(1 Kings 15:25-34)
“Now Nadab the son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin. Then Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him. And Baasha killed him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon. Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place. And it was so, when he became king, that he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam anyone that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he had sinned and by which he had made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he had provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger. Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha the son of Ahijah became king over all Israel in Tirzah, and reigned twenty-four years. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin.”
Heretics Are Cursed for Generations to Come
Jeroboam’s son was named Nadab. Although he succeeded his father’s throne to rule over Israel as its king, he was eventually murdered by one of his servants, and his entire family was also wiped out. As King Nadab was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and he walked in the way of his father Jeroboam, the curse of death followed every generation of Jeroboam’s house. While King Nadab the son of Jeroboam was waging war in a place called Gibbethon, one of his officials, named Baasha, conspired against him during the war, killed him, and became king in his place. When Baasha became king of Israel, he struck the whole house of Jeroboam and destroyed everyone, leaving no one alive. Jehovah had prophesied this destruction of the house of Jeroboam through the Prophet Ahijah, and it came to pass exactly as prophesied. The Bible shows that everything God had said to these kings through His prophets was all fulfilled as promised. Baasha, who had conspired against his king Nadab and killed him, passed his throne to his son, but once again, an official named Zimri plotted against the new king and killed him, thus usurping the throne of Israel.
God had said that because of the sins of Jeroboam, He would kill every man in the house of Jeroboam. As the sins of Jeroboam had provoked the wrath of God, He had promised that He would kill everyone who emulated Jeroboam’s faith, and everything came to pass according to this Word of God. There was hardly any king in Israel who lived a full life after assuming the throne. Almost every king either died in the battlefield or was murdered by his treasonous servant.
One thing common to all these kings is the fact that they committed the same sin that Jeroboam had committed and were put to death by God. When the son of Jeroboam became king, he, too, committed the same sin that his father had committed before God. He worshiped as his gods the golden calves that his father had believed in, and having thus provoked God’s wrath, he was eventually murdered. Just like his father, he sinned by appointing ordinary people to the priesthood, making a priest out of whoever wanted to become one. As a result, he suffered an accursed death. For virtually all the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel, it was invariably through treason that they made themselves kings.
King Nadab was killed by a man named-Baasha who was mentioned in today’s Scripture passage, and Baasha plotted against his king Nadab and assassinated him in a place called Gibbethon. While King Nadab was busy waging war against his enemy troops in Gibbethon, Baasha murdered him and made himself king of Israel. Once Baasha assumed the throne, he killed every male in the house of Jeroboam and spared no one. And after becoming king, Baasha himself also committed the same sins that Jeroboam had committed. A wretchedly flawed faith had been passed on, and all this was the result of one man’s fallacious faith. Just as a child inherits the blood of his parents of the flesh, the faith of a heretic had also been inherited by his successors.
Here, we have to keep in mind that every faith is passed on and inherited by someone, regardless of whether it is the right faith or not. Just as in a dynasty a son succeeds his father’s throne, so does flawed faith continue to be passed down and succeeded by its followers. That’s why in the northern kingdom of Israel, its monarchs committed the same sins that King Jeroboam had committed. Because they committed the same sins like this, God punished them by moving the hearts of their officials, but when these traitors became kings, they themselves once again committed the same sins. From here we can draw an important lesson: Faith is continuously passed on.
How Far Does the Flawed Faith of King Jeroboam Extend?
As we know very well, it’s safe to say that the flawed faith of King Jeroboam extends well into today’s Christianity. That’s because Christianity all over the world is now serving golden calves as its gods. Most of you probably know King Ahab, perhaps the evilest of all kings in the history of Israel. King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel had inherited Jeroboam’s faith so typically. His wife was Jezebel. This foreign woman worshiped idols so much inside Israel, and she had such a control over her husband King Ahab, that she contributed singularly to turning the whole nation of Israel into a completely pagan nation of idolatry.
After Jeroboam became king over the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, he made two golden caves and made them believe in these calves as Jehovah God. In doing so, he turned himself into the pioneer that led the Israelites to a flawed faith. And this fallacious faith of Jeroboam continued all the way down to the days of Jesus Christ. Isn’t it truly astounding? Jeroboam was clearly punished by God for his fallacious faith, and so how was it possible for his faith to continue to be passed on? Why did the people of Israel repeat the mistakes of Jeroboam time after time and suffer as a result, when they knew very well that such faith was wrong? Even as the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel kept changing hands, the faith of its kings remained the same constantly. Regardless of whether the throne was succeeded by its rightful heir or by a seditious official, every king invariably inherited the faith of Jeroboam. The kings of the northern kingdom of Israel had made themselves High Priests and led their people to a fallacious faith. That’s why the people of Israel believed as commanded by their kings, provoked the wrath of Jehovah by committing the same sins that King Jeroboam had committed, and were ultimately destroyed together with their kings.
