The Falling Away of
Part 3 – Final installment
In the previous two installments we have
been considering the failings of
After the Exile
3. Self seeking
They would basically continue on in this state up to the time when they would reject Christ and give him up to the Roman authority. Their unrepentant attitude would be maintained on through the destruction of the Jewish Commonwealth and the complete scattering of its people by the Romans in 70 A.D. This time, instead of 70 years, almost 2,000 years would be the extent of their punishment.
We now move on
in our consideration to a different aspect of the lessons we find in the
scriptures. The failings of God’s people
are not limited to the natural Jews or Israelites – so our lesson does not stop
with the destruction and scattering of the Jewish nation. After the ascension of Jesus to the right
hand of the Father, we of course know that the way of salvation by coming
inheritors of the Promises made to Abraham was made available to the Gentile as
well through baptism into Christ’s death (Gal. 3:27). Once the Gospel message was extended to the
alien there was an explosion of people that heard and accepted “The things
It would not take long for this apostasy to form for it was beginning to take hold even during the time of the Apostles. As Paul states in his warning of the coming Apostasy in another epistle – “For the mystery of iniquity doeth already work.” (II Thess. 2:7).
difficulties in both doctrine and behavior were already taking hold of the
brethren, even as some of the Apostles still were alive. Some still possessed the Holy Spirit gifts
when the false teaching and wicked moral practice were gaining in their
influence. The brethren of this unique
time in history had many things going for them in regards to the Truth, but not
heeding the experiences of Natural Israel, they sadly followed in their
footsteps. We can find an excellent
account of the decline of the early Ecclesia in
The change did not come about all at once but was a very subtle, patient process that fed on peoples pride and lusts, and their desire to hear what they wanted to hear rather then accepting God’s Word in its beautiful simplicity. Most would not recognize the changes taking place. Those who did would be mocked, ridiculed, and eventually killed when apostasy had completely taken over - The same fate that befell Christ and many of the prophets that came before him. Is there a lesson here for us?
What about the Protestant Movement?
The 15th and 16th centuries have come to be known as the Reformation, a time of religious exploration and reawakening to the teachings of Scriptures verses the man-made traditions and endless false teachings that had been developed or adopted by the Catholic System. The availability of the Bible due to the invention of the printing press and the efforts of men such as William Tyndale to translate the Scriptures created a great stir among those who were then able to see that the long held teachings and traditions of Catholicism did not match up with the clear and simple teachings of the Scriptures. Many “Protestant” movements came out of the Reformation and to some degree were able to shake off numerous “Christian” superstitions that had dominated men’s beliefs for centuries. The Immortality of the soul; Belief in a Supernatural Devil, Heaven as a reward, the Trinity, etc. were all questioned to a great degree and many of the protesting movement rejected these ideas as false.
We will not take
the time to explore the many facts of history here, but there was an amazing
(though not perfect) effort to finally cast off the darkness of apostate
teaching. A group which is noteworthy to
modern day believers is that of the early Baptists. According to “The Baptist Confession of
Faith, 1660”, which was presented to Charles II in London and which many Christadelphians have a copy, we have evidence that the
Baptists once believed in a future Kingdom on Earth centered in Jerusalem, that
being a part of this Kingdom was the future reward of the saints, and that
resurrection was the only hope that men have from death. How far away from these teachings have the
modern day “Baptists” come! What
happened? Many of the Protestant
religions were able to cast off to some degree the falsehood of
Clearly, the maintaining of Bible Truth in teaching and in practice is very difficult to sustain. When one factors in liberal thinking and attitudes, a paid clergy system that is held prisoner to the desire to tell people want they want to hear rather then want they need to hear, a desire for looser moral standards – all which can be wrapped up in the term the “thinking of the flesh” – then it makes the preservation of Truth basically impossible. The Scriptures and history plainly spell this out to us.
What about us?
Now, how does
this exercise in reviewing such negative and unpleasant subject matter relate
to our situation as believers in these last days before Christ’s return? We have heard it mentioned many times how the
We have tried to
show that not only can we find connection with
Are we prepared to realize that these matters that we have considered are truly matters of life and death? Do we wish to play games with the offer of salvation that has been given us? We must face the sad condition of the Brotherhood honestly. We must realize that we are no different, that are mistakes and flirtations with the world are no less critical then what God’s people have always faced. Let us not fool ourselves, but repent while there is still time allowed to us by the Father to do so. Let us redeem the time given us. As in the words of Revelation -22, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”