Moving On, Backwards


Two current this week events, one local in Alamogordo New Mexico and the
other global with a Bible search question on www.biblecombibleman.com, about
“Bible Based Backsliding” ,both placing an emphasis on the current necessity of
urgency on this chapter about Jeremiah and Prophesy already underway
several weeks ago as part of the “Jeremiah and Prophesy” Bible Studies month
by month for a year as outlined on the “Bible Studies in Jeremiah and Prophesy”
page of www.biblecombibleman.com.  It certainly helps to get the subject of
this chapter originally intended to be “Progressive as the Opposite of
Backsliding” out of the category of theoretical and academic Bible studies
without contemporary and timely applications to church life and Christian life
right now.

One large Baptist church in Alamogordo, which by the way has been the
inspiration for the development and writer of the soon to be released book “Den
of Thieves” primarily because of the leaders in the church who practice bad
habits such as the taking of God’s name in vain; and then try to cover up such
bad habits by their church attendance and church positions of “righteousness”
by making like in Jeremiah, in the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7, and from
which Jesus quoted as he ran the money changers out of His Father’s House of
Prayer and Worship.  Then in Jeremiah and religious leaders in the time of
Jesus on earth were in their own minds making church attendance and activity a
“Hideout {or cover up} for Bad Habits”, like today hiding under excuses and
“lying words” like “we are not perfect, but we are trying”, or our salvation is in
our buildings and in our local church membership and faithfulness in
attendance.  God Himself gave the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7 word for
word to the Prophet Jeremiah, in which God labels such excuses about
misplaced faith in a local church and its buildings, and the living of a life
habitually all week of continued “abominations”, as the misplaced faith of “lying
words”  {see Jeremiah 7:4 and 7:10}.  

8-1:  Real Righteousness Among God’s People Must Replace 7
Abominations.

Anyway this church in Alamo dominated by Thief-like leadership, is moving on,
according to the sign on the proposed site of their new building, because they
are supposedly progressive “in the LORD” enough to care to put up a new
House of Worship for God in spite of the crunch of these economic times.  And
so it is with any House of God when the confidence of misplaced faith is placed
in the buildings {“the Temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple
of the LORD are these”, the lying words of the people in worship of Jeremiah 7:
4}, and in the people who like all of Gods people of Judah in Jeremiah were
faithful in attendance, and so proud of it as a claim to righteousness, that they
brought all these weekly abominations with them into the very presence of God
in Temple worship, then had the nerve to say “we are delivered to do all these
abominations”. (Jeremiah 7:10).
1.  The 7 Abominations God’s Hated in the time of Solomon, as Solomon wrote
Provers 6:16, God still hated to see in His own people of Temple Worship in the
time of Jeremiah, even as God still hates to see in the “ways and doings” of
God’s “called”, not necessarily “chosen” of God’s people today.  Even as the
standard for any church or synagogue which claims to be a “House of God”
was established as a special place where God would be with His people with
Solomon, and with the dedication of the Temple built by Solomon in II
Chronicles 7 as a house of effectual and righteous prayer, so God through
Solomon early in the Bible (Provers 6:16) told us exactly what He hates as acts
of unrighteousness and abominations.
(1).  “A Proud Look”; yet today by the average church member, strongly
influenced by the self-satisfaction and self-fulfillment concepts of contemporary
American philosophy and American psychology, humility--the opposite of pride
and a proud look--is considered as impossible in modern times because of the
influence of evolution and social Darwinism, alias the survival of the fittest, and
other underlying main currents of American Thought of the American
Democratic Faith.  In short, the average church member, by practice if not by
doctrine, thinks this abomination as outdated, in America and their community
and their church and church doctrine, if not in the sight of God.
(2).  “A lying tongue”; while just plain honesty and the “intellectual honesty” of
the Bible and of the Christian philosopher Elton Trueblood is another sign of the
decline and fall of righteousness and effectual prayer in American, primarily in
American churches which are responsible for the moral climate in America and
the either blessings of curses from God, the lying tongue like in Jeremiah has
become a chant of worship in our temples of God today as:  (2) the little
superficial praise songs, like in the Temple and of Jeremiah 7:4, “the temple of
the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these”, and
once true as a statement of faith 100 hundred years ago in Isaiah, justify
attendance in fine buildings or any building for continuing all week and in worship
with what God considers as “abominations”, like the lying tongue; and (3) then
with lying words, concepts, and misplaced faith, having the nerve to come into
the very presence of God in a church called by His name as a House of Prayer
and Worship, to say we are prospering and moving on, or delivered” to continue
“to do all these abominations”.  It is abominable!
(3).  “Hands that shed innocent Blood”; and recall as Jesus taught the real
meaning of “thou shalt not kill” as violated when there in hate in the heart for a
brother, or another.
(4).  “A heart that devises wicked plans”; and do you not realize that when
church members take away the leadership of pastors appointed by the
Ascended Christ as overseers of the church, usurping the that authority of
Christ over the church, quite often with lying words and excuses, to run the
faithful pastors of 17 or so years off and replacing them with itching ears
teachers than will meet their own personal wants, these are wicked plans that
come out of the abominations of wicked hearts.
(5).  “Feet that are swift in running to evil”; and it is another sign of the times of
the Falling Away, also lying words and concepts, that such wicked plans against
Christ and the appointed pastors of Christ {it is now especially among Baptist
churches an accepted practice to run off the pastors that preach the Word} are
justifiable in spite of the democratic principle, often with a majority vote and
concept that the majority is always right--more of the American Democratic
Faith over obvious Bible teachings against the majority as right including the fact
that all those who came of Egypt of Gods people, except about 4 and the
children under 20 were denied by God eternal rest and salvation and the
promised land, when they run off pastors, lead in church votes to promote their
own desires and positions, and continue the practices in their churches of the
promotion of Bad Habits and a Den of Thieves practice, often with a cover up of
worship leaders living in adultery and other church members under the infamous
number one excuse of “we are not perfect, but we are trying.”  No, they are not
trying to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling”; these are only efforts
to justify and cover-up and promote continually a lack of righteousness; and
therefore of also effectual prayer which can save this nation.  Yes, these church
members and leaders are “swift” as at a drop of the hat, some common now as
to be deemed naturally and normal although very unchristian, they can
vehemently express their own desire, encouraged by Bible teachers and
preachers with itching ears which they seek out to justify themselves, and being
like the people sympathize more with their desires than Bible doctrines, to
agree and vote to shed the blood, alias careers and reputations of good
pastors, deacons, and church members while carrying out their own desires
and lack of real Bible doctrine and knowledge.  And in the name of community
values, fundamentalism, and the American Democratic Faith, having long ago
promoted the gap between their church body and Christ.
(6).  “A false witness who speaks lies”; so that any church member who speaks
an untruth such as “the majority vote of the church is always right”, and “we
could not do it unless God blessed us”, the obvious equivalent of the
abomination of “we are delivered to do all these abominations” of Jeremiah 7:
10, is a false witness of misplaced faith and is presenting lying words
sometimes without realizing that he himself and his fellow conspirators in the
church are deep into the Falling Away of II Timothy 4:3,4, having gone so far
that the few still dedicated in that local church should no longer in the words of
that admonition of Scripture “associate with them”; and further having gone so
far in his own self-deception that real Prophets of God like Jeremiah are told
not to pray for him, even that this church member’s prayers, leader of pastor,
are not longer heeded or listened to by God.
(7).  “one who sows discord among brethren”; and like in the little epistles of
John, today it even more so at the point in splits of fellowship that the matter of
who is right and who is wrong must be WHO IS ON THE SIDE OF THE
FELLOWSHIP WITH THE APOSTLES, alias who has the right spirit of not
fighting and who has the correct doctrine of the Bible.