While reading the Book of 1 Kings, I thought to myself, “The people of Israel and its kings were so pathetic!” As the royal lineage continued on and new kings came and went, they should have realized how their preceding kings were cursed for worshiping golden calves as their gods, and with this realization they should have turned around right away and believed in God properly, but they did not turn around from this mistaken faith. I want none of you to ever be like these people. When the son of Jeroboam became king, he, too, committed the same sins that his father had committed by worshiping golden calves and idols, but it wasn’t just Jeroboam’s son that fell into sin like this, but his people also believed just like him and followed in his way. It’s because of the flawed faith of King Jeroboam that the entire nation of Israel was destroyed. When the kings of Israel realized that their faith was flawed, they should have turned back to God to avoid being cursed, but far from turning from such mistaken faith, they taught it to their own people. They taught their people like this because they were kings of Israel. And the people of Israel believed according to how they were instructed by their kings.
The same thing is happening in across Christian communities today: Christians believe according to how they are taught by their leaders. Some denominations emphasize their history, saying, “Since the preceding pastors of our denomination were martyred for God, let us all live our lives like them!” That’s all good and fine. But I think it would be better for them to lead today’s Christians to live out their faith now, rather than exploiting the faith of the martyred pastors who went before them. I believe that the proper faith in God stems voluntarily from a faithful heart that is inspired by the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit.
Even Now, Jeroboam’s Faith Is Succeeded by Those Who Worship Golden Calves
Today, we can see that flawed faiths continue to be perpetuated by Christian communities throughout the whole world. In Christianity today, there are many denominations such as Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and the Evangelical Holiness Church. The Evangelical Holiness Church is a denomination that is mostly confined to Korea; it has few followers abroad. The main Christian denominations with a global reach are Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, and a few others. The prominence of these denominations is due mainly to the fact of being founded by a famous theologian. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, was a great theologian, and John Calvin, a Frenchman, was also a renowned theologian who went on to found the Presbyterian Church. The Lutheran Church was also, founded by a famous theologian, Martin Luther. All of these people were men of great accomplishment. However, while it may seem as though there are many great theologians in Christian communities around the world, when you look more closely, you will see that there actually aren’t that many.
In the 20th century, new denominations emerged under the rubric of the Pentecostal Church. The denominations affiliated with this Charismatic Movement emphasize signs and miracles, all in the name of emulating the faith of the Early Church. And their followers believe that just as God’s miraculous works had unfolded during the era of the Early Church, so are the same miracles now unfolding in their lives as well. The early followers of the Charismatic Movement believed that the miracle of healing, their ability to speak in tongues, and other such mystical phenomena that were happening to them were God’s works, and so they came together to form a denomination of their own. However, they lacked any leader who could discern properly whether such works of wonders, speaking in tongues, physical vibration, and healing were really God’s works or not. So they believed blindly that all these works were from God, since they were convinced all together that the Pentecostal Movement was indeed of God’s work. So rather than examining whether their faith was right or not, their sole purpose was only to serve and follow God zealously right then and there. And as this kind of faith has been blindly succeeded, today, we can now see that their followers are ultimately worshiping golden calves. That is the verdict when strictly assessed.
However, this kind of blind succession of faith is not unique to just the Pentecostal Church. Take a look around at other denominations. It is common to every denomination. What John Wesley preached was a social evangelization. He emphasized the concept of “social holiness” by saying, “The gospel of Christ knows no religion but social, no holiness but social holiness.” In short, this gospel called for the Christianization of society. Accordingly, the Methodist Church today is devoting all its effort to emulate the faith of this theologian. So the Methodist Church is very interested in social reform. That’s why it is engaged in many charity works and praises those who are at the forefront of such movements.
On the other hand, Presbyterian theologians trained under the teachings of John Calvin believe in the Doctrine of Predestination. What is the concept of God’s predestination? The Bible says, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). This passage means that God had predestined beforehand that those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel through which Jesus Christ has completely blotted out all our sins, would all be saved. However, the Calvinist Doctrine of Predestination claims, “Those predestined to be saved will believe in Jesus as their Savior unconditionally, but those who were not predestined will not believe no matter what.” Is this the real predestination of God? Never! What is worse is that those who follow such theologians are uncritically inheriting all such beliefs.
The Lutheran Church inherited Luther’s faith all intact. And its faith continues to be passed on. So, if the first founder of any denomination misbelieves, his faith is continuously succeeded, and all those who follow in his footsteps are automatically cursed. That is why it’s so important to stand on the right line even when it comes to believing in God.
I used to have a hard time trying to understand how the people of Israel could continue to perpetuate the faith of Jeroboam for thousands of years. Before, whenever I read the Old Testament, I just thought that it was because of their sins that the Israelites were enslaved by Babylon for 70 years, but later on, I eventually came to realize that all this suffering was due to the fact that the people of Israel had clung to the faith of Jeroboam before God. All that the Israelites had to do was just turn away from the fallacious faith of King Jeroboam that was perpetuated by their kings and forefathers, and yet they failed to do this, and continued to follow the faith of Jeroboam.
