Every now and then, while reading scripture, I question what would happen if...? Such is the case with this scripture:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, "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;"
What intrigues me are the words "falling away". What does that mean? What could possibly happen to create such an event? For those who believe truly in the Lord Jesus, this is mindboggling, if not almost unbelievable. Oh, I know there are those who will say that the ones who only barely believe are the ones who fall away or the ones who aren't really Christians that say they are. BUT that is not accurate because only someone who is already a believer can actually "fall away". Those who are not cannot fall from something they did not attain in the first place. So, it is with a great deal of curiousity and dread that I seek to find the answer to the question...what could possibly happen to create such an event?
Each of us must come to a time in our lives that we have to sit back and decide exactly who we are and where we are going. We must choose to go our own way or be a part of the wonderful revelation of God. We must answer the question "What can shake my faith"? Is it that we don't get the income we prayed for when we wanted it? Is it that someone in the family hasn't come to the Lord yet? Or someone we prayed for died anyway? What reason could a person have to doubt God? Individually, we all doubt God at some point. I am not talking about that. What I am referring to is the mass exodus of believers to the enemy. What could possibly cause that?
I can only try to find the answers here. Possibly it's that we believe too much in a pre-tribulation rapture. Any trying to set a date of that event should be irrelevant. Too many folks look at the timing of that event instead of what they need to be doing should it occur. Too many folks are going to be shaken in faith should it not happen as the experts say it will. I have learned to rely on God rather than what the experts say. The rapture will happen when God chooses for Jesus to come for us and not until that time.
Another reason for a falling away could be that some artifact is found that, on the surface, looks to refute the resurrection or some part of the life of Jesus. I read a fictional account of someone finding the bones of Jesus, at least that is what they believed. The world went nuts. Many believers' faith was shaken to the core and they stopped believing in the Lord Jesus as our Savior. In the story, they actually ended up proving it was someone else.
So, I pictured what it would be like if real believers saw a breaking news account of the bones of Jesus found in some grave in Israel. There would, indeed, be a falling away. Chaos would reign for quite some time. People soon would lose hope. There, of course, are those whose faith will never be shaken but they would be few and far between. Am I being fatalistic? No, but I understand human nature to some extent.
Picture a leader who is incredibly earnest, believable, probably good looking, smart, has the welfare of the world in mind. Everyone loves him. Around him, miracles occur frequently. He is the ultimate "fix-it man". Wars, disputes, problems of famine, all can be fixed by this amazing person. Peace is finally an option. He is obviously the answer to this world's problem. Best of all, he can get people to agree with him on almost anything. Many believe that he should be the ruler of the world since he fulfills the prophecies from the Bible. He is the Messiah! The one we have been looking for.
What would you believe about this man? Is he the one? Should we back him because he truly is doing everything that no one else has been able to accomplish in thousands of years? Frankly, for many people, it would be hard not to like the guy, hard to think of him as being wrong for the world. So many folks will love him, it would be incredibly difficult to go against the majority. The question is, when would we wake up to the fact that he is not the one, that he is, in fact, evil instead of the person we expected him to be? I see a great falling away occurring, if that is the case. Most people would belatedly notice that something is wrong. perhaps too late by then. A lot of folks would never see it at all.
I have been unable to come up with more reasons for a falling away. Perhaps you can think of others. It doesn't actually matter why people will fall away. The fact is that they will do so. What a scary thought. Today, so many more people are coming to a knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus. I have seen accounts of millions at a time professing a belief in Jesus and asking Him into their hearts. Yet, so many folks think that going up to the altar is all there is, nothing else is necessary. Don't get me wrong. If you have asked Jesus into your heart and believe that He is your Lord and Master, you are definitely born again. But, is that all there is?
The danger of falling away comes when we feel that we do not have to go forward. The danger lies in the idea that "I'm saved! My life is changed. I can go on with it and not do anything different." When the Lord Jesus is part of your life, things change, your mind sees things in a different light. You find that those friends that like to "party hardy" aren't so cool anymore. Those naked pictures aren't so wonderful to check out, that "hot date" with some person's spouse isn't the right thing to do. After a while, you notice that your whole attitude has done some changing. You see that spending time reading your Bible is so much more cool.
