The Best To You
From the Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
You all probably know that the title of this page is a parody of an old advertising slogan. But relevant to the Christian Faith, it describes the truth about a major Bible topic: God's warnings!
We all know that the Bible contains many promises that God has made, first to Noah, then to Abraham, then to the Jews, and finally to Christians. In this writer's time, God's promises have been a major topic of teaching and preaching, to the point that entire ministries, and entire lines of teaching, are in a sense based on that fact. Some, in fact, take the promises to unscriptural extremes. There are books in print that actually catalogue the promises of God in the Bible; the first of which books, this writer believes, was "The Jesus Person's Pocket Promise Book", compiled by David Wilkerson. First published in the 1970's, it was still in print the last this writer knew.
But there is another major Biblical theme about which, to this writer's knowledge, no one has ever written such a work. (This writer is thinking of compiling one.) The theme, again, is God's warnings. The Bible is full of God's warnings. These warnings are as much, and as important a manifestation of God's grace as the promises, if not more so. In fact, the very first statement made by God to man that could be considered doctrinal was a warning.
Do you know what statement?
It is Genesis 2:17; "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
The world is in the mess that it is in because Adam and Eve ignored that warning. And more than that, because people have equally ignored many, many other warnings that God has given us since.
Furthermore, almost the last doctrinal statements in the Bible are two related warnings (Revelation 22:18 & 19);
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
One of the biggest reasons why there is presently so much division in the Church is that Christians have been ignoring these warnings.
The only doctrinal statement after that is the brief… "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20), which is just a final affirmation of a truth already stated.
In Psalm 19:11, David concluded his hymn of praise to the Law with the words,
"Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward."
David, at least, saw the value of God's warnings, even if he didn't always heed them himself!
Most people, however, do not like warnings. No matter how timely or well meant they are. Warnings pour cold water on your fun, they rain on your parade. They make you uncomfortable. Warnings are downers! Socially, a person who is in the habit of giving warnings is considered a colossal bore. Or worse! Seldom do people receive thanks for warnings, except when the warnings are about obvious, immediate threats, like leaving some personal item on the seat in the bus. (Some people will even respond to warnings like that with profanity, rather than gratitude, even though they will act on the warning.) If the danger is not imminent, the warnings are likely to be ignored, or worse. Warnings are never popular. Which is why there are no "Bible warnings" catalogs in print. They wouldn't sell.
Yet the Bible tells us that God is continually trying to warn us about spiritual, yes, and sometimes even material dangers we face. But especially the spiritual dangers. For example, in II Chronicles 36:15-16, we read,
And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.
Note that in this verse the expression "rising up early" doesn't mean that God got out of bed early. Rather, it means "taking action early". It means, in this context, that He sent His warnings as quickly as He perceived the problems. Note also that God sent the warnings out of compassion for His people. God's warnings are as lovingly motivated as His promises.
We live in a world filled with rampant evil. There is so much falsehood and deception, so much evil and sin, so much illusion, ambient throughout our world that we are being foolishly presumptuous if we think that we can even be aware of it all. If we think we can always tell the true from the false, the real from the illusion, the good from the evil, and always foresee the imminent dangers, we are deceiving ourselves. So God, in His love, gives us warnings. They are, again, a major theme of Scripture.
But, again, people don't like God's warnings, and the following verse illustrates this:
"But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy."
Ignoring God's warnings is very dangerous business, a kind of carelessness that for Christians may be nigh unto suicide. Yet to this day Christians - yes, Christians; never mind the unsaved - are in the habit of ignoring and even consciously rejecting the warnings God has given us. Or being willfully ignorant of them! As God said in Hosea 4:6, which happens to be a warning;
…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."
Yet, again, warnings are a major Biblical theme. Even many of the promises, if fully understood, include implicit warnings.
For example, consider II Corinthians 6:17 & 18;
17 Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."
