It is vitally important to realize that, even among professing Christians, there are a number of absolutely contradictory views about God, about the teaching of Jesus Christ and about the entire purpose of human existence!
Most of you subscribers sincerely want to learn about the ways of God—and how to serve the true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you probably would not be reading this magazine.
There was a time when many would argue about differences in religious doctrines and practices. People generally recognized that huge differences exist between the various churches and religious organizations. They were willing to study the Bible and try to find out what it actually said. But in recent years, it seems, most just assume that we are "all the same," and that it really does not make much difference what we believe. Instead, people have "nice warm squishy" feelings about God. They try to find a church that is friendly and has lots of activities, youth programs and good music—and they leave the doctrinal discussions to the preachers.
Yet your Bible commands you to "prove all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV). The Berean Christians were commended because "they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Have you honestly "searched the Scriptures" to be fully sure that your religious beliefs are correct? Have you put forth the mental effort to thoroughly prove the religious doctrines you believe?
It is vitally important to realize that, even among professing Christians, there are a number of absolutely contradictory views about God, about the teaching of Jesus Christ and about the entire purpose of human existence! Roman Catholics, for instance, have an entirely different view from most Protestants regarding the authority of the Bible, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and even the nature of God.
In visiting a number of Catholic churches as a tourist over the years, I have noticed many people on their knees before statues of the Virgin Mary and other "saints"—praying their hearts out to these statues. Many evangelical Protestants say that they would never pray before such a statue, picture or idol. Their idea is that Christians need only to "invite Jesus into your life today, and your search will be over. Jesus will do everything for you, and there is nothing more you need to do. Accept Jesus now and, no matter what happens later, you will go to heaven when you die."
"What's wrong with that?" you might ask. Well, for starters, the common "mainstream" concept of "heaven" is totally false and totally contrary to God's Plan. The Bible never describes heaven as the eternal reward of the saved. It speaks of the "kingdom of heaven"—not a kingdom up in heaven. It describes that God is preparing our reward in heaven, but never says that we will go there to get that reward! Rather, as Jesus said: "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12).
Does Jesus Christ, the Son of God, know about heaven? Of course! And He said: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven" (John 3:13). Where does this leave Abraham, the "father of the faithful"? And where does it leave David, "a man after God's heart"?
The very real danger of this "floating off to heaven" idea is that it directly contradicts Christ's clear and consistent teaching that Christians are to be "overcomers" preparing to assist Him in ruling this entire earth! 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 real Jesus of your Bible came preaching the message of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14). It was not a "fluff-fluff" gospel about a warm feeling in your heart or just "accepting" the Person of Christ. Rather, it was about the soon-coming government of God, which will bring genuine peace, prosperity, health and happiness to this sick and confused world. Jesus told His disciples: "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:29–30). Most modern ministers either totally neglect this and other similar passages throughout the Bible, or else they try to "spiritualize away" these vital scriptures. But Jesus was obviously talking about a literal kingdom or government to be set up here on earth at His Second Coming. As the Apostle John described Jesus' return to earth at the "last trump," notice what he was inspired to write: "Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever'" (Revelation 11:15). Note that the returning Jesus Christ will rule over the "kingdoms of this world"—not people up in heaven!
Also, read the inspired "Song of the Saints" recorded in Revelation 5:9–10: "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.'" So the Bible teaches that the true saints of God will reign with Christ on the earth. There is not one single verse in your Bible, anywhere, that promises "going to heaven" as a reward of the saints!
Why do the mainstream churches fail to preach this powerful message about the soon-coming Kingdom of God on this earth? Why do they insist on talking about the Person of Jesus, yet almost totally neglect the powerful message that He brought from the Father about a coming world government?
The Apostle Paul tells us very clearly that the true Christian's goal is to be part of that literal government to be set up on this earth! "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). In this passage, Paul clearly tells true Christians that we are to prepare to "judge" or to rule this entire earth. The Apostle John tells us: "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).
What an exciting future! What an awesome goal to aim for! What a wonderful reason to serve God, to overcome our sins and to fully surrender our lives to let Christ live within us and build within us the very character of God (cf. Galatians 2:20). Then, and only then, will we be fit to rule with Christ in His coming Kingdom.
God's Word tells us: "Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Daniel 7:27). Yet most professing Christians do not believe that—because they have never been taught that. They do not remotely understand the supreme purpose for which we have been put on this earth!
We in this Work of God do understand. We now have the privilege of helping millions of people to come to know the true God, the true Jesus Christ of the Bible and the great Plan that God is working out here on earth.
For more on what the Jesus Christ of your Bible actually taught, be sure to carefully read the lead article in this issue: "Which Christ Do YOU Worship?" And for more in-depth biblical and historical proof of what happened to the original Christianity of Jesus and the Apostles, be sure to write for a copy of our eye-opening, fully documented booklet, Restoring Apostolic Christianity. It will be sent absolutely free upon your request.