You are awaiting a salvation from God? Can you say with certainty that you understand the plan of God and the significance of the promised saving?
Motto: “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (Joh.8:32).
Ways of the saving:
Paradise in heaven?
Jesus Christ said to one of the criminals who hung there with him: “Amen I tell you: today you shall be with me in Paradise.” (Lu.23:43).
About this expression there exist disputes concerning the word ´today´. Some people say that the sentence should be: “Amen I tell you today, you shall be with me in Paradise.” They put the comma after the word ´today´. But mostly it is said that Jesus promised to that man that he will be with him in Paradise the same day. This is suggested by the fact that Jesus , admittedly, said often the words “Amen I say to you”, but never did he add the word ´today´.
Let us examine both alternatives:
Today you shall be with me in Paradise
This could not have been true. After his death and resurrection Jesus went first of all to the Tartarus to preach to the imprisoned angels (1.Pe.3:19) and afterwards he was with his companions on earth until the moment of his ascent to his Father (Joh.20:17). This would be true only in the case that Jesus would mean by the Paradise Judea of that time, which with the greatest probability he did not.
Remark: The ´symbolic´ meaning of the word ´today´ passes to the second alternative.
You shall be with me in Paradise
The second alternative adds the word today to that assurance. It would mean that only in that exceptional case the man in question got this promise. For in other cases it would not be possible to expect or to count with such a promise.
Remark: Such exception has no base neither in the Law nor in other words of Jesus and therefore this interpretation is not correct.
This alternative asserts that the man in question will be with Jesus Christ in Paradise.
But what does the Bible call Paradise?
In the first place a garden (Ge.2:8-10,15;3:3,10 and simile) and in particular the garden of God (Isa.51:3; Eze.28:13). About this garden the prophet Ezechiel says that it will be newly edified (Eze.36:35).
But apostle Paul has noted for us a very interesting information about Paradise:
2.Co.12:2 I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know – God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven.
2.Co.12:3 And I know that this same man (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know – God knows) was caught up into Paradise,
2.Co.12:4 and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them.
This information is very important, because it gives us not only a direct report about the existence of the third heaven, 2 but it mentions again Paradise which is evidently different from the first on Earth. This existence is confirmed also in the Revelation of John:
Re.2:7 Hear, you who have ears to hear, what the Spirit says to the churches! To him who is victorious I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that stands in the Garden of God.
At the first sight it seems that the words of Jesus correspond well with this information. But a more precise analysis points to something different.
The usual interpretations do not agree.
About the fact that Jesus Christ was in the third heaven we know also from the epistle to the Ephesians 4:10. 3 Jesus Christ was there because of the reason that he defended before his Father his earthly activity and particularly his disciples. At first sight it seems that the next one who ascended there was the man who suffered on the cross with Jesus. But that one was killed by the Romans and from him apostle Paul could certainly not know anything. 4
Who therefore was so exceptional that he followed there Jesus Christ? The scripture does not mention anybody like that not even in a hint. But certainly it was not that man who suffered with Jesus.
Note: Jesus Christ got certainly in the third heaven information which he could not tell the people directly (see Re.1:1) and the man in question told also something the apostle Paul (which is proven by many things which were known only to him). But he did not say in which way he got there. Apostle Paul mentions an uncertainty , which he would not do if it would be clear that the person in question got the information in a normal way, i.e. in a dream or in a vision? So as nearly always before.
Possible alternatives of a new Paradise
Another remarkable information concerns the new Paradise. Because Paradise meant originally a garden, i.e. an independent territory cultivated by God (therefore of God) committed to man to use it and govern, it must have meant or the future Paradise, or a Paradise quite different situated out of this planet.
It is supposed, almost in general, that the second alternative is valid. But what would follow from that?
Paradise apart from this Earth?
There is no reason for this.
God would have to create yet another garden of Eden for the people – probably to give them the possibility to take the fruits from a new tree of life. And where? Would he create therefore a new planet Earth-2?
There is no reason why he should do it. Because the Bible says clearly that instead of the fruit of the tree of life it will serve us new knowledge (Pr.3:13,18) And not only that, the Bible lets us know clearly that God has no intention to support human laziness 5 – we will have to built the Paradise garden ourselves. Why should somebody else do it for us? 6
Another objection: The Christians are the heirs of the promises given to Abraham, as it is proven by the words:
1.Pe.2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, and a people claimed by God for his own, to proclaim the triumphs of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Ro.8:17 And if we are children, then heirs. We are God´s heirs and Christ´s fellow-heirs, if we share his sufferings now in order to share his splendour hereafter.
