Will there be Any faith?
Of course, we have to assume that the faith Jesus was talking about in Luke 18:7-87 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
was faith in God and faith in Jesus. Everyone has faith in something - their wife or husband, their home, their job, their car, bridges, the New Green Plan, government, and other things they depend on to get through life. However, it doesn't seem that Jesus was concerned about not finding faith in the government or in our job when He returns.
Who gets justice?
Also note what He said about who will get justice - "his chosen ones". Everyone seems to think those in their "church" are the "chosen ones". But, think about it. If there are over 2 billion people currently on the earth who claim to be "Christian", why would Jesus have been worried? He had to have known there would be many only claiming to be faithful, and even that by their own definition. Are you "chosen" just because you call Him Lord? Remember His concern on that point in Luke 6:46 and Matthew 7:21:
46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46)
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
This is the point where everyone says, "What do you mean? We do what He says!" That's where we disagree completely. It is an historical fact that, beginning in the second century, after the death of Christ and His apostles, the "church" began to change its practices. That is a generic way of saying that the "church" began not doing what He says and started following their own paths (Mark 7:9
9And he continued, "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"
). It was the beginning of a great "apostasy" or "falling away" from faith in God. As time went on, more and more excuses were found to not do what He says. And it is a fact that most churches have gone their own way, but it is all in the same general direction - away from the word of God.
Blah, blah, let's get busy
These statements are easy to say, so let's look at some undeniable facts instead of leaning on "our own understanding" or, more clearly, our own opinions. First, if we have all these "Christians" around the world, all doing pretty much the same thing when they go to "church", they must be assuming that what they do is also the right thing. Why would Jesus be concerned if "most" of them were doing the "right thing"? Well, that means that He was concerned that their concept of the "right thing" would be "not do[ing] what I say", or more plainly, disobeying Him. So, now we have to define "faith" and "what I say".
The Google dictionary defines "faith" like this:
1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
"this restores one's faith in politicians"
synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction, credence, reliance, dependence; More
optimism, hopefulness, hope, expectation
"he completely justified his boss's faith in him"
2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
synonyms: religion, church, sect, denomination, persuasion, religious persuasion, religious belief, belief, code of belief, ideology, creed, teaching, dogma, doctrine
"she gave her life for her faith"
It is interesting that the first definition goes along the lines in the opening paragraphs above (faith in government, job, etc.). It is the second one that speaks a truth that the author may not have even realized. Look at the phrase "strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion" (emphasis added). Bullseye!
That is what we see in the vast majority of "Christian" churches today - they believe in God OR they believe in the traditions and doctrines of a religion. Most of the modern "religions" have doctrines that do not even come close to the practices of the first century church, but they all have "very good reasons" why they don't do what God said to do. Just ask them. Even if that conceptual statement was not the dictionary author's intention, he really couldn't have said it better.
Faith in your beliefs, or in what He said?
Also, look at the list of synonyms. There is a word used in the first definition that is not used in the second - "trust". In the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible), the word commonly translated "faith" in most English translations is rendered as "trust". At University of Chicago, we see the definition of the Greek word translated as "faith" in most Bible versions:
In fact, the Complete Jewish Study Bible renders the last part of Luke 18:8 as:
"will he find this trust on the earth at all?"
Remember, Jesus was a Jew...
Now this is not a contradiction to the translations of other Bible versions, but it adds an idea included in the Hebrew concept of what Jesus said in Luke 18:8. This is explained well by a man named Skip Moen on a page called Hebrew Word Study where the author looks at a summation of one of Paul's references to Habakkuk 2:4
4See, the enemy is puffed up;
his desires are not upright -
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness
in the Old Testament in the context of "faith" presented in Luke 18:8:
"I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8 NASB
Faith - Recently we examined Paul's citation of Habakkuk 2:4
4See, the enemy is puffed up;
his desires are not upright -
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness
. We discovered among other things that the Hebrew word for faith, 'emunah, is a far cry from our usual ideas of creeds, theological statements and doctrines. What we learned is that 'emunah really means faithfulness or fidelity. That ties this word to hesed, the voluntary, mutual commitment to well-being that entails obligations in both directions (remember?). Once we realize that this verse in Luke should have been translated according to the Hebrew words Yeshua spoke and not the Greek words that were written, we see that Yeshua is asking a very straightforward question. But it isn't a question about whether or not He will find people who claim to be Christians. I am quite sure He would find millions who say that they believe. That isn't His question. His question is whether He will find faithfulness! Will He find people who consistently and persistently live according to God's instructions as they follow the Messiah? Will He find people to carry out the commandments? Will He find people who do what they say?
What did He say?
Jesus spent quite a while in Matthew 5 specifying how people are to view and follow the law. Many try to claim that Christ ended (terminated) the law for Gentile Christians based on verses like
33and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
, Romans 10:4
4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (ESV)
, and Hebrews 7:3
3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
, where telos is translated as "finish", "cessation", or "termination". However, the rest of over 40 times the same word telos is used in the New Testament, it is properly translated as "goal", "outcome", "result", or "consummation" in the honest versions. The word does also mean "end", but as in "The end of my study at this school is a Master's degree." There is a sense that this means "end" as in a finish line for a race, but it does not mean that, once I accomplish the goal, there are no more races for anyone else or that I stop studying or learning.
