What Does the Future Hold for Christianity?
WILL the world be converted to Christianity, or will Christianity die out? Did Christianity remain pure as a beacon in a darkened world, or was it adulterated? These are questions that concern us to this day.
Using a simple illustration, Jesus showed that immediately after he planted the seeds of Christianity, an enemy, Satan, would interfere. (Matthew 13:24, 25) Thus, it was not a mere social phenomenon that caused Christianity to be transformed during the first few centuries after Jesus’ ministry. It was enemy action, Satan’s action. Today the churches of Christendom are perpetuating mistakes made in the past and are reaping the effects.—2 Corinthians 11:14, 15; James 4:4.
A Sneak Attack on Christianity
Jesus foretold that his teachings would be subverted. He said: “The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat, and left.” Surprisingly, when servants brought the evil deed to the man’s attention and asked for permission to collect the weeds, the man said: “No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse.”—Matthew 13:24-30.
As Jesus himself explained, in his illustration the man who sowed wheat in the field represents Jesus, and the seeds he planted represent true Christians. The enemy who sowed weeds among the wheat represents “the Devil.” The weeds represent lawless, apostate men who falsely claim to be servants of God. (Matthew 13:36-42) The apostle Paul gave further details of what would happen. He said: “I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.”—Acts 20:29, 30.
Did what Jesus illustrated and what Paul foretold come true? It certainly did. Ambitious men took control of the congregation that Jesus had established and used it for their own ends. Jesus had told his followers: “You are no part of the world.” (John 15:19) Nevertheless, power-hungry men formed alliances with rulers and formed State churches that amassed immense power and wealth. These churches taught “twisted things.” For example, they taught people to worship the State and to sacrifice their lives for it in warfare. Thus, so-called Christians participated in Crusades and slaughtered people whom they considered to be unbelievers. They also went to war and killed their own “brothers” of the same religion. They certainly did not practice Christian neutrality and love of neighbor.—Matthew 22:37-39; John 15:19; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 John 4:8, 11.
Clearly, the churches that for centuries have called themselves Christian represent merely a facade of Christianity. This explains why, as we observed in the preceding articles, there is a continuing trend of churches fragmenting into sects, churches meddling in politics, and churches disregarding God’s laws. Such bad fruitage is the product, not of true Christianity, but of counterfeit Christianity, which the Devil planted. Where is this false religion heading? As Jesus showed in his illustration, it will not simply die out for lack of support. It will be judged and destroyed.
True Christians Shining in the Darkness
Before the “weeds” of false Christianity are collected and destroyed, however, Jesus’ illustration indicates something else that must happen. For centuries the growth of false Christian “weeds” was so extensive that the “wheat” of true Christianity was practically obscured. But Jesus described the wheat being separated from the weeds during the “harvest,” which he said represents “a conclusion of a system of things.” He also said: “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun.” (Matthew 13:39-43) The evidence shows that we have been living in the conclusion of the system of things since World War I, which took place over 90 years ago. (Matthew 24: 3, 7-12) Has this part of Jesus’ prophetic illustration also come true?
True Christians have been separated out from the “weeds” of Christendom. Jehovah’s Witnesses are ‘shining as brightly as the sun,’ helping others to know the true God, Jehovah. The Witnesses do not debase his standards. Rather, people who become Witnesses usually must make extensive changes in their lifestyle to obey the Christian principles found in the Bible.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not offer entertainment at their meetings, but they do offer free Bible education. They also share warm love and friendship, qualities that they learn from their study of the Scriptures. They believe that God will transform the earth into a paradise and have it inhabited by the meek of the earth, as he originally purposed. But first the world must be cleansed of the negative influence of false religion, known in the Bible as Babylon the Great. According to Bible prophecy, Jehovah will soon bring about that radical change.—Matthew 5:5; Revelation 18:9-10, 21.
Once obedient mankind have been relieved of the deceptive practices of false religion, true Christian worship will unite all of those living on earth. What a wonderful future for the true Christianity that Jesus planted! Edenic Paradise will be restored to a peaceful earth, with no divisive religions to sow discord again!
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“His enemy came and oversowed weeds.”—Matthew 13:25
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You are warmly invited to any Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, where free Bible education is offered
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“Then go to gathering wheat into my storehouse.”—Matthew 13:30