The Coming Great Apostasy of 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 --
The Great Falling
The Exegesis of our Subject: To fall away in Christianity means basically to take a stand that is away from one's former stand. If you belong to the Church of Christ Jesus, and then leave the Church of Christ Jesus, you have then fallen away. You cannot fall away from a place you have never been. Therefore, since these verses of scripture are written to believers, believers are in view here. I do not think the falling away in this context refers to falling away from The Faith -- true Christianity -- for when God elected his people according to foreknowledge in eternity past, he made no mistakes. If you as a believer in Christ Jesus have eternal life here and now, as the Bible teaches, it is not eternal life if it can be lost or tossed. The calling of God is without repentance. In other words, God does not change his mind. You cannot lose your salvation by sinning. All of your sins -- past, present and future -- were all future when Christ died on the cross for you. God raised him from the dead to show that his atoning sacrifice for you was sufficient and accepted. There are verses of scripture in certain books of the New Testament that seem to imply that salvation can be lost, but I group them with apocryphal writings that should not be in our Bible. That is why, above, I have a limited New Testament canon. You cannot keep your salvation by human effort any more than you can get saved by human effort. It is all a work of God from begining to end. He calls you by his Spirit, he justifies you by grace through faith, he motivates you by his Spirit and he keeps you by his Spirit. God does all the work and God gets all the glory. It is a matter of volition. You decide to choose God, and God, according to his foreknowledge in eternity past, chooses you. You keep on choosing God as a linear form of action. Faith is linear in action. This will be explained a little more further into this study.
Our first verse under examination will be Colossians 1:23a. It reads as follows:
"If ye continue in the Faith grounded and settled, and not be moved away from the hope of the gospel."
"Ye continue"...in the original Greek language: epimenete, is a present active indicative 2nd person plural verb of epimeno, which means to remain on, to continue, to persevere, to adhere to, to continue to embrace, or to persist in. The present active indicative has the 2nd person plural subject, ge, producing continuous linear action, at present time, of adhering to, continuing in, persevering in, persisting in, continuing to embrace the faith -- the object of the verb. A. T. Robertson says that the preposition in compound adds to the force of the linear action of the present tense making it mean "to continue and then some."
You continue to adhere to, embrace, persevere, and persist in the faith. The particle, "if," ei, combined with ge renders the passage under consideration in the subjunctive as a conditional clause, meaning that maybe you will, and maybe you won't. It should be rendered, "If in fact," or "Assuming that." If in fact you continue in the faith, all of the foregoing will be applicable to you. That is the meaning of this part of the text.
"The Faith" is synonymous with "The Gospel." It is described as the "the hope" -- which is not wishing in the dark, but is a confident expectation based upon credible facts and evidences.
"Grounded," in the Greek, tethemeliomenoi, is a plural masculine perfect passive participle in the nominative case from the word themeliou of the root verb tithemi, which means to found, to ground, to establish, to render firm and unwavering. The perfect passive participle as used here is a verbal adjective. It is in the perfect tense which means that here we have completed action in past time with results which have continued to the present time and emphasizes the completed state or condition. The passive voice means that the subjects of the verb, ge (plural masculine), received the action of being grounded, and the nominative case designates specifically that you are the ones producing the action of continuing in the faith which results in your being grounded. It is here better translated "having been grounded."
In other words, in persistently making an extra effort to be continuing in The Faith, and then some, the believer then becomes grounded, and remains firm and steadfast as a result, which in turn, helps him to keep on adhering to The Faith. There is a reciprocal relationship between the ability to persevere or continue in The Faith and becoming grounded and firmly established in The Faith as a result. This resembles the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. A genuine and truly saved believer on positive volition towards God, will continue adhering to The Faith, which entails all of the elements of the believer's application of himself to growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, which produces over time spiritual maturity, which becomes the foundation for him being established or grounded in The Faith. This establishing of the believer, rendering him firm and unwavering, helps him to keep on adhering to, or persisting in, The Faith.
This is why it is so important for the believer to regularly attend an assembly of saints where the word of God is competently taught on a weekly basis. Diligent exposure to the teaching of God's word hastens the momentum line to spiritual maturity for the believer. Application of what is taught reinforces the doctrine which then becomes applicable in the believer's life. (Intellectual comprehension of a point of doctrine as opposed to applicable experiential knowledge of that doctrine.) Doctrine understood is in the staging area of the mind, and unless acted upon in faith, remains there and is dormant. Utilized doctrine applied to the believer's circumstances in life is made complete, and is therefore applicable, and becomes a permanent part of the believer's frame of reference in his soul.
