Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. (Matthew 24:23-26)
During the beginning of sorrows, Jesus warned that many false christs would come in His name and deceive many. During the first half of the 70th week of years, Jesus said that false prophets would arise and deceive many.
Now, in the second half of the 70th week of years, Jesus again states that false christs and false prophets will arise. Also keep in mind that at the beginning of the second half of the 70th week of years, Satan and his angels have been cast out of heaven and into the earth. Thus there exists the potential for even more and stronger demonic activity during this time.
Deceive if Possible the Very Elect
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
Jesus warns that these false christs and false prophets will show great signs and wonders, and deceive, if possible, the very elect. In addition to Jesus’ warnings, there are many other warnings in the Bible against deception. There would be no need for these warnings if followers of Jesus Christ could not be deceived.
The phrase “if it were possible” occurs a few other places in the New Testament. In Acts 20:16 Paul “hasted” to get to Jerusalem because it was possible for him to get there in time. Applying that to Matthew 24:24 also indicates that the “very elect” can be deceived.
Falling Away or Apostasy
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
Some translations translate “falling away” as “rebellion”. In this case, the rebellion would refer to Antichrist leading the world to rebel against God and His people, which would culminate with the armies of the nations being gathered together to fight Jesus Christ at the Battle of Armageddon.
But the phrase translated “falling away” is the Greek word apostasia, which can also be translated “forsake”. The only other place this Greek word occurs in the New Testament is in Acts 21:20-21. In this case, the text is talking about Jewish people forsaking (no longer following, or falling away) from the teaching of Moses. In the same way, 2Thessalonians 2:1-4 is referring to believers in Jesus Christ forsaking (no longer following, or falling away) from Jesus Christ. Since the antichrist will be revealed at the mid-point of the 70th week of years, the falling away or apostasy could start during the first half of that week.