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Wallace G. Smith

Hard Questions for Easter

Bible open on table with happy Easter question

Scripture exposes the truth behind this beloved holiday.

New Gods, New Sins

The gods of our ancestors may not be prominent anymore, but that doesn’t mean mankind hasn’t made new gods to worship, and new ways to sin. Just what are these new gods and new sins? Watch to find out more.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

A New Age of Idolatry

Many believe that the age of religion and superstition is over—that mankind has finally moved past its days of worshipping gods, lists of commandments, and condemnations of sin.

They would be wrong. Welcome to the world of “New Gods” and “New Sins”—a world we’ll explore on Tomorrow’s World, right now!

Religious Devotion to Secular Causes

Greetings and welcome to Tomorrow’s World, where we help you make sense of the world through the pages of your Bible. We’re delighted you’re here.

In this episode, we’re going to discuss the world of “New Gods” and “New Sins” that surrounds us today. We’re also going to offer you one of the most powerful and relevant DVDs I believe we have ever sent to our viewers: “A World Gone Mad.” As always, this DVD is completely free for the asking. Watch your screen for the details you need to get your DVD.

Now it might sound strange to speak of “New Gods” and please don’t misunderstand me. What Jesus Christ told His disciples on that Passover evening 2,000 years ago is still true today: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the ONLY TRUE GOD, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

But the more you examine the world around you, increasingly you see a wilderness of new religions growing up like weeds. These aren’t the traditional religions of the past, focused on the ancient gods of, say, the Greeks, or the Egyptians, or Norse mythology. Yet, their followers are every bit as fiercely passionate as those ancient pagans may have been. And their devotion to their deities every bit as complete.

The sort of “gods” we’ll discuss today are reflected in the words God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel in his condemnation of ancient Israel—a condemnation that rings just as true today. Ezekiel wrote, “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity…’” (Ezekiel 14:2–3).

“They have set up IDOLS IN THEIR HEARTS.” It’s easy to think of idols as statues of stone or gold—or even as engravings, icons, and other artwork. And such items often DO violate the Second of the Ten Commandments, to be sure!

Yet God reveals here that idol worship goes FAR BEYOND what we create with our hands! Man is particularly adept at creating idols in his HEART—false gods, to which he devotes himself religiously, submitting his mind, his actions, his morals, and his conscience.

And, my friends, today we are living in a virtual PANTHEON of idols of the heart: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHIES, SOCIAL CAUSES, IDENTITY ISSUES, NEW WORLDVIEWS… the world around us represents a growing collection of “New Gods,” ready for you to become their follower—and ready with lists of enlightened “New Doctrines,” “New Dogmas,” and “New Sins” for you to agree with and embrace as your own.

More than that—the followers of these “New Gods” are increasingly ready to wield power to FORCE belief in their faith upon the world and ready to PUNISH those who will not fall into line.

Unlike biblical Christianity, which from the beginning sought to win people’s hearts and minds through sound words and good example, the acolytes of these “New Gods” are more like what is seen in the apostate Christianity that followed: willing to do whatever it takes to forcibly compel either confession or compliance.

Whether it is the power of the courtroom, the power of the legislature, the power of the markets, or the power of the media, the faithful acolytes of these “New Gods” seek to punish anyone who dares defy the faith to which they have devoted themselves so fully.

In a moment, we’ll begin our look at several of these “New Gods”—including one that, I freely admit, truly breaks my heart.

Scientific and Environmentalist Fanaticism

Let’s take a look at some of the philosophies, worldviews, and mindsets of man that have been elevated to the status of “godhood” in our society today.

The first we’ll consider is SCIENCE. This one breaks my heart because I love science. Proverbs 25:2 tells us, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter,” and, to me, the practice of science demonstrates one of the best examples of searching out a matter.

Through the scientific method, human life has been greatly enhanced, and many sources of human disease, discomfort, and distress have been addressed. We’ve learned some of the secrets of the universe, and our understanding of our world is richer for it.

Yet science isn’t God. It doesn’t tell us right from wrong. The theories and experiments that revealed the secrets of the subatomic world also allowed us to build the weapons that would devastate Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing thousands.

No matter. When one is kicking God out of civilization, something has to take His place, and those who don’t understand the limitations of science (or don’t care) are happy to build altars to its name and declare it one of the “New Gods.” And like any other god, the religion its worshippers create has its orthodoxies, dogmas, and sins. As if invoking the name of their God, people seek to win arguments by claiming they have the “SCIENCE” on their side—regardless of whether, in reality, scientific studies give support to the other position, too.

Scientists are treated like priests, delivering the word of God—and the view of the majority of scientists is considered canonical truth, such that those who dare to DISAGREE with that canon are considered heretics to be “burned at the stake”—even if they are scientists, themselves.