2.  You need a composite list of Jeremiah 7:5,6 with Jeremiah 7:9, and then the
addition of “covetousness” of the rest of Jeremiah to show the consistent
concept of God on His extreme displeasure with both these 7 abominations and
even more so with efforts to cover-up, hide, and justify under such “lying words”
these abominations.
(1).  First the composite list directly from the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7
and 23 with the addition of “covetousness” from the rest of the Word of God in
Jeremiah.  You know, God really gave most of the words of Jeremiah directly
to Jeremiah, perhaps only with the exception of the history of the times which
came more from Jeremiah as he lived through them.
a.  Thoroughly execute proper judgment between a man and his neighbor
(Jeremiah 7:5); and oh the lying words, concepts, and community values such
as “greed” and “it is just business” {one pastor tells of a church were a lawyer
stood up to object to prayer about the matter because it was financial and
business not religion}, that prevents proper judgment according to Christ and
the Word of God, and that quite often prevent reality of the Scripture to shed
light on the cover-up that make so many American churches both a “Hideout for
Bad Habits” and a “Den of Thieves” where members can hide their lacks of
efforts at righteousness and real prayer, as church members mis-apply and mis-
quote the Scripture on “judge not lest you be judged”, not exercising proper
judgment as church members are called to do rather than going to lay, and on
church discipline, based on a desire to be judged according to the words of the
Bible, which we must do and which will be done to us by God and Christ.
b.  “do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow”; and we must
consider our sometimes mistreatment of Mexicans in the land, fleeing the
poverty and oppressions of Mexico, in spite of our righteous concerns that they
pay equal taxes without getting equal benefits as demanded by the American
Democratic Faith.  We also much be careful of our treatment of strange
Muslims that are not terrorist, recalling our similar mistreatment of Japanese
during World War II; as well as recall how we have caused millions of fatherless
and widows in Iraqi, thousands fleeing to become strangers in other lands,
thousands killed, and even more who are left there have no homes, no
community, no utilities, and little hope for the future.  All this in the name of
democracy and the American Democratic Faith, all backed by lies of the past
administration, and all very questionable in intent, motive, and results.
c.  “and do not shed innocent blood in this place”; which you see immediately as
you read these words of Jeremiah 7:6 and the famous Temple Message from
God, as similar to the 7 abominations where “hands that shed innocent blood”
at the national or international level, especially unjust on every hilltop and in
every valley and on all the roof tops that Gods people of Judah were doing as
they catered to their wives of other gods like Baal.
d.  “or walk after other gods to your hurt”.  Although the command of the first
and second commandments of the law of God--no other gods before me and
no image of any god or of Me (Exodus 20:2-6)--it at first is hard to correlate
with the original 7 abominations to God, which He hates, of Proverbs 6:16.  And
then we realize that such an abomination to God today or then comes from a
heart that also shows to God “a proud look”.  It is the opposite of the
commended look and attitude of the New Testament, and through the Apostle
Peter in I Peter 5:6,7, to “humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He
may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him because He cares for
you.”
Of course, this is a constant and consistent message of God through the
Apostles and Prophets, and through His Bible, often called the covenant of God,
between God and His own people, called or chosen or both:  do righteously and
you will dwell in comfort in the land; and a part of the two-way covenant
between God and His people always, do unrighteousness, such as with these
abominations even in worship and service, and you will to your own hurt
automatically received the curses and calamities of God.  God always
chastises His people according to this covenant, and to promote more
righteousness, for the nation and for individuals.
e.  The “lying words” of Jeremiah 7:8 and before that in the Temple Message
helped them to cover up the bad habits of abominations and 10 commandment
violations that are specifically listed as stealing, murder, adultery, false
swearing, burning incense to Baal, and the walking after other gods to their own
hurt of Jeremiah 7:9.  Immediately you see that this specific abominations of
“lying words” of the Temple Message and of Jeremiah 7:8, as well as of the
introduction to the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7:4, where the misplaced trust
of Gods people and in House of God worship was placed in other things,
correlates directly with the abomination of the 7 of Proverbs 6:6, “the lying
tongue”.  Bet you never thought that your praise songs and little chants of
misplaced faith in your worship could be the result of a “lying tongue” on the
part of the people of God, nor of “lying words” in the sight of God Himself?
f.  Well here in Jeremiah 7:9 is a list of abominations where Gods own people
were habitually, in worship and at home and work, violating all the 10
commandments except covetousness, which by the way is the much large
subject of condemnation and exhortation in the rest of Jeremiah, for example
when God accuses the people and the priests with the prophets and the princes
of “all of them from the least to the greatest practice deceit and
covetousness.”  (Jeremiah 23).
g.  By the way this is the seventh abomination, quite a coincidence pastors and
teachers, huh, a abomination in Jeremiah 7:10 through the rest of the Temple
Message of Jeremiah 7 and the rest of the book to:  (1) to without blushing
have the nerve to commit all these abominations during the week, then
innocently stand before God in the House called by His name, and for prayer
and worship, to say with confidence and without shame, “we are delivered to do
all these abominations”  (7:10); (2) to have in their minds and hearts a concept
of God and the House and righteousness of God that allowed them to treat the
House of God as a “Den of Thieves” and as a Cover-Up “Hideout for Bad
Habits”; (3) thinking that God was seeing the sacrifices of service and worship
and not the bad habits of abominations in His sight; (4) forgetting what God did
to original houses of worship in Shiloh of the nation of Israel, when the northern
kingdom of Israel was recently destroyed and taken into Captivity; (5) a
judgment of calamities and curses that would immediately come on Gods
people because of their disobedience of abominations and “wicked works”; (6)
the failure of Gods people to listen to Gods faithful prophets of the minority, like
Isaiah and Jeremiah, with the long history of failure to listen to true Prophets
like Moses and up to the time of Jeremiah, rising early and prophesying late,
and without the people really listening to the voice of God through these true
Prophets; (7) through these true Prophets, God was calling them but they
would not listen except to the majority and popular prophets and priests of the
day; (8) God will shortly do to this House of the Temple and to this place of
Jerusalem and Judah what He did to Shiloh and the northern kingdom of Israel
even though it is a place that God originally gave to their forefathers; (9) God
will cast out of His sight His own “called” people just like He cast out Ephraim,
the brethren to the north; (10) Jeremiah is forbidden any longer to prayer for
these people of religious worship in the Temple, even of the whole nation of
Jerusalem and Judah (7:16), don’t cry for them in prayer, and do not try to
make intercession for them {no doubt as Moses was allowed to do for 40 years
in the wilderness until the point of no return of the first Great Falling Away}; and
(11) God would no longer hear them or their prayers (7:16).

