The Great Falling Away & the Charismatic Movement

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Artwork by Elhanan ben-Avraham

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. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Many have counted on the Charismatic Movement to revive true faith. This does not apply to one and all, but now many who have lived in that hope have beheld instead a loud emotionalism bordering on superstition, prophesies that turn out to be false, uninterpreted ‘tongues’ that are nothing more than the confusion of the Tower of Babel, wild and far-fetched speculations and ‘visions’ that stretch all credibility, and the declaring of healings that do not end in health but death- the latter nearly always calling forth excuses and blame and condemnation for a ‘lack of faith.’ At times “words of knowledge” are delivered by those who cannot discern between the imagination and the Spirit of God. There is a frantic effort by amplifying often repetitious music to a pitch high enough to replicate the effects of the first Pentecost in Jerusalem. But this disconnect between the words and the reality, and the many disappointments such as these, especially a lack of true love rather than a superficial love that evaporates at the first heat, have caused many to back away in disillusionment. Some withdraw in search of something more authentic,  others tragically lose their faith entirely, i.e., The Great Falling Away.

Of course there are other factors contributing to the Great Apostacy, including Lawlessness in both the world and the churches: “Because Lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow cold.” The world and the church are now competing nose-to-nose for the number of divorces.

Most of those charismatic manifestations can be easily faked, especially if agreed-on by a large gathering of hopeful but easily influenced souls, except for one:  Love.  Love is real, and its counterfeit is most often proved in the crucible of crisis, rather than the picnic or the charismatic gatherings or conferences.

Love is the enduring sign of our faith: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love is the target  rather than the means, all else are mere vehicles to arrive at that objective. Love is the foundational commandment of all the Torah*.

“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.”  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  “Let love be unfeigned,” and, “We should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth.”​  That love is the very glue that will hold us together in the storms and trials, even at the time of the Great Falling Away.

May we all seek after only the real, the authentic, and the true.

  • *“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,

and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Artwork by Elhanan ben-Avraham

THE BROKEN ROD OF MEASUREMENT

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

-Isaiah 5

When all standards of measurement are eroded and destroyed, everything becomes possible, even probable.  Values become relative only to the eye of the beholder, as relative as passing gas, and lies can be held as truths without any existing argument.  Absolutes become anachronisms to be scoffed, and their purveyors scorned. Art becomes whatever one defines it to be, and music becomes noise, cacophony without rhyme or reason.  And all distinctions become blurred, be it male and female, right or wrong, good or evil, order becomes chaos, and dialogue is replaced with violence. And thus comes the end of the age and of viable civilization.

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Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published five illustrated books of poetry, painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, and most recently produced THE JERUSALEM ILLUSTRATED BIBLE, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.