In implementing the above, the believer is sensitized to the things of God and is increasingly able to discern the differences between good and evil -- right and wrong. Diligence in Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and doing good, reinforces this process and contributes to the believer's ability to persevere in The Faith because the believer has become stabilized, and thus is grounded in The Faith, and as a result, will not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel which he has heard and is adhering to.
"Be moved away" is the Greek word metakinoumenoi; a present passive participle also in the nominative case, from the word metakineo, which means to move away, or remove; to stir away from, or to swerve, to move or shift from one place to another. If the believer continues to persevere in the faith he will not experience the process of being moved away from the confident expectation of the Gospel. The parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) addresses the circumstances under which people exposed to the truth of God accept or reject (even after having received it with gladness for a time) the Good News of salvation.
This indicates a further point of doctrine: the believer is never standing still in his walk with God. He is either moving closer to his God or moving away from his God. Stagnation has a continuing negative effect, and conversely, active involvement affects the believer in a continuing positive way. You are either moving forward in the faith or going backwards -- progressing or retrogressing. You are never spiritually standing still.
So let us now take another look at our text -- verse 23a of Colossians chapter 1, an interpretive translation, if you will:
"Maybe you will, and maybe you won't, but if in fact you do exercise your will to make the extra effort to continue to adhere to, embrace, persist, persevere, and remain on in the faith, and as a result having become grounded, established, and rendered firm and unwavering, being stabilized and steadfast, and not being moved away from the confident expectation of the Good News which you have heard, God will present you holy and un-blamable, and un-reprovable in his sight, because he has now reconciled you through the body of Christ's flesh through his death."
I believe this rendering embodies
the meaning of this passage under our examination.
The point in examining this verse of scripture is that it implies that it is possible for a believer to fail to continue in The Faith through a lack of grounding and steadfastness and become moved away from the hope of the Gospel. Even if you abandon the Church, by all means, do not abandon faith in Christ Jesus. It is a matter of volition. One must deliberately choose to make the extra effort required to keep on continuing in The Faith. This then becomes a factor in the doctrine of falling away. Negligence in spiritual matters will most certainly cause one to become a casualty -- a candidate for falling away from the faith under pressure -- just as surely as the nature that you feed becomes the strongest influence in your life. The fact that this admonishment even exists in Colossians indicates that spiritual choices must be made early on in the believer's walk, and that present choices may very well limit future options for the believer.
Example: When the Antichrist appears and believers are in shock to find that they are in the tribulation, when they have all been told all along that they will not be here, the pressure will be on. They will resist evil for a while but will eventually fall away from The Faith because they will feel that they have been lied to. They were told they would not be here; therefore, they will believe that they were not good enough for the rapture and have been "Left Behind." Then they will matriculate with the enemy of truth. The purveyors of the false doctrine of the Pretribulation Rapture will bear the responsibility for this travesty. Jesus says four times in John chapter six that he will raise us up on the last day -- not seven years before the last day.
Priorities and a scale of values must be established and implemented early on if the believer wishes to be successful in his walk with God. Life is a matter of choices as we exercise our free volition, but the neglect of spiritual nourishment has ominous consequences for the Christian. One can pretty much predict who those are that are being saved, and who the candidates for falling away may be. There are those who take their life in Christ seriously, and diligently apply themselves to their commitment in him, their relationship to him, and all that it entails; then there are those who are not serious about it at all, whose lives are marked by atrophy, apathy, indifference, and neglect of their spiritual life. You tell me; a healthy baby is a hungry baby.
Now for some practical advice regarding the above. I have learned some very applicable principles from others which will be very helpful to you if I share them with you now.
Do not be afraid to set goals and priorities for yourself. The initial step in effecting change in your life is to set goals and priorities. Nothing will change, and everything will continue to go on as they have until you decide to do this. You should not live your Christian life by default. Too many people grow old in the Lord without growing up in the Lord. You need to take charge of your life, not allowing your life and circumstances to take charge of you and dictate policy to you. Part of taking charge is to make the decision to make the changes necessary in order to place yourself where you want to be so you can realize your goal.