The people of Israel had the belief that if they bowed before an image of Asherah, the goddess of fertility, that then their descendants would somehow prosper. They worshiped Asherah as if it were God, wishing that they would have many children, become rich, and live a long and healthy life, all in carnal terms. They also worshiped Baal, believing that they would all prosper in the flesh. While those who followed the faith of King Jeroboam worshiped God as well, they also worshiped idols, bowing before them and believing in them. Isn’t that why the Prophet Isaiah and many other prophets in the Old Testament rebuked the people of Israel and its kings? Even though these kings were rebuked for their sins, they still did not listen to the words of the prophets of God, and that is why in the end, God allowed seditions to happen repeatedly and killed such kings.
You should realize that even now, Christianity continues to sustain King Jeroboam’s flawed faith intact, and yet even so, it remains completely oblivious to this fact. Even today, as Christianity espouses fallacious doctrines, such mistaken beliefs are blindly followed and accepted by the Christian sinners. Let’s turn to some of the doctrines on Holy Communion believed by each denomination for example. Churches like the Lutheran Church believe in the Doctrine of Consubstantiation that was advocated by Martin Luther. This is somewhat different from the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, but these two are almost the same in reality. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation claims that when one partakes in Holy Communion, the wine and bread are transformed into the actual blood and flesh of Jesus.
At the Last Supper, when Jesus first performed Holy Communion, the bread used was from a single loaf. Jesus broke this large loaf of bread and gave its pieces to His disciples, saying to them, “Take and eat this bread, for it is My flesh.” And when Jesus shared the wine with His disciples, He said to them, “Take this cup and drink from it, for it is My blood that I shed for many.” Why did He establish this sacrament and order them to keep it perpetually? At the night He was arrested to be crucified, He took bread giving thanks to God, broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). It is clear that Jesus gave this sacrament for us to remember His work of salvation. In Holy Communion, the bread implies the baptism Jesus received to take upon Himself all the sins of the world once and for all, while the wine implies that the blood He shed on the Cross washed away all our sins.
In contrast, the Doctrine of Transubstantiation claims that when a Catholic priest consecrates the bread and wine of Holy Communion, praying, “The Lamb of God who has blotted out the sins of the world, intercede for us,” this bread and wine are transformed into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus. In other words, the doctrine argues that when a priest prays like this, the bread and wine are actually transformed into the living body of Jesus and His blood, and therefore whoever eats this bread eats the body of Jesus, and whoever drinks this wine drinks the blood of Jesus. That is the essence of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation espoused by the Catholic Church.
When Luther split from the Catholic Church with the Reformation, he brought with him almost the same doctrine but with a different name, called “Consubstantiation.” This doctrine says that the substance of bread and the body of Jesus Christ coexist when the priest takes the bread and gives thanks to God. Luther himself distributed Communion as frequently as Catholics at every service. Luther, who had been a monk and a theologian in the Catholic Church, had brought some of its doctrines and rituals with him when he split from it, and this faith continues to be sustained intact by the Lutheran Church. As another example, the Catholic belief in infant baptism is also kept intact. That is how the beliefs of the founders of Christian communities came to be succeeded blindly by every Christian.
Such beliefs, however, are all fallacious when reflected on by the Word of God. For us to partake in Holy Communion by faith, we must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and only then can we really take part in this sacrament by faith. Just because parents believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, this does not mean that their children would automatically be saved. Nor is it true that just because one is formally baptized, he is somehow saved from his sins. Rather, one must know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, realizing why Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John, the Baptist, and why He shed His blood and died on the Cross. To do so, one must first know the fundamental nature of mankind, and reach the proper and concrete understanding of its sins. We must preach the real Truth to everyone, proclaiming our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all.
However, as erroneous, dogmatic and doctrinaire beliefs were passed down from generation to generation, Christianity today has turned into a worldly religion. The backbone of the Presbyterian Church is formed by the so-called Five Points of Calvinism established by its namesake, Calvin. Representative of these Five Points of Calvinism is the Doctrine of Predestination. This doctrine claims that God loved some people and decided to save them from sin even before the foundation of the world, while other people were not chosen. So of those that were destined to be saved God had already saved them in Jesus Christ. The adherents of this doctrine thus argue that some people were already predestined to be saved, and therefore those predestined and selected by God are to be saved and enter Heaven by believing in Jesus, while those not loved by God and predestined not to be saved are to be forsaken. Such doctrinal beliefs have continued to be passed down in Christianity. That’s how the faith of the religious reformers has been sustained intact to this day.
The question, then, is whether or not these religious reformers knew what the gospel of the water and the Spirit was at that time. If the religious reformers did not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit and preached only a half-gospel, then today’s Christians who have inherited their faith are inevitably bound to believe in the same half-gospel. What a terrible consequence is it? Do you realize that following such a half-gospel is to follow the sins that Jeroboam had committed in the Old Testament era?
