Friday, July 29, 2016
The biblical term “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3) is one of two end-time signs God promised would occur before, “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (2 Thess. 2:1), which we must discern from “a” falling away that has attended the church from the first century AD to the present. The following Scriptures bear out these differentiating truths.
The context of “a” falling away is taught in Jesus’ parables, saying, “these have no root, who believe for a while [meaning saved for a while] and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13). It consists of he, “who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, and endures only for a while” (Matt. 13:20–21).
Another example of “a” falling away is when one has turned to Christ in repentance, confession and faith, but then, “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19), a condition for which Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He [God the Father] takes away” (John 15:2), and “is cast out as a branch and is withered” (15:6).
Concerning “a” falling away, it is entirely possible for one to begin in sincere faith, but then desiring to be rich, “fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Tim. 6:9). Note here that, “destruction and perdition” are terms synonymous with the loss of salvation and is also, “a” falling away.
However, when God’s Spirit spoke of “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3) the context is the sudden and abnormal events of the tribulation and Antichrist of this final generation, events that precede, “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (2 Thess. 2:1). Thus, “the falling away” is contextually caused by an end-time sudden offense, see Matt. 24:9–10.
Yet, pre-trib rapture believers think no differently about the coming of Christ and our gathering to Him than in 1827 when Darby sowed his unbelief that Christ will come at any moment, pre-tribulation, and that no signs must first occur. In unbelief these are blind and not expecting of any signs God gave and have thus set themselves up for offense and, “the falling away”.
This is what ancient Israel did when they were about to enter Canaan, their Promised Land, their God-intended eternal possession. But when they, “saw the giants (the descendants of Anak) [and that] we were like grasshoppers in our own sight” (Num. 13:33), they became offended and said, “Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims?” (Num. 14:3). They were not expecting to “see” such difficulty.
Be reminded here that God said, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us” (Eccl. 1:9–10).
John Darby’s pre-trib rapture doctrine of demons has been taught by the church, and defending theologians, pastors and teachers reject Christ’s Word that present-day Christians will, “see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (Matt. 24:15). But that unbelief will cause many to perish outside God’s provision, “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together” (Matt. 24:28 and Luke 17:37).
Offense will cause, “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3) as many delight in the pre-trib rapture lie. But God warned, “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 Thess. 2:8–11).
Reflecting on ancient Israel, when they “saw the giants” just as we will “see the abomination of desolation” the majority became offended and perished. Only Joshua and Caleb believed God, just as the minority now actually believes Jesus, which will again lead to many perishing outside God’s provision. Israel’s sudden falling away was for our example. But Joshua and Caleb had to wait 40 years, similar to our 7 year tribulation, before entering their/our eternal inheritance.
“I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness…Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:1–5, 11).
Here’s the sad truth: thousands of theologians, pastors and Bible teachers have the same Bible you and I have. Yet, the church is so opposed to the end-time truths Christ spoke that men like myself who love and defend Christ’s truths are disallowed from teaching those truths in the organized church. Yet, those same leaders who disallow Jesus’ end-time truths claim to know God just as most of ancient Israel’s leaders also claimed to know God, but in offense fell away!
From Mt. Sinai to Canaan, by complaint and rejection of select portions of God’s Word, ancient Israel conditioned herself for “the falling away” at the time of her God-intended inheritance. All twelve of her leaders spied out Canaan; all twelve saw the giants, but 10 of the 12 complained in unbelief and led most to disbelieve God. Today, that same complaint and unbelief is veiled by the rejection of select portions of God’s Word, also leading many to think they know God.
I example this from three areas spiritually vital to knowing the God of the Bible:
First, many pastors have led millions of Christians to disbelieve Jesus that He gathers His elect saints, “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) at the resurrection of the righteous dead which Jesus taught occurs, “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54). Millions of ignorant souls are taught to believe that Christ gathers His elect seven years before “the last day”.
Be warned that a lie of when the resurrection of the righteous dead occurs has every possibility of destroying one’s faith (2 Tim. 2:15–18). Please also note that the Holy Spirit named as one of the six, “elementary principles of Christ”, the, “resurrection of the dead” (Heb. 6:1–2). Jesus said the resurrection of the righteous dead occurs “at the last day”, but many pastors lie and teach that it occurs seven years before the last day. Woe to those false teachers who claim to know God!
Secondly, many leaders encourage women to positions of pastor, deacon and teacher, though God expressly commanded, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:12–14). This is not a cultural issue!
This is confirmed by another of God’s commands. “Let your women keep silent in the churches, [note the plurality] for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive as the law also says…If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:34–37).
Thirdly: many church leaders teach saints that patriotism through violent military service for the death and destruction of our enemies is sanctioned by God, though Jesus Christ explicitly taught His followers otherwise. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:43–45).
This is supported by many similar commands, one of which says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:3–5). Many other Scriptures support this.
To ancient Israel God said, “if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me” (Ex. 19:5). Today, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and what’s our commission? – “teaching them [disciples] to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20), all of which demonstrates that God does not change.
Ancient Israel grumbled and rebelled against God’s Word because it didn’t suit their unbelief, and it prohibited them from entering their eternal inheritance! What do you suppose will happen to those, who, today, also grumble by ignoring God’s Word in unbelief? God does not change.
Today, rather than openly grumbling against God, as did ancient Israel, many church leaders simply ignore and thus shut out portions of God’s Word not suited to their tradition. The church has already been largely conditioned for offense and “the falling away” when the tribulation and Antichrist are revealed. Much of the church has been led to ignore and disbelieve vital parts of God’s Word for so long, that suddenly, “the falling away” in offense will come as no surprise.
Jesus said this would occur, and those of us paying attention see the unbelief and preparation to “the falling away” poised to repeat just like ancient Israel, for, “That which has been is what will be” (Eccl. 1:9). All truths in Christ are immune to traditions of men and those who hold them.
Traditions of men, “making the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13) has created not only, “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5), but a lack of true love for and personal relationship that believes Jesus’ truths. Therefore, at the appointed time when the tribulation and Antichrist are revealed, traditional unbelief will suddenly cause “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3).
Marlin J. Yoder