Note- I am sorry, I am having problems getting my tools working tonight, so if there are many spelling mistakes, if the links aren't working properly or something, I will try and correct the problems when blogger is working right!
There's a couple of things I've noticed as I get older. Time goes faster the older you get and you think more about death than you did when you're young. I don't get depressed or freaked by the thought of death, so I don't see it as one of those taboo subjects no one wants to talk about. Not that I want to die right now, and I don't exactly relish the thought of how it's going to happen, I just don't worry about it because I know it will happen eventually.
Knowing that some day we all will take that last breath makes me ask- Who is going to save you? Whether or not you are a Christian believer, there is another life after this life. The question remains, is where we will spend the next eternal life. This article is about the difference between four of the biggest religious beliefs in the world today: Biblical Christianity, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses and Islam.
Some people would say I am totally intolerant and hateful because I say Mormonism, JW and Islam are all cults. How in the world can I make such a statement when there are so many good and sweet people who are members of these fine peaceful religions! Some people, including many Christians would also consider me to be extremely judgmental for saying such a thing about other religious people. For those, I say there is nothing intolerant about stating a true fact about a people, if done in a caring way. For those who seem to love to quote that Bible verse "thou shall not judge, lest you be judged", I say read the rest of the chapter where that verse is often taken out of context as a way to escape having to deal with doctinal truths.
Wow. I am harsh tonight. I don't mean to be provocative. I only want to show truths to people who may be confused about religious differences from religions, especially Mormons and JW's who call themselves Christian, but are actually antiChrist in their doctrine. I included Islam in this group which may confuse some because they are definitely not Christian, nor do they claim to be, but I do include them for a reason which I will get to in just a minute. Stating something about another religion is not intolerant or judgmental when it is meant as a warning to people, any more than telling someone they are going to fall off a cliff and crash if they continue running toward it. And as far as religious ideas go, when someone calls themselves a Christian, or states something about Jesus Christ which are completely wrong or blasphemous, we have every right to correct that person or organization. That is not being judgmental.
In todays society, Islam and Mormonism are becoming more and more mainstream, with so many people defending Islam because of Islamic terrorism. Mormonism is appearing in many places, from the popularity in politics and American issues because of Glenn Beck, and Mitt Romney, who is hoping for another shot at running for President in 2012 are Mormons. On my facebook page sidebar, there are constant advertisements for the Mormon church. Many of us have had visits from JW's, whether at our front doors or in grocerystore parking lots. I have a good friend, a sweet woman who has been a JW since birth, as her whole family are part of it. Each of these three groups have a huge world wide following which are growing alarmingly every year.
Why am I lumping these three religions together and calling them cults? One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of a cult is "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents." For Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness and Islam to either claim to be Christian or of the same God as the God of Christianity, yet have oppositional teaching to that of Biblical Christianity, that places them in the above catagory of a cult.
Let me explain. First, what do these three religions have in common with each other? For one thing, they each claim to be God's final revelation. They each claim, by their founders to have personally been visited or given this final revelation without witnesses, they each claim their own scriptures while being the final, true revelation, they still agree that the Bible (the King James Version) is also the Word of God. They all claim however that the Bible has been corrupted and that their version is the truth. They all claim that their religion is the only way to heaven (their version of it), that one must be a member in order to get to heaven, and each one depends on works to hopefully gain God's favor to get to heaven. Each of these religions came centuries after Christianity began, yet each claims that the Christian church is satanic, or full of error. Each of these recognize the name Jesus, but base their religion on a different Jesus than the Christ of Christianity. Each claim their founder as a prophet of God. Each of these groups while they may speak of the Christian Bible, their followers are not allowed to read anything religious outside of their own organization's literature or scripture. And lastly, each of these groups have either written rules or imply that if one of their members should say, convert to Christianity, they will be cut off from the their temple or meetings, shunned or disfellowshiped and disowned by their family and friends- or in the case of orthodox Islam, murdered for becoming an infidel.