How did such a tragic result come about? Wasn’t the faith of Abraham passed down onto the people of Israel continuously? From Abraham came Isaac and Jacob, and the nation of Israel was formed through Jacob’s twelve sons. And they had kept the faith of their ancestors even while they suffered through terrible tribulations. Prophets had ruled Israel until the days of Samuel. After Samuel’s death, his sons were to succeed him as the servants of God, but as his sons were deemed unworthy (1 Samuel 8:3), the people of Israel asked God to establish a king for them. So God instituted a monarchy for Israel, and its first king was Saul. However, God was not pleased with a man like Saul. Someone like David was whom God wanted. So God made David king, and at that time, theocracy was briefly restored. Once assuming the throne, David reigned over Israel wisely, established the house of Aaron as the proper house of the High Priest, and set the division of priests. Having thus established spiritual order properly, David then passed his throne down to Solomon.
However, tragedy began once Solomon assumed the throne. After assuming the throne, Solomon took foreign women to be his wives, and so eventually his faith collapsed completely. Foreign idols were introduced into Israel unlimitedly during his reign. Shrines dedicated to foreign gods began to appear inside Israel. So the people of Israel came to bow before idols. After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam became king, but King Rehoboam also worshiped idols just like Solomon. Because his father King Solomon had committed too many sins, during the reign of Rehoboam, God tore ten tribes away from him and gave them to a man named Jeroboam, having him rule over a new kingdom.
But what did Jeroboam do after becoming the first king of the northern kingdom? To protect his throne, he came up with an evil scheme, designed to allay his fear that the people of Israel might return to King Rehoboam of the southern kingdom. He made two golden calves and set them in Bethel and Dan. Then he made his people worship them. He changed the date for the Day of Atonement to the fifteenth day of the eighth month from the tenth day of the seventh month, and he also made priests out of ordinary people who were not Levi’s descendants. The people of Israel ended up replacing Jehovah God with golden calves. This horrendous sin of idolatry was wholly perpetuated by the subsequent kings of Israel and emulated by the people of Israel. They had all emulated the faith of Jeroboam. That’s why if leaders go astray, it’s automatic for the people under their leadership to also go astray, only to perish in both body and spirit. Even though the people of Israel tried to be faithful to God, they just could not change their flawed faith on their own strength.
In this present age, those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit like us are able to say that every gospel other than this gospel of the water and the Spirit is a fallacious gospel, because they can discern false faith from the true one. But during the reign of King Jeroboam, it was inevitable for the Israelites to trust in their leader’s words and follow him, for they were spiritually blinded. That is why the people of Israel came to serve idols fallaciously. Because King Jeroboam had misled his people to misbelieve in God and go astray, the Israelites could not but continue to believe mistakenly. And since the succeeding kings and the people of Israel continued to believe like this, they continued to be cursed as well.
Even in this age and time, virtually all Christians believe mistakenly according to the doctrines of their own denominations. Today, the same thing is also happening to Christians all over the world. There is a female comedian in Korea who has recently been bringing a lot of laughs, appearing in a television comedy program as the head of an imaginary religious sect that worships obesity. Her comedy is outlandishly hilarious, and although I am not really good at imitating her, I will give it a try here. She begins her gag whenever she enters the stage like this: “Get away from me, all you who are skinny! The era of fatties will come soon! Eat! Though your beginning was skinny, yet your end will be abundantly fat! I am the head of ‘Obesity Worshipers’! My name is ‘Childbirthandra,’ the savior of the skinny of the world!”
Then she chants a slogan of the ‘Obesity Worshipers’ like this: “Give natural birth, feed mother’s milk! Give natural birth, feed mother’s milk!” She then starts her sermon, saying, “Oh, you skinny sinner! Today, I will bestow my blessings on you. Eat. Repent and eat. Oh, you fatty who are sitting next to her, you have already been blessed! But for those who still have not been blessed, I am preaching the word again today. Today’s sacred passage comes from the ‘Book of Gluttony.’ Today, I would like to share the word with you to proclaim the innocence of the transformation of the ‘lord shrimp.’ Out of his gallantry, he tried to mediate a whales’ fight, but he was injured with a broken back. (Editor’s note: There is a proverb in Korea that goes, ‘The back of a shrimp gets hurt in a whales’ fight,’ which refers to an innocent bystander who suffers a side blow in a fight.) But what did we do? Did we not make fun of his small eyes? Yet despite this, he showed his humbleness by bending his back. That’s not all. To heal his chronic back pain, he roasted himself in salt, dusted himself in flour, poured sauce on himself, and sacrificed himself to become stirred shrimp. He then ground his body in the mill, jumped into boiling oil, and was reincarnated into a tasty snack that no one can stop eating once he has tasted it. Do you eat this shrimp snack? Do you eat him? Do you eat shrimp burger? Do you eat stirred shrimp? Hey! Waitress, can I get the sauce on a side dish?”