Think that is harsh? Real-life experience says otherwise. The website “Free Science” lists the names of several scientists who have experienced virtual excommunication for their willingness to dissent from the dogma of evolution. They have faced the loss of positions, the loss of jobs, investigations by their departments, cancelation of their courses… In one case, that of double-PhD biologist Richard Sternberg, even the United States Office of Special Counsel concluded in its investigation, “It is… clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing you out of the SI [that is the Smithsonian Institute]” (“Richard Sternberg,” Free Science, FreeScience.today). All because he had allowed a peer-reviewed paper, sympathetic to evidence of design in life instead of evolution, to be published in a science journal.

Because when Science is elevated to the status of false god, even a hint of disagreeing with evolution is a heresy, and heresy is not to be tolerated.

Another “New God” that many lump in with Science—though not at all exactly the same—is the “New God” of CLIMATE CHANGE.

And let me be up front. It makes good sense to be good stewards of the earth. Man wasn’t made for the earth, but the earth was made for man, and it makes sense to wisely manage our resources. And I’m not here to argue about whether global climate is actually changing, or whether mankind is the chief cause of that change.

Those things are beside the point, because once Climate Change has been elevated to the status of “godhood,” all things are thrown out of perspective. No other good matters next to serving the divine desires of Climate Change, and moral good and evil become determined by nothing more than their environmental impact.

Destroy a nation’s productive capacity, economic systems, and social structures to achieve a Green New Deal and save the environment. No problem. For the “New God” of Climate Change, the ultimate moral good is caring about the earth—or at least APPEARING TO OTHERS as though you care about the earth.

Political science professor Michael Munger made this point in a 2019 article for the American Institute for Economic Research. Upon giving a presentation at a recycling conference about how recycling glass is actually bad for the environment, given the pollution involved, the carbon costs, expense, etc., he expected pushback from the attendees, all of whom were die-hard recyclers. What he received, instead, surprised him. He writes:

One fellow was perfectly forthcoming: “Oh, we all know it makes no sense to recycle glass. The economic case is easy. But people should still recycle, because it’s simply the right thing to do. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ACTUAL ENVIRONMENT. It’s about enlisting people to care about the SYMBOL of the environment. Overall, recycling is still worth doing, regardless of its effects.”

A young woman piped up: “It’s okay to say that sort of thing here, because we are insiders. But it’s better not to talk about the economics of things to the general public. We need to help TRAIN THEM to care about the environment, and recycling is one of the best ways to do that.”…

The message I had worried about, and expected to be controversial, was old hat to the industry folks. But it was beside the point, because recycling was for them a MORAL imperative. Once you begin to think of recycling as a symbol of RELIGIOUS DEVOTION rather than a pragmatic solution to environmental problems, the whole thing makes more sense (“For Most Things, Recycling Harms the Environment,” American Institute for Economic Research, AIER.org, August 14, 2019).

Going meatless because you are concerned about the cattle industry’s impact on global warming, deciding not to have children so as to reduce humanity’s “carbon footprint”—such steps are small prices to pay to ensure one satisfies the demands of the “New God” of Climate Change. But eat a burger, have a large family, or fail to recycle that soda bottle, and be prepared to be called out as a “sinner.”

Sexual Immorality and Even Thought Control

We’ve examined two of the “New Gods” of the modern age. Our next “New God” is SEXUAL ANARCHY.

When it comes to sex, the biblical model is simple: Humanity was created male and female, categories obvious in their biology. And they were created for each other, so that when man and woman committed to each other before God in marriage, then the benefits of marriage were available to them, including sexual intimacy and the children that would follow.

Yet, the “New God” of Sexual Anarchy dictates that sexuality and sexual nature is not bound by any rules, or constraints, or natural laws, at all.

In the eyes of devotees of this “New God,” the list of sins is long and detailed, but they can be summarized fairly simply: Anyone claiming to believe in biblical concepts of gender, sexuality, and marriage is to be labeled, at best, a prude, and at worst, a bigot. Such ideas are considered far too “restrictive” by the worshipers of Sexual Anarchy. And as the word “anarchy” implies, everything is up for grabs.

Sex is no longer confined to marriage. And marriage itself has been redefined to include any two people, regardless of their gender. In fact, even gender has been redefined—no longer correlating to the two sexes, male and female, but freed to move fluidly along a spectrum of possibilities—a spectrum without rules, constraints, or boundaries.

Each year, many children are sacrificed to this “New God” of Sexual Anarchy. Children not considered old enough to vote, serve in the military, or drive a car, are allowed to make fundamental and far-reaching decisions about changing their gender that will change their lives forever.

Even the courts have recently recognized at least some of the problems in such a position. On December 1, 2020, the BBC reported on a case brought against the UK’s National Health Service by several individuals, including a young woman who had been prescribed hormone blockers as a teenager to help her irreversibly prevent puberty, in line with her then-desire to be a male. The claimants won the case, arguing that children simply do not have the capacity to make decisions like that. In the words of one of the judges, “It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers. It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers”.