Suppose you set a goal such as reaching spiritual maturity before you die so that you can finish well in the Christian life by glorifying God with your life as a mature Christian. We are all in the race -- we are not required to come in first -- just to finish. In order to realize this goal, you must set priorities and a have a scale of values. You decide that daily prayer and Bible study must be a priority because the goal of spiritual maturity is high on your scale of values; so come hell or high water -- even if the house is burning down -- you will not neglect your daily time with God in prayer and Bible study.
Dr. David Jeremiah related a story, and I loosely reiterate it as follows: A motivational teacher put it this way: He had a large-mouthed jar. He filled the jar with large stones. He then asked the class if the jar was full. They said, "Yes." He then proceeded to pour gravel into the jar and it settled between the large stones. He asked if the jar was full again. The class, getting the idea said, "No." He then poured sand into the jar, shaking it until it settled between the stones and the gravel. He asked again if the jar was full, and they again said, "No." He then proceeded to pour water into the jar and it took a full quart. He asked again if the jar was full, and this time the class said, "Yes." He then asked the class what the object of this lesson was. They replied that they realized that they could fit more things into their lives than they thought possible. "No!" he retorted -- that was not what he wanted them to see. He explained that had he not put the large stones into the jar first, he would have never been able to fit them in afterward.
In other words, if you don't do in your life what is important to you first, you will never be able to fit it in later. Life has a way of crowding out the important things with the petty. What seems to be urgent may not always be important. Think of all the things you have done with your time in the past which mean nothing to you now. Sure, you accomplished a lot, moved a lot of things along, but how important are they really in the big picture of what really matters most in life? What has lasting value? People, good works and your spiritual status -- they are the only things you can take with you when you leave this life; all else is merely a means to the end. You must learn never to let the ostensibly urgent supplant the important. So many things cry out for our attention each day, and the seeming urgency robs us of the ability to accomplish what is really important in life unless we make a conscious effort to set our priorities and scale of values and operate according to that deliberate determination. Dr. David Jeremiah said that the Main Thing is to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing. Make sure you "put the big stones in the jar before anything else," and you will reach your objective.
Our Exposition Continues:
On to the next verse under examination in the doctrine of falling away: Mark 13:13b; or Matthew 24:13; both are identical.
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
Believers will be here in the world with the ungodly unto the very end. In Jesus' parable of the wheat and tares (Mt.13:24-30), we are told that both grow together until the harvest, and then at that time the tares (unbelievers) are gathered together into bundles for burning, and the wheat (believers) is gathered into Christs' barn (heaven) all at the same time. Again, in the parable of the net (Mt.13:47-50) we are told that the good and bad fish will be separated and dealt with accordingly all at the same time: "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
"He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." "Endure," in the original Greek language which the New Testament was written in -- hupomeinas -- is a 1st aorist active participle in the nominative case -- a singular masculine of the verb, hupomeno as absolute, meaning to continue firm, hold out, remain constant, and persevere. This aorist active participle denotes simple action preceding that of the main verb, "shall be saved," being temporal in its relationship to it. The nominative case specifies that the believer is the one that produces the action of persevering in these adverse circumstances. This endurance is what in the King James Bible is called longsuffering. It is one of the nine fruits produced in the believer's life by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. The believer is to -- and will -- endure to the end.
In suggesting perseverance in the face of ominous circumstances, the ability to accomplish this is also implied. Where God guides, he provides; and he will not permit you to endure that which you are unable to bear but gives you greater grace for greater requirements in your time of need for what you must. I said one time in a study of undeserved suffering for the believer that the Spirit of God drags the believer kicking and screaming into territory where the flesh dare not go. It is for our spiritual growth and future benefit, though we as humans fail to see the benefit in suffering undeservedly. God is never too early or too late. He is always on time; but you must have invested in your relationship with him. This leads to my favorite saying: "Confidence in God gives courage towards man and circumstances; but our confidence in God is only as good as how well we know him." We only come to faith enough to know and to trust him with our very lives and fortunes as we invest ourselves in our relationship with him, building an impenetrable bond with our God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The one enduring to the end, this one will be "saved" -- sosthesetai -- a 3rd person singular future passive indicative of sodzo meaning to save, to rescue, or to preserve safe and unharmed. The indicative mood is the mood of certainty declaring the reality of the event; the passive voice means the one persevering to the end receives the deliverance; and it is future. The omniscience and omnipotence of God come into play here. God knows everything and is absolutely in control; and in the end our side wins! He knows all and is able to perform all. The believer who trusts in his God and endures to the end will be saved.