Let's break these down further. Each believes their religion is God's final revelation. For Mormons, they claim Joseph Smith recieved gold plates from 2 beings believed to be God and Jesus- who told him that the Christian church was corrupted and satanic, and that these gold plates contained the true words of God. There were no witnesses when Smith supposedly met with these two bright and shining beings. JW's founder Charles Taze Russell recieved revelation from God that the Christian church was corrupted, and he started the new society of Witnesses. Although you won't hear any mention of Russell from any Witness today because of his er, checkered past, he founded the Watchtower organization- again on his own (mis)understanding of Bible Scripture without any witnesses. Muslims claim Mohummad was visited by an angel, Gabriel, and given the new and improved revelation of god's word. That Christians and Jews had it all wrong and corrupted the Word of God. Again, there were no witnesses of these angelic meetings. Interesting note however, Mohummad at least out of the three had questioned whether this angelic being was really of God or could it have been a jinn, demon.
Christianity is a contination of the Judeo belief of God the Creator, and the New Testament is comprised of letters and epistles of people who were either with Jesus during His earthly ministry or learned from actual witnesses of everything which happened during and immediately after His ministry, crucifixion and resurrection. There were plenty of witnesses to these events.
This Jesus hath God raised up whereof we all are witnesses. Acts 2:32
And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Acts 10:39
But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. Acts 13:30,31
Each group claim the Bible is corrupt, and only their version is the true final uncorruptable word. For each of the three claiming the Bible is corrupt, is a ridiculous claim in light of the fact that earliest manuscripts found have the same words of the more modern KJ version, the only differences or errors being grammatical. So in other words, all three men who claimed the Bible was corrupt, made this claim on the Bible or scriptures they had during their lifetime (500s for Mohummad, 1800s for Smith and T. Russell) yet after these guys died, the Dead Sea Scrolls came to light- proving the authenticity of our modern translation! It is interesting also to note, that each of these believe their scripture is the truth. All three of them are completely different from each other, yet each claim their version is true- so which one is? They can't all be. As well, in all three groups cases, their founders were admittedly either confused or did not understand Biblical doctrines such as the Trinity, or had dealings with multiple religious peoples such as Mohummad did, but only understood little of each different religion- enough to be confusing. Each man based an entirely new religion on their own ignorance of Biblical scripture and called theirs the true and new word.
Each of these men either claimed or are viewed by their followers as a prophet. The Bible discribes a false prophet as such in Jeremiah 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought and the deceit of their heart.
A simple look at what the prophets of God prophecied in the Bible, men such as Isaiah, Daniel, Micah, Jeremiah and others clearly were men who spoke the Authentic Word of God. none of these men were liars. Watchtower's first so called prophet, C.T. Russell was charged with purgery in a Court of Law for claiming to know how to read and translate Hebrew and Greek. He made predictions which dated when Jesus would come back and all JW's would inherit the new earth, and the first 144,000 Watchtower members would be the specially chosen ones to live in heaven. Since the dates set by Russell and some of his successors came and went more than a few times is enough by a Biblical plumbline to prove the founder and early leaders of the Watchtower Society as frauds. Perhaps that's why very rarely will one hear C.T. Russell's name mentioned among today's JW members. In fact, many young ones have never even heard of him! They follow a religion made up by this man, but have never heard of him?!Joseph Smith also is considered a prophet, along with every successor to the Mormon presidents ever since. Joseph Smith also made claims which were also proven to be frauds, mainly that the gold tablets were written ancient Egyptian hyroglyphics. Experts showed they were not. Smith also was known to dabble in the occult, which is strictly forbidden by God. Mohummad, as I said earlier, questioned his own sanity and wondered if he was visited by demons instead of an angel. He, being orphaned at an early age and raised by an uncle, travelled the middle eastern trade routes in his uncle's trade business, and learned many versions of mono and polytheism, that is, those who believe in 1 god and those who believe in many gods. He would have also been in contact with many Jews and Christians at that time who talked of the One True God. Somewhere along the line, he misunderstood the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and believed Christians worshiped God, Jesus and Mary, and considered them to be three separate gods. It wasn't until his "revelations" that he believed in allah, who, by the way, is not the same god as God, but an ancient Arab moon god. Mohummad married multiple wives, his youngest, he married when she was only 6 years old. He made war on those groups who did not convert to this new religion called Islam. His religion has caused 1400 years of bloodshed and/or oppression to women, children and those of other faiths.These three men are not prophets of God but instead the kind of men mentioned in the above verse of Jeremiah.