But don’t expect the true believers in Sexual Anarchy to abandon their faith after one small setback. They will continue to seek to punish those individuals who believe biblical sexuality and morality is best for society—and sacrifices will continue to be made, as they march their faith forward.

In fact, faith in the “New God” of Sexual Anarchy is only one sect in a host of “New Religions” that fall under a broader “New God”—much like the gods of Ancient Greece were under Zeus, or the gods of the Romans under Jupiter. This larger “New God” could be dubbed SOCIAL REVOLUTION.

Part of the power of this “New God” is its ability to be cast in the image of the worshipper. If you believe sexual and gender norms are the Great Satan preventing society from progressing, then Revolution centers around that. If you’re a women’s studies major at an Ivy League university and believe that the world won’t be safe until the Patriarchy is destroyed, then the “New God” of Social Revolution is prepared to bless your cause. If you believe capitalism is the real bane of society, no matter how many lives it has helped, then the God of Social Revolution is ready with placards, signs, and even Molotov cocktails to help you press for socialism, communism, or even anarchy, if you prefer. And if the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., that his children would be judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin, seems “not quite enough,” then the god of Social Revolution is ready to arm you with Critical Race Theory—arming you for battle on social media and indoctrination in schools and workplaces.

“New Gods” bring “New Sins,” and for the god of Social Revolution, the greatest sin is increasingly ThoughtCrime, taken right out of the pages of George Orwell’s 1984. Those who think differently than the worshippers of Social Revolution must be canceled, sanctioned, and publicly disavowed. University professors are threatened with job loss, prestigious and successful writers, such as J.K. Rowling, are threatened with boycotts, and other media figures find their livelihoods endangered by discoveries of past Tweets or comments to the media, as Inquisitions examine every public statement to ensure their thinking is pure. Sometimes, after paying penance through very public apologies or social media posts in which they recant their former positions and declare fidelity to the new faith, individuals may be forgiven—though they tend to remain tainted.

The “sin” of wrong thinking is simply not to be tolerated.

Freedom from Sin?

Welcome back.

In a sense, these “New Gods” act more like the “Old Gods” of ancient mythology than they might seem. Like the stories of the Greek gods bickering back and forth in jealousy and spite, these false gods do the same from time to time. For instance, scientific studies that disagree with the conclusions of sexual anarchists are deemed hateful and inaccurate—not on factual grounds, but ideological. And even within the individual faiths generated by these “New Gods,” there is internal strife and conflict. Some of the most passionate and ugly debate that you will find on the Internet takes place between feminists and gender-identity advocates.

But, these “New Gods” are older than they appear for far deeper reasons. Each of them is simply a manifestation of a very different sort of false god, one who has reigned here on earth for quite some time: Satan the Devil.

Referring to him as “the god of this age”—or, in the King James, “the god of this world”—the Apostle Paul explains how Satan uses tactics like these false gods and idols of the heart to distract people from the truth that the REAL GOD OF THE BIBLE would have them understand;

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do nnot believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4).

Since the devil enticed Eve to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and gave to her husband to eat with her, mankind has trusted in his own philosophies, systems of government, and explorations of the world around him instead of the God who made him and who has a purpose for him. These “New Gods” are simply the latest in a long line of manifestations of a deceived mankind’s misplaced trust in his own foolishness.

But, thankfully, God has not abandoned us to our foolishness.

He will send Jesus Christ back to this earth, to restore all things and to usher in the Kingdom of God, the only true hope for humanity. In the light of that Kingdom, the “New Gods” will be judged, just as the gods of Egypt were when the Almighty freed the children of Israel.

Science will be returned to its natural place, as a tool for exploring the creation. Sexual anarchy will be replaced by peace of mind by the one who created sex. The environment will be healed, and mankind will be taught balanced ways of maintaining it for the good of humanity. And the ultimate social revolution will have taken place—all of society will look to God for His guidance, wisdom, and love.

May Christ soon return and save us from the day of “New Gods” by pointing the world to the True One.

New Gods, New Sins

Ruins of a Greek temple in sunset

The ancient, heathen “gods” of old have been replaced—and their replacements are no better. The pagan temples of many false gods of the past may be turning to dust around us, but modern man is no less “creative” than his heathen ancestors. Welcome to modern-day idolatry in a world of “new gods,” new dogmas, new demands—and new sins.

Your Questions, the Bible's Answers!

Sometimes the Bible can be confusing or hard to understand, leaving many with questions. Learn the answers to some of these questions, and equip yourself with the tools to be able to answer many other biblical questions. Watch to learn more!

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

Three Commonly Asked Questions About the Bible

Those who read and study the Bible find their lives enriched and enlightened by the divine guidance they discover within its pages. But that doesn’t mean they don’t trip up on a question or two now and then. Today, we’re going to take a look at a few questions we often receive about the Bible and show you how to determine solid answers, straight from God’s word. So, stay right here for today’s program, “Your Questions, the Bible’s Answers!”

Biblical Truth—You Can Find It!