Implied in this verse also is the converse idea that the one not enduring to the end will not be saved. A lost person does not have the indwelling Spirit of God, and therefore only has human grit to get him through. This will fail him. There are many who call themselves Christians and do churchy things, but they never ever really had a relationship with Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21-23). He "never knew" them because they were never ever really born anew from above by his Spirit.
As demonstrated in the study of our
prior verse of scripture, one's diligent and persistent investment in spiritual
things is not without its rewards; but its neglect has disastrous consequences.
Without spiritual "money" in the "bank" you can endure nothing, even as Jesus
told his disciples, "Apart from me you can do nothing." You are left to your
own inept human resources which are woefully inadequate in the face of such
adversity. If you have trouble handling today's piddling little problems, how
will you be able to handle genuine unbridled persecution? The doctrine must
already be in your soul before the crisis comes. You cannot take doctrine and
apply it like an aspirin. You cannot absorb it while under pressure. Those
Christians in the Middle East, dying for their faith under Muslim oppression,
have been provided with the internal spiritual muscle they need by the Spirit
in order to bear up under the pressure of tribulation unto the end of their
lives in victory over the world, the flesh, the Devil and ISIS. They are now in
heaven with their Lord; for, absent from the body is to be present with the
Lord (Philippians 1:23; II Corinthians 4:7 - 5:10). They overcame by fortifying
the inner man with doctrine when times were good which sustained them when
times were bad. The Spirit had something to work with in their souls.
We have had it good, soft, and cushy here in America, but the tide has been quickly changing. Believe it or not, there are more Christians who have already died for their faith world-wide in the previous century alone, than in all of the 19 centuries of Christian Church history that came before it combined. Today, in 65 different countries, Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith. Eight die every minute. One third of America -- the liberal left -- is already intolerant of us as well. We were about to enter the post-Christian era until God stepped in and gave us a reprieve. The previous administration of Obama, and the almost administration of Hillary, just about sealed our fate. There was a sixteen-year plan shared between two two-term Democratic administrations to end America and move us into the New World Order -- which required about 25 million of us to be put to death because we were Christians and Patriots who would not abide reeducation. They already ordered the burial vaults manufactured, and ordered the guillotines made, and had the FEMA camps all ready to receive us from boxcars equipped with chains. We were to be first be marginalized, then demonized, and then finally designated as dangerous to society and exterminated -- just as Hitler did the Jews -- and the very people who were planning this are repulsed by the deeds of the Hitler regime -- duplicity which is beyond the comprehension of rational, thinking, feeling human beings! But the telling development was the rapid construction of concentration camps, and the appearance of acres of burial vaults that were produced for us. Our freedoms were to be be set aside by reason of security needs, and the Constitution was to become a thing of the past. We are truly in the last days.
Spiritual strength and inner resources are developed over time by persistent diligent personal application to growth and the exercise of faith over time in order to build the spiritual muscle necessary for your time of need. Again, in crisis and trial the doctrine must be in your soul already. You can't pop it like an aspirin; for it is next to impossible to learn under pressure.
I have heard from numerous atheists concerning Christianity, and, believe it or not, at least 25% of them said that they used to be devout Christians. Whether they were ever saved to begin with I do not know. But if they abandoned Christ, they were never saved to begin with. God does not make mistakes. We are elect according to the foreknowledge of God (I Peter 1:2). Those he foreknew, he predestined to the likeness of his Son (Romans 8:29). God elects his people according to foreknowledge, even as the unbeliever is destined to condemnation by that same foreknowledge. John 3:18 says, "...he that believes not is condemned already because he has not believed on the only begotten Son of God." "Has not believed" is a perfect indicative verb which denotes completed action in past time have present and lasting results. God knew in advance their persistent rejection of his Son. If one does not honor the Son, then he dishonors the Father as well. Colossians 2:8 warns: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments or principles of the world, and not after Christ." Colleges and Chat rooms are dangerous for ungrounded Christians, for the many times lucid rebuffs of unbelievers can spoil a young believer's faith. Many would do well not to lend an ear to their many times convincing arguments. After all, we are saved by grace through faith -- not by proof or sight. Mike Licona is a good seminarian to listen to on YouTube. He presents many sound reasons for the resurrection of Christ and the reasonableness of accepting our New Testament's testimonies as valid. Leighton Flowers is also a good man to listen to on the subject of God's election of the believer.
