The World Tomorrow

Religious Confusion - Reward

by Herbert W Armstrong


Greetings! In the Christian religion it has been tradition for centuries that the saved, when they die, go to heaven. That is the tradition. Where are your loved ones now? Are they in heaven; and how do you know? What does God say about it; what did Jesus Christ say; what does the Bible say? When we look into those sources, those authorities, it may be a little shocking to many of us. But did you ever look into the Bible to see exactly what the Bible says about it?

You know Jesus Christ said, " vain do they worship me teaching for doctrines the traditions of men ... making the law of God of no effect by your tradition" (Mark 7:7, 13 paraphrased); and that is a tradition.

Well it may surprise you a little, but look into Galatians the third chapter and verses sixteen and verse twenty-nine.

"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made [and the apostle Paul explains that the seed was Jesus Christ and the children of Abraham; and verse twenty-nine] ...and if ye be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:16, 29)

Well that can include the Christian, being the seed of Abraham, that is a descendant, a child, even though many, many generations later, a child of Abraham.

Now Paul wrote that to Gentiles who had been converted and had become Christians, but it was Gentiles and he'd said that they would be an heir. Let me read that again. "And if ye be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed [or children of Abraham] and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29). Not yet possessors now, just heirs for a promise made to Abraham.

Now what was that promise? In the New Testament you find the will, the last will and testament, of Jesus Christ; that's what the New Testament is. It is a witnessed will, what Jesus Christ willed, or bequeathed, to those who become His. And if we are His, we are Abraham's children, and heirs according to the promises made to Abraham.

Now those promises are recorded in the Old Testament, and also in the New Testament, but the New Testament says we are the heirs. You look into the Old Testament to see what we are heirs of. Whatever a Christian is heir to, it is the promises that God made to Abraham. Did you ever think of that? You don't hear that preached very often. That's a little bit new. But that's precisely what your Bible says. And that is really the whole of the gospel and of the promises made to a Christian.

What is the reward of the Christian; what happens to a Christian; where do we go at death? Now why did Christ come? I'd like to have you notice next, in Romans the fifteenth chapter and verse eight, one of the reasons for which Jesus came – Romans 15:8.

"Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers." (Romans 15:8)

One of the reasons that Jesus came was to be a minister, to confirm the promises made to the fathers. And if you are Christ's, you are an heir according to those promises; now what then are those promises?

Who Are 'The Fathers' And What Are They Promised? (PLAY FROM 04:06)

But who are the fathers; who are the fathers and what was promised to them? Did He promise going to heaven to them? Let's look and see. First I want you to notice in Acts three and verse thirteen. Acts 3:13.

"The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers [now you see 'the fathers,' then, were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You'll find that also in the Old Testament, but this is sufficient; this is in the New Testament] the God of Abraham [the God], of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus." (Acts 3:19)

Now, so 'the fathers,' then, were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now those promises are very important because your eternity depends on them. Why are you here; where are you going; what is going to happen to you? What is the purpose of life; what lies on beyond? It all depends on this. And to find out the promises, the promises were made to Abraham; they were also re-promised to Isaac and Jacob – 'the fathers.'

So now we turn back to see what was promised to Abraham; and it begins back in Genesis the twelfth chapter and with the first verse – in Genesis 12:1.

"Now the LORD had said unto Abram [his name originally was Abram. God later changed it to Abraham] to Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house unto a land that I will show thee." (Genesis 12:1)

Now the conditions that God made to Abram at that time was, first, he was to leave Babylon. He had been in the land of Babylon. And then he was to go to a land God would show him. You know today we are in a spiritual Babylon. There is a duality in the things of God. As Abram was in the physical Babylon of his day, and the Chaldean Empire was called 'Babylon' after its capital, he was told to go over into the land of Canaan, which we call 'Israel' today. We're in a spiritual Babylon and God is calling us out today.

Well now let's carry right on: verses six and seven. "And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was [then] in the land. And the [Eternal] appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land." (Genesis 12:6-7 ) Now what He promised was not heaven. He said, "Unto thy seed will I give this land."

Now we go a little further, because He began to promise more; and you notice the promise begins to expand. First it was just that land that we now call Israel today. And we continue a little bit further now into Genesis thirteen, beginning with verse fourteen.

