Backsliding is Worse than the Falling Away

Having clearly defined Bible based backsliding from the book of Jeremiah,
the book which contains 14 out of the only 17 times the word is found in the
Bible, as a generation of God’s people that is worse than their forefathers;
and recalling that these forefathers went back to God’s people rescued
from Egypt and in the wilderness for 40 years, all but two of whom over 21
and the generation under 21 were participants in the first Great Falling
Away, and also knowing that this first Great Falling Away is the example in
the book of Hebrews, and other places in teh Bible, for the final great Falling
Away before the Second Coming, we can say with great Bible confidence
that “Backsliding” is Worse than the Falling Away.  In fact what we will find
in this Bible Study from “Jeremiah and Prophesy” is that Backsliding is
really the last two stages of the five stages of the Falling Away, the  (4)
“turning away from truth” and (5) the being turned by God into fables.

3-1:  Review of the five stages of the Falling Away.

Although the subject of the Falling Away is a complete other Bible Study
than this one on “Jeremiah and Prophesy”, and even a more popular one
than real Bible on backsliding if you can believe that {perhaps because it is
easier for God’s people today to claim innocence on Falling Away than it is
on backsliding once church members have come to see that church
attendance is not a sacrifice that eliminates them from backsliding, in other
words that backsliding is not as habitually misunderstood, a lack of
attendance at the house of God since God’s people of Jeremiah every
sabbath day that Jeremiah preached the famous Temple Sermon of
Jeremiah 7 were very active in church attendance}, still it is necessary for
both background on what happened to the majority of God’s people during
the time of the Prophet Jeremiah; and primarily it is important to recognize
the five stages of the final apostasy called the Great Falling Away with the
final two stages of backsliding, in order to know where the American church
and churches are today!

Often you have read in the blogs and other writings of SunGrist_Bible how
the American church of many churches today is now in the third stage of
the Falling Away, that is the “heaping up of Bible teachers, preachers, and
false prophets with itching ears”; however because of the reluctance of
pastors and people to receive these messages on “Jeremiah and
Prophesy”, and recent developments in the American economy where we
have learned that business leaders, and others, are still piling greed on
greed {thus also thinking that we like a nation of God’s people as in
Jeremiah have become “too corrupt for a comeback” from the series of
calamities and judgments of God on America since 911}, there are many
indications in this country that God’s people as a nation have already
started well into the fourth stage of the Falling Away, the first of
“backsliding”, where God’s people of a nation “turn away from truth”
.
II Timothy 4:3 and 4 in the Word of God clearly defines for us these five
stages of the Falling Away as:  (1) intolerance toward sound doctrine, alias
“the time will come...”
{has already come and is well underway in spite of
the denial of Scoffield Bible notes and fundamentalists that Christians will
be part of the Falling Away--please see “Sound Doctrines on the Second
Coming” on this subject at
"Sound Doctrines of the Second Coming"}

“...when they will not endure sound doctrine”; (2) Self and Want “driven”
purposes replace Christ and Spirit driven purposes among Christians and in
church activities, “but according to their own desires”, and as churches
become more like clubs, or the Masons, or clans and cliques; (3) Bible
teachers with itching ears like termites are coming out of the wood work on
TV, in conferences and churches, and in positions of denominational
leadership, and it is amazing how many of these itching ears teachers are
revivals of the bad habits of Christianity in the first century like the special
revelations of gnosticism; (4) the wholesale, over the precipice, turning
away from not only honesty, decency, and righteousness but also from the
very truth itself, from God and Christ {we now here of a humanist movement
out of Harvard that would eliminate God and the name of God for all church
activities, which is just the extreme example of where most American
churches are headed now, Harvard is only the leader and forebearer of this
bad news and practice}; and (5) God gets fed up with His own people like
He did in Jeremiah, calling them “the generation of His wrath” (Jeremiah 7:
29), in this fifth and final stage of the Falling Away, also the final stage of
the two stage “backsliding” of a generation of God’s people, where they
“are turned into fables”  (II Timothy 4:4b)

3-2:  The Two Stages of “Backsliding” Express the Gist of Jeremiah.

Surely you have not missed the central gist of the evil of a whole
generation of God’s Temple attending people as found in Jeremiah 13.

1.  A preliminary and top general definition of “backsliding”.

“For My people have committed two evils:  (1) they have forsaken Me,
the fountain of living waters, and (2) hewn themselves cisterns--
broken cisterns that can hold no water.”  (Jeremiah 2:13)

What is obvious here from this single verse?  (1) It is about God’s people
and about God’s people who are active in church attendance; (2) it is
obvious that we are surprised that God’s people are habitually only
committing “two evils”, and rightly so as in actually when we review again
parts of the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7 that Jeremiah preached every
day at the gates of the Temple to God’s people who came for worship and
sacrifice, we will find a long list of evil “abominations”, thus we come to
realize that these top two evils are generalizations from God Himself
{always remember that God gave Jeremiah the very words and thoughts to
use}, of what the people in mass were doing wrong.

