After traveling all over the United States and speaking in every major denomination in our country for almost the past fifty years, I have come to the conclusion that God's people are grossly ignorant of the contents of the Bible.
Instead of being ashamed that their parishioners do not know the Scriptures, pastors continue doing the exact same things that they have done for decades, giving their cute little three-point sermons, and quoting mostly from such great resources as TIME MAGAZINE. As you well know, one of the definitions of "INSANITY" is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.
Without a doubt, we need a huge revolution in organized religion. The first time I visited Israel I witnessed 500 Jewish young people studying the Old Testament for eight hours a day, six days a week. And this was just one of the hundreds of schools in various parts of the country.
When I compared this vigorous type of study of the Bible with our 45-minute-once-a-week "Sunday School Classes" here in the U.S. it was pretty humiliating. Would to God that our Sunday School Classes were truly "CLASSES" and "SCHOOLS" where people actually learned something.
I could list hundreds of times when church people have asked me basic Bible questions that should have been learned in kindergarten when they were six-years-old! The entire system needs to be fixed.
Anyone with an ounce of sense can see that we are producing "SPIRITUAL MORONS". It is no wonder that pastors spend most of their time changing diapers in "counseling sessions", when they should be using their time studying, praying, and learning how to teach God's Word.
I will not name the denomination (because they are pretty much all alike), but in one church where I taught the people had never heard of the return of Jesus!
One Sunday School student asked: "That war over in Israel . . . that's Jews killing Jews, . . . right?"
Another recent example of American ignorance: Several pastors contacted me when a minister in California predicted "THE RETURN OF JESUS MAY 21". Each one asked me if I thought the man might be accurate in his prediction. PASTORS WHO HAVE GRADUATED FROM SEMINARY ASKING THIS QUESTION!!!!! DUH.
These are the people who are leading congregations all over America. These are the men who stand in the pulpits each Sunday morning supposedly teaching the people. And they are writing to me asking if this guy in California might be right? Holy Cow!
So . . . looking back over almost 50 years I have typed below just some of the Biblical concepts (in bold type) that church people were totally unaware of, and asked me specific questions about:
“Knowledge is power.”
Sir Francis Bacon. 1597, Religious Meditations
If knowledge is power, then it is easy to understand why the church in the West is powerless.
Today, there is absolutely no excuse for being ignorant. Within just a few seconds a Google search will answer almost any question you may have. If you have been "dumbed down" it is your own fault. Never in history have we had such a quick and easy way to learn.
“I would not have you ignorant.” 1 Cor. 12:1
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6.
“But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4).
“But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means” (Daniel 12:10b).
Jesus died on the cross that we might have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
You are going to live somewhere forever!
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Mt. 25:46).
“And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:15.
Jesus rose from the dead.
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thes. 4:14).
“ . . . God raised Christ from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:15).
After he rose from the dead he was on this earth for 40 days. Many Christians in America do not know this simple Biblical fact!
“During the forty days after his crucifixion , he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive” (Acts 1:3).
More than 500 people saw him at one time.
“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles” (1 Cor.15:3-7).
The last thing Jesus said . . .
“The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere---in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).
He was taken up into a cloud. This is called the ascension.
“After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him” (Acts 1:9).
“When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down at the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Mark 16:19).
Two white-robed men said, “He will return.”
“As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go’” (Acts 1:10-11)!
Jesus said he would return.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going” (John14:1-4).
Ten days after the ascension, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. Pentecost means “the fiftieth day”, which was 50 days after Jesus died on the cross. The disciples received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit ten days after Jesus ascended to his Father.
Please take the time to go to my web site (FLC7.com/audio.html), "Articles by Wesley Smith", Part 1-6. Again, most Chrisitians in America do not even know the six basic doctrines of Christ.
“On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (Acts 2:1-4).
There will be a Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
“If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you, follow me” (John 21:22).
“I will come and get you” (John 14:3).
“Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again” (John 14:28).
“ . . . you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment” (1 Thes. 1:10).
We believers will be raptured in the twinkling of an eye.
“We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words” (1 Thes. 4:13-18).
We will be given new, indestructible bodies . . . like the Lord Jesus Christ.
“ . . . Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back” (1 Cor. 15:23).
“ . . . our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are spiritual bodies” (1 Cor. 15:42-44).
“Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man” (I Cor. 15:48-49).
“Our bodies will be transformed into bodies that will never die” (1 Cor. 15:54).
“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
Then we will return with Jesus to this planet and join him in The Battle of Armageddon.
“Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones (saints) with him” (Zech. 14:5).
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords” (Rev. 19:11-16).
It is during this battle that the blood will flow up to the horses’ bridles for 180 miles.
“The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle” (Rev. 14:20).
I measured it on a map of Israel: From Haifa, Israel (where the Valley of Megiddo begins) to Bozrah, Jordan, it is 180 miles!
Compare Is. 63 and Hab. 3.
Ultimately, Jesus’ feet will stand on the Mt. of Olives and it will split apart.
“On that day his feet will stand on the Mt. of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mt. of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half towards the south. You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal.” (Zech. 14:4-5). “Azal” is four miles south of Jerusalem. It has two names: Hill of Evil Counsel and Government House. And it is the location of the main headquarters of the United Nations in Israel! The Mt. of Olives has three peaks: Scopus, where Hebrew University is located, Mt. of Corruption, and the Mt. of Olives.
Satan will be thrown into the bottomless pit, where he will remain for 1,000 years.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan---and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while” (Rev. 20:1-3).
After the battle of Armageddon we will rule and reign with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years.
“ . . . they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
At the end of 1,000 years Satan will be loosed. He still has not learned his lesson. He goes out to deceive the nations.
“When the 1,000 years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations---called Gog and Magog---in every corner of the earth. He will gather them for battle---a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city” (Rev. 20:7-9).
At this point in time the Bible uses half a sentence to describe what will take place. Don’t be concerned. There will not be another war.
“ . . . fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them” (Rev. 20:8b).
Satan and his followers will be thrown into the Lake of Fire for eternity.
“Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and forever” (Rev. 20:10).
The final judgment!
“And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This Lake of Fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:11-15).
After earth and heaven “disappear”, a new heaven and a new earth will appear, and the New Jerusalem will come down from God out of heaven.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the Holy City , the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:1-2).
On this new earth we will live forever, in our new bodies, worshiping God and serving him in endless discoveries.
“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever’” (Rev. 21:3-4).
“Look, I am making everything new” (Rev. 21:5)!
The Bible does not tell us much about the future from that point forward, but we know that it will be glorious beyond human imagination.
“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations” (Rev. 22:1-2).
“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear, the cub and the calf will lie down together, the lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm, nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord” (Is. 11:6-9).
Some final words of Jesus:
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book” (Rev. 22:7).
“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:12).
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16).
“Yes, I am coming soon!” (Rev. 22:20).
Latest story from Israel:
"A Palestinian woman from Gaza arrives at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for lifesaving skin treatment for burns over half her body. After the conclusion of her extensive treatment, the woman is invited back for follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic. One day she is caught at the border crossing wearing a suicide belt. Her intention? To blow herself up at the same clinic that saved her life.
What kind of culture leads one to do that?
Sadly, it is a culture infused with resentment and hatred.
It is this culture that underlies the Palestinians' and the broader Arab world's refusal to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
This is the root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It is not about the '67 lines."
Wesley Smith, Full Life Crusade, P.O. Box 398, Winona Lake, IN 46590 Website: FLC7.com