"And the [Eternal] said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest [that was visible; it was nothing invisible. It was not heaven. It was a land he could see] all that thou seest will I give it, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee." (Genesis 13:14-15)

And I read to you in the New Testament: "'If you are Christ's you are Abraham's seed" (Galatians 3:29). That means you and me today even if we are Christ's. Now then, next it expands a little more in Genesis 15:18.

"In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land [if we are Christ's we are Abraham's seed; so unto us, then, He said, given this land - the land of Palestine, the land we call Israel today] from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates." (Genesis 15:18)

Now it expands way over into Iraq today. That is a lot larger. So God gradually expanded that promise. And later He expanded it to include the whole earth. If you are Christ's you are heir to that land. He doesn't say, 'heir to heaven.' Nowhere does the Bible say that; nowhere did Jesus ever say it. In fact He said just the opposite. I hope I'll have time to quote that.

Now other scriptures show the promise expands to the whole earth. I want you to notice just one scripture in the New Testament – in Romans 4 and verse thirteen. Romans 4 and verse thirteen: " For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was made to Abraham" (Romans 4:13), "The promise that he should be the heir of the world."

Now it expands to the whole world; and it did, later, in these promises back in Genesis, if you will read it all.

Abraham's Tests of Obedience (PLAY FROM 09:40)

The promises to Abraham, at first, were conditioned; it was conditioned on Abraham obeying Him. Now God gave him two very great tests of obedience. The first was, "Get out of where you are" – the bright lights, as they were in those days, of Babylon. That's where the great civilization was; that was the center of the world's civilization. He said, "Go over into this land of Canaan." There weren't so many people over there; it wasn't as nice. Abram did not quibble about it. He didn't say, "Well, why do I have to go?" He didn't say, "Well, I'd rather stay here." He didn't say, "Well, can't I wait and go later?" It just says, "Abram went" (Genesis 12:4). He just went. He obeyed.

But there was another promise he was going to have to do. God asked him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. And all of these promises were to come through Isaac. Now that was a real test, because how was God going to keep the promises if they had to come through Isaac, and if he sacrificed, or killed, Isaac?

So he took Isaac; he took him up to a place that is the Dome of the Rock. And there is a temple called 'The Dome of the Rock' on that today. It is a Moslem temple and it is in the city of Jerusalem. I've been in there; I've been in it and through it, many other people have today.

So you will notice now, once again, how God promised in Genesis 22, after Abraham did obey, he did obey that, and in Genesis 22 and beginning with verse 15 and onto verse 18.

"And the angel of the LORD called unto Abram [no, now it is Abraham; God has changed his name to Abraham by this time. He] called unto Abraham out of heaven for the second time [God was in heaven; He doesn't say that man ever will be], and said, Of [by] myself have I sworn, saith the [Eternal], for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son... " (Genesis 22:15-16)

You know what Abram did, or Abraham? He took his son up there and was going to kill him. And he raised the sword, or the knife, and he was going to sacrifice him. And at that minute God gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead, and didn't require it. God only wanted to see if he would really trust God. In other words, if Abraham took his son's life, would God still provide some way to keep that promise? Abraham believed God in spite of every reasonable thing that a human being could think of or reason out!

So notice, God said then, "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed [that includes everyone who is a Christian today] I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ['in thy seed,' in Christ shall all of the nations be blessed, as the New Testament explains that that's what was meant, and wherever it quotes this scripture (Acts 3:20-26, Galatains 3:8)] because thou hast obeyed my voice." (Genesis 22:17-18)

Now the promise became unconditional . Abraham had fulfilled his condition. Now it remains for God to fulfill the promise. Abraham had kept his promise. But the promise was the land, and it finally expanded to include the whole earth for an everlasting possession. The promise was not heaven!

"If you are Abraham's seed, you are heirs according to the promise. And if we are Christ's, we are Abraham's seed." (Galatians 3:29 paraphrased)

I have read you those scriptures and they're just as plain as they can be.

Isaac And Jacob Also 'The Fathers' (PLAY FROM 13:49)

So next now you will notice Genesis 26, because remember that Isaac and Jacob also were the fathers. And the promises were made to the fathers. Now it included Isaac and Jacob. So now we turn over to Genesis 26 beginning with verse two.