Our third passage of scripture is 2nd Thessalonians Chapter two, verse three. It reads:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come (e.g. the Day of the Lord), except there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition."
This verse introduces the Antichrist, but before he makes his debut, we are told that there will be first a sign: A Great Apostasy -- The Great Falling Away of II Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 3. It is not people falling away from The Faith into unbelief and disillusionment, but more likely multitudes of Catholics falling away from an un-redeemably corrupted Roman Catholic Church system. 70 thousand are already leaving the Church monthly. Bad enough that Pope Francis Bergoglio is a communist who does not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven - he believes that all religions can go to heaven -- and contrary to what Jesus taught, he says that there is no hell either. That essentially means that Christ suffered and died for nothing if anyone could get to heaven any other way, and that there is no justice of God to be appeased on behalf of sinners on judgment day. A Jesuit is not allowed to be Pope. Not only is he not a Christian by any stretch of the word, he is an unbeliever -- a wolf in sheep's clothing and a heretical antichrist. He also is suspected by many to be a Satanist who practices child sacrifice, and who runs interference, protecting the many pedophiles practicing their dastardly deeds behind closed doors. He among others was found guilty of rape, torture, murder and the trafficking of children by five judges of the International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels Belgium with 48 eyewitnesses coming forward testifying that these things occurred as recently as 2010. He was a member of the Ninth Circle Satanic Child Sacrifice Cult. You can dig deeper into this information by doing a search on duckduckgo.com According to Q, May 2018 will be problematic for the Pope. Those who supported him will all be exposed. Further, the prophet, Mark Taylor, has predicted that there will be an archaeological dig-find between Jerusalem and Rome that will knock the legs out from under the Roman Catholic Church -- a blow from which she will not recover. Most Catholics will not want to be associated with what is revealed concerning the Church and the 700 million faithful will leave the Church in droves. We need to be there to warmly receive these devastated, bewildered and disillusioned believers, offering them a warm welcome into our own churches where they can find salvation, solace, acceptance and a place where they can truly worship God. Here is Mark Taylor's prophecy:
The Spirit of God says, The Pope and the Vatican -- that's right -- the Pope and the Vatican are not furthering my kingdom but are aiding the kingdom of darkness. Many are saying that this is the last Pope, but it's not for the reasons they think. This will be the last Pope for what I, the Lord God, am about to do. I will expose this Pope, and all those under his command, for all the corruption he, and the Vatican, have been involved in for centuries.
The Spirit of God says, There is a shaking and a quaking coming to this Pope and the Vatican; for I will split the Vatican and its leadership wide open for the entire world to see -- the inner workings of this ancient beast. This Pope, the Vatican, and all its leadership, will come crumbling down. I will pull back the veil to show how deep and dark the deception has been. You whisper in your inner chambers, "We answer to no one. No one is above us. No one can hold us accountable." I, the Lord God, see it all, and the time has come when I will now hold you accountable for your darkness. This exposure will be of such magnitude that the people will say. "What do we do now? Where do we go now? We want nothing to do with this. We have no religion now." Millions will walk away from their religion, as this will affect other religions as well.
The Spirit of God says, Is my Army ready? Are you ready to receive these people? Are you ready to receive my harvest that's going to take place from this exposure? Prepare yourselves for the tsunami of people that will be starving for me and have no place to turn. Prepare now! All roads lead to Rome.
The Spirit of God says, There is a dig -- an archeological find -- that is coming in an underground vault which will be so cataclysmic that it will ROCK the Christian world. The answer lies between Jerusalem and Vatican City.
The apostasy "comes" -- Greek -- elthe, 3rd person singular
2nd aorist active subjunctive of erchomai, meaning to come, to go, to pass.
Here the punctiliar action as an aorist is undefined, and it is within the
realm of possibility because of the subjunctive. Apostasia means a defection,
apostasy -- in other words, a falling away. It is categorized by
itself as a unique event by the use of the definite article in calling it the Apostasy, or the Defection. Some have enhanced it by calling it The Great Apostasy. To apostatize or
defect means to take a stand apart from your former stand -- to fall away from the position where you were before.