The comedian would then sing, “♪If you fall asleep tired from eating, ♬I will bless you. ♬If you fall asleep tired from eating, ♪I will bless you. Fatties! Fatties! ♪”
“It’s time for me to go now.”
Another comedian restrains her from going away, saying, “But Childbirthandra, why do you stop preaching the good word? Where are you going now?”
“I’m going to eradicate trains that don’t have a dining car!”
When we look into the Christian world today, we see that it’s little different from such a comedy. Even though Christians know that Jesus was sacrificed to atone for the sins of mankind, they do not know that He has perfectly saved all the people of the whole world from its sins and made them God’s children. They believe in the Lord only vaguely, without even realizing that He has indeed made us completely sinless, even unto our conscience. So despite the fact that there are many Christian denominations professing to believe in Jesus as the Savior, at most, the gospel preached by them puts faith only in the sacrifice that Jesus made by shedding His blood on the Cross. That’s why their faiths are essentially congruent to each other despite their denominational differences. Their common faith is that Jesus loves them, and that He was crucified to save them from the sins of the world. Their claim is that it’s because of the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood that they have been saved. Yet despite this claim, their sins still remain intact in their hearts.
If their hearts still remain sinful even as they believe in Jesus, then doesn’t this mean that their faith is wrong? Just how ridiculous is this? How absurd is it that there still are sins left in their hearts, despite the claim that Jesus has saved them by being crucified and sacrificing Himself? Christianity today has turned into a laughable worldly religion that’s no different from the comedy I just mentioned above. The comedian that I mentioned had probably attended church before. It seems that’s why she parodied preachers’ familiar speaking mode to trigger laughter. Last week, she started her comic sermon like this: “Today, I would like to share the words from ‘the first epistle of shrimp,’ chapter so and so and verses so and so. The ‘lord shrimp’ sacrificed himself by jumping into the stew to save the skinny. He was so humble that he never stood upright before us the lowly. How about us then? Are we ourselves humble before him? No, rather than humbling ourselves, we have made fun of him who sacrificed himself for our sake.” Isn’t this a parody of the Christian faith that Jesus has saved us from sin by sacrificing Himself on this earth out of His love for us?
What we must make sure of before we move on here is that even though Christians all over the world believe in Jesus as their Savior, their sins still remain intact in their hearts. In other words, today’s Christians still have sin in their hearts. This implies that Christianity has turned into a worldly religion. Religion is a product of mankind’s own making. Christians who believe in Jesus only as a matter of religion think of His ministry on this earth in their own human terms, and they believe only what they can grasp. Even though Jesus came to this earth to save sinners, many Christians even deny this. It’s so ridiculous. It’s so hilarious that I feel like I am watching a comedy. How can they make people laugh so much like this? Today’s Christian leaders are so good at making so many people laugh so much. When they say to the congregation, “Receive God’s blessings,” their followers blindly shout out, “Hallelujah! Amen, I believe!” They emphasize Jesus’ sacrifice, claim that one is saved from sin by believing in the blood Jesus shed on the Cross, and assert that those who believe in this blood have already been saved.
They say that if one donates more money to church, he would receive even more blessings from God. Christianity today has turned into an absurd worldly religion. Who is responsible for all this? It’s all because of today’s Christian leaders who worship golden calves. You are now hearing something tremendously important here. I do respect Christian leaders as fellow human beings. As far as spiritual matters are concerned, however, I say to them what’s in my mind. Clearly, religious reformers in the Medieval Age did carry out substantial reforms. But isn’t it also clear that just as the Catholic Church at that time had been corrupted, so have today’s Protestant Churches also turned into worldly religions? Their teachings are far off from the Bible. They are not just a little bit removed, but they have deviated completely from the Scriptures. As Christianity today has merely been reduced into one of the many religions of the world, it believes in its own doctrines, not in Jesus who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s true that Christians during the Reformation sought to reform the Church and live a more upright life based on the Word of God. They did try hard to be nearer to Jesus. Yet despite this, today’s Christians still continue to lead a worldly religious life worshiping golden calves, not a life of faith. How are Protestants and Catholics today any different from each other, when both have turned into worldly religions? From their church architecture to their everyday acts, they share so many similarities that they are pretty much the same.
You have to grasp just how serious it is that today’s Christianity has fallen into the sins of Jeroboam. In today’s Scripture passage, a man named Baasha killed King Nadab, the son of King Jeroboam. And it is written that when Baasha assumed the throne, he struck the house of Jeroboam and killed everyone, so that no one would be left alive. This was fulfilled according to what God’s servant had prophesied about Jeroboam’s sins. The house of Jeroboam was completely exterminated. Each and every member of the house was killed. Can you really grasp this? Baasha had been King Nadab’s official, but when he usurped the throne by sedition, he did not spare anyone from Jeroboam’s family. He ordered his soldiers to wipe out the entire family of the previous king. Everyone related to Jeroboam was killed. Why did this happen? The Bible says that it was “because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he had sinned and by which he had made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he had provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger” (1 Kings 15:30). However, once Baasha became king, he also ended up following the way of Jeroboam. As it is written, “In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha the son of Ahijah became king over all Israel in Tirzah, and reigned twenty-four years. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin” (1 Kings 15:33-34).