Right now, can you see that these two stages of backsliding, at the top
level, are the same as the last two stages of the Falling Away:  that is, the
“turning away from truth” of today and the Falling Away is the same as the
forsaking of God as the fountain of living waters {fountain and source of
salvation and truth}, and that the “being turned into fables” by God of the
final stage of the Falling Away is the same as misplaced faith in broken
cisterns that can not hold water, whether that be other gods of materialism
or other objects like a boat.

2.  For the hard of hearing and reluctant to hear the voice of God,
backsliding in repeated as the gist of the book, with the use of the word
“backsliding” in Jeremiah 3:21b.

“For they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the LORD
their God.  Return you backsliding children, and I will heal your
backslidings.”  (Jeremiah 3:21b,22)

3-3:  Backsliding Defined in Jeremiah 7:23-30 as a Nation Going
“Backwards”.

As previously discussed backsliding is the opposite of Progressive, since
according to God Himself it is a whole generation of God’s people going
backwards instead of forwards. (Jeremiah 7:24), primarily because they
both stopped listening to the voice of God and also did not even have the
inclination to listen to the voice of God.
1.  Like today, in those days of Jeremiah, there was much religious activity
at the house of God; in fact, if anything the people of God were too
religious.  It reminds one of what Paul told the people at the Areopagus in
Athens:  “I perceive that in all things you are very religious...I even found an
altar with this inscription:  TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.”  (Acts 17:22,23)  God’
s people all week worshipped Baal on every hill top and in every valley and
on every roof top, as well as the Queen of Heaven which was a family
activity throughout Judah and Jerusalem where the children would gather
firewood, the fathers would build a fire, and the mothers would bake cakes
to burn incense to these “other gods” which were not gods, which were
broken cisterns which could hold no water, and which still were placed in
relgious activities on the same footing and status as “other gods” as the
worship and service as the one LORD God the Father of the universe.

2.  Backsliding is a majority and national movement of the people of God.
Do not be deceived in your generalizations for innocence on “backsliding”,
you people of active church attendance who point the finger of guilt on
those who do not go to church like you do, backsliding is:  (1) an activity of
God’s most active people at the house of God; (2) a national movement--”
So you shall say to them, ‘This is a NATION that does not obey the voice of
the LORD your God...” (Jeremiah 7:28); and (3) it was obvious a majority
movement of the whole nation of God’s people, among the leaders in
government, the prophets and priests, and the majority of the people.  In
fact, seldom except in rare instances do we find any sort of minority
movement among God’s people  in Jeremiah with any indications of a
failure to backslide.  Those rare instances would be:  (1) among a very few
of the Princes who rescued Jeremiah when he was made captive in
cisterns and his life was threatened; (2) Jeremiah himself who went counter
to all the official prophets and priests, who life was threatened by his own
village of Anathoth if he did not stop preaching the Temple Message, who
was forbidden to come into the Temple and had to daily preach in the
temple court; and (3) a few indications of a righteous minority, much like the
7,000 of the day of Elijah the Prophet who God Himself said had not bowed
the knee to Baal--always the Right Few, referenced in Jeremiah 3:14 as
the “two and one”
.
“Return, O backsliding children, says the LORD, ‘for I am married to
you.  I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will
bring you to Zion.”  (Jeremiah 3:14)

NOTE:  This beginning of sound Bible doctrine which finally
developed in the teachings of Christ as a distinction between the
called of God and the chosen of God, has a start here and in the book
of Isaiah one hundred years ago, established in the progressive
revelations of God simultaneously with the Zion or Jerusalem of the
“new heavens and the new earth”.  What this doctrine of a few
“chosen” people of God taken from among the many “called” of God
states is this:  in each generation God calls many people to come to
His house and be His people as a nation, but then from each
generation God selects a few of those people to be chosen for eternal
life.  However, this is the subject of the next section.  For now, we
must continue the Bible definition of “backsliding”.

3.  Backsliding is a Generation of God’s people gone from bad to worse.
(1).  If we are honest with the history of Jeremiah, we would have to think
of this generation of God’s wrath as actually at least two generations as the
other gods activities was a family activity of two generations, as they
worshipped the Queen of Heaven, for the children gathered the firewood
and then the fathers and mothers led in the little devotionals to other gods.  
And right now you can see how backsliding is worse than the first great
Falling Away in the wilderness since you will recall that all the youth 20
years of age and younger were spared, not only to enter into the Promised
Land, but also for an eternity of rest.

“...for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of His
wrath”.  (Jeremiah 7:29)

Oh yes, there you go again, knocking the younger generation.  No, it was at
least two generations as the sacri-relgious activities were family activities
of two generations.  
(2).  If was not that the forefathers of this generation of wrath were so
good, it is only that this generation of wrath were so much worse.  You
might say as generations went:  (a) the forefathers of the wilderness were
bad; (b) the children that entered the promised land who married women of
other gods and adopted their bad habits were worse; and (c) this final
generation of the wrath of God, that of Jeremiah and eventually the
Captivity, were even worse.

“Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffended their
neck.  They did worse than their fathers.”  (Jeremiah 7:26)

3.  Backsliding is a Generation of God’s nation of people going “backwards”
and not “forwards”, obviously the opposite of “Progressive on
Righteousness”.

“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels
and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backwards and not
forwards.”  (Jeremiah 7:24)

4.  Preacher, you are preaching to the choir.
In our church and churches, there are no generations of God’s wrath.  You
think so, and did you note that the people to whom this Temple Message of
Jeremiah 7 was delivered every day as they entered through the gates of
the temple, was those active in church attendance?  Surely you must see
that the same nation of God’s people that were delivered the message of
Jeremiah 7 at the Temple--it is called the Temple Message--are the same
type of people as in your church and in the churches of America; and this
little lying saying, like those of the people in the Temple Message with
excuses like “the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple
of the LORD are these”, and like “we are delivered to do all these
abominations”, escept in the form of excuses and lying words like “you are
critical of the youth” and like “you should be talking to the people not here at
church instead of those in church attendance” are as much prevalent in
churches today as in the Temple at Jerusalem of Jeremiah, except in
different forms.

3-4:  The Causes of Backsliding in the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7:24-
29.

Before in conclusion of this present Bible Study in Jeremiah and Prophesy
we come to the last section, section 3-5 and on the Bible doctrine of God’s
Chosen versus God’s Called People, we surely must define how like today
the causes of this backsliding of a generation of God’s people of Jeremiah
by first clearly defined from this short section of the Temple Message, that
of 7:24-29, what the causes of backsliding were.  We have already
established at the top level and in the sight of God, it was two major evils
among God’s people--(1) they had forsaken God as the fountain of living
waters, and (2) they had built for themselves broken cisterns as substitutes
for God that would not hold water; and now we must get down to some nitty-
gritty of exegesis.

1.  God’s people did not “obey the voice of God.”  Twice, once in Jeremiah
7:24 of the Temple Message and once in Jeremiah 7:26, main causes of
backsliding are introduced with the same words of “Yet they did not obey or
incline their ear”:  (1) in the first case of 7:24 it introduces what they
substituted for obedience to God in that they had the audacity, backed by
the prophets and priests, to substitute “the counsels and dictates of their
evil hearts”, which surely reminds us of the contemporary trend in America
and American churches of substituting the American Conscience and the
American Democratic Faith for obedience to the Word of God; and (2) in
the second case of Jeremiah 7:26, these introductory words of a lack of
obedience and inclinations toward the Word of God are followed with a
summary of backsliding as a “stiffening of the neck”, again words from God
and ones that catch our imagination as we can see so much of thise
stiffening neck process or getting the back up in churches today, and
likewise what follows, we see today a generation that does “worse than
their fathers.”

2.  Back up to Jeremiah 7:23 to realize the context of backsliding as a
violation of the covenant that God’s people made with God.  The covenant,
like today, that any people of God make with God, even if it is through
Christ, is conditional in that (1) God will be the God of any nation and (2)
That nation will be the people of God ONLY IF they “obey His voice”.  
Likewise as part of the covenant, God’s people must continue to “walk in all
the ways of God”--sometimes called the commandments of God or the 10
commandments just as valid today on the people of God as before, which
by the way Christ made clear, even with a deeper understanding of how
they can be broken in the heart--in order for it to continue to go well for the
people of that land and country.  Here it is implied more than stated that the
opposite is true, if a nation ceases to be righteous, or really practically
becomes more unrighteous than the previous generations, then the curses
of calamities will come on the nation to take the place of the blessings of a
blessing.  And you will find from a careful study of Jeremiah that so many
calamities had been sent on God’s people of Jeremiah, that they had
become immune to chastisement and punishement.  As part of their
backsliding, they had stiffened up the back and neck to the point that stripes
of chastisement no longer did any good; and then and ony then, and after
over a hundred years of messages through faithful Prophets, God gave up
on this generation, calling it the “generation of His wrath.”

3-5:  The Sound Bible Doctrine of God’s “Chosen” People Versus the
“Called”.

It would neither be so hard for us to accept all the Temple attenders as
“backsliders”, or to accept all of God’s called people out of Egypt and in the
wilderness for 40 years as the fallen many except for two and those under
21, nor to accept how that most Christians and church members in the final
Great Falling Away will as “sin abounds”, their love for Christ and God and
the Word will “wax cold”, and the majority will fall away from God, Christ,
and the Bible while remaining active in church attendance, in fact the most
active of the active, if we had understood all along the Bible doctrine of the
Chosen versus the Called.  Like so many other doctrines of the Bible,
another word for teaching of course, it took Jesus to fully define it for us,
and which He clearly did in the parable of the wedding feast.