A picture came to me one day as I was praying. It was an incredibly high wall. On one side, there were people facing the wall who could not see anything but the wall. They had nowhere to go. On the other side, people faced two roads, one really big one, one smaller, just a walking path. There were folks lined up, backs against that wall. Others were following one road or the other.
I asked the Lord what all of that meant. He told me that the ones who were looking at the wall were people who believed themselves to be Christians but were fooling themselves, believing that a good life, good deads, and charity were all they needed to be in heaven. They believed that the ones who were bound for hell had done horrible things but that God is a loving God and would not send someone nice to hell.
He said that the second group, backs to the wall, were those who had asked the Lord Jesus into their hearts but had not done one more thing about it. They did not go to church, didn't read their Bibles, didn't pray, had no real relationship with the Lord at all. They felt that asking Jesus into their hearts was all that was necessary since in many places that was what they were taught. These people have no protection because they do not know what the Bible says about them. They have not learned enough about themselves or what God has for them yet. But, they have time to learn these things if they pursue the Lord vigorously.
Another group is going down a wide road. They are those who are worldly thinkers, who believe that they can now travel their own path believing that God has ordained them to this. There may be prayer at times but they only hear what they want to hear, as long as it matches up with what they want to do. They, too, are not learned in what God has to say about the situation. If they go back to the beginning, remembering their first love of the Lord, they can locate the right path.
The last group is going down a small, walking path. These are they who wish to serve the Lord as He has ordained them. They listen to God. They pray, read the scriptures and follow what is given to them. Yes, they make mistakes and fall off the path, since it is so very narrow, but God picks them up, dusts them off and puts them right back on the path where they belong.
That picture made me realize what groups would fall away should a charismatic, dynamic leader appear. First, the group looking at the wall cannot fall away because they were never there in the first place. Next, the ones with their backs to the wall will surely fall because they have no clue who the fancy, smooth talking, good looking guy is. They have no way of knowing what is about to occur because they didn't study and ask the Lord. The next group, the ones following the wide road will also fall away because they are too worldly minded to see what is right in front of them. To both those groups and the ones looking at the wall, this guy looks like the best thing since sliced bread. You cannot talk them out of this because they know better than some radical religionist who is so narrow in their thinking.
The ones who will not fall, they will be few, are those who KNOW the Lord because they have cultivated a relationship, friendship, and now have family ties with Jesus. They know who their Lord is and no phony human magician is going to talk them out of that. These people are grounded in the Word of God, know who they are in Jesus, and personally know their Savior and Lord. They rely on Him for all of their answers, not trusting their own thoughts and feelings which are fickle. They will not be deceived as all of the others have been.
Now, the question is this, will you be one of those who never knew the Lord Jesus? Will you be one of those who falls away because they didn't know evil when it was presented to you? You can be one of the ones who go down the small path. You can change you life right now! If at this moment, you do not know the Lord Jesus as your Savior and Lord, please take the time to ask Him into your heart right now. Tell Him how sorry you are for all of your sins. Let Him know that He is more important to you than anything in this world.
If you have already asked Him into your heart but have not gone farther, for whatever reason, come back to the Lord. Ask His forgiveness. Seek His wisdom and His answers for your life. After all, He knows the end from the beginning! If you have followed the wrong path, down that slippery, worldly direction, only doing those things that feel good to you, come back to your Lord! He is surely waiting for you. If you feel that you cannot come back because you have done things that are too wrong, that is a lie from hell. Nothing is too horrible that God will not forgive it. The ONLY sin that will not be forgiven is turning your back on the Holy Spirit. How do you do that? By not asking Jesus into your heart. It's that simple.
Please don't be one who falls away! Take the time to read your Bible, pray, find out exactly what God has in store for you. He knows you much better than you know yourself. He knows what is best for you and it will be awesome!!!!