Today’s Christian leaders are not just committing sin by themselves, but they are also making their congregation commit the same sin equally. Just how wrong is this? Just how faulty are today’s Christian leaders? Yet even so, they have no idea what they are doing is wrong. For Christian leaders today, it’s beyond their wildest dreams to think that they are actually committing the sins of Jeroboam by teaching that the remission of sin is received just by believing in the blood of the Cross all alone. They think that if they are revealed as insufficient being at all, it’s thoroughly because of their carelessness, and they all consider themselves to be fundamentally good, doctrinally sound Christians. Considering how all these Christian leaders believe that Jesus has saved them from their sins just by dying on the Cross, it’s hardly reasonable to expect that there would be anyone in today’s Christian communities who thinks that this is a fallacious belief. There probably is no one who thinks so even in his wildest dreams.
Although Christians differ in their respective denominations, they all believe uniformly that it’s on the Cross of Calvary where Jesus saved them. That’s why it’s absolutely inconceivable for them to think that their faith might be wrong. It’s all very convenient for them to believe like this because all the other Christians believe just like they do. So ministers and pastors unhesitatingly preach that only Jesus’ blood on the Cross of Calvary brings salvation. However, these people are not only still ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but they are rejecting this gospel and leading others to some other false gospels, all the while remaining completely oblivious to what they are actually doing. Probably none of them thinks that teaching such fallacies constitutes the very sin that Jeroboam had committed against God.
But what does the Bible say? It says that Jeroboam not only sinned himself but also made his people sin, and was ultimately destroyed for this. This message is repeatedly underscored in the Old Testament, beginning from the Book of 1 Kings all the way to the Book of Malachi. What a terrible thing is this? Most Christians today think that their faith in Jesus is very proper. Those who preach only the blood of the Cross, mindful of the sacrifice of Jesus, often fast in their prayer and volunteer their services to charity works. They probably consider themselves good Christians for practicing the love of Jesus not just in words but also in their actual lives. And they don’t think that there is anything wrong with their predecessors’ faith. Far from it, they are convinced that what they believe in is the absolute truth. Put differently, they likely think that there is no other gospel that can bring salvation to them but the gospel of the blood of the Cross.
However, the Bible says that it is the gospel of the water and the Spirit that is the real Truth and the genuine gospel (1 John 5:4-8). When reflected on the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can see just how far today’s Christianity has gone astray. That’s why, even though Christianity has a history spanning over 2,000 years, its followers are invariably and collectively misbelieving now. They are denounced even by secular society as a group. Presbyterians misbelieve because of their Presbyterian doctrines, Catholics misbelieve because of their Catholic credos, and the list goes on. Every Christian community has gone far astray from the true Word of the Bible because of its erroneous doctrines. Its faith is completely and utterly different from the faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Does the gospel of the water and the Spirit speak of only the blood of the Cross? No! The gospel of the water and the Spirit proclaims that when the Lord came to this earth, He took upon Himself all of our sins through the baptism He received from John the Baptist, shouldered them to the Cross, was condemned to death to bear the judgment of all these sins of ours, arose from the dead again, and has thus become our Savior. It declares that Jesus not only bore all your sins and mine through His baptism which He received from John, but by shedding His blood on the Cross, He was also condemned for all the sins of this world, thereby delivering us from death and destruction and moving us to the Kingdom of the Son of God. This is the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that the Bible speaks of. Today, believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are this last age’s blessed people who have received the grace of salvation from God.
Today’s Christianity has a long but troubled history. Even though it now boasts a history spanning for over 2,000 years, with the Edict of Milan issued by a Roman emperor in 313 AD, it had plunged into the Dark Ages lasting for over 1,000 years ruled by the Catholic Church. And whereas Protestantism did emerge with the rise of the Reformation Movement in the 16th century, even after this, Christian doctrines still remained completely far off course from the righteousness of God. Today’s Christianity knows and believes nothing about the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Nor can it be said that those who are now leading their lives of faith in various Protestant churches originating from the Reformation have been completely freed from the Catholic faith. All that they have done is just leave the Catholic Church; other than that, they still believe in vain, for they continue to adhere to their mistaken doctrine that salvation is reached only by believing in the blood of the Cross alone, rather than by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The problem, in other words, is that they actually know only the blood of the Cross, and do not believe that Jesus took upon Himself all their sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist. And their leaders do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, nor do they preach it. That is why even Calvin left many desperate prayers in his commentaries, essentially begging the Lord to forgive a sinner like himself.