Ga.3:29 If you belong to Christ, you are the ´issue´ of Abraham, and so heirs by promise.
But the promises given to Abraham never concerned places away from this planet Earth. Moreover Jesus told clearly the Izraelites:
Mt.21:43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation that yields the proper fruit.
He did not say anything about some change of this kingdom; only that it will be given to some other nation.
A new heaven and a new earth
The apostle Peter writes:
2.Pe.3:5-7 In taking this view they lose sight of the fact that there were heavens and earth long ago, created by God´s word out of water and with water; and by water that first world was destroyed, the water of the deluge. And the present heavens and earth, again by God´s word, have been kept in store for burning; they are being reserved until the day of judgment when the godless will be destroyed.
From his words it is quite clear that he speaks about the second ‘destruction’ of earth and heaven quite similarly as about the first one. And the first destruction came for the reason that all people were keeping in their minds only evil (Ge.6:5). But this can’t be said about all the people of today.
Should then the whole planet Earth be completely destroyed? Surely not. Evil will be rooted out of it in the same way as by the deluge, and for the approved people God will procure a saving similarly as at that time for the family of Noah. But who is expecting a rescue in heaven should read carefully the words of apostle Peter:
2.Pe.3:10 But the Day of the Lord will come; it will come, unexpected as a thief. On that day heavens will disappear with a great rushing sound, the elements will disintegrate in flames, and the earth with all that is in it will be laid bare.
2.Pe.3:12 Look eagerly for the coming of the Day of God and work to hasten it on; that day will set the heavens ablaze until they fall apart, and will melt the elements in flames.
2.Pe.3:13 But we have his promise, and look forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of justice.
Peter says that even the heavens will be destroyed. That can mean only that the old face of Earth and heavens will be destroyed – similarly as in the time of the deluge. The described catastrophe will be, it is true, evidently still much worse than the first one, but God will master it according to his promise just as the first one. 7
But does it mean that in that case the whole universe will be destroyed? Will God regret that he created it, in the same way as he regretted having created the people? Nowhere in the Bible do we find any mention of such a regret. During the days of creation all the other created things have been approved without any condition as good, and the human activity could not intervene in their quality.
May be somebody could think that the heavens must be destroyed because of Satan. That is also a mistake because the Bible says unequivocally about Satan that he will be first of all thrown down onto the Earth and afterwards in the Gehena. He shall certainly not remain in the heavens. So why should God destroy them because of that?
And finally: in the book of Revelation of John it is said that the New Jerusalem will come down onto the Earth (Re.3:12; 21:2,10). Because no man can ascend to the spiritual heaven and remain there permanently. This could have been done only by the Spiritual Jesus Christ, because he came from there (Eph.4:9,10).
We find that the future Paradise can in no case be elsewhere than again on this planet.
Jesus will be in Paradise?
Jesus will have in Paradise his representatives. In the same way as Jesus Christ could say ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’(Joh. 14:9), his representatives will be able to say ‘Who sees us, sees Jesus’. 8
So what did the words of Jesus mean?
It was an expression of consolation for man who suffered unspeakably similarly as Jesus. This man did humiliate himself in an extreme situation and so he proved that he is worth resurrection.
Is there only one ‘end of the world’?
What is that ‘world’?
In reality it concerns mankind, or rather a stage of the evolution of mankind – evolution not only automatic, but under God’s educational influence. ‘The end of the world’ is then in reality the end of one concrete stage of education linked since the time of Abraham with the treaty of the elected people with God.
The majority of Christians believe that the words of Jesus:
Mt.24:14 And this gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the earth as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come. Mean that the whole stage of his new treaty consists exclusively of the preaching of the Gospel, and the announced end means the end of the whole ‘world’ and the end of his treaty. With that end, in the minds of many Christians, the idea is connected with the destruction of this planet.
Jesus said also:
Mt.10:23 I tell you this: before you have gone through all the towns of Israel the Son of Man will have come.
Here Jesus says clearly and distinctly that the end will come yet before the evangelisation in the towns of Israel will be finished. So he speaks about two ends and it is necessary to keep them consistently separated. The first end is the end of the treaty of Moses and the second one is the end of the treaty of Jesus.