Greetings, and welcome to Tomorrow’s World, where we help you make sense of the world through the pages of your Bible!

If you are a regular viewer of our program, you know that we base everything we teach on God’s word, the Bible. When Jesus Christ prayed to God the night before His crucifixion, He asked His Father to set His followers apart from the world around them, saying, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

God’s word is THE TRUTH. No other source of knowledge reflects the very mind of the Creator like the Bible, and the answers to life’s greatest questions are found in its pages.

But that doesn’t mean that every part of it is easy to understand! In fact, some things we read in the Bible can be confusing. But the answers ARE THERE, waiting for the diligent student, with God’s help, to find them. Today, we’re going to tackle a potpourri of three Bible questions that students of God’s word sometimes ask, and we’re going to show you the Bible’s own answers to those questions.

As for today’s “Bible Q&A,” here are the questions we will address:

  1. Does Jesus Christ command Christians to hate their family members?
  2. Exactly how did Judas Iscariot die?
  3. And, why are there souls under the altar in the book of Revelation?

First, let’s begin by reading a passage that generates questions among many and see what the Bible has to say about it. If you have a Bible handy, turn to Luke 14:26, where Jesus is teaching a great multitude. He tells them,

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”

Reading this verse, many have asked: “Does Jesus really command Christians to hate their family members?”

Of course, the idea that Jesus is literally commanding His followers to hate their mother, father, and others would INDEED be contrary to many of His other teachings. Whenever you come across an apparent contradiction like this in the Bible, it should always grab your attention, because the Bible—including Jesus’ teachings—never contradicts itself. Christ makes this point, Himself, in John 10:35, reminding the Jewish leaders in His audience that the “Scripture cannot be broken.”

So, just what is He saying here in this passage? In understanding the Bible, it’s important to understand the context surrounding the verse, instead of just reading the isolated verse. When we do this in the case of Luke 14, it is clear He is explaining the high standards His followers must meet. Rather than a “come as you are” policy, Jesus demands that people change in order to follow Him and that they commit their lives to Him fully. In verse 27 of that chapter, for instance, Jesus explains that one must be willing to bear his own cross to be one of Christ’s disciples—not a literal cross, but bearing the burden of persecution, difficulty, discomfort, and trial—even to death—just as Christ did. He says in verse 33 that His followers must be willing to forsake ALL that they possess—willing to give up anything else in their lives, and even their own lives, themselves, for His sake—or else they cannot be His disciples at all.

These passages give context for the message Jesus is trying to convey. He is telling the multitudes, and us, that we must consider HIM the most important part of our lives, versus all of the natural loves, comforts, and possessions we otherwise have.

He is NOT commanding His disciples to literally “hate” their family members. Consider earlier in the book of Luke, in chapter 6, where He commands Christians to love even their enemies:

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (vv. 27–28).

Why would Jesus command us to love our enemies and those who would seek to do us harm while commanding us to hate our family members? Of course, He wouldn’t.

The phrasing here in Luke 14:26 is one of CONTRAST, not objective hate. Jesus is saying that, to be His disciple, one must be willing to put Jesus Christ first before even one’s most natural affections—toward, parents, spouse, or children. We see this even more easily by applying another principle of understanding the Bible: Look at multiple witnesses to the same event or teaching. For example, this same teaching is worded in a clarifying way by the gospel writer Matthew in Matthew 10, verse 37:

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

In fact, those who DO give their lives to Jesus Christ, find that they don’t love their families LESS than they did before. Instead, they love them MORE. They discover that putting God as the highest priority in your life helps set all other priorities right.

So, no, He is not literally commanding us to hate our families. But He is warning us that we must love Him more—more even than our families, and even more than our very lives.

Context Matters, Especially for the Word of God

Our next question is one that puzzles many when they read the accounts of Jesus’ death and the beginning of the biblical Church: “Exactly how did Judas Iscariot die?”

You might recall that Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles who betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver. And on first glance, the Bible’s comments about Judas’ death might seem to be contradictory. Let’s take a look at two key statements and see if we can make sense of them.

In Matthew 27, we read that after Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, he was remorseful and tried to give the money back to his conspirators, but the priests would not accept. Verse 5 tells us,

“Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

The priests felt the money was tainted as “blood money” and would not accept it, presumably leaving it in Judas’ name and, Matthew says, applying it sometime later to buy a field in which strangers could be buried.

However, while Acts 1 and verse 18 speaks of the field purchased with Judas’ money, it seems to describe a different fate for the traitor:

“Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.”

The field’s being purchased with Judas’ money is consistent, but falling headlong and bursting in the middle does not sound like a hanging. How do we reconcile the accounts?

As we’ve noted before, any time we see what appear to be different accounts of the same facts or circumstance in the Bible, there is no need to assume a contradiction—indeed, Jesus tells us that the inspired word of God does not contradict itself. Rather, the multiple accounts act as multiple witnesses, each adding its own detail to the overall picture.