As such, far from becoming sinless by believing in Jesus, Christian leaders have actually turned into even more definitive sinners. So by spreading their Christian doctrines, they have only ended up deceiving countless people. Because they do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they have been teaching the Doctrine of Incremental Sanctification, arguing that one must be sanctified gradually to become sinless. As a result, Christians have come to think mistakenly that even if they remain sinful, they can still go to the Kingdom of God just by believing in Jesus, and they’ve also come to believe that only God knows whether one is saved or not. Their faith is an unbroken inheritance of the fallacious faith of their leaders, who are all lost in spiritual confusion and fog. They are leading their lives of faith as heirs to the Doctrine of Predestination. In other words, what they believe in is not the real Truth. If Christian leaders in any denomination believe wrongly, then all those under their leadership cannot help but also believe wrongly. Why? Because they cannot discern their wrong faith, since that’s all they know.
The origin of heresy goes back all the way to the Old Testament, stemming from someone like Jeroboam. The pioneer of collective heresy is Jeroboam, and it is from his days that heresy flourished until the end of the age of the Old Testament and beyond, to continue on even into the age of the New Testament. Now, collective heresy is sustained by today’s denominational leaders having faith that is the same as that of Jeroboam. Even after Jesus came to this earth and saved us from sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Christianity still went astray and has remained so until now. That is why Christianity is now clouded in so much darkness. The entire world is pitch-dark. Today, however, God has shone the whole world with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. And in doing so, He has enabled the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to reach their salvation from sin. He has saved us completely and perfectly, so that none of us may ever say that he has sin.
Mistaken leaders in Christian communities must realize that they are misleading people even at this very moment. Indeed, even now, these Christian leaders must know the gospel of the water and the Spirit properly, believe in it properly, and teach it properly. They must thus thank God and glorify Him for the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, the gospel that God has given to us in this age and time. Even from now on, they must believe in this gospel and preach it all over the world, for this gospel of the water and the Spirit is the real Truth written in the Bible.
Yet Christian leaders today do not know this gospel, and instead they believe blindly in their own denominations’ doctrines. This is inevitable for anyone who does not know the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That’s why we must point out their hearts’ sins first based on the Word, and then preach the gospel to them, saying to them, “Are there any sins in your conscience? Jesus bore those sins by being baptized. And He carried them to the Cross and was crucified to death. Then He arose from the dead again, and has saved us perfectly. Jesus has blotted out all your sins like this. Do your sins then still remain, or have they all disappeared now?” In this way, Christian leaders everywhere must reach their salvation, have the right faith, turn into workers laboring for the Kingdom of God, live for the gospel, and become God’s harvesters in the last days.
If you study theology superficially without fully grasping the history of Christianity, you will likely end up turning into a heretic. Everyone must reach the proper understanding of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Truth of Christianity. Although most Christians think that only the gospel of the shed blood of the Cross from Calvary is the genuine gospel, in reality, it is the gospel of the water and the Spirit that is the only true gospel. The Bible testifies that only the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the real Truth. As it says, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). This passage means that Jesus has saved us from all our sins once and for all by coming to this earth, being baptized, dying on the Cross, and arising from the dead again, so that we would be able to wash away all our sins from our conscience and answer God’s calling. That is how the Apostles believed.
The Bible also makes it clear that Jesus has saved us through the water, the blood, and the Spirit (1 John 5:3-8). Jesus Himself said, “Unless one is born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God nor see it” (John 3:2-7). That “we have to be born again of water and the Spirit” means that we are saved from our sins only if we believe that Jesus accepted all the sins of the world through His baptism He received from John the Baptist, died on the Cross, arose from the dead, and has thereby saved us. Only then can we become God’s children and His workers, enjoy everlasting life in the next world, and take part in all splendor and glory together with God.
It’s because people do not know the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that they only cling onto the doctrines taught by their denominations. To learn the gospel of the water and the Spirit, one must study the Bible and learn from those who understood this gospel first. For you to open your spiritual eyes, you must study the Bible and learn from those who believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and were born again before you. I know factually that the whole Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, speaks of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is something that God has taught me. We should examine the history of Christianity to see when the faith of the gospel of the water and the Spirit was corrupted, and if the faith of today’s Christians is indeed proper or not. If they now know and believe properly in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then they should thank their predecessors of faith; if not, then they must believe in this gospel even now, before it’s too late. Christian leaders must indeed be people of faith, possessing the same faith that Abraham had.
Did our present knowledge of the gospel of the water and the Spirit come by learning from theologians? No, certainly not. Far from it, they actually believe in another gospel that’s different from the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If Christians today had at least not inherited the faith of religious reformers, they could have had the chance to learn the gospel of the water and the Spirit again.