8-2:  Lying Words in Baptist Churches Includes a False Claim to be Literal.

And it is not that this FBC of Alamogordo is any different in this generation of
the Falling Away from any other Baptist Church, especially since the takeover
20-30 years ago by the fundamentalists who are extremely noted for their claim
to be literal on Scripture while they pervert that literal mean primarily with
loyalty to community values over Scripture.  What has happened to the concept
of “backsliding” is typical of what has happened in Baptist churches, and in fact
in churches of other denominations, as man-made Bible has taken the place of
Bible exegesis.  50 years ago we students of church history and the history of
the SBC  at Baylor, Southwestern Seminary, and Ouachita as we studied what
happened to other denominations, starting evangelistic and conservative then
going stabilized and more community oriented than Bible and Christ oriented,
never in our wildest imagination would we have thought that the same thing
would happen to the SBC.  Now we are there, with much preaching and
teaching more about the Bible, and of community values, than of the messages
of the Bible Itself.
Look at what the average pastor or church member today in American churches
thinks of “backsliding” from the Bible:  to backslide is to no longer faithfully
attend the worship and other activities of a House of God.  No, even as
Jeremiah is the book of “backsliding”--all but 3 of the Bible usages of the word
“backsliding” are in Jeremiah, so you see from Bible Studies in Jeremiah and
Prophesy that:  (1) backsliding is away from God, Christ, and the Bible; and (2)
the most active backsliders of Jeremiah, as in churches today, are those who
are very active in church attendance.  And failure to face up to the realities of
much religion and church activity without the realities of obedience to Gods
Word and wholesale loyalty to God and Christ over the many other gods of our
“ways and doings” {a favorite description from God Himself about our life style
in houses of God as given word for word for Jeremiah to preach in the famous
Temple Message of Jeremiah 7 and 23}, is the same as a denial of the famous
Baptist beliefs that are the heritage of southern baptists, a denial on the
practice level of any conservative approach to the Bible as the Word of God.  
Admit it, how long has it been since you have preached or even read in a
spiritual way the book of Jeremiah!

8-3:  Ministerial Alliance:  “You can Prophesy a Devotional but Not
Doctrine”.

