"I love God, so I don't fear Him," some will wrongly say. Your Bible shows that even Jesus Christ expressed "godly fear"—which is not some kind of cringing terror as some people mistakenly assume. Godly fear can bring peace and happiness to your life!
What will happen to a world that mocks God? Do you deeply respect your Creator?
Many were shocked earlier this year when the Comedy Central cable television network announced its slate of new programs under development. Along with its typical mix of ribald, vulgar and slapstick comedies, the network described a rather unusual project in a May 6 press release:
"JC. A half-hour animated show about JC (Jesus Christ) wanting to escape his father's enormous shadow and to live life in NYC as a regular guy. A lot has changed in 2,000 years and he is the ultimate fish out of water. Meanwhile his all-powerful yet apathetic father would rather be playing video games than listening to JC recount his life in the city. JC is a playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb."
Keep in mind, this new program is being developed by the same network that has refused to air an episode of the series South Park because it was accused of blaspheming Muhammad, whom Muslims revere as a prophet. But whether or not JC ever actually comes into production, the very idea that such a stupid, arrogant and blasphemous depiction of the Son of God would be seriously considered should give all of us a clue as to how far down the path we have come! For such an idea would not have even been dreamed of just a few decades back. Then, at least some few had a deep respect for God.
Do I sound "old-fashioned"?
Perhaps I do. For it is certainly not "fashionable" to talk in today's society about the "fear" of God. Truly, the very idea of a "real" God—a God of total power who is willing and able to intervene in human affairs—has been almost obliterated from the minds of most modern people. But, whether they like it or not, the real God of the Bible is now beginning to intervene in human affairs more than ever before, and will shake millions of skeptical and rebellious people to their very foundations!
This is where you, dear reader, come in.
For we at Tomorrow's World do not want you to be in ignorance of all the atheistic and false religious developments swirling around you. We do not want you to suffer the fate that is just ahead for so many who are not willing to genuinely worship and obey the actual God of the Bible. Yet, today, we have high-powered "scholars" like Richard Dawkins and critics such as Christopher Hitchens, writing about The God Delusion and similar topics. In their arrogant, high-handed, hyper-intellectual manner they certainly denigrate the very concept of a real God. Their vanity and arrogance is profound. But the important question to ask is: "Are they right?"
Nearly 2,000 years ago, when the Apostle Paul confronted the intelligentsia of the Greek and Roman world, he was inspired to write about their approach. Paul stated, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). Like their modern counterparts, those intellectuals would deny, ignore and suppress the massive evidence indicating that there was a creation and that the Creator has, in fact, intervened in human affairs in awesome prophetic developments recorded over and over in the Bible. Frankly, if they would use even one-tenth of their mental energy trying to prove the existence of God, of His creation, and of His intervention in prophetic events, they would find it very obvious that God is real—and that He ought to be deeply respected and feared! But they have gone the other way. As Paul wrote, "professing to be wise, they became fools" (v. 22). Paul also describes the "vile passions" into which millions of men and women have descended as they get into more and more perverted practices, "committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due" (v. 27). Perhaps we should think about AIDS, all the other venereal diseases, illnesses and shattered lives that result from fornication, adultery and so many other perverted behaviors of such individuals.
Any objective observer can see the awful "fruit" of living in rebellion against God's way. God has shown us His way, but stubborn and rebellious human beings persist in disobeying their very Creator—who loves them more than they can imagine! Yet, if we honestly stop to consider the great, unfathomable love and personal concern that God the Father has for each one of us, we should be humbled and deeply grateful. Once we have come to the knowledge of God, and we understand His purpose for us, we should be deeply fearful of practicing sin, knowing that the Day of Judgment will come. We should be fearful of disappointing our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died a painful death for us that we might be saved. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16–17).
People often misunderstand what the Bible means by "fear." As we have seen, God loves us so much that He let Jesus Christ come to this earth to die for those who were still sinners. He is not trying to "crush" people and make them "cower" for His pleasure. He sincerely desires that all should be saved. Those who are rebelling against God should certainly fear His vengeance. But those who are seeking to obey Him should be awestruck by His love, and should be moved to deep reverence.
