The Errors of Dispensationalism

The Errors of Dispensationalism!

by Michael Krall

mkrall@optonline.net

IS DISPENSATIONALISM PROPER BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION?

One of the main distinctives of dispensationalist is their claim that they interpret Scripture literally. One of their famous statements is to take it literal when it can be. They have a saying of sorts that goes something like “if the literal makes sense seek no other sense” or something as equally ridiculous. There is no biblical basis for such a statement. It may sound good but that has no Scriptural warrant. One thing I find amusing is that the disp. who claim to be champions of literalism spiritualize the 7 churches of Rev. which is actually 7 literal existing churches in that day. They make it 7 church ages with no biblical warrant. Then they say Rev 4:1 is the rapture again with no warrant. Then the part that is signs and symbols they literalize. 

We must let the Bible tell us how to interpret Scripture. We can’t just look at Old Testament verses and say that they must be literal. If we look at the way the NT writers interpreted these Scriptures it will shed some light. Let’s start with James in Acts 15. After a controversy about whether or not Gentiles need to be circumcized after the manner of Moses in order to be saved, James stands up and quotes the Old Testament prophet Amos. It is interesting that he spiritualizes the rebuilding of the temple to be the spiritual temple. “After this I will return and build the tabernacle of David..” verse 16. Now if you disp. want to say that James is just making a reference to the future of the building of the temple what in the world does that have to do with the controversy that he was dealing with? The whole point that he was making was that God’s promise to build the temple was realized in the building of His church. In the Amos passage there is no mention of Gentiles. So we see at the outset that the Apostles spiritualized the New Covenant Israel.

Let’s look at Paul next in Galatians 3 and 4. What is the context of this letter? Well this is basically the same argument of the Acts 15 passage. The controversy was over whether or not circumcision was necessary for a Gentile to be saved. Well how does Paul deal with this?

Well first he shows there is only 1 true gospel 1:6-9. Then he defends his apostleship, 1:10 to 2:21, so as to show his authority in proclaiming that gospel. Now starting in 3:1 he goes on to explicate that gospel in the light of OT prophecy.

Galatians 3

  • 1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 
  • 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Verse 2 shows that salvation cannot be by any works of law (for my Cambellite friends that includes baptism because this word law is anarthorous).

  • 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Verse 3 show that not only is salvation begun by grace but perseverence is also by grace.

  • 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if [it be] yet in vain. 
  • 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, [doeth he it] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 
  • 6. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 
  • 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

Now in verses 6&7 he shows who are the true Christians are the same as the children of Abraham and they are the people with Abraham’s faith not his blood.

  • 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed. 
  • 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

He shows in verses 8 & 9 that the OT scriptures clearly taught that the Gentiles (that is the word used here for heathen) would also be justified by faith and that is what was preached to Abraham since he had the gospel preached to him. Then he says that those that have faith are Abrahams seed.

  • 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 
  • 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 
  • 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 
  • 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: 
  • 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Now in these verses 10-14 we see how he explains how no one can be justified by the works of the law and that the blessing of Abraham is the promise of the Holy Spirit by faith. Now isn’t that interesting that he states that the receiving of the Spirit is the blessing of Abraham?

  • 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though [it be] but a man’s covenant, yet [if it be] confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 
  • 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Now verse 16 is clearly showing that the seed that was promised the blessing, was Christ. He first received the promise of the Spirit in Acts 2:33 “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the promise Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this which you now see and hear.” Christ received the promise first and has now poured it upon all the elect upon believing.

The he goes on to show that the promise was made made 430 years before the giving of the law. This of course destroys the disp. position that the OT saints were saved by the law. Paul never even hints to a so called millenium where the law will be reinstated. But what he does do after showing that the promise was made to the seed, Christ, he says in verse 29 “if ye be Christ’s then ye are Abrahams seed and heirs according to the promise.” The seed that receive the promise are the elect. This is his whole argument in showing the Galatians that they need not become Jews after the flesh to receive the promise since the promise was made to the children of the promise.

Now pray tell me friend, what could be plainer? Ask yourself this question, why didn’t Paul qualify this statement with some dispensational jargon? If you start with the New Testament and let that guide your method of interpretation of OT passages you will have no problem seeing that the promises to Israel are fullfilled in the New Covenant.