The stages of evolution of the Kingdom of God
Also that Kingdom of God is linked with evolution. The kingdom of Israel was the first stage. Originally, the king was God alone and later, (following a wish of the people), human kings sat themselves on His throne. 9. At the beginning this kingdom was better than other ones and therefore it stood as a model for the others.
The Kingdom of God should have been developed gradually and eventually at the end it should have been installed in the rest of the human kingdoms. The prophet Daniel received the following information about the Kingdom of God:
Da.2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
Before that Daniel received an information about several kings following each other. But the kingdom of God was not intended to appear only in the days of the last king, but during the days of all those kings. This meant clearly that the kingdom of God had to evolve gradually and not to appear at once.
How had the kingdom of God to develop?
Da. 2:45 “Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
The mountain 10 signified evidently the Spiritual Jesus Christ 11. From this mountain a stone was cut 12 to crush a real kingdom (at that time of Babylon, but in general evidently that one which had in their power the people of God). The first (fundamental) stone was (again evidently) the man Jesus Christ.
The stone was cut without human hands – this means that the crushing of a certain kingdom had not to be realized by violence. 13.
And so the process was set: one had to wait until the kingdom dominating the people of God will get gradually into such a stage that a single “stone” will be able to crush it. But in the meantime the kingdom of God must be edified inside of the worldly kingdoms and we know from Jesus Christ how: by the preaching the gospel. 14 And thus a model was offered for all the kingdoms in opposition: in each of them the gospel had to be preached as long as the spirit of Christ would not be victorious. In this way step by step the goal would be reached:
Da.7:14 And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom. That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
Da.7:18 But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.
Da.7:22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.
Da.7:27 Then the sovereignty , the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One ; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.
The Israelite stage of the Kingdom of God ended with the first covenant. According to the instruction of Jesus Christ all the kingdoms of the world had to be conquered step by step but without violence, and the Christians had to overtake there the power and install the rule of law and the justice of God. Those nations where the Kingdom of God would already be accomplished, had to serve as an example for the rest. 15 Their just government had to show to the rest of the nations that justice is really possible and that it is not an utopia. The gospel had to announce to the rest of the nations that it is possible to eradicate evil and injustice also within them. And so the state of peace and cooperation of all nations had to be achieved.
Jesus knew that neither this plan of his could be totally realized. But the end of his covenant is already before us and very soon its evaluation will come. What will be the outcome for the Christians?
The experience from the Holocaust
A real event
Towards the end of the Second World War a Jewish rabbi was calling desperately to God. It was in an extermination camp where a large group of Jews was marching to their death. The rabbi was calling to God: ‘God, show them your power!’ But nothing happened and the massacre went on. The terrified rabbi, one of the teachers of his people, started to call all around: ‘There is no God, there is no God’.
Did not this rabbi perhaps know that the terrible persecution of the Jews was predicted just by that God to whom he was calling? God did, after all, still in the time of Moses, threaten his people that, in the case they will not obey Him and so persist stubbornly, He will let them disperse among hostile nations where they will perish not only for their own guilt, but also for the guilt of their ancestors:
Le.26:38 But you will perish among the nations and your enemies’ land will consume you.
Le.26:39 So those of you who may be left will rot away because of their iniquity in the lands of your enemies; and also because of the iniquities of their forefathers they will rot away with them.
The rabbi probably knew it but through his words he wanted to provoke God to intervene against the enemies. But God did not promise such an intervention, but on the contrary He said that His people must do penance for their whole guilt.
In the midst of the horror which was going on the rabbi was probably thinking why just he must carry the iniquities of his forefathers, when he himself did not feel any important guilt before God. May be he personally really did not commit personally anything wrong and he could not understand why he should pay so terribly for something which somebody else has done. How can it be in conformity with the justice, the mercy, the love of God toward the people, with His patience, etc.?
It was not for the first time
This is a very serious question. Let us examine it first of all on the case of the Israelites.
To the Israelites this happened more times that once. In the year 607 B.C. (during the attack of the Babylonians) and in the year 70 A.C. (during the attack of the Romans) they have been besieged and afterwards killed in Jerusalem, and probably also many of them were thinking why they are punished so terribly. 16 Were all of them murderers? And what about their innocent children? 17 Certainly there were among them at least some individuals who did not commit anything against God’s Law in such a way that they would merit death. They were certainly calling to God just as that rabbi and perhaps they too were crying or at least thinking that there is no God when the help did not come.