I don't want to drag on a long article (for once!) so let's look at just one more. Each of these groups preach a different Jesus than the Christ. Each claims to believe in Him, but none believe in the Christ of the Bible. JW's will try and twist scriptures and say that they know Jesus is the son of God. Their own "bible", the New World Translation adds translations, claiming original Greek or Hebrew, yet Greek and Hebrew scholars dispute these. For example, John 1:1 in the Bible says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The NWT adds an "a" before the word God, to say and the Word was a god. In truth, this means they either believe in more than one god- which is antiChristian, or their own explaination is that before Jesus came to earth, He was the archangel Michael. This is also antiChrist. Lastly, the Watchtower teaches their followers that their salvation depends on works, such as belonging to the Watchtower, reading only Watchtower publications and going door to door witnessing among other regulations.
Mormons teach that Jesus is actually Lucifer's brother. Lucifer as in Satan. They believe God was once a man, who is now one of many gods. They teach that those who belong to the Mormon Temple and observe all rights and laws, they too may become gods and have more "spirit children" and be in charge of their own planet some day. There are so many differences between the Mormon belief and the Christ of the Bible, it would be a whole new series to explain it all. Mormons also teach works based salvation, many of the same kinds that the Watchtower teaches, besides all of the man made rules of their faith.
Islam teaches that Jesus was one of the great prophets, with Mohummad being the last and greatest. They deny Christ's crucifixion, claiming allah would never have one of his prophets die in such a humiliating way. They believe that either someone else died in His place, or it never happened at all. They deny that God has a Son, that He is One and no partner is ascribed to Him. They believe that their 12th Imam will come in the end days and rule the world, and that Jesus will help. Again, there are so many differences, and Islam is totally antiChristian in it's teaching.
What it all comes down to is how people misunderstand or don't like what the Bible says. Each of these cults started with men who, without the Holy Spirit, didn't agree with certain parts of the Bible, or were totally ignorant of much of the central doctrine of the Christian faith. Everything depends on whether people agree that, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Ti 3:16) or that Jesus is the Word and the Word is God as taught in John 1:1.
The Bible warns of false Christs, prophets and teachers. 1John 4:1 says, Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Satan is discribed as an angel of light. Kind of gives a whole new spin on those bright beings Joseph Smith claimed he saw, and the angel Mohummad spoke to. After all, Satan has been trying to usurp God since time began, so it makes sense to have him telling people he is God to confuse them about the true God.
The Bible also warns about other gospels. 2Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. Also, Galatiams 1:6,7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel :Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
The ultimate question we all must answer before we die, is who is going to save us? Who is going to save you? Will it be a society which based it's whole cult on a false prophet, proven liar and Biblically ignorant man? Or maybe you have visions of how cool it would be to be a god some day and rule your own universe... you could join the Mormon church for that fantasy, but the Temple will not save you. Many believe Islam is really a peaceful religion who has been hijacked by radicals who would pervert the true religion. These folks may want peace and a chance to raise their families without being labled as a terrorist- I can understand that, but Mohummad was a murderer, adulterer and had visions even he thought were of demons. Will he save you? Their god allah is fickle and does as he chooses. He never promises paradise to anyone, well except for those who die in jihad, but for everyone else, it's if allah wills it. So, you don't even know if you are saved or not.
Why not get to know Jesus? You don't have do go door to door, you don't have to fight a jihad. You only have to learn about Him through His Word, the Bible and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. I've never disowned or broken relationships because family or friends have not believed in Christ, although I do pray for them because I love them! I have no doubts about what will happen when I die and where I'll be going- I hope you will make your choice now and have the same assurance.