Now if you go down to verse 22 and following in chapter 4 you will see how Paul spiritualizes Abrahams 2 children. He shows there are 2 covenants. Earthly Jerusalem (the Jerusalem that now is), which is pictured by Hagar, and the heavenly Jerusalem which is the New Covenant Israel. Now verse 27 to the end of the chapter totally destroys the dispensationalist’s approach to national Israel.

Lets look at chapter 4:

    Galatians 4

  • 1. Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 
  • 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 
  • 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 
  • 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 
  • 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 
  • 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 
  • 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 
  • 8. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

These verses conclude the statement that sonship is not through the law but through faith. He explains the use of the ceremonial law and it being a shadow of the substance which is Christ.

  • 9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 
  • 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 
  • 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

In verses 8-11 he exhorts them to not return to the bondage of the ceremonial law.

Verses 12-20 some personal appeals.

Now these following verses 21-31 are the main point I want to stress. Here we have Paul showing the analogy of the OT type.

  • 21. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 
  • 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 
  • 23 But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise. 
  • 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Notice he shows how this real life incident was an allegory pointing to a deeper spiritual truth.

  • 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Notice Hagar was a type of the present Jerusalem in Pauls day WHICH WAS NATIONAL ISRAEL!

  • 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Notice the other is Jerusalem that is from above as in Rev 21. Also notice Heb.12:22 “But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels” Notice the word “have come” is “proseleluthate” and it is in the perfect tense which means that the action took place in the past and continues in the present.

  • 27 For it is written, Rejoice, [thou] barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 
  • 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Notice he says we ARE the children of the promise. In other words the elect of God. Compare to Romans 9.

  • 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him [that was born] after the Spirit, even so [it is] now. 
  • 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

I like this 30th verse “Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” This is devastating to dispensationalism.

And then finally:

  • 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Now in the light of this exposition I trust that if you are still not convinced what is the proper method of interpreting OT passages then you will give me an exposition of these verses to prove otherwise.

For the cause of God and truth…..

Copyright 1997 Michael Krall
mkrall@optonline.net


             "ek autou kai di autou kai eis auton ta
               panta auto he doxa eis tous aionas  amen"

 

The Vision

Explanation

I pray that this “vision” will be taken seriously. It is not the intention to be humiliating to anyone, but it is a simple attempt, to at least, let people reexamine their eschatological view in the light of Scripture Alone.

It is obvious that this is not a vision from above, but a commonsensical endeavor to explain the three Eschatological views prevalent in the Church in order to elucidate some irreconcilable perceptions to Scripture, when submitted under the authority of the Word of God alone. When we actually ruminate carefully and colorfully on these things, our pet perceptions of our futuristic views of the End Times, we might stand dumbfounded at some of the amusing scenes we might fantasize, seeking answers to unanswerable questions to explain our view, that Scripture does not answer unless we eisegetically misinterpret Scripture. That is, when we force Scripture into submitting to preconceived philosophies by reading into Scripture and not exegetically out of the pericope; that is, a critical analysis of the interpretation; what does the Bible say contextually about the particular passage. All another and false gospels utilize eisegesis.

It is therefore the objective of this “Vision” to inform Christians on the fallacy and the devastating consequences to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when eschatological views are not scriptural in order for them to review their dogmas in the light of Sola Scriptura.

The Vision.

I was lying on my hammock by the sea in Yzerfontein South Africa when I saw this Vision clear as a Bell.

FIRST GROUP

I see a group of people, men sitting at tables and woman sitting at other tables. Some of the men has long beards and most, some sort of cap on their heads. They are all circumcised and all wear Davidic stars on their breasts. Then I see many Gentile Christians, walking between the tables and serving these Jews, I recognize Hagee that I have seen on TBN, on his knees polishing a Rabbi’s shoes. Others, with a tray of eats, are moving between the tables and handing drinks and kosher eats to the Jews that they serve. Schofield is the head waiter with Darby as his second in command are managing all these servants to the Jewish tribe that arrived.  Jacob Prasch is sitting with some Rabbi’s and seems to have a special place with the Jews.

At one table sat a group of Jews, terribly scarred, most are blind, some Christians, also from this same group are serving these Jews and are also terribly mutilated.