We know that God secured at that time a timely help through the prophets (Jeremiah and Jesus Christ) who appealed them to leave Jerusalem still before its destruction. But why did not all of them obey? Why only some of them left?
And why the whole city of Jerusalem had to be destroyed? Was it not enough to punish only the criminals? After all also the innocent lost at least their property and comfort - they had to run away from their homes.
Did that rabbi in the Nazi extermination camp think about the question why the situation is repeating itself? After all the Jews in that time knew about the intentions of Hitler and they had the opportunity to run away from him which many of them did. Of course they also had to leave there their homes and the greater part of their possessions.
But why? After all they were not guilty of any iniquity?
But let us ask the question: Really nothing? Because that certainly would not be in agreement with the justice of God. If God is just, they must have been seriously guilty, somehow.
In what were the ‘innocent’ guilty?
Let us notice that although God did determine in the Law the rights and obligations of individuals, but the punishments mentioned in that Law should have been executed by the people. More over God many times also proclaimed punishment for the iniquities of the whole Israelite nation and He left often also other nations to execute it (and always at this occasion also the ‘innocents’ were punished). 18 It was in fact always collective guilt and collective punishment. Thus God was punishing His people when bad behavior prevailed: when so many Israelites did transgress His Law that the rest of them could not reverse this state.
But this meant that the people of God should not have permitted such a state of affairs. As long as the good ones were dominant (and at the beginning of each salvation of God they always were), they had to strive by all means for the suppression of the transgressors and for imposing on the contrary a lasting amelioration of the situation. It meant that the good ones had to interest themselves permanently in the state of God’s people. It was not enough to charge some officials with this task and ‘entrust’ them with this care. In the control and the systematic improving of it all the good ones had to engage themselves and for this purpose they had to associate, to exchange experiences and to look for and apply all necessary activities.
This is that guilt of those who felt themselves to be innocent. These people did not realize that God offered them the salvation of their life only as an expression of His mercy and not of His obligation. There could be no question about the salvation of their property, etc. (neither for the future).
And the fact that the innocent are suffering or even dying? This is precisely the result of the guilt of the people of God, and God did always announce it in advance. He used the suffering as the most emphatic warning so that it would not be repeated again. And in spite of that it was repeated again and again. Before God used severe punishments He was looking always for all other means of warning or less severe punishment as only possible. Let us remember His words by which He is just addressing not individuals but always the whole people, and requests that this people should think seriously about their deeds still before they will be punished:
Mic.6.3 ‘My people, what have I done to you, and how have I wearied you? Answer Me.’
The people did not answer.
God has warned them in advance that a formal worship and rituals are not enough:
Isa.1:11 ”What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me! I have had enough of burn offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
Isa.1:12 When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
Isa.1:13 Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and Sabbath, the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assemblies.
Isa.1:14 I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing them.
Isa.1:15 So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you. Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.”
and He proposed that both partners of the treaty should clarify this. He was willing to forgive; it was enough only to express good will and to cease with the evil deeds:
Isa.1:18 ”Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.
Isa.1:19 If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land.
Isa.1:16 Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil.
Isa.1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless; defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
but He pointed out that the refusal will have just those terrible consequences. They will be murdered.
Isa.1:20 But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” So was speaking the mouth of God.
God decided to fulfill His most horrible threats only when the punishment of education did not help:
Isa.1:5 Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion?
God shows that He will have to leave His people to be a pray of His opponent, who always plotted the execution of these punishments.
Isa.1:21 How the faithful city has become a harlot. She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her. But now murderers.
Isa.1:22 Your silver has become dross, your drink diluted with water.
Isa.1:23 Your rulers are rebels, and companions of thieves; everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards; they do not defend the orphans, nor does the widows’ plea come before them.
The Jews were convinced that they exhausted already all the punishments. They did not want to understand that to avert the liquidation of the whole Israelite nation it is necessary to accept the salvation sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Isa.1:3 An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its masters’ manger. But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.”
Did the rabbi remember all these words?
In what are God’s people often mistaken?
Why suffer for the sins of the fathers?
Very often the people of God are not aware that God needs that His people would have fixed in the concrete good characteristics and on the contrary that he would get rid of concrete bad characteristics; and that these qualities are not always manifest. And also that God is comparing the measure of good and bad qualities and their mutual relations.