"And the LORD appeared unto [Isaac], and said, Go not down into Egypt, dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: sojourn in this land [now He's talking about a definite land, a piece of land on this earth], and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed [now He's talking to Isaac, unto Isaac's seed, or children] I will give all these countries [now it's several countries now – not just one], and I will perform the oath that I sware unto Abraham thy father; and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; [now it spreads to many countries, many nations] and in thy seed [in this case, in Galatians, it explains that that meant Jesus Christ] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 26:2-4)

Because Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross of Calvary; and by His shed blood we can all be reconciled to God. We've all been cut off from God by our sins. God is the one great Lawgiver. And we have broken that law; and sin is the transgression of the spiritual law of God. And we can only be restored through Christ. But through Him all the nations of the earth were to be blessed.

"Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, kept my charge, my commandments, and my statutes." (Genesis 26:5)

Now I want you to notice another thing. Abraham obeyed, but he obeyed God's commandments and God's laws!

Some people say, "Oh well that's the Ten Commandments; they're all done away!"

This is before the Ten Commandments were codified. That was in the days of Moses. That was 430 years later; that was a long time later! This is clear back in the time of Abraham. And we are heirs according to the promises made to Abraham. That's what you will read in the New Testament; and that is the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Now, again, you will find the promise made to Jacob in the thirty-fifth chapter of Genesis, beginning with verse nine – beginning with verse nine in the thirty-fifth chapter.

"And God appeared unto Jacob again when he had come out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel." (Genesis 35:9-10)

Now if you wonder where the name Israel came from, it came from Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. And his name, after he had overcome, the name, "Israel," means, "prevailer with God;" it means, "overcomer." He had had to overcome his own self; he had had to overcome many of the wrong things that he was doing. He had to get his heart, and his whole mind, and everything right with God. But he had finally done it. And so God changed his name, now, to "overcomer," or "Israel."

"And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee; and kings shall come out of thy loins [that's more than just Jesus Christ as the final 'King of kings,' but other kings in the meantime]; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac [now He's talking about land, not heaven; this is the promises made to the fathers; and here's the third of the fathers] the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give this land." (Genesis 35:11-12)

And that land was Palestine, but it finally spread to all of those nations, all of those countries, and it finally came to include all of the earth.

Now the promises are to all Christians through Christ, whether Jew or Gentile. In a sense the religion is a religion of Israel that Jesus brought. Paul said, "...he is a Jew which is one inwardly" (Romans 2:29). But if you are Christ's, then you are also Abraham's seed. And it says "you are no longer foreigners, or strangers, but fellow citizens with Israel," (Ephesians 2:19 paraphrased) in Ephesians the second chapter in the New Testament. So that that includes Gentiles who are converted; it gives to everyone who is Christ's, who belongs to Christ.

Giving Yourself To Christ (PLAY FROM 19:15)

You know how I know I belong to Christ? I gave myself to Him; He bought and paid for me with His shed blood. And I gave myself to Him. So many people say they want to get; they want to receive. They receive Christ; they get Christ.

Well the getting way is one of the wrong things in this world. There are two ways of living, just two general philosophies of life. And you're living one way or the other in general. You might have a little mixture of most of one and a part of another, but most people are living generally, primarily, in one of those two ways.

I've been saying a lot about that. And I put it in the simplest possible language. It's in the Bible, but I'm using language you'll understand. One is the way of get. That's the way people are living today. It's the way of get. I love me, but I don't care much about you. It's the way of selfishness, of self-centeredness, people whose whole life is just centered on their own self. They don't care very much about anything or anybody else. God isn't in the picture; they don't care about God, of course; they never think about Him. But they are thinking about themselves.

Now the other way I call give; or a better way to express it would be out-flowing, out-flowing love, love toward others. I tell you, you have to give; and you have to give up yourself.

I gave myself to Christ. And He's used me a little bit; He's using me right now in getting this truth to you which you probably, many of you, have never heard this before. You should open your Bible, blow the dust off of it, and read it a little more.

Now I quoted from Galatians 3:29 if you will remember – Galatians 3:29. "If you are Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29). And the promise is the land forever – the land, not heaven. Alright now, there's much more that I will go into this on future programs – very much more.

No One Now in Heaven (PLAY FROM 21:33)

But Jesus said ... I want you to notice a few things now that Jesus said, for example, in John the third chapter and in verse thirteen.

"And no man has ascended up to heaven.."(John 3:13) No man has ascended up to heaven.

