Sunday, April 24, 2011
A WORLDWIDE MESSAGE THE END OF FALSE RELIGION IS NEAR!
A WORLDWIDE MESSAGE
THE END OF
What is false religion?
How will it end?
How will you be affected?
True Teachings—Where Can You Find Them?
Who Is the Antichrist?
What is false religion? Are you distressed about crimes committed in the name of religion? Do the warfare, terrorism, and corruption perpetrated by those who claim to serve God offend your sense of justice? Why does religion seem to be at the root of so many problems?
The fault lies, not with all religion, but with false religion. A widely respected religious figure, Jesus Christ, indicated that false religion produces bad works, just as a “rotten tree produces worthless fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-17) What fruit does false religion yield?
False Religion . . .
MEDDLES IN WAR AND POLITICS: “Across Asia and beyond,” says the journal Asiaweek, “power-hungry leaders are cynically manipulating people’s religious sentiments for their own needs.” As a result, the journal warns: “The world threatens to sink into madness.” A prominent religious leader in the United States declared: “You’ve got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops.” His solution? “Blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” By contrast, the Bible says: “If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar.” (1 John 4:20) Jesus even said: “Continue to love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:44) How many religions can you think of whose members engage in war?
SPREADS FALSE DOCTRINE: Most religions teach that the soul or spirit is some invisible part of a human that survives the death of the physical body. By means of this teaching, many of these religions exploit their members, charging money to pray for departed souls. However, the Bible teaches a different doctrine. “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Jesus taught that the dead will be resurrected—an unnecessary action if humans had an immortal soul. (John 11:11-25) Does your religion teach that the soul does not die?
TOLERATES IMMORAL SEX: In Western lands, church groups ordain gay and lesbian members of the clergy and urge governments to recognize same-sex marriages. Even churches that condemn immorality have tolerated religious leaders who have sexually abused children. What, though, does the Bible teach? It plainly states: “Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) Do you know of religions that condone immoral sex?
What does the future hold for religions that produce rotten fruit? Jesus warned: “Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19) Yes, false religion will be chopped down and destroyed! But how and when will this happen? A prophetic vision recorded in the Bible book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, provides the answer.
False religion exerts influence “over the kings of the earth”
“Get out of her, my people”
How will false religion end?
Picture the scene. A harlot is sitting on the back of a fearsome beast. The beast has seven heads and ten horns. (Revelation 17:1-4) Whom does the harlot represent? She exerts influence “over the kings of the earth.” She dresses in purple, uses incense, and is exceedingly wealthy. In addition, by means of her spiritistic practice, ‘all the nations are misled.’ (Revelation 17:18; 18:12, 13, 23) The Bible helps us to see that this harlot is a worldwide religious entity. She depicts, not any one religion, but all religions that produce rotten fruit.
The beast that the harlot rides pictures the world’s political powers.* (Revelation 17:10-13) False religion straddles the back of this political beast, attempting to influence its decisions and to control its direction.
Soon, though, an amazing event will take place. “The ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:16) In a sudden, shocking move, the world’s political powers will turn on false religion and completely destroy her! What will prompt this action? The Bible book of Revelation answers: “God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought.” (Revelation 17:17) Yes, God will call false religion to account for all the despicable acts she has committed in his name. In a stroke of perfect justice, he will use her political paramours as his instrument of execution.
What must you do if you do not want to share the fate of false religion? “Get out of her, my people,” urges God’s messenger. (Revelation 18:4) Indeed, now is the time to flee from false religion! But to where can you flee? Not into atheism, since its future is also bleak. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9) The only haven is within true religion. How can you identify true religion?
How to identify true religion
What good fruit should true religion produce?—Matthew 7:17.
True Religion . . .
PRACTICES LOVE: True worshippers are “no part of the world,” are not divided by race or culture, and display ‘love among themselves.’ (John 13:35; 17:16; Acts 10:34, 35) Rather than killing one another, they are willing to die for one another.—1 John 3:16.
TRUSTS GOD’S WORD: Instead of teaching “tradition” and “commands of men as doctrines,” true religion bases its doctrine on God’s Word, the Bible. (Matthew 15:6-9) Why? Because “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight.”—2 Timothy 3:16.
STRENGTHENS FAMILIES AND UPHOLDS HIGH MORAL STANDARDS: True religion trains husbands to ‘love their wives as their own bodies,’ helps wives to develop ‘deep respect for their husbands,’ and teaches children to ‘be obedient to their parents.’ (Ephesians 5:28, 33; 6:1) In addition, those entrusted with positions of authority must have exemplary morals.—1 Timothy 3:1-10.
Does any religion meet these standards? The book Holocaust Politics, published in 2001, says: “If more people practiced versions of what the Jehovah’s Witnesses preach and practice, the Holocaust could have been prevented and genocide would scourge the world no more.”
Indeed, in 235 lands, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not just preach the Bible’s moral standards—they live by them. We urge you to ask Jehovah’s Witnesses to help you learn what God requires of you so that you can worship him acceptably. Now is the time to act. Do not delay. The end of false religion is near!—Zephaniah 2:2, 3.
* For a detailed explanation of this subject, see the book Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.