Another example of where the community values of the American Democratic
Faith, namely where extremism of the “tolerance” of citizenship has replaced
conviction on Bible and respect for Gods commands and commissions to “teach
them to observe all things” and “to preach the Word”, is the common practice of
weekly ministerial alliances to demand that all speakers give devotionals but not
doctrine.  In Alamogordo it is called the “Gospel Men’s Fellowship” {by the way
any concept of “Gospel” itself requires some of the most fundamental and basic
for salvation and testimony and devotional teachings or doctrine of the Bible...
my,my how far away from the Bible and the commission of Christ have we
fallen without knowing it}, a weekly meeting of Christian businessmen and
pastors, where this statement is commonly made that almost any attendee is
allowed to give a personal and devotional testimony without getting into any
doctrine.
1.  This denies the very meaning of prophesy in the church, and never forget
that where two or three or gathered together in the name of Christ you have an
assembly of Christ which is dedicated to the teachings of Christ {doctrine is just
another word for teaching}, as clearly given in I Corinthians 14.  Oh yes, the
real meaning and purpose of “prophesy” as given in I Corinthians 14:3, which by
the way is to be practices by any church member after the Coming of the Holy
Spirit on the first day of Pentecost after the Ascension of Christ, and as
prophesy became more the democratic province of every Christian is:  (1) for
edification, (2) for exhortation, and (3) for comfort.
Granted this little watered-down devotionals, devoid of conviction and the
doctrinal teachings of Christ and the Bible, may “comfort” and “edify”, even that
is doubtful without some substance from the Bible; but certainly they can not
“exhort” on the great and major teachings of the Bible, consistently taught as
“doctrine” in the Bible, and which all preachers and teachers of the Bible are
encouraged to do “in season, out of season”.  Such a unChristian and umbilical
practice, justified by tolerance, can not possible promote either the great
commission to go into all the world of meetings and highways to make disciples,
nor to teach them “to observe all things” taught and lived by Christ, certainly
including His teachings which is another word for doctrine; nor can it carry out
the older commission of the Old Testament to talks about the doctrines and
teachings of the Word “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and
there a little.  
As this habit, way of thinking, and misplaced faith of supposed Christian
businessmen and pastors, continues to expand the same way of many athletes
now also promoted and started by many fundamentalists like Bill Glass, it will
enhance more quickly the inevitable fourth and fifth states of the Falling Away,
the complete turn away from truth and the being turned into fables {alias
backsliding} as a national trend away from righteousness and effectual prayer!
2.  Oh my, what have we come to except the Falling Away of II Timothy 4:3,4
and the “time when they will not endure sound doctrine”, when you can not
share among an assembly of supposed Christians the name and teachings of
Christ; when instead of preachers and prophesies of sound doctrine, you heap
up like in your churches weekly speakers “with itching ears”, a group of men on
the side of Christ supposedly who express more the “desires” and “wants” of
themselves and their group more than the truth of Christ.  As the five stages of
the falling away of II Timothy 4:3,4 progresses to the fourth and final fifth stage
of the Falling Away, that is of “turning away from truth” and “being turned into
fables”--the equivalent of the backsliding of Jeremiah--more and more these
community values of fundamentalists and of the Bible belt, summarized in the
American Democratic Faith, will be the fables that take the place of sound
doctrine, Bible teachings, and Bible truth.  Like in Jeremiah and in the Temple
Message of Jeremiah 7, there will be much religion and House of God worship
and ineffectual prayer, much show and pomp and professionalism in the
community; but like in Jeremiah, accompanied by “lying words” and misplaced
faith, faith in their local church, denominations, cities, and nation will take the
place of faith in God, Jesus, and the Bible; and in obedience to the voice and
chastisements of God toward real righteousness!
3.  Right now, you can measure the downfall of our nation on God and
righteousness by the extensive increase on TV and in movies--all writings of
scripts, and in books, among preachers and other church members and worship
leaders, and among average church members, by the obvious unrighteousness
{extreme violations of the 3rd commandment}, by the obvious increase, without
guilt and without excuse, in the taking of Gods holy and righteous name in vain.  
Such a holy and righteous God will not forever hold back His judgement or His
punishment on such an abomination.

8-4:  Jeremiah, the book of Backsliding.

Far from being the best description of “backsliding” current practiced and
believed in the average Baptist Church among pastors and church members
that it is synonymous with a lack of faithfulness in church attendance, it is
centered around a going backwards from God Himself, of course today through
Christ, and the long-range salvation that He has provided.  It is best described
in the words of God as given to Jeremiah, and speaks to a whole nation of God’
s people as well as to churches and other houses of God.  Jeremiah is chosen
over Isaiah as more the prophesy of the Bible for today, because it is more
neglected as words from God and the Word of God.  In other words, if in
churches of America, as we claim, we are to preach and teach the “ALL
SCRIPTURE given by God” of II Timothy 3:16,17 then we must include this
neglected large book of the Bible.  Granted a few select quotes about the “new
heart” of the new birth and the deceitful and wicked heat are heard periodically,
but by and large most church members have not even heard of the famous
among a few Bible scholars of the Temple Message of Jeremiah, the message
the Prophet Jeremiah stood every day at the gates of the temple to deliver, the
message to whom God told him no one would listen; however that must be
delivered as a final warning to the people before the ultimate chastisement.

8-5:  Backsliding At the House of God.

