The Danger of Shallow Roots
3 November 2013
Today I received an interesting comment regarding yesterday's article No Defense For Christian Self-Defense. Reader "ecosse14" wrote:
Sad so very sad that you feel being a Christian means you and your family should submit to every indignity and injury. If that was true Christianity then I would leave now. I am so so so glad that you are in a very very small minority.
Comments like this are the very reason I'm writing these articles. There are too many people who call themselves Christians who are not at all ready to face the hard times which are coming soon. They are like those Yeshua spoke of in the parable of the sower:
"Some seed fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.... The seed falling on rocky ground refers to those who hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. (Matthew 13:5-6,20-21)I totally believe "ecosse14" when they say that if suffering patiently for Yeshua without fighting back is true Christianity, then they would leave Christianity now. Unfortunately, unless many of today's "Christians" are able to sink their roots into the deeper soil of love for, and commitment to, Yeshua, no matter what the cost, that is exactly what will happen — "ecosse14" and many others WILL fall away and leave the Faith. The result of this is that they will miss out on the eternal glory and blessings which God has prepared to those who endure to the end. As Yeshua said:
"You will be hated by everyone because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)On my Brian's Bits Web site, I wrote an article about a month ago called Weighing In On the Rapture. One of the issues I covered there is very pertinent here. I will quote the section in full:
"You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other... but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:9,10,13, emphasis mine)
"To the one who is victorious and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations — that one 'will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery' — just as I have received authority from My Father." (Revelation 2:26-27)
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul states that Yeshua will not return "until there is a great rebellion against God." Other versions of the Bible translate the Greek word Paul used (from which comes our English word apostasy) as "a falling away" or "the Apostasy." The dictionary defines apostasy as "a total desertion of or departure from one's religion."
Yeshua Himself taught in Matthew 24:10, "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other." The King James Version (KJV) is closer to the original Greek: "And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." As you can see, "from the faith" is not in the Greek, but was added to the NIV and other translations to help make the meaning clearer.
The Greek word translated as "be offended" in the KJV is translated as "turn away, fall away, stumble, lose their faith, take offense" in other versions. The Greek word itself is the verb skandalizo — it's from the noun form of this word that we get our English word scandal. So another way this Greek verb could be translated is "to be scandalized."
A scandal is "a disgraceful or discreditable action or circumstance; an offense caused by a fault or misdeed; a public disgrace." To scandalize is "to shock or horrify by something considered immoral or improper." Synonyms include appall, offend, outrage, dishonor, and shame.
So, what is this "scandal" that is going to shock, horrify, appall, offend, outrage, disgrace, dishonor and shame Christians so much that they are going to turn away from their faith and their God? While the Bible does not say specifically, it does give us some general idea in 2 Timothy 3:1b-5a,
In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.With that kind of general condition amongst supposedly religious people in the last days, I think it could be very likely that many so-called believers will be greatly offended with God and turn away from Him when they finally realize that God is not going to Rapture them off the planet before the Great Tribulation, but that they are actually going to go through it. They will be scandalized that they were deceived by Christian leaders, books, movies, and all the rest — and in their distorted, twisted understanding they will believe falsely that even God deceived and betrayed them.
Once the Tribulation unmistakably begins, and these self-loving, proud, pleasure-loving "Christians" discover that there is no Pre-Tribulation Rapture, they will feel betrayed by God, and they will be filled with shock, horror, outrage, offense and shame. I would not be at all surprised to find that this is the source of the great scandal, offense and apostasy — the great turning away from and rebellion against God. And from what I can see, it's going to happen big time right here in America!
This is exactly what happened in China when the Communists finally took over. Most pastors refused to realistically prepare God's people for coming persecution. And besides, most comfortable Christians did not want to hear such a message anyhow. The pastors in China were reportedly telling the people what their flesh wanted to hear.
"Oh, you don't need to worry about the Communists in China! Jesus will rapture you out before the Communists can take over!"
And as result, when the Communists took over at last, most Christians in China were NOT prepared for the subsequent persecution to come against them under Communism.
And true reports filtered out of Communist China of Christians being arrested and sent to prison. And there, many of them fell away, cursing both God and their pastors, saying, "Pastor, WHY didn't you warn us of these things to come? WHY did you tell us we would be raptured out??? WHY...??????"
(See the full article by Pamela Rae Schuffert at My Deepest Sorrow...)
People like "ecosse14," who would "leave [Christianity] now" if that meant suffering persecution for Yeshua, are those whom Paul describes above as "loving pleasure rather than God." As in Yeshua's parable of the sower, they appear to be believers when the times are good and easy, but when difficulties and persecution come, they fall away from God.
Besides admitting that they would turn away from God in persecution, "ecosse14" was right about another thing as well. Followers of Yeshua who believe as I do — that Christians have no right to violent self-defense — are "in a very very small minority." This unfortunate reality is exactly why I must write these articles. I am compelled to do all I can to wake up comatose "Christians" so that they strengthen themselves for the coming persecution before it is too late. Yeshua has a warning for His people:
"I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of My God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." (Revelation 3:1b-3)For the follow-up to another reader comment, see my next article: Seeking Martyrdom.