At the time of the Reformation, it was actually unavoidable for religious reformers not to carry out church reforms. The Catholic Church in the Medieval Age was routinely engaged in witch hunting to rob people’s money and confiscated their properties by tainting them with heresy. It accused and killed countless people as heretics. For instance, if a rich woman existed whom the church considered a threat, it would accuse her of witchcraft and Devil-worship, only for the purpose to confiscate her properties. An ecclesiastical court, called the Inquisition, would be held to this end, to charge her and condemn her to death for heresy. The court would then find two false witnesses to commit perjury on its behalf, testifying falsely, “That woman cursed Jehovah God. She said that Jesus is not God, nor the Son of God.” The woman would then be tortured until she was forced to confess, and be eventually executed. Torturing methods were so heinous and brutal, from pulling out the tongue to quartering and skinning, that she would have no choice but to make a false confession. She would then be killed in the name of the church, and all her properties would be confiscated. This is what witch hunting was all about. That’s how the Catholic Church accumulated its wealth during the Medieval Age. Of course, the Catholic Church is no longer engaged in such practices now, but it did commit these horrendous acts in its past. For a thousand years, its history during the Medieval Age was marked by such atrocities.
All these things are familiar to anyone who studied church history. Yet for many people, their knowledge of the Reformation tends to be superficial. Reformers also committed the same cruelties as Catholic authorities had done. In other words, few people actually know about the brutality of the Catholic Church being repeated by some Protestant reformers. For instance, John Calvin, a French reformer, held the divinity of Jesus as a doctrinally indispensable element. But there were others existing then which were denying Jesus’ divinity. So just like the Roman Catholic Church, Calvin also held religious courts to persecute them, condemning them as heretics and burning them at the stake. In those days, religious leaders held that much power.
But do we now have the authority to burn people at the stake for heresy? No, we have no such authority. We are just trying to turn today’s Christians around from their fallacious faith, since they believe in another gospel rather than the gospel of the water and the Spirit; we have no right to burn them on the stake or beat to them to death for heresy. But before and during the Reformation, countless religious leaders and many others wielded such power. Today, of course, this is unthinkable as we now live under the rule of secular law, but it was common in those old days.
However, today’s heirs to the Reformation, who teach the faith of the religious reformers as the right faith, blindly reject anyone whose beliefs are different from theirs as a heretic. Long ago, Presbyterians used to accuse Methodists of heresy, Methodists used to denounce Presbyterians as heretics, and they both routinely condemned the Full Gospel Church as a heresy. Every denomination had accused each other of heresy. At least that was the case in Korea. But what’s going on today? As the Full Gospel Church, which is a Pentecostal denomination, grows by leaps and bounds and becomes highly influential, no one dares to condemn it as a heresy anymore. All these denomination now recognize each other as orthodox churches and share fellowship with one another.
So from here we draw an important lesson: “Whatever way a leader believes, all his followers are bound to believe in his way. The faith of the leader is crucial. It’s inevitable for his followers to inherit his faith, even if they don’t want this. Therefore if one clings to his erroneous forefathers of faith, he is destined to turn into a heretic, even if this is not his desire.” Right now, Christianity all over the world has turned into a collective heresy. So we all know very well that it is our calling to turn all these countless people back to the right place. That is why we are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them, and that is why I am now using the example of Jeroboam to explain heresy in detail.
Sometimes we wish we could just say bluntly to these Christian sinners, “You shouldn’t believe like that. You are a heretic,” but with this kind of approach, we can never turn their hearts around. When someone is completely seized by some mistaken thoughts, it’s hard to change his mind just by telling him everything all at once. We can change such people’s minds only when we explain to them step by step, based on the Word, what exactly is wrong with their beliefs. That’s how they come to believe in the Word properly and are thus transformed to reach their salvation.
Even now, countless people are receiving the remission of their sins through our books. While some people receive the remission of their sins after reading just a couple of our books, for most people, it takes five or six books before they can be washed from all their sins. What is frustrating is that although we are now publishing our spiritual growth series, because of financial constraints, we find ourselves unable to share them with as many gospel believers as we would like. Fortunately, however, our books still continue to be translated and uploaded in electronic format, and many have downloaded them. Realizing how so many people today have fallen into collective heresy, all of us must grasp that it is our calling to pray for them and save them. And we should all live our lives for this end.
The reason why we must pray is simple: Because God hears our prayers. Because God hears our prayers, if we pray enough, then God will surely work and answer our prayers. Lately serious tensions had been building up over North Korea’s nuclear program, but South Korea’s Minister of Unification, Chung Dong Young, returned from his latest trip to North Korea with some success, reaching an agreement with Chairman Kim Jong II to foster extensive cooperative exchanges between the two countries. We’ve been praying hard over this issue of North Korea’s nuclear program, and it seems likely that God would move Kim’s heart to resolve the issue and prevent war from breaking out in the Korean Peninsula. I thank God for this.
Likewise, we must always pray to God to save all those who are trapped in collective heresy. When we preach the Word after having prayed, God will turn them around altogether to return to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So far, people have been returning one by one, and we’ve been thankful for this, but now in this declining age, it’s very much possible for whole denominations to return altogether. I believe that the day will come when the work of the gospel will unfold in the lives of all these Christians to make them return to the true gospel in droves, saying to us how they had been ignorant all this time, and how they’ve now found the real Truth through our books.
Let us therefore pray for all those who are now trapped in collective heresy, and let us continue to carry out our work of salvation to deliver them all.