For instance, consider the sign that was nailed above Jesus’ head while He was crucified. Depending on which of the four gospels you read, you get a different report concerning what the sign said.

  • Matthew says the sign reads “This is Jesus the king of the Jews” 27:37).
  • Mark writes that the sign reads “King of the Jews” (15:26)
  • Luke reports that it reads “This is the King of the Jews,” and was written in Greek. Latin, and Hebrew (23:38).
  • Finally, John writes that Pilate’s sign read “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (19:19).

Do the gospel writers contradict each other? Not at all! In fact, not only do they say essentially the same thing, but also when we put all of them together, we get A FULLER picture—one of a sign reading, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Similarly, the accounts of Judas’ death are not in contradiction when they are read as two accounts that work TOGETHER to make for a fuller picture. Judas did, indeed, hang himself out of guilt and shame. But as his body hung there, his corpse did what corpses do and began to decompose. Eventually, it fell from the rope, struck the ground, and burst open—a terrible, loveless end for the traitor who betrayed the Messiah.

Again, when you understand that the Bible does not contradict itself, but it DOES give multiple witnesses to provide a larger picture, the problem resolves itself.

Biblical Symbols Explained

For our next question, let’s look at Revelation 6, starting in verse 9. Here, in John’s vision of God’s realm in heaven, we read an odd description:

“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”

So, many ask: Why are these mysterious souls under the altar in John’s vision? After all, does this mean that people will live, in heaven, under an altar, until Jesus’ return? That would certainly seem a very odd afterlife! “Thank you for your faithfulness and sacrifice in the name of Christ! Here is your apartment—under an altar!”

To understand this portion of John’s vision, we need to first understand that the book of Revelation is a mixture of literal description and symbolism. For instance, Revelation 8 verses 6 through 13 describe ecological disasters that will come upon the earth before Christ’s return. That is plain and literal. Yet chapter 6 describes events such as religious deception, war, famine, and pestilence depicted as four horsemen riding horses of different colors—clearly a symbolic picture.

In this case, the symbolism of the souls under the altar would be easily understood by those familiar with the first century sacrifices in Herod’s temple in Jerusalem—as the Apostle John surely was.

When an animal was sacrificed on God’s altar, the blood of the sin sacrifice would be poured at the base of the altar and pool there. We actually read a description of this design in Leviticus 4 and verse 7:

“And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of meeting; and he shall pour the remaining blood of the bull at the base of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.”

So, the souls seen in John’s vision occupy the same place at the altar as the blood of animals, sacrificed for sins. And, indeed, Revelation 6 and verse 9 tells us that the voices represented innocents whose blood had been spilled because of their faithfulness to God’s word. Their slaying is a part of a terrible time of suffering still to come on the earth—the prophesied Great Tribulation.

To complete the symbolism, consider the tale of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. After wicked Cain slays his innocent brother, Abel, God confronts him, saying, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground” (v. 10).

Just as the spilled blood of innocent Abel cried out to God, the spilled blood of God’s saints in the tribulation to come will cry out for vengeance, symbolized here as coming from the base of the altar. So, no, the Bible does NOT teach that the souls of martyrs somehow consciously live on in some sort of underground apartment complex under an altar in heaven.

We want to conclude today with some broader lessons we’ve learned through these questions and look at how we can apply them in our Bible study going forward.

Conclusion—Truly Knowing the Bible

There is a great comfort in seeing the Bible as a reliable source of truth, trustworthy in all it says. Because it has so much more to say than any history book or philosophy book that mankind has ever created. It answers the deepest questions of life, provides the only true hope of our lives, and points us to the very source of life: Our Creator God.

On today’s program, we’ve answered three common Bible questions.

First: Does Jesus Christ command Christians to hate their family members? The answer? Absolutely not. He’s teaching that we need to put Him first, even above those who are closest to us, but if anything, putting Him first, we end up loving them more.

Secondly: Exactly how did Judas Iscariot die? We’ve discovered that when you put the scriptures together, they paint a larger picture. That he did indeed hang himself in remorse, and then eventually his corpse fell and burst asunder.

And then third: Why are there souls under the altar in the Book of Revelation? We looked into the book, and noticed that parts of it were literal and parts of it were symbolic. And we actually tied in other scriptures that described the altar in the temple in Jesus’ day, and looked at the practices and looked at other examples, such as how the blood of Abel called out to god, in that sense figuratively. We found that that picture made so much sense, and it’s simply the lives of the martyrs and their deaths that call out to God asking for vengeance on their behalf.

But actually when you look at it, we’ve done more than that. In going through these three questions, we’ve also illustrated a number of principles that will help you get more out of your Bible and begin making sense of this book, which too many seek to dismiss.

We’ve seen that answering Bible questions involves understanding the context around a verse, such as the larger passage, and not just the verse in isolation. We’ve seen that it helps to understand that there is an additive nature to multiple biblical witnesses, in which different statements work together to give us a fuller picture and to clarify the confusions that human teachers sometimes create. And we’ve seen that we should strive to examine other scriptures on a related topic, seeking to allow the Bible to explain itself.