Then one Rabbi stands up and calls all the waiters to stand in a group, like they do on Cruise Liners to acknowledge their service. “Today we give special thanks to those Christians that kept on believing that we are The Israel of God, the Kingdom of God, those that were not anti-Semitic and did not believe that the Church is the Israel of God consisting of Jewish and Heathen Christians but believed that God has a separate plan for the Jews during the Tribulation times. Thank you that you did not touch God’s anointed and prayed for our Peace and for our inheritance. Thank you for making it possible so that we will be able to return to our inheritance, our land that God promised to Abraham. You are therefore blessed by God because you stood by Israel to the bitter end. Thank you that you saw literally and believed in the second temple Judaism. We thank you that you did not replace Israel with the Church.

“Now is time”, says Jacob “that we go back with Jesus to serve Him in our thousand year reign, Jesus will be on the Throne of David and resurrected David will stand with King Jesus to reign as a subordinate with Him. Let us go and take down Anti-Christ and his hordes. This is the battle of Armageddon. Let us get on our horses and go and kick ass we will fight in the streets and in the byways.

After this I see a peaceful earth. During the thousand years I see children circumcised; I see mortals helping immortals to learn how to drive, they have particular problems with resurrected Moses and Abraham. They have no trouble with Jehu, he drives a Maserati furiously just as he drove a chariot. 2 Kings 9:20. Some mortals that were previously disadvantaged are being helped to get cash for their tithes by immortals walking through thick bank vaults to get money for them so that they can pay their tithe and be blessed in their going in and going out. I even see a sign on a shop,” come and receive Jesus today so that you will have an abundance crop this season with rain when needed.  The earth is populated once again with mortals, good and bad, children play with vipers and lions eat grass and lie with the sheep. One shop advertises: it is mutton night; “come and have your fill, left overs from the yearly sin offerings for free.”

SECOND GROUP

After these things I saw a mighty army, dressed in shiny armour for battle. In front marches charismatic spiritual leaders, Walking tall as God’s army that overcame the world the flesh and the devil, established a Theocracy ruling over the world. Again, I recognize some TBN Tele-evangelists.

The Apostles are waiting in line with Paul first to congratulate them by a handshake of what they had accomplished for God during their establishing of God’s Kingdom by Triumphal empowerment by the Spirit that entered them. Jesus came in their flesh as modern Apostles and Prophets, the Anti-Christ are the Reformers they say; those that said Christ did not come in their flesh. Those warriors did the works that Jesus left for them to do, they binded the strong man and took strongholds down so that Jesus could be able to save some. They pleaded the blood, took possession of countries, and took all the gold and the oil for use of the Christian nation. With them I see some Anabaptists from Munster also in line for rewards to receive crowns for their effort in establishing a Kingdom during Calvin’s time.  All shiny armours, some are still polishing the crowns and their shoes and their armour, they need to shine for Jesus, and display the Glory of man’s contribution, the glory of the Arminian. Last I see Palagius and Jakob Harmenzoon of Oude Water dressed in somewhat old armour but are nevertheless welcomed by a Farmer with a hat and some of his followers with hats, only men. Some has banners proclaiming Health wealth and prosperity.

There I recognize a rich Joyce and Joel using copper polish to shine some dull armour. Motivate some to stand up straight and wear their crowns with dignity. I hear Joel say; “don’t worry if you are not shining, Jesus will excuse you, it is not your fault but the way the polish has been applied.”

THIRD GROUP.

Thereafter, everything went quiet, the trumpets, the Angels, the Elders in heaven. There was silence in heaven. Slowly the First and Second Group turned to see what is happening. The waiters stop serving the Jews, and watch, the mighty army walk over to see what is happening.

I see a wretched procession of people, dressed in drab old clothes, all torn and worn, specially the shoes are worn out, and they have their hats in their hands as they humbly struggle up the hill. Leading this pitiful procession is Luther Calvin, Wycliffe, Tyndale, Bunyan, Zwingli, Bonar, Owen, Spurgeon smoking his cigar, JI Packer, Rod, Kim and Michael and Ken, many I do not know, all with hats in their hands.

Then suddenly Someone stands up, radiant with light and that light reflects on this pathetic procession-no light from their own but reflecting in the heavenly Light is shiny beautifully thankful faces, singing Amazing grace, the Angels take up the chorus and saying worthy is the Lamb. And the procession fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Then I asked “What meaneth these things.”

