The "Falling Away" and Redefining the Church
by Asher Intater, , Revive Israel
The Greek economic crisis could cause a chain effect on the entire European banking system. The current Greek default is 1.6 billion Euros. By comparison, the US overall debt is 18 trillion(!) dollars. Recently, Chinese stocks lost more than one third of their value over a three week period, despite government efforts to halt this unprecedented slide. Eventually, all of these economic problems could push for a unified world credit system.
The "pacifying" approach to militant Islam is encouraging more terrorist attacks, destruction of Christian churches and communities, and pressure in the UN to adopt anti-Israel measures. The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe is increasing every year. The removal of sanctions on Iran is not only an issue of potential nuclear weapons, but the release of billions of dollars to Islamic radicals, sponsored by the Ayatollah regime.
Many mainstream Christian denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, are abandoning basic principles of the faith. The logical outcome of denominations turning away from the faith would be a world-wide ecumenical unity in which everyone can be in "unity" regardless of what one believes. True believers will become an unwanted minority in most denominations!
The "Falling Away"
This ecumenical, religious, economic and moral decline may be what the Scriptures refer to as the "falling away":
"For that Day will not come unless there will be first the falling away and the man of evil is revealed ..." (II Thessalonians 2:3)
Other translations refer to this as the "apostasy" or the "rebellion". This may also be what Yeshua called "lawlessness" increasing and the hearts of many growing cold (Matthew 24:12). However, while religious institutions may turn away from God, there will be a remnant of true faith and love in every nation. The cumulative remnants of faith around the world will form the true "Body of Messiah" in the end times.
This will demand a redefinition of everything that is known as the "Church". If church institutions are ungodly, how can we define the "true" church? This redefinition of the Church will be a major issue for all believers, starting even now. The true community of faith is called "ecclesia" in Greek and "kehila" in Hebrew. What is it? What will it look like? What will be its characteristics?
Without religious institutions to give a good example of faith, true believers will have to go back to Scriptures to find a correct definition. This happens in every reformation movement. The Book of Acts will become more of a model of ideal communities of faith. The Book of Revelation will become a handbook of faith in the end times. The international community of faith will see itself grafted into the nation of Israel and covenantally connected to the Messianic remnant, according to Romans 11. Israel and the Church will move toward unity.
There will be a wave of purity, humility and dedication in the light of worldwide persecution and tribulation. Out of the common spiritual experience of the remnants of every tribe nation and tongue will emerge a supernatural and divine unity among true believers, according to John 17. Leaders of this End Times church will be "organically" connected in loving relationship, in submission to the Holy Spirit - rather than by traditional, institutional structures.
In a world filled with moral darkness, this glorious body of people will shine like light, and millions will be attracted to it (Isaiah 60:1-3).
This article was previously published 10Jul15 here on the Revive Israel website
The "Falling Away" and Redefining the Church
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel
We have a passion for the kingdom of God. We pray for His kingdom to come. We desire for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). His will is already being done in heaven. We have a passion for that change to take place on earth.
God has a plan.
It is a plan for a perfect world with perfect people.
We can't have a perfect world if we don't change people first.
The gospel is the power to change people into the image of God (Romans 1:16).
The kingdom of God is a perfect world with perfect people.
There will not be any pain or death (Revelation 21:4). There will be peace on earth (Luke 2:14), even in the Middle East (Isaiah 2:4), and prosperity as well (Micah 4:4).
God designed His plan before creation (Ephesians 1:9-10). He started the world with a paradise in Eden. Our sin damaged that paradise, but God has not given up on His plan. He knew we would sin and provided a cure for it ahead of time - the atonement. God will restore paradise and increase it. The restored paradise will be better than the first. God's kingdom always involves restoration; it is the restoration of all good things (Acts 3:21).
All history is moving toward establishing that perfect world - a perfect world with a perfect society. There will be a righteous government. There will be perfect justice: the wicked will be punished and the righteous rewarded. (That is why we repent now while forgiveness is still being offered.)
Every kingdom has a king. The king of God's kingdom is Yeshua (John 18:36-37, 19:19). Every kingdom has a capital. The capital of God's kingdom is Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3). The king is the person of God's authority; the capital is the place of His authority. Jesus is the person; Jerusalem is the place (Psalm 2:5).
All history is moving toward a conflict. The conflict comes from opposition to God's authority. Before the kingdom of peace will be established on the earth, there will be a time of great tribulation and then a great war (Joel 2:2-3, Jeremiah 30:7). All the nations and powers in opposition to God's authority will gather to attack the capital city Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2-3; Revelation 19:19). Evil people will attack godly people in every nation.
The book of Acts starts with a declaration of the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3; 6) and ends with a declaration of the kingdom (Acts 28:23; 31). The apostles were passionate about this vision. We want to restore that same passion, the same apostolic commission. What they started we want to finish. Their vision is our vision. We desire to renew, restore and complete the original apostolic commission.
Theirs was a movement to change the world, to influence society, to bring revival, to unite the church, to restore Israel, to prepare God's people for the end times and for Yeshua's return. The message was taught repeatedly by the apostles in the first century community of faith (Acts 2:42). People were so excited by this world changing message that they sold everything and laid the money at the apostles' feet (Acts 4:37).
Let's receive the same passion and fire for the kingdom of God and change the world together (Acts 1:8).
This article was previously published 24Jul15 here on the Revive Israel website
© Copyright Tikkun International Ministries. All rights reserved.