The Apostle Paul wrote to his young evangelist friend Timothy, reminding him about the power of God’s word in the life of one who believes in the message of Jesus Christ. He points out to him 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. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15–17).

We should note that the New Testament we have today did not yet exist when Paul wrote those words, so he had in mind primarily the Old Testament. We really do need the whole word of God, both Old and New Testaments—so don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

A friend of mine was once explaining his appreciation for a preacher he highly admired, and he gave him one of the greatest compliments I think I’ve ever heard. He said the man knew His Bible as one would know a good friend with whom he had spent much, much time.

You can have a relationship with your Bible like that, as well.

Just What Is the Kingdom of God?

Just what is the Kingdom of God? Many professing Christians will tell you that it is in your heart now, but you may be surprised to know the Bible tells us something entirely different. Watch now to find out just what the Kingdom of God really is and why so many people are deceived about it.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

A Great Religious Deception

Believe it or not, Satan the Devil has deceived most of the churches of this world to virtually AVOID the very heart of Jesus Christ’s message to the world: The good news of the coming Kingdom of God! As a result, most who consider themselves “Christian” don’t even understand what the Kingdom of God is. If you want to defeat Satan’s plan to keep you in the dark, this edition of Tomorrow’s World is for you. Join us today as we answer the question the Devil wants you to ignore: “Just What Is the Kingdom of God?”

More to the Gospel Than Jesus?

Welcome to Tomorrow’s World! where we help you make sense of the world through the pages of your Bible.

Today, we are going to explain in plain and simple terms the Kingdom of God—a mystery which almost no one understands today, including those who call themselves Christians!

What is the Kingdom of God? Is it just a feeling in your heart? Is it the church or the collection of Christians throughout the ages? Is it only in heaven?

And why is it a mystery at all? Why is there such confusion over the Kingdom of God in the first place?

We’ll also be offering you a free resource that explains why today’s churches are in such utter confusion: It’s titled Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity. Keep an eye out for the information you need to get your free copy.

Constantly in the churches of the world or in videos online, you will find men and women preaching about JESUS—who they think He was, the story of His life as they understand it, the miracles He performed, some of the things He said or did, His crucifixion and resurrection.

It all SEEMS to make sense, and to be sure, Jesus Christ IS the savior of the world. It IS by His shed blood that we are forgiven our sins. But we have to ask ourselves: Is the message preached by these churches THE SAME MESSAGE THAT JESUS PREACHED?

As we’ll see in a moment, Jesus did not come to only talk about HIMSELF. The HEART AND SOUL of the message, preaching, and teaching of Jesus Christ was about the KINGDOM OF GOD! That might surprise some of you, because we don’t hear much about the Kingdom of God today. Yet it is mentioned around 150 times in the New Testament.

Let’s take a brief, but sweeping survey of the ministry of Christ and of His disciples, and see for ourselves.

In the book of Mark, chapter 1, we read of the very beginning of Christ’s ministry, right after the imprisonment of John the Baptist. Here in verses 14-15, Mark writes:

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the KINGDOM OF GOD is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

In fact, look at Jesus’ statement in the book of Luke. In chapter 4, Jesus makes a very explicit statement about His purpose and His mission—ABOUT WHY HE WAS ON EARTH IN THE FIRST PLACE! In verse 43 we read, “... He said to them, ‘I must preach the KINGDOM OF GOD to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’” Jesus tells us that His PURPOSE, the VERY REASON HE WAS SENT BY GOD, was to preach about the KINGDOM OF GOD!

The Kingdom of God was so central to Jesus’ message to humanity—to you and me—that He told us that seeking that Kingdom should be the number one focus of our lives. Read it with me in Matthew 6:33:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

That same chapter of the Bible contains the famous passage commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer.” In that model prayer, Jesus mentions the Kingdom of God TWICE—at the beginning and the end. In fact, the four gospels are FULL of teachings and parables from Jesus ABOUT the Kingdom of God—so many we don’t have time on today’s program to read them all. Instead, let’s turn to a passage in the book of Acts that may surprise you.

Many people don’t know that the Bible says Jesus actually spent almost six weeks with His disciples before ascending to heaven to remain with His Father until His return—six weeks of teaching them and preparing them for their mission. And what did He focus on during that time? Acts 1:3 tells us that Jesus

“... presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the KINGDOM OF GOD.”

THAT’S how important the topic was to Jesus Christ!

And His disciples took His instruction seriously. Consider the famous Apostle Paul. Acts 14:22 pictures him speaking of the difficulty of entering the KINGDOM OF GOD. Acts 19:8 says he spent THREE MONTHS in the synagogues of the Jews “reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the KINGDOM OF GOD.” Acts 20:25 shows him testifying to Christians in Ephesus that he has been among them “preaching the KINGDOM OF GOD”—the list goes ON & ON & ON! At the VERY END of the book of Acts, we find Paul in a state of house arrest and receiving visitors. Acts 28 verses 30 & 31 tell us what he was doing there:

“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the KINGDOM OF GOD and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

The testimony of the Bible is UNANIMOUS AND DEAFENING—the message of Jesus Christ and the message of His church MUST BE ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

If the Kingdom of God was at the heart of Jesus’ message, WHY do most people who consider themselves faithful Christians not hear about it more? Why do so many not even know what it is?