So, if faith is trust...
If we are to trust the words of Jesus, and do what He says, what is it we are to "do" in order to have the faith He is worried will not be there? Here is where people get all misty-eyed and say "Love God above all things and Love your neighbor as yourself." Well, do you remember the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5?
There are commands in there that bring to light that even following the letter of the ten commandments is not enough - you must follow the spirit of the law. Those ten commandments are important to treating God and your neighbor as was originally intended. If that reference by Jesus to the law is not taken seriously, then we are not doing what He says. If we are not doing what He says, then we do not have faith in Him as One who knows the path to righteousness. Unless, that is, you feel that you can blatantly disobey God and still claim the righteousness of Jesus (who is God, by the way). And, remember that in Matthew 19:18-19
18"Which ones?" he inquired.
Jesus replied, " 'You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' "
He added "Love your neighbor" to the Ten Commandment discussion immediately before that, He didn't replace those Ten, or even the last six, with it.
So, our trust, faith, must be in Him and what He said (Luke 6:46
46Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
). He did not say, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do what you think I should have meant to say but didn't actually say?", but that's the way people twist it so they can deny being disobedient.
In Whom do you place your faith?
Is your faith in God and Jesus, and doing what they said, or is it in your church (religion) and pastor and doing what they, and the "church fathers", have changed faith to mean in the modern world? Faith in God means that we believe and trust that He knows what He is doing, and following what He said. Faith in your religion or your pastor usually means redirecting your faith to something different, and usually easier, than following God's clearly specified path.
Not the easy way
That's the message from the Sermon on the Mount. Taking the easy way does not usually result in persecution. Standing firmly for the written will of God will result in persecution (Matthew 10:22
22You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
, 2 Timothy 3:12
12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
). Following the crowd, and their new softer, gentler gospel because "everyone else does it" does not make you Christian. Nearly one-third of the population of the world is in the "Christian crowd", and except for some political reasons, there is little persecution happening to the vast majority of these so-called "Christians" Yes, that likely includes your church.
That crowd is often following their church's doctrine rather than God's instruction. I'm sure that Satan doesn't worry about those who aren't really following God - as in most of the paganized "Christians" around the world. In fact, they are setting themselves up to "wonder after the beast" - as in the Antichrist (Revelation 13:3
3One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.
) - when he finally arrives.
God's way is not easy
This is mentioned over and over in the Bible, but most don't get the message. Matthew 10:22
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
and 2 Timothy 3:12
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
state this clearly, but the average person who follows the crowd instead of the Bible thinks he/she is in the saved group because their lives are going along wonderfully. That's not the message of these verses.
Even most of the ones claiming to be Christians being persecuted today in other countries don't follow God's instructions, but are only what the world sees as "Christian" - Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, Baptist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, non-denominational, and a host of others who follow a modified version of Catholicism - all of whom have included paganism in their worship practices. (See the Church/Meetings menu on the main page for some examples of this.) If any of these "Christians" are being pesecuted for their faith, it is because they claim to believe in the Real God as opposed to Allah or some modification of Him. They are not being persecuted for their faith as much as what they claim to stand for - they have a romantic faith, not a Biblical one.
Will you be there to stand for the Lord?
The real Christians who have faith in the real God, the real Jesus, and obey the real words of the love letter They left behind are the ones being shunned and persecuted - usually by the so-called "Christian" crowd itself. If you don't believe it, try practicing what the first ecclesia actually did. Not what your pastor tells you they did, but what the Bible says they did. Sabbath-keeping, no birthdays, no Easter, no Christmas, eating only God-approved food, and following all the Ten Commandments, just for a starter. The first time you are asked to explain your actions to a fellow "Christian", you will find out what persecution Jesus and Paul were talking about. Real, obedient faith will cause you to be hated by "Christians" and even your own family (Matthew 10:16-42
16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24"The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
26"So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32"Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
"'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.
37"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
40"Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward."
If you say, "No, that's too strict and hard!" or "That's too Jewish!" like the early, and very anti-Semitic, "church fathers", then you will know why most of the Christian world would rather do it the easy way. That's what Jesus was concerned about when He wondered aloud if there would be faith when He comes again. (Luke 18:7-87 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
). Most "Christians" are not even aware that what they do on a daily and weekly basis is in direct defiance to God, rather than in obedience. This entire site is devoted to getting this message out to those seeking the truth.
Don't just follow the crowd
If you are just running with the unpersecuted "Christian" crowd, regardless of how many there are in your crowd, then where are you headed? Are you seeking the "easy way" or the narrow, persecuted path? Jesus is looking for real faith in Him and real obedience to His Father - that is the faith He will seek when He returns (Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
). When He looks at you and knows what is in your heart, what will He see? Are all your actions in the will of the Father? Many think so, but are surprised, and appalled, when they realize the truth. That is why Jesus expresses concern. Again, and it cannot be repeated too often, Matthew reminds us of Jesus' own words:
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
It you are a member of the vast majority of "Christian" churches today, you might want to study up on what is really "the will of My Father who is in Heaven". I guess it depends on your goal.
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