These are believers who are doing the falling away. You cannot fall away from
where you never were to start with, so they have to be believers falling away
This event signifies the departure of a hoard of believers from the Church probably due to fear of the power of this exposed antichrist, and a feeling of betrayal as they have all been told all along that they would not be here to see him because of the false teaching of the pretribulation rapture, combined with a lack of genuine faith in God that he can deliver them through this crisis. This will separate the wheat from the chaff -- false believers from true believers. It will be like Matthew 25:31-46. Genuine faith will issue in action by the faithful. Another reason could be that since multitudes of believers have been fed the line for years that they will be raptured out before the tribulation, when they suddenly find themselves in it, and see the Antichrist, they will feel deceived or "Left Behind." Christianity will have lost its credibility with them because of that false teaching, and they will fall away saying, "What's the use -- we've been "Left Behind" anyway. We were not good enough to go to heaven. Christianity is not true. We have been lied to" -- failing to realize that the very presence of the tribulation period and the Antichrist indicates that The Christian Faith is true, even if it was misunderstood or misrepresented. The book/movie series, "Left Behind," is setting people up for this fall.
Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:14, "And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." America is currently being prepared by God through Trump to be the launching pad for this world-wide dissemination of the Gospel. Remember that the Great Falling Away is a sign that occurs before the Antichrist makes his debut. America aside, the true Church of Jesus Christ in the rest of the world will suffer great persecution as the New World Order tries to regroup and will most likely move underground as many genuine believers are martyred for their faith; and the visible "Church," corrupted by serious compromise with the world and the New World Order and the Antichrist, will be judged as a result. These compromisers are comprised of those who have fallen away in the interest of self-preservation. Jesus said, "He that seeks to save his life shall lose it, but he that loses his life for my sake shall find it." It will be good for you to study the lives of the martyrs in order to be able to develop that indispensable faith necessary -- the faith that they had -- to endure what so many of them have endured. Realize that 280 million have gone before you, and that you will not be unique in this matter. There are special rewards for martyrs. For your faithfulness to your Lord who bought you with his own life you will be rewarded. "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" is a good place to start: paperback: ISBN: 978-0-88270-875-1 online: http://www.ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html . The writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers (ten volumes) is another source of such works: http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html . Books by Deitrich Boenhoffer also build necessary faith: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/29333.Dietrich_Bonhoeffer .
Moving on to our last section of scripture we will see revealed the mechanics of falling away from the faith -- Hebrews 5:11-6:12. Notice that these Christians start out being rebuked for their spiritual neglect and resultant immaturity -- the precursor for falling away -- and then are admonished about the danger of falling away and its consequences.
"Of whom we have many things to say, but will be hard to speak, seeing you are slow of hearing. For when you ought to now be teachers, you have need that one teach you again the basic principles of the truth of God; and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. For everyone that uses milk is unskillful in the Word of righteousness: for he is a baby. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age (mature), even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the rudiments of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to maturity; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.
"For it is impossible for those who were once and for all enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted of the good Word of God, and the powers of the age to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify unto themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
"For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth plants suitable for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected (no usable fruit), and is near to being cursed; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, things that belong to salvation, though we speak like this. For God is not unrighteous that he would forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed towards his Name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and continue to do so. And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end; that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and endurance inherit the promises."
"Let us go on to maturity" -- pherometha, present passive subjunctive of phero, meaning to carry, and in the passive, to be carried. The subjunctive is cohortative, e.g. "let us be carried," and Westcott says the passive gives the thought of personal surrender to an active influence. It is not a matter of the learners being carried by their instructors, but of both being carried forward together by God. Hughes says that it is a "divine pass" implying the agency of God. Better rendered, "Let us be carried on to maturity."
"If God permits." -- eanper, "If indeed." The second particle used with the conditional particle emphasizes that the proposed action is in spite of opposition; i.e., "if in spite of his opposition God permits." A. T. Robertson says it should be "If indeed after all."