Now a lot of people had died before that time. What about David, a man after God's own heart? And the prophecies say that David, in the kingdom of God, is going to rule over all of the nations that devolve, finally, out of the twelve tribes of Israel. And David will be king over them – under Christ – who'll be the King of kings over all kings.

Well on the day of Pentecost, the inspired Peter, in the first inspired sermon after the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, he said, "David's grave is with us to this day [his tomb]" (Acts 2:29) . David is not ascended into the heavens, but his tomb was right there with them on that same day .

But notice Jesus had said here " man has ascended up to heaven [and Peter said David had not ascended to heaven], but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven" (John 3:13). He's in heaven today with God the Father, but no man other than Jesus Christ is, or ever has, gone to heaven.

Now I'd like to have you notice the thirty-seventh chapter of the Psalms – Psalms, the thirty-seventh chapter, and verse twenty-nine.

"The righteous shall inherit [what? If you are righteous, are you going to inherit heaven? No. It says] the righteous shall inherit the land." (Psalm 37:29)

What did God promise Abraham? "If you're Abraham's children, you're an heir according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29), made to the fathers – made to Abraham; and the fathers were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And here it says: "The righteous shall inherit [you're not possessors, yet, not inheritors; you're only heirs at the present time, but] shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever" (Psalm 37:29). That is not heaven.

You know that's quite a shocker; that's one of the things that shocked me just almost fifty-five years ago when I first learned these things. It isn't what I'd been taught; I hadn't been brought up to believe those things as a boy. And when I saw these things I didn't say, "Oh well, I got to believe what I've been taught; I've got to believe what tradition says, what the church taught me."

My church taught me that I'd go to heaven, if I was good, when I died. But I said, "No, I can't do that. I've got to believe what God says." And so I did.

Now I'd like to read you something, if I can find it here for just a moment, over in the book of Mark, the seventh chapter – Mark the seventh chapter – where Jesus said ...

"Howbeit in vain do they worship me..." (Mark 7:7)

Do you understand that people can worship Jesus Christ all in vain? Many are worshiping Christ – all in vain! It isn't going to do them any good. And they think they're going to go to heaven. The Bible doesn't promise anything of the kind.

"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For leaving aside the commandment of God you hold to the traditions of men... And he said unto them, Full well you reject the commandments of God that you may keep your own traditions." (Mark 7:7-9)

Keep your traditions! One of the traditions is that you go to heaven when you die! Do you want to worship Jesus Christ in vain? I want to tell you, my friends, it's just that serious.

Entire World Is Deceived (PLAY FROM 25:38)

Your Bible says, over here in the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation, and in verse nine ...

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan,which deceiveth the whole world."(Revelation 12:9)

He was cast out into the earth; and his angels, or demons, were cast out with him. The whole world has been deceived. You don't believe there's a devil? It isn't very popular to believe in a devil today, I know! But your Bible talks about a devil. And he's invisible, and you can't see him, but the whole world has been deceived by him – the whole world .

And the world thinks that if you're good you go to heaven; if you're bad you go to hell; and some go to purgatory. You can't find those things in your Bible, my friends, you can't find them.

And what is the authority? Men have no authority; they don't know except what they thought up in their own minds; they have no way at all of knowing.

This is a very important thing; you need to understand. There is a life after this life; and a judgment is coming. And a judgment is a trial and a chance for salvation and eternal life. If you have some loved ones who were even evil, and were not good, you thought they were lost – they're going to be in a judgment. And they're going to have a chance of salvation. This is the best news that I could give you – it absolutely is!

What is the reward of the saved? Is it heaven? I'd want to offer you a little booklet; I'd like to have you get it. And I offer it to you free; and there'll be no follow-up asking for money. We never ask you for money unless you, yourself, voluntarily, show you want to start sending money. We don't solicit the public for money. I don't know any other program like that.

But here is a booklet: 'What Is The Reward Of The Saved.' It will give you what I've just given you in much more detail; and you'll have all of those scriptures. You can read it in a very short time. And there's no charge. I'd just like the opportunity to send it to you. It'll really shock you; it'll startle you. Open your Bible. And perhaps some of you will start reading your Bible again – or maybe for the first time! It's about time that you do, because I want to tell you: this is the book that makes sense. It's a NOW book; it's for today, not for some other time – it's for today!