This is what the Angel explained to me:

THE FIRST GROUP

The Jewish people at the tables are those Jews saved by Jesus Christ when Peter preached on Pentecost day and the other that came as a Jewish group was saved as a nation. Those serving the Jews are the Heathen Christians that came to know Jesus through Paul and during the gospel time. Most of them came recently from the great Rapture before the seven year Tribulation. They also serve those Jews that were saved during the seven year tribulation.

Then I ask the Angel: It is very confusing, The Church was raptured, and did that include Jews? The Jewish nation that came out of the Tribulation by the witnessing of the 144000 and those killed during the tribulation, are they part and parcel of the Church of Jesus Christ?  Are there two groups of God’s people then?

Yes says the Angel, the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of heaven. Do not fret over this Jesus will explain it to you, it is very confusing, even to me.

The scared and blind are those that suffered terribly during the Tribulation, nuclear fusion, great hailstones, stars falling as big as the earth. Yet they will be whole again when their bodies will be resurrected. Yet they have done an amazing great job of evangelizing the remaining people left after the Rapture, many did not take the credit card and did not receive the engraved chip with the 666 number under their skin by the Anti-Christ. Those that survive the second Holocaust of the Great Tribulation will remain to finish the Second Temple to prepare for the thousand year reign of Jesus and to help Jesus to wrap the Devil in chains for the thousand years. The few remaining Jews after the extermination by the Romans, the Germans, and the Anti-Christ will be saved as a nation of Israel, but they will be but a remnant of the remnant. After the thousand years they will unbind the devil and set him free to make the last war against God’s Immortal Saints left on the earth. Immortal against mortal.

The great battle for the Earth is the battle that you saw. Better than the one we have seen that Ron Hubbard describe in his Battle for the Earth. But this will be Armageddon battle for the earth with all the nations China, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan against Jerusalem and the Saints left. But lo and behold the mighty army on white horses arrives from heaven to do battle against the Anti-Christ, the battle against Satan and his hordes to establish and earthly Kingdom for a thousand years.

Some that survived are the ones who helped to reinstate Levi sacrifices and rebuilt the temple to serve Jesus for a thousand years. They asked Jesus to oversee the sacrifices of animals because these were the types that Jesus completely fulfilled on the Cross of Calvary. For a thousand years they kept this on and squandered much time in a fruitless exercise. Jesus Himself was standing in front of them the whole time as the spiritual Temple and people kept coming from all over the world to bring their lambs to be sacrifices for their sins. It was no different than the Pharisees when Jesus stood in front of them as the Messiah that came as a propitiation for their sins but they were as spiritually blinded because they expected a Triumphant King as their leader to save them from Roman rule. They were the same as their leader Darby and could not see the meaning of the shadows that pointed to the fulfillment of the sacrifices and the real Temple, Christ.

They also fought for Israel in their wars against the Arabic states to try to win back the borders that God had given to Abraham and that was fulfilled in Solomon’s time. These were really foolish ones and could just not see the spiritual meaning of the Word of God. Jesus even made it plain in Scripture that John’s Revelation is a book of symbols and a thousand years meant the time of the Church on earth, the time of the Good News, the Gospel that Jesus fulfilled all types and shadows and will come back to Judge and not to Rapture. God treated everyone the same one salvation, one flock, one Church, one Israel of God consisting of all humans born from Adam and Eve. The Gospel is the Kingdom, The Kingdom is the Gospel. Besides the Gospel there is no Salvation for any creature of creation. One Kingdom, one flock, one promise in Abraham as children of God by faith only.

THE SECOND GROUP

What about the second group, the mighty army of God?