The writer of this letter to the Hebrews desires the spiritual health of the recipients of his letter (this also includes us, now that we have it in our possession), and he is willing to re-inculcate the badly neglected souls of Christians with truths that will bring them to a state of spiritual maturity. Here the addressed believer's association with the things of God is experiential. The general thought of these emphasized portions of scripture is that the believer in a deteriorated state of spirituality, if he is willing, may be allowed to be carried forth to spiritual maturity by him, others, and God, in spite of his own past irresponsible neglect of spiritual matters; but this would only be possible without the opposition of God; for only God knows for sure if their deteriorated state is due to falling away into unbelief. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." "And to him who has will more be given, but to him who has not, even what he has will be taken away." That is why the following scripture begins with "For," for it connects the condition which follows under which God would oppose the re-inculcation of those who have displayed spiritual deterioration with spiritual truths; for if they had fallen away into unbelief, it would be throwing Christian pearls before swine. They are as the Parable of the Sower depicts: they receive the word of righteousness with gladness, but when persecution or hardship enter in they fall away into unbelief.
The justice of God would oppose the reinstatement of anyone who has fallen away into unbelief, for that would be to insult and humiliate the One who died in his place. He paid for us with his life once, and he is not able to, nor can he do it, again. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Believe again on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved again? I think not! It would be like drinking a soda pop. Once you have consumed it you can't consume it a second time because it has already been consumed. If you are afraid that you have already fallen away, fear not. Your concern is a sign that you have not yet crossed the line into unbelief. If you really had already fallen away you would not even care. Such is the attitude of the 25% who remarked that they used to be devout Christians -- they don't even care now.
apax means "once for all." The verb for "enlightened" means to illuminate. In other words, God has once and for all enlightened the eyes and spiritual understanding of this person, and it was a completed transaction. There is no doubt about it that this person was a saved individual.
The verb "tasting" of the heavenly gift expresses a real and conscious enjoyment of the blessings apprehended in its true character (Westcott).
metouxos, "partaker," means a sharer, or a participant. genethentas, "and were made," means to come into existence, to be created, to exist by creation, established, to come into a particular state or condition, be changed or converted, to be born. In other words, this person was a new creation in Christ, was born again, and had the indwelling Holy Spirit -- and here I emphasize the word: "had," meaning that it has departed from him due to his change of heart towards his God. As king David said, "Take not your Holy Spirit from me."
He "tasted" the good word of God and the powerful deeds of the age which was to come. Again, as above, a real and conscious enjoyment of the blessings apprehended in its true character.
"Falling away," parapesontas, means to fall by the side of, to fall off or away from, or make defection from.
palin anakainidzein, a present active infinitive, means to renew again, to make new again, referring to continuous or repeated action. These words refer back to the words, "For it is impossible." It is impossible for such a person to be again renewed unto repentance.
anastaurountas, present active participle accusative plural masculine, eautois, dative of advantage, "crucifying again for themselves." The participle is causal showing why it is impossible for such people to be brought to a place of repentance and begin anew for their own advantage.
Let us now read this passage of scripture again with an informed understanding:
it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the
heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the
good Word of God, and the powers of the age to come, if they shall fall away,
to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son
of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Restated: because God opposes reinstatement of a fallen away person who was a born again, blood-bought, Spirit-filled child of God, who experientially had tasted all of the blessings that go with salvation, it is impossible for this one to be renewed again to repentance. There is no possible advantageous way for him -- after the spiritual death due to defection -- to begin his spiritual life anew. This would require a re-crucifixion of our Christ which would be putting him to an open and humiliating shame. This is not backsliding, but defalcation of faith unto defection.
For this reason it is imperative for you not to lose touch with other Christians, your church, your Bible, the leading of the Holy Spirit, or your personal development. I am not teaching salvation by works; but faith, or the loss thereof, is respectively a qualifying or disqualifying event. You must continue toward maturity despite the difficulties, problems and persecutions which attend your walk. Faithing or believing is linear action in continuation. God did not promise us a bed of roses when we got saved, and any preacher or teacher who proclaims health, wealth, and prosperity is leading God's people astray and fleecing the flock. Anyone who teaches that we will be raptured out of this world before the Antichrist comes does not have an independent understanding of Bible prophecy. He is reiterating what he has been taught by others. It does not matter how many times something is repeated; that does not make it true. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are all false prophets. Most probably mean well. But they are only studying the erroneous teachings of other men who came before them. Utilize the scripture that says, "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good." This will basically keep you out of trouble.