Exactly how to you each week, purportedly to worship, go into a church,
synagogue, or temple, actively participated in the worship services, even
sacrifice some to do it; and yet at the same time continuously in your “ways and
doings” or life-style during the week and on the Sabbath Day, forsake God as
the fountain of living water, and on Sunday and during the week, daily create
broken cisterns in your life and that of your family that will not hold water.  For
that is what the “backsliding” of Jeremiah and the Bible is.
What has happened in the recent history of the Southern Baptist Convention,
the largest Protestant Denomination in the world, is indicative of the “backsliding”
--alias going backwards instead of forwards--of the church in America.  Or
perhaps you would like to call it Christianity in America, or Gods people of the
nation of the United States.  No matter what you call it, or them, the people of
the churches of America are “backslidden” like in Jeremiah, which by the way is
the book of “backsliding”.  This reality and concept is not always recognized by
the millions of church goers each Sunday or during the week, just like Gods
people of Judah would come constantly through the gates of the Temple in
Jerusalem, where Jeremiah was posted by God to tell them about their “lying
words” and lying concepts.  Such lying words and concepts as:  “The temple of
the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the Lord are these”.
(Jeremiah 7:4) These were the lying words and the lying concepts, a false set
of religious values backslidden from God, that the salvation of the people was in
the buildings and organizations, in the building and organizations of the temple,
in the building and organizations of the city and government, and in the buildings
and organizations of the nation.
Such lying words and concepts as:  “We are delivered to do all these
abominations” (Jeremiah 7:10)  The lying words were that in spite of their high
record of attendance in the House of God, every week their the life-style of the
nation of Gods people, called in Jeremiah “ways and doings”, was abominations
in the sight of God--abominations that included habitual violation of the 10
commandments and too much religion that was diverted away from God; and
these same people of God had the nerve to come before God Himself each
sabbath to the House of God that was called by Gods name and dedicated by
God, to come without even a blush or any shame.  The false concept, or way of
thinking {called “ways and doings” in Jeremiah} of this nation of Gods people
like today, was that what prosperity and security was theirs as a House of God,
as a city, and as a nation, was in order that they might keep practicing these
“abominations”.  In fact these very abominations were a sign that they were
doing what was right.
Even as it is hard to comprehend today in America, that our churches and
nation are no longer blessed by God as they have been in past history, so it is
almost impossible for the average church member to comprehend today that
God’s original people, what Jeremiah calls the “firstfruits” of God, had gone
rotten in the sight of God.  Part of those lying words of the Temple Message of
Jeremiah in Jeremiah 7 was the false premise that because God had blessed
them in the past as a nation and a temple of God’s own people, that it would
continue the same way with the blessings of the past.  You might begin to
comprehend that as you look at the frequent use of the word “backsliding” in the
book of Jeremiah, especially as you comprehend that Jeremiah is the book that
defines “backsliding”.

8-6:  The Book of Jeremiah Defines “Backsliding”.

So frequently have southern baptists heard the word “backsliding” as referring
to those non-attenders at church, that you will be shocked to learn that except
for 4 other places in the Bible, once in Proverbs and three times in Hosea,
“backsliding” is exclusively a word and concept from God in the book of
Jeremiah.  In fact, one might say that even as the book of Jeremiah dominates
on the subject of BACKSLIDING, so the concept and meaning in the sight of
God of “backsliding” dominates to a certain extent this large book of the Word
of God.  The word “backsliding” is found 13 times in the book of Jeremiah:  (1)
Jeremiah 2:19; (2) what might be called the “backsliding” chapter, chapter 3 of
Jeremiah with 7 references of both kinds of fine distinctions in the meaning--
Jeremiah 3:6, 3:8, 3:11, 3:12, 3:14, and 3:22, twice where both usages are
found, and should be a started place where we learn this concept from God; (3)
Jeremiah 5:6; (4) Jeremiah 8:5; (5) Jeremiah 14:7; (6) Jeremiah 31:22; and (7)
Jeremiah 49:4.  
NOTE:  At least right now, you see as the word “backsliding” goes from
stem to stern and from front to back throughout the book of Jeremiah,
that it is far more than an incidental word and concept of God’s Word in
Jeremiah.  Could we misunderstand the word?  Definitely, even as the
word has been misunderstood among southern baptists and other
evangelicals to apply to those who have backslidden from church
attendance, in spite of the reality that the meaning is exactly the opposite
in that it is the church attenders that are most guilty of “backsliding”,
even so we could again today generate more “lying words” on lying
concepts about “backsliding”.  In order to prevent this, and in the nature
of any good Bible exegesis which the meaning is read out of the Scripture
in stead of going to the Bible with a preconceived concept for justification
of that concept, we will as quickly as possible consider the meaning in
the context.
By the way, before getting down to the nitty-gritty of these 17 times the word
“backsliding” is found in the Bible, we should briefly list the references in the
other two books of the Bible where the word is found:  (1) Proverbs 14:14,
where although only once is so important as the first usage in the Bible, from
the Prophet Solomon, and which when we will look at it shortly we will find that
it establishes in the sight of God what a “good man” is and what is the opposite
of a good man, “the backslider in heart” {by the way, this only time the word
form of “backslider” is mentioned in the Bible, all the others are “backsliding”};
(2) Hosea 4:16; (3) Hosea 11:7; and (4) Hosea 14:4.
NOTE:  Even as emphasized in the SunGrist_Bible study on Jeremiah and
Prophecy that Isaiah sweeps all of prophesy as in the other of the 16
major and minor writing prophets, so Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah
and both therefore Isaiah and Hosea proceeded Jeremiah by about one
hundred years.  And why is this so important:  because even as the
“Bible is a gradual revelation of God coming to an eternal climax in the
Lord Jesus Christ”, so is reality and truth communicated by God to men
both gradual and an evolution for simple to the more complex.  Never
forget, that even as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are the
ways and thoughts of God higher than man; and never, never, would we
have been straightened out on these matters had it not been for the
laborious efforts of God to select Prophets, Apostles, and Jesus over
thousands of years and then have them record line upon line, and
precept upon precept, the words, ways and dongs, and concepts that
God wanted men to know.

8-7:  Definition of “good people” as misunderstood as “Backsliding”.

