Tell that to your people …
This is part of a quote from some science fiction / fantasy TV show I was watching. It was a warning from one person to the “king”. The king had been telling people that everything from their past that had been held as truth was actually fairy tales – none of it was real. This person was warning the king that the reality of the past was about to become all too real – and they’d better prepare for it. And oh – by the way – the kind had to tell his people that these fairy tale figures were about to rip out their throats. Literally.
That, of course, reminded me of something.
Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
Rev 22:19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
And that refers back to something else –
Jas 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
Jas 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
Jas 1:20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Just because we don’t like what God, through the Bible, tells us – that’s not a good reason to just assume it must be a fairy tale. Whether it be everything the Bible says – only parts of what it says – or even the very existence of God – the reality of the warning is still there.
If you don’t believe in God at all – that last statement probably either makes you laugh – or makes you angry. Ultimately, we’ll see who is right.
If you do believe in God – but you’re in the group that doesn’t like part of what the Bible says, so you teach something else – don’t forget the verses above. I’m reminding you that you also need to tell your people about those very verses, The ones you’re ignoring. The ones you’re thinking are essentially a fairy tale – they don’t apply anymore – that we’re beyond that – that God has changed His mind – whatever.
The problem is that you can’t get past the warnings about adding or removing words.
Or maybe you’re just thinking that particular warning only applies to the Book of Revelation.
I beg to differ.
Mt 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Mt 24:4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
Mt 24:5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
Mt 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
Mt 24:7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
Mt 24:8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Mt 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
Mt 24:10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
Mt 24:11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Mt 24:12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
Mt 24:13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
These verses, from Jesus, talk about that very same time period as we just saw in Revelation. False prophets – which I expect include those who add / remove from the Bible, since the words are their own – not God’s – and deceive people. Love grows cold – because the object of “love” derived from false teachings isn’t the God of the Bible. All of this leads to people turning away from the faith.
How to avoid all of this for ourselves?
Be slow to anger. Realize that God’s Word is God’s Word. And if we don’t like it – rather than get angry abd try to change God’s Word to be our words – do as Jesus says – “stand firm“.
Remember – God isn’t a member of your religion. Just because your religion says one thing, while a different religion says something else – yours isn’t necessarily right. You may not like that either – but God is what God says He is – not what your religion / denomination says in it’s statement of “what we believe”.
It’s been like this for a long time. A really long time.
Ac 15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”
Ac 15:37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,
Ac 15:38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.
Ac 15:39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,
Ac 15:40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
Ac 15:41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
God left us – people – fallen people – to continue the teaching His Son began. As we can see, from the very beginning, it hasn’t always gone too smoothly. But – we are what He has chosen to use. The teachers have a responsibility to do so correctly – according to His word – not ours. Everyone has a responsibility to know God – through His Word (The Bible) and through other people.
The solution isn’t to abandon / give up on religion. Religion, for better or for worse, is how people get together to talk about / learn about / worship God. It won’t be perfect. It can’t be. Apparently there’s no expectation that it will be either, since the Bible is full of examples where even the early church leaders disagreed. This doesn’t surprise God. It shouldn’t surprise us either.
But those examples of disagreement also show us how to resolve them. Go back to God’s Word. And stay with God’s people. In the time of Acts – that was “the church”. Today – it’s a religion / denomination. Even non-denominational is saying something about what they believe.
All I can really say is try to know the Truth – try to tell the Truth – and when you listen, try to determine if what is being said is the Truth. And remember the warning for those that turn the truth into something else.