Avoid groups which expect you to cut off all ties with your friends and relatives, for they are those who seek absolute control. In 1997 the Heaven's Gate people were of such a sort. If they truly had common sense that was unbound by the controls of their leader, they could have figured that without bodies, they would not need an alien spacecraft, let alone the idea that it was following a comet.
Again, Colossians 2:8: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the principles of the world, and not after Christ." This warning is because there is an ever-present danger of being beguiled into exercising your volition against your God. You have seen the irreversible consequences. Make an extra diligent effort to guard against this -- especially in this age when the opposing voices of Atheism and Antichrist are so vocal. Our permissive society has pulled out all the stops when it comes to freedom of expression in whatever form -- especially on the internet and on TV; but be warned, if you consent to these voices and do not resist in the Name of the Lord, you may very well become a victim of their deceit. I do not say this to scare you, though you ought to have a healthy fear of these things; I am merely seeking your highest good, and that good is to be informed, and to remain in union with your Lord.
Tell others of this site and let them learn also of the doctrine of falling away. In doing so, you may help save many who might otherwise be lost to the beguilement of today's modern intellectual deceivers. Spread the Word! "Satan goes about as a roaring lion seeking those he may devour."
Wherever the word "believeth" is used, it represents the Greek word: pisteuon, which is a nominative singular masculine present participle of pisteuo. The nominative case shows specific designation, and the present tense here indicates that the believing must be linear in action -- in other words on-going or continuous in its nature. Linguistically the promises of many Bible verses are predicated upon continuous faith. It is in your best interest to remain faithful to your Lord no matter what. If it ceases to be the case, such as when one falls away from The Faith into unbelief, then, in essence and reality, there is no such thing as eternal security. I am still trying to resolve this apparent contradiction in my mind with the tension between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. No man can come to the Father except he draws him. Why draw one God knows will fall away? Election is the prerogative of God. Does God unelect? God is able to make the believer stand. If so, then how can he fall away? This is why I relegate the book of Hebrews to the pseudopegrapha (false books). It is counter to the revealed omniscience and omnipotence of God in the rest of the New Testament. One extreme is Calvinism. The other extreme is Arminianism. The truth always lies between two extremes. Molinism is that middle ground (Luis de Molina 1535-1600 Spain). If we now have eternal life as true believers according to the Gospel of John, if it can be lost or abandoned, then it is not really eternal in nature. If God foreknew one would fall away, then he would not elect him in the first place. A true believer would persist in The Faith by the power of God. So it is a perseverance of the saint, if you will. Whosoever keeps on believing has eternal life. He that keeps on believing in him is not condemned. More specifically those that keep on believing in his Name have the power to become mature sons of God. Whosoever keeps on believing shall not perish but have everlasting life. He that keeps on hearing my word, and keeps on believing on him that sent me has everlasting life, etc. My sheep hear my voice, etc. He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ -- one must be a willing participant. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. For whom God did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. The foreknowledge of God of those who will fall away after believing the Gospel is taken into account in the Parable of the Sower. The process is the same for those who remain faithful, and for those who fall away. He that keeps on believing or faithing has eternal life. The many admonitions against falling away are part of the divine fairness of God to those who would fall away. They cannot claim that they were not forewarned. Salvation is not by a "work" of believing, but in the qualification of believing. All conformity ceases when eradicated through falling away into unbelief, which is disobedience; for Christ is the embodiment of obedience, which is first and foremost, to believe in God and his Son. Yes, we have been completely saved, and yes we do have the earnest -- the first-fruit (down-payment) of the Spirit -- if we have been so qualified through the exercise of our faith; but all of the admonitions to strive for the mastery, and to remain faithful, and to beware the wiles of the evil one indicate that one can fall from grace into disobedience and/or divine discipline. There is only one thing greater than the grace of God -- it is one's volition. Grace does not go where it is not, or is not any longer, wanted.
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." But read again this full passage and see if it doesn't make more sense in the light of your more full understanding of the doctrine of falling away. In Hebrews 10:18-39 the word "sin" in verse 26 is equal to "unbelief" due to the inclusive context of verse 22, "draw near," and verse 39, "draw back."
The apostle Paul says, "I fight, but not as one shadow-boxing. I diligently keep my body under subjection, lest that by any means, when after I have preached to others, I myself should be "adokimos" -- a castaway -- set on a shelf -- unapproved -- good for nothing -- a cast-off." 1st Corinthians 9:26-27.