Note: Namely some bad quality can be compensated for another good one. 19
Jesus Christ once said to the people who were listening him:
Mt.23:29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you built the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous
Lu. 11:47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets and it was your fathers that killed them.
Mt.23:30 And say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.
Mt.23:31 Consequently you bare witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
Lu.11:48 Consequently you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs.
Mt.23:32 Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers!
These words are often misunderstood. It would seem that Jesus Christ accuses the scribes and the pharisees only for criticizing their ancestors and for saying that they would never commit such mistakes. As if their fault would consist only in the fact that they judged their ancesters.
But how did they testify by that against themselves? In what was their actions so deserving of punishment that he prophesied them misery? How was it possible that he invited them to complete the deeds of their fathers?
Jesus, in some other discussion, said also:
Joh.7:19 “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you carries out the law? Why do you seek to kill me?”
Joh.7:20 The multitude answered: “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill you?”
Joh.8:37 “I know that you are Abraham’s offspring; yet you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you.
Joh.8:38 I speak the things which I have seen with my Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father”.
Joh.8:39 They answered and said to him: “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them: “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.”
Joh.8:40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.
Thus he has let them know that in spite of their protestations he knows that they shall kill him, so that they will complete the deeds of their fathers. Of course they believed that they would not.
The result of this was the following: Jesus knew that the sons have the same character as their fathers and the rest of their ancestors had. And so Jesus Christ was speaking of the genetic characteristics, which remained without change. The sons, it is true, did not kill any prophet who was speaking well about them, but similarly as their ancestors they were ready to kill a critical one. And that, of course, even in spite of the fact that, in before hand, they did not know it. 20
Often God’s nation is not aware that God is interested not only in the deeds done, but first of all in the ‘thinking of the heart’, which means the inner attitudes. The ‘innocent’ people is often not aware of the fact that it is innocent only because it had no opportunity or impulse for the sin. The rabbi in the nazi concentration camp had not the slightest idea that if he and all the others with him would have lived in the times of the prophets they would too act in the same way as their fathers. Their characteristics did not change. Their innocence was the result not of the purity of ‘the thinking of their hearts’, but simply by the fact that the circumstances were quite different. 21
It resembles the situation of a man who has never stolen anything because he had not the occasion to do so or was not forced to do it. But he has the feeling that he is pure only because he did not do it. Very many people have not the faintest notion of what all they would be capable should they live in quite different conditions and in a quite different society. The experts know about it and God knows it much better still.
Example: How many Christian Germans or Russians did not have the slightest idea of what all they will be capable to do under Hitler’s, respectively Stalin’s leadership?
Thus the words of Jesus: ‘So you acknowledge that you are the sons of the men who killed the prophets’, meant that if the Israelites brought testimony against their fathers, they testified thus against themselves. Because they were alike their fathers.
But the same concerns also the Christians. To get rid of the inherited bad qualities is very, very difficult. The people of God must work on it particularly at that time when it does not find itself under pressure. It must not persuade itself that if, in the time of peace and of relatively easy circumstances, it does not commit sin, everything is all right. Nothing is so deceptive.
‘I am better than the others.?’
In spite of that somebody can think that this does not concern precisely him, that he certainly is not like that. But would he dare to ask God for a test so that he would prove that he is already pure and innocent? This did unwisely try king David once. Let us recall how he asked for it:
‘ Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart!’
And how high was his opinion of himself. Let us follow his words further:
‘ For Thy loving kindness is before my eyes, ant I have walked in Thy truth. I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly with evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. I shall wash my hands in innocence, and I will go about Thine altar. O Lord, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and declare all Thy wonders. O Lord, I love the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwells. Do not take my soul away along with sinners, nor my life with men of bloodshed, in whose hands is a wicked scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes. But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on a level place; in the congregations I shall bless the Lord.’ (Psalm 26)
Note: Did not that rabbi pray in the same way?
David’s wish was granted. He really got the requested test and he failed. He committed adultery and murder.
Are we convinced that we would get a better result? Let us not have - we Christians – any illusions about ourselves. Let us not demand by words or by deeds tests for which we are not prepared. It is unfair to accuse God that He exposed us to a test surpassing our possibilities when we ourselves have asked for it.