The concept and usage of “good people” is another community value that has in
common practice in typical Bible belt communities and churches taken the place
of reality-check Bible teachings!  To show consistency of Bible teachings and
preachings of previous writings of SunGrist_Bible, it is just one more nail in the
coffin where Baptist churches, in spite of their marvelous past heritage on the
Bible as “the sole criterion for faith and practice” have replaced a primary
loyalty to the authority of the Bible with a collective American Conscience on the
“American Democratic Faith”.
According to the Bible in Proverbs 14:14, and as previously stated should be
given some respect as far as an establishment of the real meaning of
“backsliding” in the sight of God, and also of good men and good people, the
prime difference between a backslider and a good man is:  “The backslider in
heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from
above.”  
Does this accord with your own definition of good people, and the definition of
good people as used in your community?  According to the Word of God, the
only way you can call any man good, or a people as good, is if they find
happiness and satisfaction from above where God and Christ dwell.  Also the
backslider, we are surprised to find, is the very opposite of the good person;
backsliding is a matter of the heart more than attendance at church; and a
backslider is all wrapped up in himself, in the words of the Bible “filled with his
own ways”.
NOTE:  Has it been mentioned that this is the only single usage of the
word form “backslider” in the Bible; although as we will find for a short
and thorough look at BACKSLIDING in Jeremiah, the concept of “going
backwards instead of forwards”, the real meaning of “backsliding” is
found throughout the Bible including with Jesus when some of His
disciples went backwards and followed Him no more.  {John 6:60-71)
And what you will want to consider as the major premise of this chapter, you
might say stated now as a preview of coming attractions even before you get
the full impact of “backsliding” of God’s people in faithful Temple attendance, is
that backsliding is not away from church attendance, the opposite, but away
from God, Jesus, and the Bible. Even as Gambrell, an early President of the
SBC, stated, “Baptist are many but not much”, so were the people of God of
the nation of Judah many who came to the temple and faithful in attendance, so
they were not much, in fact nothing, in the sight of God because of their ways
and doings of “abominations”.  And even as Gains Dobbins, a revered professor
of church administration in BUILDING BETTER CHURCHES said, “You can fill a
church with empty people”, so like thousands of churches today in this nation
are filled with millions of people without the inward presence of God and Christ,
so in the time of Jeremiah those in attendance at the Temple of God were not
filled with what came from above.  
Another NOTE:  You find this same concept of the Bible in the bad habits,
or follies, of church members in II Timothy 3:1-8, where church members
have “a form of godliness but deny the power thereof”, alias they have
the formalities of worship and attendance without any power of God in
their hearts and lives.
DID I HEAR A PROTEST which said, “we really can not be that bad off in
our churches and in our nations”.
And yes, that is what you thought about the American economy right up until
last year!  And if this is a protest, which lying words and concept is it based on:  
(1) that all these buildings provide salvation and security for us; or (2) we are
prosper and delivered to do all these abominations.  And since church members
today in the millions can not like the people of God of Jeremiah possibly
comprehend that their life-style of “ways and doings” are ABOMINATIONS, we
must once again re-establish the basis for God’s conclusions about
abominations, of course realizing that it will take the more thorough and
complete study of this chapter from Jeremiah on the exact nature of
“backsliding” to fully comprehend it!

8-8:  Church Members who Take God’s Name in Vain are not Innocent or
Good.

Church members, leaders or otherwise like the deacon and song leader at the
FBC of Alamogordo are not innocent and they are not good people.  The God
who wrote the same Bible that applies to them as to me and any other Christian
and who said, “God will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain” is
saying the same today, that in spite of any excuse or rationalize of mind or
words which allows Christians to take the name of God in vain, in the sight of
God they are not innocent and they are not good, they are guilt of the supreme
sin against God even as this forbidden practice is among the top 3 of the 10
commandments (Exodus 20:7), among the same top four which demand and
promote a righteousness of respect for God.
Let us go down for a few moments to the nitty-gritty of this very fundamental
and basic problem in the lives of those church members and Christians to claim
to be the “chosen” of God as well as the “called” of God.  Granted they may
have been “called” like the many invited to the Lord’s supper to fill up the table,
but they may not be among the “chosen” with the proper wedding garment at
the Second Coming of Christ, especially as they continue to take the name of
God in vain without the recognition of how wrong and unrighteous it is, and
without the matching confession of it as a sin against God, as one of the most
deadly sins against God.  The strikes at the heart of the very personal
relationship between a man and His God.  How can you pray with “effectual
fervent” and righteous prayer, when you have not long ago taken the name of
God in vain; especially if you do not preface your prayer specifically with a
confession for forgiveness to God for all this lack of proper respect for His
name.  And how long do you think God will listen to you as you curse His name,
or listen to the majority of members of your church who take the name of God
in vain, or are influenced by the knowledge that you habitually practice this very
bad habit.
Brother, righteousness is demanded for prayer that avails and that is listened
to; the ten commandments are the basic establishment of the standards of
righteousness, the same religious and civil law of the 10 commandments Jesus
said “I can not to destroy but to fulfill the law”--by the way you do not have the
right to modify and destroy the 3 moral law also, “thou shalt not take the name
of the LORD thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7); and even as any violation of these
10 laws of God is unrighteous, so the practice of a violation of them promotes a
lack of righteousness which in turns inhibits any effectiveness of a church or
Christian in real prayer.  Such prayers, although some of the lying words and
concepts of church members about which they are so proud and justify their
place in the community and in the sight of God, go no further than the ceiling of
those buildings in which they are so proud, and of which they consider
themselves as moving on in the sight of God while in reality they are backsliding!

8-9:  Self-Denial: Religion to Many is labeled by God as “Abominations”.

