions of people some pretty big lessons!), which will eventually enable Him to be “all in all”, NOT “all in some”. (See 1 Cor. 15:28, Eph. 1:10, 1 Tim. 4:10, Rom. 5:18.) And His goals for this age/stage in His plan have nothing to do with “winning as many souls as possible”. His two main goals for this age are to let humanity try everything that doesn’t work and see the horrible consequences of it (so as to humble them so they don't think they're smarter than He is), and to choose and train His leadership team for the next age. Again, see my book Hell Is A Mistranslation.
You see, many Christians today think they are saved because they made a better choice than somebody else. That’s pride. How can you be saved because you made a better choice than a Chinese guy who never heard the word “Jesus” in his life?
Are we saved by our own choice? No way. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read Ephesians 1:4 & 11. (And read my book Hell Is A Mistranslation after that.). Ephesians 1:4 & 11 plainly state that God chooses believers in this age to get saved. Despite these plain statements of Scripture, most believers today cannot fathom that God would truly predestine them for a “special” salvation (see 1 Tim. 4:10), because they think hell is a real place. They’re all confused because of the leftover paganism in the church (again, see my book on hell). This is similar to the type of ignorance and pride Peter had. God will break end-times believers of this type of ridiculous “I’ll never fail God/I made a better choice than somebody else” pride the same way He taught Peter: failure and disappointment.
Peter’s blindness and ignorance of God’s ultimate plan caused him to be disappointed, confused, and ultimately to fail God. Many end times believers will have the same experience. Perhaps if Peter had humbly asked Jesus, “Why do you have to die, Jesus? What is it that I don’t understand?”, maybe Jesus would have told him. Maybe not, we don’t know. Acts 1:7 makes me think it simply was not for Peter to know certain things at that time in his life (also see my article The Kingdom Time-Gap).
So we don’t want to be too hard on Peter. I don’t want to be too hard on anybody else either, but the fact is that in his age, by God's grace you can be one of the wise, and hopefully not have to learn some of the things Peter learned the hard way - and many end-time believers will learn the hard way too. You can learn the "easy" way (actually, it's just hard now rather than hard later!) - by humbling yourself and asking God every "Why?" question you can think of and trusting Him to lead you to the answer in accurately-translated Scripture!
Instead of being hard-headed and thinking you know better than God like Peter, you can humble yourself and ask Him why He's doing things the way He's doing them. From the Scriptures we know for sure that those of us alive today in the end times CAN understand His overall plan for the ages (Eph. 1:10, 1 Cor. 15:20-28, 1 Tim. 4:10) AND we can also understand what will happen in the end times, simply by reading the Scriptures, relying on Him to lead and guide us into all the truth, and spending the time and effort to seek and study (Dan. 12:9-10, Rev. 1:1, Matt. 7:7-8, John 14:26, John 16:13, 1 John 2:17).
The bottom line is, those who don’t understand God’s overall plan for the ages are going to be massively confused when their expectations are not met at the end of this age and God “loses” so badly. They don’t understand that in this age God is losing on purpose, for a reason I explain in my book Hell Is A Mistranslation: God's Ultimate Plan For Humanity Revealed In the Accurately Translated Bible.
And in my book End Times Explained: 7 Little-Known Keys To Understanding the Book of Revelation you will learn:
* 7 Little-Known Keys To Understanding the Book of Revelation
* An easy-to-understand Revelation Timeline in “this will happen, then this…” story form – a logically provable explanation of virtually every passage in Revelation
* The secret to understanding the non-chronological “Interludes” at key points in Revelation, WHY God included them – and each “Interlude” explained
* Why God will allow the crazy events of the end times to occur
* The rarely-talked-about Old Testament passage that reveals how and why God sent the “4 Horsemen” of Revelation
* The watershed event that will be known as “the end of the world as we know it”
* The rapture found in Revelation (you’ll be amazed you couldn’t see it all along!)
* Learn why according to the book of Revelation a “2012 Planet X Conspiracy” isn’t too far from the truth
* What the modern economy has to do with Revelation, and how its leaders are already planning the mark of the beast
* The most likely living candidate for the antichrist – a man that fits more literal Biblical criteria for the antichrist than any man in history (and no, it’s not Obama!)
* The shocking dual identity of Mystery Babylon – proven with logic and common sense from the Scriptures
* Why “aliens” could be a part of the great end times deception – and where they may be revealed in the Book of Revelation
* What to watch for, what to do, and where to go (when the time is right) – the Bible’s instructions for wise end-time believers
* Packed full of unique insights you won’t hear anywhere else
Click here to learn more about the book.
Will There Be A Great End Times Harvest of Souls - Or A Great Falling Away From the Faith? It Can't Be Both! Copyright 2010 John Lilley
Return from End Times Harvest to Answers To Bible Questions (Common Questions Section)