Ignorance of the Christians
Christians think only seldom about the retributions of the Jews. And in the case they do so, mostly everything is ‘clear’ to them, that ‘the Jews are themselves responsible for everything what happened to them no less’. But did the idea came to their mind that exactly the same concerns also them no less?
Today too, many grass roots Christians believe very much like the Israelites of those times, that God will come very soon to their rescue, He will save them from the power of evil and they shall go directly to the Kingdom of God, to the Paradise in heaven or on earth. They too believe that it is enough not to do at least partly what their priests forbid them (the priests to whom again they left the care of the state of their all Christian community), 22 and that they are, in the eyes of God, at least relatively righteous. God is love after all and forgives every thing.
How tragically they are mistaken.
Don’t they remember how much lawlessness, violence and wars or at least very hard disputes were provoked, directly or indirectly, by their highest spiritual leaders? The Christians had to attain through the force of the spirit and of truth 23 the real power in the whole world 24 and to install in its kingdoms the justice of God. 25 This was their task which they got from Jesus Christ whom all of them proclaim to be their Lord. Not only they did not complete their task, but also very often they conquered power by violence. More over they were fighting against each other (and somewhere they go on with it) because of secondary matters and often even for trifles and they allowed themselves to be seduced may be to every kind of evil. Finally they had to be deprived, step by step, in the whole world of their power, because their power did not prove to be good and it did not prevent massive spread of injustice (and somewhere they were even the cause of it). 26
Lesson from the first people of the covenant
The prophet Jeremiah was once warning the people of God and was communicating them the word of God. Let us compare the situation of that time with the situation of today’s Christianity:
Text: The state of that time
Jer.5:26 ‘For wicked men are found among My people , they watch like fowlers lying in wait; they set a trap, they catch men.
Jer.5:27 Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich.
Jer.5:28 They are fat, they are sleek, they also excel in deeds of wickedness; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the right of the poor.
Jer.5:29 ‘Shall I not punish these people?’ declares the Lord. ‘On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself?’
Jer.5:30 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land.
The state of today’s Christianity
(26) Does anybody body want to deny that such people existed and exist among Christians? Complete churches accuse even each other of that.
(28) Which Christian churches do it today? Don’t they protect only their own members (as long as they are innocent) and even not always? They also often boast of their property in the endeavor to increase their authority.
(29) Let’s notice how severely God judges such things. And He speaks not only about the punishment of those individuals, but of the whole nation.
(30) Isn’t blessing and similar acts something similar? The blessing of the priest means, that God will help, doesn’t it? This promise is often untrue? It was not given by God, but only by a man who has promised it. Let us also notice that God accuses also the grass roots people.
(31) Jr.5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and my people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?
The Christians commit often the same mistake as the Israelites who rely on the temple of God (Jer.7:4). They fool themselves that when they repent formally and have faith, their rescue is certain (they don’t voice it loudly, but they mostly don’t fear punishment of God). They refer to the words of Jesus when he said: ‘Whoever believes in the Son should not perish but have eternal life.’ (Joh.3:16,18,36;6:40) But similar opinions existed also among the disciples of Jesus, but the disciple of Jesus James told them still something else. He said: ‘Faith without works has no value!’ (Jas 2:14-26). In other words: Who does not realize works, does not believe in the son and therefore he can not have any hope.
Many a Christian thought and things even today that either he finds himself in the ‘genuine’ church and therefore, just as his ancestors, he does not have to care about anything else, 28 or that when he himself doesn’t harm anybody and possibly does sometimes something positive or gives of his abundance to some charity, 29 that he is pure before God. And when he is struck by some personal stress and God does not help him in it, he considers it also often a reason to declare that there is no God. After all, how many Christians became atheists for instance after the First or the Second World War.
And so many Christians of today assure that when they do what the priests or other leaders tell them to do, they fulfilled their part necessary for salvation. But the Christians were not the first, the then Israelites believed the same. But Jesus did not approve their priests, and where do the Christians of today find the certainty that just their priests will be approved? Did not Jesus say: ‘If one blind man guides another they will both fall into the ditch.’ (Mt.15:14; Lu.6:39) Did he not, by that, make responsible for their deeds also the rank-and-file members of the churches?