Because the Christianity we see around us today has been long corrupted by the Devil and influenced to ignore or change many vital and inspiring truths of God—including the truth about the Kingdom of God!

I know that might be shocking to hear, but it is unquestionably true. There is a reason the modern Christian church is shattered into a thousand pieces, all teaching doctrines and practices that differ in ways great and small from the teachings of the Bible: Satan the Devil has been working to corrupt Christianity from its beginning.

The Four Keys to the Kingdom

Men make the Bible complicated and confusing, but God is not the author of confusion! When God speaks plainly, why not simply take Him at His word instead of adding our OWN ideas to HIS TEACHINGS?

If we want to understand the Kingdom of God, we need to consider: What makes a kingdom a “kingdom”? By seeking that plain understanding—and allowing the Bible to answer our questions—we can cut through the Devil’s confusion to see the beautiful, simple truth.

When we consider it carefully, we find that FOUR ELEMENTS make up every kingdom, including the Kingdom of God:

(a) King,Territory, Laws, and Subjects.

Looking to the Bible’s insights with these four elements of a kingdom in mind will reveal the answer to today’s question—and reveal the Kingdom of God.

Let’s first consider the KING. It may come as no surprise to you that the KING of the future Kingdom of God will be Jesus Christ! He will LITERALLY RULE THE WORLD!

People often get sentimental about the words of Isaiah 9 in verses 6–7, but they rarely actually look at what it SAYS. Let’s read it together.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the GOVERNMENT will be upon His shoulder.”

Now pause for a moment. Did you catch that? The GOVERNMENT will be upon His shoulder! The first part of the verse is not a metaphor, why would this be one? Jesus Christ was born to GOVERN!

Let’s continue:

“And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His GOVERNMENT and peace there will be no end, upon the THRONE of David and over His KINGDOM, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

King David ruled in Jerusalem, over a REAL Kingdom. So, too, CHRIST will rule in Jerusalem, over a REAL Kingdom—but this time, a Kingdom without end. He will be exactly what He’s called in Revelation 19:16, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

But He will not be ruling alone. For instance, Matthew 19:28 tells us His twelve apostles will be ruling under Him in the Kingdom, judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Even more than that—EACH AND EVERY CHRISTIAN who has suffered and struggled in this world to overcome sin and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ will DIRECTLY RULE THE WORLD UNDER CHRIST, AS WELL!

So many verses speak of this future. Daniel 7 verses 18 and 27 talk of the Kingdom being given to God’s people. Revelation 20 and verse 6 speaks of the saints reigning with Christ for 1,000 years.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 6 and verse 2, where Paul talks of the reign of the future glorified Christians very plainly:

“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?”

JUDGE THE WORLD? JUDGE ANGELS? What an INCREDIBLE DESTINY ahead for the true followers of Jesus Christ!

The reward of the saved is NOT a heavenly retirement home—it is RULING TOMORROW’S WORLD in GLORY under JESUS CHRIST!

Here we see the second element of a Kingdom: The TERRITORY. The saints will rule the world under Christ—that’s THIS world, not Heaven, or some fuzzy, feel-good Kingdom in your heart! I know it’s hard to “unlearn” some things, but shattering the deceit of the Devil to learn the REAL TRUTH of Jesus’ message is worth it!

And the truth is plain for those willing to read and believe their Bibles. True Christians can proclaim the clear words of Revelation 5 and verse 10, and will say, “[You] have made us KINGS and PRIESTS to our God; and we shall REIGN ON THE EARTH.”

It doesn’t GET more straightforward than that! Those who follow Christ NOW shall REIGN ON THE EARTH! And earlier in Revelation, in chapter 2 and verses 26 and 27, Jesus encourages us: “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….’”

“Power over the nations” means authority ON THIS EARTH!

Is Jesus LYING to us? Is He saying something He doesn’t really mean? Satan would have you believe that. Why can’t people just trust the Bible for WHAT IT SAYS?

One World Government Possible Under God!

Today, we are unlocking the Mystery of the Kingdom of God, and we are doing so by simply believing the Bible for what it says.

In our last segment, we highlighted that those who follow Jesus Christ will rule the world alongside Him, which may be a bit of a surprise to many of you who simply expected Christians to simply die and go to heaven. But, if you think about it, the truth of the saints’ coming world rule has been in front of you all the time, right in your Bible. Even many atheists are familiar with Jesus’ promise recorded in Matthew 5:5 The meek shall inherit the earth. There are so many verses we are skipping for the sake of time, but I want to ask you—aren’t some of these verses and passages beginning to make sense? Jesus really DID mean what He said! The meek are going to LITERALLY inherit planet Earth. When we sweep away the Devil’s ideas and embrace the plain truth of the Bible, so MUCH becomes clear.