What is so bad about this national self-denial is that it is a self-denial, in
Jeremiah and in America, by God’s own people.  Few other places in religion
and religious practices and beliefs has there been so much divergence between
what a people of God thought about themselves and what God thought about
them.  And if the word “religion” is objectionable, like in the excusing words of
so many southern baptist preachers where “religion” is a dirty word, we can
instead chose the words “worship and faith” to state:  WORSHIP AND FAITH
OF MANY OF GOD’S PEOPLE TODAY IS LABELED BY GOD AS
“ABOMINATIONS”!
1. “Abominations” in the sight of God among His own people as defined by God
Himself.  Please do not forget, that God Himself gave Jeremiah the very words
to use in the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7 as well as in the book of
Jeremiah; and in looking at Jeremiah 7:8-11 we see God Himself on the
abominations of His own people.
(1).  These are “lying words” because they are not based on the truth as it is in
God and in the Bible:  they are words and concepts that can not profit in the
long range.
“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.”  (Jeremiah 7:8)
The people of God of Jeremiah had a FAITH; but it was a misplaced faith, their
trust was not in God and the Bible which they already possessed, rather it was
in these lying words and concepts.
(2).  And here in Jeremiah 7:9 was the basis on their “ways and doings” which
God called abominations.
“Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to
Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know.”  (Jeremiah 7:9)
Now that was bad enough, a violation of the ten commandments; religious
worship all week on every housetop in every city and village of Judah, in every
valley and grove of trees and on every hill top where incense was burned to
Baal and other gods which are not really gods; and like the foreigners they
married, they walked after other gods.  Well, we are innocent here, the average
church member might say.  No, today in churches, just like in Jeremiah, the ten
commandments had been so distorted with lying words and concepts as to
have no real spiritual meaning; today, while devotion is not paid to Baals by
name, it is paid to other materialistic gods which take the place of the God of
heaven; and today the many other gods to take the place of the God of Jesus
and the Bible, have diverse forms where loyalty is as equal in our ways and
doings as loyalty to Jesus and God.
(3).  Granted that all these abominations were then, and now, practiced by the
ungodly, unbelieving, and unrighteous; and what was so bad as to make their
ways and doings abominations in the sight of God, was that they had the nerve,
without blushing and without shame, to come into the very house of God as
Gods own people, and to make a statement of faith that we are prospered and
secured to do all these abominations.  This is the second half of the
abominations, and what really makes it abominations among the people of
God.  Their faithful church attendance was the problem mixed with the life-style
of their “ways and doings” all week!
“...and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by
My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations?’”  
(Jeremiah 7:10)
a.  Which was worse as abominations in the sight of God, to come before God
for worship and prayer in His house, or to repeat the lying words “we are
delivered to do all these abominations?”  America should be grateful for this
economic crisis behind the intense series of calamities since 911, because it
shows that God through His chastisements still cares for this country, that there
is still some hope for this country if there is the repentance of righteousness and
really effective prayer.
b.  It was really the crowning act of hypocrisy and abomination in the sight of
God to repeat the chant of this praise song, “we are delivered to do all these
abominations”, right behind all week committing the abominations in then laden
down with these habitual sins to come into the very presence of God on the day
of worship.
2.  And continuing quickly with the Temple Message of Jeremiah 7:8-11, now
perhaps for the first time {although I hope not the first time after the previous 32
chapters}, you are coming to some realization of how:  (1) the people of God in
their own puny minds were making the House of God, meant to be a House of
Prayer, into a “DEN OF THIEVES”; and (2) how the temple, like churches today
and like in II Timothy 3:1-8 were making houses of God into a HIDEOUT FOR
BAD HABITS.
“Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in
your eyes?  Behold I, even I, have seen it’,says the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 7:
11)
Like in all Jeremiah, there is the contrast between what the people of God are
thinking, what they are rationalizing and saying, and what God Himself thinks
and says!  For example, I am sure that the people did not say exactly, “we are
delivered to do all these abominations”, as they would not do use the word
abominations to refer to their own current religious practices and faith; but it
was the opinion of God.  God said I have seen it for myself.  And you will
appreciate this more and more in the Bible studies of Jeremiah on “backsliding”
as we see why over and over Gods uses that word to apply to His own people
who are very faithful in House of God attendance and worship!  At least, in the
formalities!

8-10:  “Turning Back or Away”, words of “Backsliding” and  from
Jeremiah 3.

You will recall from the introduction of this chapter on “Backsliding at the House
of God” that:  (1) one might call Jeremiah 3, the chapter of “backsliding” as the
word is found 7 times of the total 17 times the word is found in the Bible; (2)
that the word as used in Jeremiah and elsewhere in the Bible has two fine
distinctions in meaning--(a) “a turning back or away”, or (b) “one turning back”;
and (3) both distinctions of the word “backsliding” are used in Jeremiah 3:22,
which should be our starting point for these section.
“Return you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.”  
(Jeremiah 3:22
1.  It is a pleading and optimistic “return” message to the people of God, called
here with the endearment term of “children”.  {It reminds one of the words of I
John where the aged and loving Apostle of love, referred often to his dear
children.}  Even better, this is from God Himself as He supplied the words of
Jeremiah.
2.  You see the two fine points of distinction in the phrases “backsliding
children”, where the first is a modifying adjective, and  “your backslidings”
where it is a definition of what the children of God are doing in the sight of
God.  Or as YOUNG’S ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE identifies the Hebrew
words, the first is “one turning back or way”, here children are turning back or
away; and the act of turning back or away as in “your backslidings”.
3.  However, it is the context of Jeremiah 3 which helps us understand the
meaning of “backsliding”, remembering always that this is a backsliding of Gods
own people that are faithful in attendance at the House of God.
(1).  Like in the previous books of Hosea and Isaiah, God compares the
relationship between a nation of His own people and Himself as like that
between a man and his wife (Jeremiah 3:1); and considers how any land, or
nation, would be polluted if a wife flitted from one husband to another, “But you
have played the harlot with many lovers, yet return to Me,’ says the LORD.  
(2).  With the mention of how God Himself has withheld the showers and the
latter rain of 3:3, there is a reminder of the series of calamities that have
already been sent on the nation, Jeremiah and recently on the United States, as
chastisements for repentance; yet the heartache of God is that “You have had
a harlot’s forehead, you refuse to be ashamed.”  (More of this refusal to blush
in worship attendance of have shame of the Temple and of the Temple
message.}
(3).  Jeremiah records some of his dialogue with God as God convinces him of
the justice of righteousness of what He is about to do.
“The LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king:  ‘Have you see
what backsliding Israel
{an obvious description of the whole nation of
Israel, of Gods own people, as backsliding away from God and Scripture}

