Another false concept that perhaps might find its way into the heart of man is that of a second Apostasy. In other words, the thought is that the Lord might allow his Church and Kingdom to again fall into a state of corruption, in the which, the priesthood of God would be lost from the earth again a second time. This idea is completely and utterly false. Once the Lord restores Zion again to the earth, it will never fall away. There is only one apostasy predicted by the Bible prophets, speaking of the Church as a whole, not individually.
44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
From Daniel, we see that when the Lord sets up his Kingdom in the last days, it “shall never be destroyed.” In this verse, kingdom could be replaced with the word “Church.” Thus, the God of heaven will set up his Church and it shall never be destroyed. On the contrary, “it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” So the Lord’s Church, once it is reestablished in the last days, shall overcome all the false doctrines and false precepts that exist in the world until it consumes them all. It will fill the earth. There is no prediction whatsoever of any kind that it will retract, run aground, or stumble in this process. Any such doctrine is contrary to spirit and meaning found in the scriptures.
In Isaiah, the Lord refers to his Church as if it were a woman forsaken. Let us examine the promise the Lord makes to the Church regarding a second Apostasy.
5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
Just as the Lord promised Noah that a flood would never again be sent to destroy the inhabitants of the earth. Likewise, the Lord promises the Church that he will never again depart. Hence, there is only one Apostasy predicted, and any doctrine to the contrary is completely false. Individual leaders may fall away from the Church, but the Lord will never again allow the Church as a whole to become corrupted.
One source for confusion on this point is derived from the false concept of a future Anti-Christ. As was discussed in a previous blog, there will be no mortal evil political leader that will be allowed to take over the entire world. The great anti-Christ is Satan, a spirit being who will never be born. And, he was allowed by the Savior to overcome the world, only in that the Lord withdrew his Church from the earth. Thus, Satan had his day of power, and “ruled the earth” in the sense of teaching the inhabitants of the earth falsehood with no true Church as an alternative. This has led to great confusion in the earth.
However, if one falsely assumes that the anti-Christ spoken of in Isaiah and Revelation is a future mortal being, then he or she would also be led to the conclusion that this anti-Christ figure would also be allowed to “make war with the saints and overcome them” in the future as well (Revelation 13:7). If one correctly identifies the anti-Christ as being Satan, and correctly associates the timing of his “overcoming the saints” as being shortly after the death of the ancient Apostles, then this expectation of a second Apostasy is completely removed. Thus, both issues resolve themselves in truth. There will be only one Apostasy and thus only one Restoration.