Let’s continue. We’ve covered the first two elements of every kingdom—including the Kingdom of God: A KING, and TERRITORY. Let’s now look at the third element every kingdom possesses: A collection of LAWS.

The Bible is clear from beginning to end that the future Kingdom of God will be ruled by the Laws of GOD, embodied in the TEN COMMANDMENTS!

So many sincere but CONFUSED pastors, preachers, and priests will tell you that Jesus somehow DID AWAY with His Father’s commandments, but this simply IS NOT SO! For example, you can read for yourself in Matthew 19:16-17 how Christ replied when a young man came to Him asking to receive eternal life. Jesus answered, “If you want to enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.”

Many prophecies speak of Christ’s reign on earth and how the LAW OF GOD will form the basis of that reign. For instance, Isaiah 2 verse 3 tells us, “For out of Zion shall go forth the LAW, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

In fact, if we take a look at the larger passage there in Isaiah 2, we see the fourth element every kingdom possesses: SUBJECTS. The subjects of Jesus reign will comprise the entire world. Let’s read the larger passage, beginning in verse 2: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and ALL NATIONS shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the LAW, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (vv. 2–3).

Zechariah 14 tells us that this globe-covering reign will take some time, since some will refuse at first to be subjects of this Kingdom and come under the laws of God. But those nations will find that resisting this new world ruler is harder than they imagined.

For instance, when the glorified Jesus Christ calls for all the nations of the world to keep the biblical Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, some nations will apparently resist. Zechariah records that Christ will not take such refusals lightly. “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of 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. 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” (vv. 16–17).

With the new King of kings controlling nature itself, it will not be long before all the world learns to submit. And they will learn that resisting only postponed the blessings that come from yielding to a loving God.

The result of Jesus Christ’s reign over the entire world‚ and the people of the world, will be the kind of world we have always wanted—one of peace and prosperity. As recorded in Isaiah 2,

“He [that is, Christ] shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (v. 4).

Completely understanding the mystery of the Kingdom of God and the role it plays in salvation—the heart of the real gospel of Jesus Christ—has changed more lives than I can count. And it is only the start of a beautiful journey of walking fully and closely with God.

You Can Start Living God’s Way NOW

We’ve been explaining the simple truth of the Kingdom of God: That it isn’t a matter of living among the clouds of heaven, or a “feeling in your heart,” or the church. Rather it is a REAL KINGDOM, with a King, Jesus Christ; ruling a Territory, the entirety of planet Earth; possessing Laws, the Ten Commandments and the Laws of God; and reigning over Subjects, the people and nations of the entire world. Regardless of how much the Devil seeks to obscure this truth, it is at the VERY HEART AND SOUL of the message that Jesus Christ brought to this earth.

Jesus has commissioned us to preach about the Kingdom of God—not merely a gospel ABOUT Jesus, or about His person or about His life, but the Gospel OF JESUS! And we here at Tomorrow’s World are devoted to doing just that.

In fact, you can see the mission of Tomorrow’s World reflected in Christ’s prophecy, recorded in Matthew 24:14:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

And that gospel of the kingdom, along with the whole counsel of God that goes with it, is what we strive to deliver to you at Tomorrow’s World, week after week. The world that Jesus Christ will establish at His return, and that will spread to cover the entire earth, will truly be amazing beyond comprehension. His saints will rule with Him for a thousand years, reigning in power and glory alongside their Savior, and finally teaching the world all the truths that have been hidden by Satan the Devil for so long, including the remarkable purpose of man, and the way of life that truly leads to true life.

But you don’t have to wait until the return of Jesus Christ to begin experiencing the benefits of the Kingdom of God. You can begin to enjoy them, to some degree, in your life NOW. I know that there are people all over the world watching this program right now—I know because so MANY of you write to us each week and request our literature or to visit with one of our ministers. God IS calling some of you listening to this message today to understand more of His truth, and if God is calling you, you need to ACT!

You can begin a completely new and more dynamic walk with God right now! Psalm 34:8 tells us to “taste and see that the LORD is good” and you can begin doing that today! If anything in our messages here at Tomorrow’s World has begun to prod you to consider that there is more to the Bible than you realized, and that there is more to God’s way of life than you had previously imagined, feel free to contact one of our representatives. You can find a minister near you on our website at TomorrowsWorld.org or reach out to one of our Regional Offices, listed in our magazine, which you will receive with today’s free offer. If you have questions, we want to help with God’s answers.

Those who will be ruling with Jesus Christ after His return, making this planet the beautiful, peaceful paradise that God always intended it to be, will be those who learn to let Him rule their hearts and minds NOW. Those who rule WITH Him THEN, will be those who are willing to BE ruled BY Him NOW.