18 "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
This is a great promise of what is in store for us if we do what God says, that is, if we are serious about being separate from the idolatry of the world around us. But implicit to this passage is a warning about what will happen if we don't: If we don't do as the Lord says, we will be rejected!!! The underlying message of this promise is "be separate or else!"
In practice, Christians who read this promise will often give mental lip service to the idea, tell themselves that they are somehow obeying it, and ignore the implicit warning completely. In doing so, as with any warning giving in the Scriptures, they are inviting the wrath of God upon themselves, as did the people of Jerusalem, as we see from God's response to their ignoring His warnings in II Chronicles 36:17;
"Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, on the aged or the weak; He gave them all into his hand."
As is made clear in the Book of Jeremiah, the people of Jerusalem in his time had an attitude that is all too prevalent among Christians today; the idea that they will never have to answer to God for their disobedience. This is shown in Jeremiah 14:13 & 14;
13 But I said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, the prophets keep telling them, 'You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.'"
14 Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, 'No sword or famine will touch this land.' Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine."
This attitude of falsely expecting not to have to face judgment is reflected in Christians living today who are so sure that they will not have to suffer during the Tribulation. They base this on I Thessalonians 5:9;
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ"
To say that Christians will never have to suffer is inconsistent both with the Bible and history. Biblically, consider Romans 8:16 & 17;
16 "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."
The Bible makes suffering with Him a prerequisite to reigning with Him!
Historically, the history of the Christian Faith is a trail of martyrs' blood, from the persecution of Saul right down to the present. It has come in waves, the persecutions under the Roman Emperors, the Muslim conquest, the persecution of Protestants during the Reformation, the communist takeovers in Russia and China, and most recently, the rise of Fundamentalist Islam. But it has never completely stopped. Christians today are ignoring God's warnings and history if they refuse to expect it;
"Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12).
But it is one thing to suffer persecution for your faith, and another to suffer wrath or chastisement for failing to obey. Note that whether something bad happening to you can be consider persecution, or wrath, or chastisement can be a matter of who you are and why it is happening to you. The disaster that wipes out you, your family, and the family next door may be God's wrath for your neighbors and the ultimate chastisement for you and your family.
We are warned that we as Christians should never be suffering for our wrongdoings, but should be glad to suffer for our faith (II Peter 4:15 & 16);
15 "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter."
As for those who don't think that any Christians will ever suffer wrath, even those who are seriously disobedient, let's contrast I Thessalonians 5:9 with two other significant verses;
"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Now answer this question for yourself: Will everyone therefore be saved? Of course not! (There is a false teaching that says that everyone eventually will be, but see Matthew 7:13 & 14.)
Neither will every Christian escape God's wrath. Especially not those who refuse to heed God's warnings.
The bottom line of this is that ignoring God's warnings is a very serious mistake, perhaps the most serious pervasive error that Christians make, and the consequences will be terrible.
As it relates to The Main Message of this Web site, you will note that the entire Main Message is a warning. Some Christians have been upset by this. They have an imbalanced, unscriptural belief in God's grace such that they consider the warnings in the Scripture irrelevant, and therefore reject out of hand any warning messages given to them by other Christians.
You must realize that the statements Jesus made about being ready were warnings. He was not telling us to be ready for a celebration, as some people erroneously interpret His words. He was telling us to be ready for Tribulation. Consider these verses, which are part of the Scriptural foundation of The Main Message
34 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.
35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.
36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36)
42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matt 24:42-44)
Consider these verses in regard to their context. Again, Jesus was not exhorting us to be ready for a celebration, as some would understand His words to mean. This Web site is taking Jesus to mean exactly what He said. We must be ready for the Great Tribulation!
So, like God's warnings in the Bible, The Main Message of this Web site is also, to the best of the author's ability...
The Best To You In Warning!
So read and learn.
See also "Why There Will Be A Tribulation"
and the "What Happens To Christians?" pages under "The Great Tribulation".
Contact Author: William D. Brehm