Restoring ORIGINAL Christianity!
The true Jesus Christ of the Bible will soon return to planet Earth—this time as King of kings (Revelation 11:15). What kind of "Christianity" will the returning Christ recognize as His true message? Do you think for one minute that Jesus Christ will recognize and approve of the some 400 or 600 different denominations and sects all using His name and calling themselves "Christian"?
For if you actually believe the Bible, you will quickly realize that the vast majority of all humanity has been deceived. You may remember that the beloved Apostle John was inspired to write, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:9). You may not have zeroed in on how the Apostle John wrote of a coming battle between hundreds of millions of people influenced by the coming "Beast Power"— so deceived that they will literally fight Jesus Christ at His Second Coming! How deceived people can be!
God's word reveals that the return of Christ will mark "the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19–21). The "restoration of all things" will involve hundreds and thousands of changes in the way people live and the way they worship the Creator! For instance, most of you readers never grew up hearing about the religious festivals commanded in your Bible. You and I were taught about Christmas and Easter, about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Yet your own Bible clearly reveals that the entire world will soon be observing the annual Feast of Tabernacles every September-October as a vital part of worshiping the Creator.
"The Feast of What?" That will be the first reaction of millions! Yet your inspired Bible reveals, "all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16). Then the prophet Zechariah continues, "And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles" (vv. 17–19).
So, the real God—the God of the Bible—will not be messing around and letting seminary graduates argue with him to say that all of His laws are "out of date" or are "done away with"! Rather, He will take punitive action to show who God is!
Can you admit into your mind the fact that this present world and its religions are indeed "deceived"—just as dozens of passages in your Bible clearly indicate? Can you fully realize that the vast majority of today's "Christianity" is un-biblical and just plain wrong?
As the famous philosopher and theologian Soren Kirkegaard observed: "The Christianity of the New Testament simply does not exist… what has to be done is to throw light upon a criminal offense against Christianity prolonged through centuries, perpetrated by millions (more or less guiltily), whereby they have cunningly, under the guise of perfecting Christianity, sought little by little to cheat God out of Christianity and have succeeded in making Christianity exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament" (Attack Upon Christendom, pp. 32–33).
Also, Professor Rufus M. Jones described how "mainstream Christianity" abandoned the teachings of Jesus Christ: "If by any chance Christ Himself had been taken by His later followers as the model and pattern of the new way, and a serious attempt had been made to set up His life and teaching as the standard and norm for the Church, Christianity would have been something vastly different from what it became. Then 'heresy' would have been as it is not now, deviation from His way, His teaching, His spirit, His kingdom.... What we may properly call 'Galilean Christianity' had a short life, though there have been notable attempts to revive it and make it live again, and here and there spiritual prophets have insisted that anything else other than this simple Galilean religion is 'heresy'; but the main line of historic development has taken a different course and has marked the emphasis very differently (The Church's Debt to Heretics, pp. 15–16)."
Although they do not often like to admit it to their congregations and fellow believers, many respected theologians and historians clearly acknowledge the above facts. These facts are a major theme of this very Work, which publishes this Tomorrow's World magazine and sponsors the Tomorrow's World television program—and emphasizes "the restoration of original Christianity"!
Keeping the above-mentioned facts in mind, most of you long-time readers of Tomorrow's World magazine—and viewers of the Tomorrow's World telecast—under-stand why we emphasize the theme of "restoring original Christianity." Contrary to what some misguided theologians teach, the Apostle Paul did not introduce new teachings which abrogated the instructions of Jesus Christ and the original Twelve Apostles. This is why we sometimes on our telecast or in our publications talk about restoring "Apostolic" Christianity—the true Christianity taught and practiced by the Apostles.
So, are we willing to let the Bible tell us what original Christianity was all about? Are we going to follow the ancient black-robed priests of the Middle Ages and their imaginations, or are we going to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ? Do we deeply realize that Jesus Christ is the One who started Christianity? So He should know what Christianity is all about!