has done?  She has gone up on every high mountains and under every
green tree, and there played the harlot.  And I said, ‘Return to Me.’  But
she did not return. and her treacherous sister Judah saw it
{most of the
northern kingdom of Israel in a series of raids from Assyria had gone into
captivity, only the few tribes of the southern kingdom of Judah around
Jerusalem remained}
.  Then I saw for all the causes {that is what we were
after, what were the causes of abominations in the sight of God and for
the desolation and chastisement that followed, for just like the
abominations there were many “causes” which God saw and despised}

for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery
{there were many
reasons God called His own people “harlots” and referred to the
adulteries as abominations}
, I had put her way and given her a certificate
of divorce
{remember that Moses and Jesus referred to the certificate of
divorce}
; yet here treacherous ister Judah did not fear {Judah should
have learned something by what happened to Israel, but did not!}
but
went and played the harlot also.”  (Jeremiah 3:6-8)
4.  Like today, the adultery of the nation, was centered around OBJECTS.  
Picturesquely, as in so many other places in Jeremiah, the adultery of the nation
of Gods people is defined as “adultery with stones and trees.”  (Jeremiah 3:9)  
On the rooftops of Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah, and in the streets,
the families practiced a family worship of the Queen of Heaven; and under
every green tree in the valleys and on the hilltops they erected out of wood and
stone other gods to worship.
5.  Like today, there was not shortage of the worship of God in the midst of all
this other worship and religion, but it was “in pretence” and not “with the whole
heart”.  (Jeremiah 3:10)
6.  “Backsliding Israel”, the northern kingdom, had shown itself to be “more
righteous than “treacherous Judah”.  (3:11)  It was treacherous the way Judah
was dealing with God, with the lying words and chanting praise songs in Temple
worship and the habitual ways and doings all week.  Attendance at the temple,
their house of God like our churches today, was being used as a gigantic
justification and rationalization of their behavior.
7.  The guarantee of eventual mercy for a few, not “angry forever”  (3:12).
8.  Once that word “forever” is mentioned by God in 3;12, it is obvious that
there are two promises, one little and more immediate, and one big at the end
of time (3:14-19), the one here in 14-19 obviously being on the more eternal
one of the New Zion of the New Earth.
9.  You see the heartache of God caused by the abominations of these
backslidings as God describes the ways they “dealt treacherously” with Him.  (3:
20)
10.  What Happened to Israel in the opinion of God Himself?  (3:21-24)
(1).  They called God “My Father” and yet turned away from Him like a
treacherous wife turns away from her husband.  (3:20)
(2).  Israel “perverted their way”, their ways and doings contrary to the
covenant with God and the plan and call of God, had instead become
abominations of national adultery in worship and in the nation.  (3:21a)
(3).  They forgot who and what the LORD their God was.  (3:21b)
11.  What God Wants to Hear from Israel as from any Repentant nation of His
people.  (3:25)

NOTE:  The following is a preview of what is come next in these continuing for
the year “Bible Studies in Jeremiah and Prophesy”.

9-1:  Disciples of Jesus Can Go Backwards and Not Forwards. (John 6)
9-2:  FOREVER         (        Jeremiah 3:14-18).
9-3:  National Adultery of Gods People with Trees and Stones. (Jer 3:9)
9-4:  “Israel is Stubborn, Like a Stubborn Calf”  (Hosea 4:16)
Backsliding is translated “stubborn” by the New King James Version  in Hosea 4:
16.  God has already decided to just let them alone like “a lamb in open
country” forages for food.  The tribe of Ephraim is gone, and God has decided
to forget them.
9-5:  Worship and Prayer Without Proper Respect (Hosea 11:7).
Backsliding in Hosea is Worship and Prayer without Proper Respect.  You
primarily see that in the words of Hosea 11:7, “None at all exalt Him.”
9-6:  Stumbling and loyalty to the “work of your own hands” (Hosea 14:4)
Much of this “other gods” problem today between Christians and their God of
the Bible and Jesus is that:  (1) many have pride in the works of their own
hands; and (2) such objects of worship as stones and trees give Christians a
sense of control.  Everybody wants to run something; and the allusion of a god
of stone and trees, like houses and big buildings of business, provide that
allusion that all is well with your comfort and universe in that you have some say
and control over it.  You can always go shopping for more objects in control,
and you can control the shopping. {And by the way Osteen starts his very book
on the good life with the happiness of shopping on the part of one of his church
members.}
9-7:  Judah, A Treacherous Wife and Sister (Jeremiah 3:20)
9-8:  Backsliding, “A Evil and Bitter Thing”  (Jeremiah 2:19)
10-1:  The “Backslidings” of Jerusalem Have Increased (Jeremiah 5:6).
10-2:  Jerusalem IN a “Perpetual Backsliding”  (Jeremiah 8:5)
10-3:  “Backslidings” Are Sins Against God (Jeremiah 14:7)
10-4:  Signposts and Landmarks Against Backsliding (Jeremiah 31:21,22)
God pleads even now for positive action on the tribe of Ephraim:  to set up
“signposts” and to “make landmarks.”  Now, in this thirty-first chapter the case
to Gods people has been made adequately, and that Ephraim, the northern
kingdom, is assured to be a “backsliding daughter”.
10-5: Nations Vainly  Boast Against the Backsliding Daughter (Jer 49:4).

FINAL NOTE:  For the Complete outline of the year on "Bible Studies in
Jeremiah", please go to the page by that name.  You will find the outline
with some of the key sections, and with references to Bible Studies in
newsletters and on other pages in this website for each month.