Those are the ones that did not have the Gospel of the Cross but the false Gospel of Glory for man. Those that had an inner light, even the same as the Roman Catholic’s, they thought that they are justified and it becomes infused in their lives, now they must work together with the Spirit to obtain God’s blessing in their lives. They believed that Jesus did not completely overcome Satan and must therefore bind him, plead His blood against him, take down his strongholds, but it was sad because all those things Jesus has done on the Cross of Calvary and they thought that His Sacrifice was insufficient. You can even see some of them still polishing their shields of faith because they think it is their faith they need to muster, they never could understand that faith was not infused in them but a gift from God. It was Jesus’ amour of blood stained cloth that they were supposed to wear. He gave his cloth to them to wear, but they clothed themselves. It is very sad that they thought that Jesus saved them and now they can also go hell if they do not merit their salvation by working along with his Spirit and afraid that they will lose their salvation. They said they chose Jesus, but it was God who chose them. God clothed them with His Son who done all the work, who kept his commandments and lived a holy life for them because they are wicked, will always be wicked and sinners not able not to sin, or save themselves or contribute anything to their salvation or even choose Jesus.  They did not understand that they were justified without works that they did or will do. Some of them even hoarded money and material things on this earth. Some were the ones that were narcissistic by using God’s law to increase in stature, using the law to therapeutically change them in better persons, to better their lives on this condemned earth, to reach their full potential in their lives in their work in their homes, to be healthy wealthy and prosperous in all they do. Some even profiteered on the blood of the Lamb and was motivational speakers for man’s glory. They fleeced God’s flock, the widows, they even took their flesh and bones to enrich themselves, live affluent lives, big cars, houses, best medical aids, they told people to give so that they can get. Instead of understanding spiritually that Jesus was beaten so that they can be healed of their sin sickness, and that Jesus became poor that they can have the richness of salvation, that Jesus gave them his self-image of perfection and holiness while they will always be wicked and sinners they sought a self-image of their own, their own potential and earthly rewards. It is sad to say that most were dedicated and serious believers in Jesus but the flock was led astray by some of these deceivers that were seriously wrong.

THE THIRD GROUP

Those that struggle up the hill, who are they?

Those are the ones who taught the Salvation is all of God, that God gets all the glory alone for salvation of mankind. Nothing from their personality, charisma, work, intelligence, talents or potential made God choose them, they are the ones who understood that; the Father chose, they are the ones who believed the Son gave his clothes to them, his justification, they were justified by Jesus works only that He imputed to them, and Jesus took their sin and imputed it to Him. They still have nothing in them that are meritorious, still sinners but made righteous by Jesus works on the Cross. They understood spiritually that Jesus fulfilled all the promises, all the shadows, types, symbols, that Jesus is the second Israel, the second Adam, the spiritual Israel, God is not a respecter of persons and his Redemption plan is for the whole world, which means all types of nations even the Jews that rejected Him he gave salvation to some.

Their work was the work of faith in what Jesus accomplished, they placed God on the throne as sovereign and almighty and gave him all the glory alone that their salvation was by grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone according to Scripture alone and they did not take any new revelation besides the Bible that was sufficient to them for maturing them. They did not come against Satan that was bound, they did not plead Jesus blood against them because it was pleaded, the did not loose people out of Satan’s clutches because they were loosed on the Cross, they stood in The Faith of what the Father had accomplished in His Son and by His Spirit once and for all.

They understood that they were all justified by faith and not any works, not any merit of their own, even before birth God justified the wicked, while they were sinners without God foreseeing that they will one day choose Jesus, without God foreknowing that the one will fulfill His plan better. No, while they could not choose, while they were dead in their trespasses and sins, while they were the scum of the earth, the sinners, the wicked, did God chose those that the world despise, so that God will demonstrate and show His glory in those He saved, some out of every human race that has been condemned to eternal hell fire. Even those that are not predestined know that they deserve their just punishment and willingly bow their knee to God as a Just God, as the God who judged the earth but also as the Judge who became the Savior of some. They at last, give God the glory, even eternally dammed.

They witnessed to the Jews because they understood that they are an unreached group and they need to come to Christ as one of the human race. They were not therapeutic, pragmatistic, relativistic, liberalistic, humanistic, and materialistic but held to those principles of Paul. They did not dwell in extra biblical phenomena, did not dwell in extra biblical experiences and practices the likes of Charismatic ecstatic and aesthetic worship that was but extra biblical things that titillate their flesh thinking that it is the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one that only enlightens what He has written in Scripture alone for the Redemption of man only. They did not promote themselves as new age Apostles and Prophets because Jesus was the fulfillment of all Prophets.