Jesus Christ Himself expressed "godly fear" in calling out to His Father (Hebrews 5:7). So we cannot say, as some mistakenly do, that "fear" is an immature emotion, which Christians "grow out of" after their faith matures. Rather, we understand godly fear as the deep understanding of God's awesome power—and the knowledge that He uses His power in perfect love.
So, do you, personally, have a proper fear of the true God of the Bible—the Creator and Governor of the universe—who gives you life and breath? Please think about it—for your own good. In Proverbs 9:10, we read, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
It is vital that we understand that there really is a Creator who gives us life and breath, who is working out a supreme purpose here on earth. That knowledge helps us make right decisions and choices for our future—both now and forever. So, that type of "fear" is the beginning of genuine wisdom. As we have seen, it does not mean that you are "afraid of God" in a negative or terrifying sense. It simply means that you face reality. It means that you have come to the point that you are willing to humble yourself and ack-nowledge your Creator—and are actually willing to do what He says.
The "wisest man on earth," King Solomon, summed up the entire book of Ecclesiastes in these words: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13. KJV).
God created human beings for a purpose. We are intended by our Creator to learn to have the right kind of respect and even awe of Him in order to fulfill that purpose—in order to be made fit to receive eternal life in the very Family of God. God is not in the business of creating "rebels." He simply wants people who will love Him, revere Him and obey Him, so that they may learn and practice the right way of life and be able to get along harmoniously forever in His coming Kingdom. It is just that simple. Through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, He has made possible complete forgiveness for our past sins and mistakes and rebellion. But once we have repented—remember, repentance means change—we should then start having the deep respect or "fear" of God so that we will actually live by the Way He reveals in Scripture.
Since we are filled with human nature, we human beings have a natural tendency toward self-will, sarcasm and even rebellion against our Creator—just as many teenage children seem almost naturally to display to-ward their own parents. So, God does want us to have the proper kind of fear, in order that we may be willing to heed what He tells us to do. God is not embarrassed to demand this healthy kind of fear and respect. This is a serious matter! Jesus Christ directly stated, "do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).
Yes, you read it right—Scripture states in many different places and ways that God will destroy those who will not surrender to Him and are not willing to do what He says! Otherwise, if they were given eternal life without a genuine repentance first, they would make themselves and everyone else absolutely miserable for all eternity. There would be continual rebellions and challenges to God's authority, such as Lucifer exemplified when he turned against God and became Satan (cf. Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28, and see our article "Who Is the Devil?" on page 10 of this issue).
The real Jesus Christ of the Bible pointedly warned people, again and again, that human arrogance and rebellion brings sorrow and death. Describing how the religious leaders of His day were lacking, Jesus warned, "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12). He also warned, "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).
Yes, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when Christ returns. Many professing religious people—even religious leaders—will find that their own pagan practices will not permit them to be in God's coming Kingdom, by the authority of Jesus' own words: "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:23).
Lawlessness? Yes! Most pro-fessing Christians today, directly or indirectly, have a "no law" approach. They cannot seem to accept that Christ taught about both grace and obedience to God's law (Matthew 5:17–19). They have adopted a completely and totally pagan paradigm of what Christianity is all about. And because they do not have the genuine "fear" of God, most will not listen, even when they are told the Truth. For, as did the ancient pagans, most "educated" people are still denying and even suppressing the Truth about God and the purpose of human existence. Their lack of fear of the real God leads to a kind of spiritual and intellectual arrogance that does not permit them to humble themselves and seek the true God of the Bible, even as He is now beginning to intervene in human affairs more than ever before.
God's inspired word clearly describes the spiritually lazy and self-satisfied individuals who—although they are religious in some ways—do not sincerely seek God, neither do they obey God with all their hearts or try to do His Work. For Jesus said, "And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:30). No, Jesus did not always speak "nicely" when describing the fate of the wicked! But He did describe the coming Lake of Fire. He did describe how there would be "weeping and gnashing of teeth"—human beings absolutely paralyzed with the wrong kind of fear and terror, because in their pride they were not willing to rightly fear their Creator—to love Him, serve Him and obey Him.
The Apostle John wrote: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18). Bible students sometimes misuse this verse to try to prove that "love" and "fear" are incompatible attitudes—and that, for a Christian, "love" replaces fear. But is that really what your Bible teaches?