When you understand it, Satan the devil is a clever "counterfeiter". A counterfeit hundred-dollar bill looks very much like the original—yet it is worth nothing! Much of false Christianity looks somewhat similar. Yet—when you understand it—the entire premise of "mainstream Christianity" is that we should follow what came down through the Middle Ages through confused men, along with a very few changes in doctrine and practice brought in by Martin Luther and the Reformers. It is true that the Reformation caused many to abandon false doctrines of papal supremacy and the worship of Mary. But other ideas about "going to heaven" with no actual purpose to accomplish, and the theory that belief in Christ is contradictory to obedience to the Ten Commandments as a way of life—all of this remained the same. Deceived "Protestant" reformers did not admit that they would have had to go all the way back to the Bible to see what "original Christianity" is all about!
When you really study the Bible—and especially the book of Acts—you see that the earliest Christians were all circumcised Jews. They understood and believed in God's spiritual law, the Ten Commandments, and an entire way of life based upon the spiritual principles of the Old Testament—though they recognized that the ritualistic laws were not binding anymore. They did not look upon Christianity as a "new invention." They knew that Jesus' teachings were simply a magnification of the spiritual laws and way of life revealed throughout the Old Testament (Isaiah 42:21). The Apostle Paul wrote Timothy, "that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). Paul was acknowledging that the Old Testament was inspired. For the only Scripture available to Timothy from childhood was what we today call the "Old Testament." Jesus constantly quoted from the Old Testament as the inspired word of God. Jesus taught, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4).
Yet most of today's "mainstream Christians" are given the idea—directly or indirectly—that the main thing is to just "believe on Jesus" and to become sentimental about His Person. They are not taught to have a profound reverence and awe of God—the "fear of God" and the understanding that we are commanded to live by every word of God in the Bible. So today's Christians keep many of the ancient pagan holidays and—because of their confusion—refuse to keep the Holy Days directly commanded in the Bible as we have seen earlier in Zechariah 14!
Jesus warned, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3). Mark's gospel gives us Jesus' statement, "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). So, Jesus clearly said right there that you can actually worship Him, and yet be worshiping "in vain"! My friends, true Christianity is not to be based upon the "traditions" of men, but on the laws and the examples given in the Bible! So, it is absolutely vital that we look into the Bible for God's definition of what true Christianity is all about!
Subtly but surely, Satan the devil has deceived most of today's professing Christians into believing that Christianity is cut off from the Old Testament. In the name of "Christianity" there are hundreds of millions who reject what Jesus Christ—the God of the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 10:1–4)—had given to the Israelites through His servant Moses.
The biblical and historical facts show plainly that true Christianity is a continuation—an enlargement and "magnification" of the teachings God gave through Moses—not something brand-new! As God inspired the Apostle Paul to explain to the Gentile Christians at Ephesus, "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:19–20). As we see, a basic part of the very "foundation" of Christianity are the writings and teachings of the Old Testament prophets—which Christ and the Apostles referred to as "Scripture" again and again!
Remember, Jesus Christ was a circumcised Jew (Luke 2:21–22; Hebrews 7:14). It was His "custom" to keep the seventh-day Sabbath—right along with the other Jews (Luke 4:16). Far from abrogating God's Sabbath, Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for "man"—not just for Jews, and that He was "Lord" of the Sabbath. So, the Sabbath is, in fact, the true "Lord's Day" as far as a day of rest and worship is concerned!
Long after Christ's death and resurrection, it was still the Apostle Paul's "custom" to keep the seventh-day Sabbath (Acts 18:2). We also find Paul observing the annual biblical festivals—such as Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8), Passover and Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 5:7–8). Sadly, along with rejecting the biblical festivals commanded by God in the Old Testament, "mainstream Christianity" has in many quarters taken on a definite anti-Jewish bias that has continued to this day!
Yet the biblical Holy Days still matter to God! The true Church of God—named "Church of God" twelve times in the New Testament—was itself started on the Day of Pentecost, one of the seven annual Sabbaths God gave His people. At His second coming, Christ Himself will return at the "seventh trump" (Revelation 11:15)—pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, another of the biblical Holy Days. The same Jesus Christ who inspired the entire Bible inspired His servant Zechariah to explain that after Christ's second coming the whole world will observe the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14). Also, note this description of life during the soon-coming Millennial reign of Jesus Christ: "'And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,' says the Lord" (Isaiah 66:23).