Moreover among the Christians of our time one particularly widespread characteristic is the lack of bravery, or downright cowardice. Who of the Christians can imagine all the evil of which he would be capable, if he would find himself in a test of his courage? 30
Responsibility for the state of the world
It is necessary to say with the greatest emphasis: Not the pagans or the atheists – responsible for the state of this world were and are fully the Christians, because precisely to them and only to them this responsibility has been entrusted by God. By their absolutely insufficient engagement of nearly everyone of them (in the past and also in the generation of today) they permitted that they have been dominated by church bureaucrats, false Christians or even pagans. God will certainly not accept any excuses or any attempts to lay the blame of failure on somebody else. How could a grassroots Christian or some church bureaucrat explain to God that he could not have prevented this or that injustice or evil only because he would lose his position? After all, Christianity has been built on the martyr’s death of thousands of its founders!
For the saving real penance is crucial
Christians are probably not able anymore to prevent the destruction of this world. Their power and influence today is too insignificant and the world progressed already on the path of evil too far. The human civilization is threatened by selfdestruction and there is nothing left but to call to God for help. But when God will announce His salvation, it will be again by nothing but His mercy. Nobody of the Christians must believe that he merits personally the salvation. The only thing he can do now is to try by all his power to engage himself in the building of a good Christian community and to acquire really Christian properties. But neither in this way will he be saved by right, but only and only by mercy, because to assure justice in this world was and is the task of the Christians. Securing the Christian’s property or comfort cannot come into question. When the true appeal to leave the Great Babylon will come, 31 he will leave here, in the same way as the Christians in Jerusalem then, all he has. Only so can he be saved. And naturally, only if he obeys this invitation in time.
It is the highest time for the profoundest and sincerest personal repentance of each Christian. Not a repentance before the church officials, but before God alone. ‘Get purified’ (such was the call of the prophet Isaiah to the Israelites and of the disciple James to the Christians.)
Isa.1:16 ‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight; cease to do evil.’
Jas.4:8 ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’
Do real penance and purify yourselves, you, who want to take part in the salvation of God, because again the Kingdom of God is near to us!
1 About the death of Jesus Christ see more details in the book “The popularization of the first results of scientific investigation of the Bible”, part 18.
2 Implicitly it can be found also in the texts 1 Ki.8:27 and 2 Ch.2:5 and 6:18 saying about the seat of God that it is not even in the second heavens.
3 At that time apostle Paul did not know evidently about the existence of the third heavens yet.
4 To that not even the time relations correspond.
5 For instance Pr.6:6,9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:15,24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; :13-16; Ec.10:18 etc.
6 When Moses in his anger broke the tablets with the Ten Commandments, God also didn’t make him new ones and he had to make them himself (Ex.24:12; 31:18; 32:16,19; 34:1,4)
7 It’s obviously the reason why Paul writes that ‘he shall live who is justified through faith’(Ro.1:17; Ga.3:11)
8 For more detail see the essay ‘God’.
9 1.Sa.8:7; 1.Ch.28:5; 29:23; 2.Pe.9:8.
10 also by the mountain
11 For more details see the essay ‘Spiritual beings’
12 or has been cut out
13 Answeres 1 Kin.15:25 etc
14 This time is in relation with the commandment ‘Rule in the midst of thine enemies’
15 Similarly as the kingdom of Israel had to be a model.
16 Compare the Lamentations.
17 Ex.20:6; 34:6,7; Nu.14:18; De.5:10; 7:9,12 etc
18 Already since the time of the Judges.
19 An explosive person can, on the other hand, have a good capability of self-control by which he tames his quick temper so that it is outwardly not noticeable.
20 Compare for instance Zec.1:6.
21 Guilt can also be the result of the fact, that a man doesn’t intervene when it is necessary (compare Isa.59:16)
22 Should they not be one people?
23 And not through violence as it so often has been the case (compare Zec.4:6).
24 Compare 1.Ki.4:20.
25 Compare Da.7:27.
26 Similarly as the Israelites after their punishment of seventy years in Babylon.
27 Compare 1.Jo 4:20,21; 5:2, etc.
28 Everyone who of them is at least a bit thoughtful to meditate, in private, though, will express his concern about the state of his church; but anyhow he will do nothing or next to nothing.
29 Compare Mark 12:44 or Luke 21:4.
30 Let us remind again that cowardice is named among all the bad qualities in the Book of Revelation in the first place. (Re.21:8).
31 Also this appeal has been misused many times already, but soon the right one will come. But without a real repentance it is impossible to discern it.