Consider the example of Jesus Christ. No one would say that Jesus Christ did not have perfect love. But notice: Jesus Christ Himself showed "godly fear" (Hebrews 5:7–8)!
How can this be so? To understand, we must be sure that we recognize what love is. How does Scripture define love? "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:2–3). Do you consider God's commandments burdensome? If so, you are not showing love toward God. Consider what John wrote: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4, KJV).
To love God perfectly is to obey Him perfectly. Where there is disobedience against the law, there is sin, and sin brings punishment (Luke 12:47–48; James 1:13–15). But where there is perfect love, and thus perfect obedience, there is no fear of punishment (Galatians 5:22–23).
Of course, as human beings, the reality of our lives is that we are not yet perfect in love. But we can rely on a Savior who was and is perfect! In Christ, we have a High Priest who was tempted in all points, just like us, but who—unlike us—never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Can we even begin to conceive of how awesome His love for us must be, that He died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)?
Were it not for Christ's sacrifice, we would have every reason to live in terror of our fate. Thankfully, because of that sacrifice, we can repent of our sins and receive forgiveness (Acts 5:31–32; Ephesians 1:7–8). As a result, we can feel deep awe and reverence and gratitude toward God, without dread or torment.
Yes, genuine love of God goes hand-in-hand with godly fear. For a true follower of Jesus Christ, "love" and "fear" are not a matter of "either/or"—they are a matter of "both/and." Notice these words of Moses, which remain relevant to Christians as "spiritual Israel" today: "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12–13).
The Apostle Paul was inspired to write about the almost total lack of deep respect for those in authority, and for God Himself, that will be extant in these last days. He wrote: "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good" (2 Timothy 3:1–3). Today, we certainly see that most men and women are totally absorbed with the "self." They are told in countless television and radio ads, "You deserve this, so buy it!" They are taught to pamper the self, spoil the self and virtually "worship" the self. So—without the genuine fear and awe of God, and with rampant disrespect of all God-appointed authority—they are "boasters," they are "blasphemers," they are "disobedient to parents" and they are certainly "despisers of good." For many of them cannot even stand to talk humbly about the true God, about biblical religion, and about obeying the Creator of heaven and earth. Such are the attitudes that lead to the kind of warped minds that would conceive of a cartoon comedy mocking the very Son of God and His Father in Heaven!
Bible prophecy reveals that, within the next several years, the growing arrogance of hundreds of millions of human beings will manifest itself in one of the most remarkable occasions in the entire history of the world, an event described in Revelation 17:12–14. We find described here the final ten kings of the coming revived Holy Roman Empire, who will soon give their power to the coming "Beast" or super-dictator described throughout Revelation. Then, after the 3½-year tribulation described in Revelation, the armies of these countless millions of people will literally "make war" with the very Son of God! Can you even begin to understand the total lack of respect these hundreds of millions of people and their armies must have in order to fight God when He sends His Son back to this earth? It should tell us something about the total deception of this world under Satan the Devil, as John was inspired to describe: "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).
Dear reader, I am writing to you as a servant of the living God. We are definitely nearing the end of a 6,000–year period during which God is keeping "hands off" and allowing human beings to go their own way before He intervenes powerfully. Many of you are beginning to realize that this Work is, in fact, the primary Work Jesus Christ is using to prepare the way for His Second Coming. Again and again, we urge you to prove what we are saying—out of your own Bible. We urge you to watch world events, so you may see with your own eyes the entire series of end-time prophetic events we have been describing for decades, which are now beginning to come to pass! You know that practically everything seems to be going wrong in the United States and in much of the Western world. You know that people are wondering about the real reasons behind so many world events. In this publication, and on the Tomorrow's World telecast, and on the Powerful Differences Web site, we are trying to help you understand the genuine answers.
We certainly give you those answers from your Bible. But do you have the right kind of godly fear, so that you will be motivated to seek God fervently, and to prove for yourself, from your own Bible, that what we are writing, speaking and publishing is true? I pray that you will learn to have the right kind of deep awe and reverence for your Creator, that you will love Him—and show that love and reverence by striving to obey His commandments (1 John 5:2–3). Prove God's Truth for yourself—and act on it while you have the opportunity!