They used Scripture alone as the basis of doctrine as Jesus had used only Scripture after His resurrection to verify His Divinity as he has done to the two disciples from the village of Emmaus that were devastated because the Jesus that they thought  was the One to deliver Israel from Roman oppression was dead. They and the eleven Apostles did not understand that Jesus came to save them from their sins. But only after Jesus broke bread with those from the village of Emmaus, which meant: he gave them the real food from heaven by explaining the Scriptures about Moses and the Prophets spoken about Jesus. Luk 24:27 and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. It is the Word made flesh, the living Word, the bread of heaven that the Holy Spirit reveals  to us and open our eyes so that we can by given faith, have The Faith, the Gospel, by grace, so that we can understand, so that our eyes can be opened as Jesus take away the covering over us. We can only eat of that bread, the Tree of Life if God gives it to us; we cannot partake of the Tree of Life on our own choice of will, but only can partake of it when given. We will always partake of the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil if we are left to our own choice and will. By grace only we are fed the Tree of Life from God’s hands only, by God’s choice only, by God’s predestination, a chosen generation, a remnant that God leaves and feeds, His flock, and gave His blood for His flock, His elect unconditionally because He Justified them. The Father gives to His Son and elect people with Christ as the Mediator and the Spirit as the person who unites the elect to the Son.  These are the ones that understood clearly what the True Gospel is, these are the ones that you see coming up the hill, humble with their hats in their hands. You are only sanctified by the Truth, that only, sets you completely free.

Are the first two Groups saved, I asked?

Yes they are saved but through fire and all their works have been burned as straw and wood. 1Cor 3:15.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Notes.

Let us look at some of the unbiblical ideas that Walvoord used to teach and left the legacy of the Rapture as an inheritance to the Church.

“The Third and final stage is at the Rapture when the bride is presented in her perfection. There is no stain; or discoloration, no wrinkle, no blemish, but in every respect the bride is holy and blameless. This, of Course, is the result of the sanctifying work at the time of the Rapture when the church is made like Christ.”  Walvoord, Every Prophecy of the Bible, p. 618.

There is no sanctifying work at the time of the Rapture, or the Church made like Christ. We are Justified by imputed righteousness, made holy and acceptable to be the bride of Christ. Sanctification does not make us acceptable to God. Walvoord obviously did not understand Justification by faith alone. We are blameless and holy, no discoloration, no wrinkle, no blemish in Christ Jesus. A spotless bride when Christ returns and not at a so called fallacy of a Rapture. Surely we will meet our Bridegroom when we are united with our bodies.

Walvoord exposed his unbiblical madness in the following sentence: “God deals differently with different people such as Israel, the Church, and various nations. God deals with each individual as well as each group on the basis of the qualities that are revealed in them.” Now this is an eye opener. What Walvoord said then is; that Israel had better qualities than other nations or individuals. So God’s choice then is based on merit and not by Abrahamic faith. Who was justified, the bad Tax Collector or the good Pharisee? I can open on any page of Walvoords book, Every Prophecy of the Bible, and I will find some unbiblical explanation. For example: on page 628: “The nation of Israel, however, will also have the benefits of the rule of David resurrected from the dead as a regent of Christ.” What utter nonsense he wrote. Walvoord even suggest that the New Jerusalem will be a satellite city over the earth during the Millennium and as such would be the home of resurrected and translated saints. He did not know if the new earth will be bigger or smaller than the present one.

He was so confused, had so many brides, suppers, invitations, kingdom’s, gospels that no man can explain the magnitude of complications that Premillennial views gives. Just to believe in a literal New Jerusalem City, where Israel will be part of that populace boggles one’s mind and the only sane conclusion one can come to is that this interpretation; is devoid of the Spirit of God.

When we look at the poor exegesis of Scripture by leading theologians that are no longer with us, and we see that they did not even understand the Gospel, then we should be doubtful to follow their view of the future of the Church.

For the most Biblical view of the Future of Israel and the Church, go to the following link:

http://www.allbygrace.com/alexrevelationmainpage.html

For diagrams and further articles on end times:

http://www.reformedtruth.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=14:revelation&Itemid=9&layout=default

I know I am speaking harshly, even about those Christians that have passed away, but I have been deceived by Dispensationalism and Postmillennialism and will make every effort to put things in Biblical terms. It has been a difficult road to forgive those that led me down these unscriptural paths. It is serious pulpit crimes and attempts, if possible, to destroy or alter the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are sanctified by the Truth, the Bible does have an absolute Truth and that is definitely not Dispensationalism or Postmillennialism.