So, true Christians who observe the weekly and annual Sabbaths and festivals are not only following the "pattern" of original Christianity; we are "pioneering" the way of life that all nations will soon be learning in Tomorrow's World! Through this very Work, we are beginning to restore original Christianity. This is a major reason for this Work of the living God at the end of this age. All who respond to His teachings will certainly have a "head start" in preparing to be those kings and priests Christ is now training to assist Him in ruling all the world in the coming Kingdom of God.
Most people in the world just go to church to be with their neighbors, to have a "good feeling" that they are "okay" and that they are genuinely learning something worthwhile. However, very few of the more than two billion people who call themselves "Christians" have the concept that they are now "in training" to assist Christ in His soon-coming government to bring genuine peace and joy in Tomorrow's World.
As survey after survey has found, only a very few professing Christians truly study and understand the Bible. Most professing Christians cannot even name the four Gospels, let alone understand what they say, or what the rest of the Bible says, or what the one-fourth of the entire Bible devoted to prophecy has to say. So, they do not understand the times we are in, or that this world is now crashing down around us and will continue to crash because of our wrong way of life until Christ returns and genuinely straightens things out through His righteous government!
Remember, the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth: "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" (1 Corinthians 6:2–3).
Most of you readers will recognize that the entire approach of these inspired words of Paul is very different from the idea of Christianity propounded in most of today's churches! Overwhelmingly, most people are not taught that the ultimate goal of a Christian is to prepare to be a king or priest assisting Christ in ruling the world in His soon-coming Kingdom. Rather, most people in "mainstream" churches are taught that they will simply "float off to heaven" with essentially nothing to do! Therefore, they do not have a genuine reason to obey the Creator, to be an overcomer and to be in Christ's coming Kingdom. This superficial approach—the entire "flavor" of mainstream Christianity—is vastly different from what the Bible clearly indicates! Jesus said, "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'—as I also have received from My Father" (Revelation 2:26–27).
The Apostle John also wrote about the inspired "song" of the saints, "And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth'" (Revelation 5:9–10).
In God's great Master Plan, the Creator has "made us kings and priests to our God and we shall reign on the earth." Our rule will not be up in heaven. It will be on this physical earth where Jesus Christ will soon rule as King of kings.
In that coming Kingdom, the true Christ of the Bible will administer a righteous government that will teach an entire way of life based on the laws of God. The Ten Commandments will be the basis of its laws (Isaiah 2:1–4). God's Sabbaths and Holy Days will be observed all over the earth—picturing God's Plan in bringing people together in a way which honors the Creator.
People will be taught to actually obey the Ten Commandments—including that they should truly fear to kill another human being, even in war. They will be taught that adultery is not merely a physical act, but that even to lust after another's spouse is, in fact, adultery (Matthew 5:27–28). Men and women will be taught to give, to help, to share and to serve one another in the fear of God. There will be a peace and joy beyond anything the world has even remotely experienced!
Describing the coming King-dom, the world-ruling government of Jesus Christ, God inspired these words: "Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king's Son. He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice. The mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor" (Psalm 72:1–4).
In God's coming Kingdom, there will be righteous judgment for every human being, and the "poor" will receive justice. Notice: "In His days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more" (v. 7). The incredible sense of genuine peace and joy that will permeate the entire world when true Christianity is everyone's way of life is hard to imagine! May God help all of us be willing even now to get back to that—to the true Christianity of the original Christians and of Jesus Christ Himself.
As Jesus' physical brother, the Apostle Jude was inspired to write, "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3–4).
Truly, we are to "contend"—be willing to fight—to get back to the true faith "which was once for all delivered to the saints"—even though certain men have crept in unnoticed and have virtually done away with that original faith.
When the real Jesus Christ of the Bible returns as King of kings, and looks around for those who have been willing to genuinely serve Him and practice the original Christianity, may God grant that you and I be among those people. It is vital. Now is the time to act!