We are all corrupt sinners before God, saved by grace only, clothed by Jesus righteousness only, we will keep on corrupting Scripture because we are sinful, but the good news is, that there is a single Truth that sanctifies completely, and that is the one that we must seek. God is spirit and Truth, God speaks in parables, types, shadows, symbols, Jesus fulfilled all those types. He is the True Israel, only in Him are we the true spiritual Israel, Jews and heathen included, true Temple, the New Jerusalem, the City of God, the spiritual Kingdom, which is the Gospel, nothing material or literal meaning. No earthly reign for Jesus with David for a thousand years.

Nico Engelbrecht

Yzerfontein.

Mystery Babylon The Great

If we desire to be wise in the sight of God so that we can understand what God has written, and if we desire to have discernment in spiritual matters so that we can discern between good and evil, then it is of the utmost importance that we have a clear conception of this picture of Babylon that God is painting before our eyes here in Revelation 17 and 18.

Not only is it important from a doctrinal point of view, but it is also necessary for a practical reason. From Revelation 18:4 the voice of God comes to our ears, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

This is a practical command which tells us that the people of God may never have spiritual fellowship with the people who are of this Babylon. And in order to go out of her, and refuse to have fellowship with her, we must be able to discern her among the many religious movements of our days.

Therefore a clear understanding of the character and manifestation of Babylon, the great harlot, is of extreme practical importance. The angel said to John:

Come, I Will Show Unto Thee the Great Harlot (Revelation 18:4, Revelation 17:1-6, Revelation 16:20, Revelation 11:8, Revelation 14:8, Revelation 16:19)

Revelation 17:1
And there came one of the seven angels (messengers) which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

Revelation 17:2
With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

Revelation 17:3
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 17:4
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Revelation 17:5
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Revelation 17:6
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

Now we need to take a step back and look at what we have discovered so far in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

After the 7th vial of the wrath of God has been poured into the air we read in Revelation 16:20: “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

In other words, after chapter 16 there is no history any more. All has been finished. The seven vials have been poured out. Antichrist and all the unsaved in the world have been through the battle of the Last Day, which is Armageddon. The saints have been raptured and stand with Christ to judge the unsaved. All the unsaved have been through the winepress of the wrath of God and now they stand before the Judgment throne. Time has come to an end.

There is no Babylon any more. Therefore it is impossible to conceive of the events pictured in the following three chapters as if these would chronologically follow chapter 16. The way we must see these chapters is as presenting to us a more detailed picture of something we have already been told before in broad outlines. We have here in chapters 17 and 18 a detailed portrait of Babylon and the fall of Babylon.

However the fall of Babylon should not be confused with the literal destruction of the world.

Why?

God is describing something more perplexing and puzzling to us than this earth’s destruction on the Last Day.

What could be more perplexing than this earth going up in a ball of fire?

To answer this we must delve into the depths of the MYSTERY with which this global harlot clings to. We have read before of Babylon.

In Revelation 11:8 we have seen her as the outward holy city, but where her name was identified with Sodom, and Egypt, and where our Lord was crucified. Here we saw the first indication of Jerusalem as the city which essentially is Babylonian in character and which persecutes the witnesses of Jesus. Yes indeed, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League has pressured the US State Department to define anti-Semitism in a way that makes Bible believing Christians into anti-Semites, and we could be held guilty of hate crimes and be persecuted for that.

Again we read in Revelation 14:8 the announcement that: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication”.

And in Revelation 16:19 we read: “And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.”

God calls her “that great city”, and God calls her “Great Babylon”.

Even though she is an enemy of God, God assigns to her a greatness because first of all she is a great enemy, and secondly God classifies her as having something very special about her.

The Seat of the Beast (Revelation 16:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)

Revelation 16:10
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat (the throne) of the beast; and his kingdom was (became) full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain.

Is this not a strange verse?

Is not the kingdom of the beast always full of spiritual darkness?

Why then did the kingdom of the beast only now become full of darkness when the 5th vial was poured out upon the throne of the beast?

This can only occur if the beast, which is Antichrist, conquered someone else’s kingdom, and then that kingdom becomes full of darkness.

What is that kingdom that the beast conquers, and where the beast sets up his throne?

We read in 2 Thessalonians 2 where that is:

2 Thessalonians 2:1
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 Thessalonians 2:2
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

2 Thessalonians 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

2 Thessalonians 2:4
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

This passage says that there will be a falling away from the truth of the Gospel. God is not referring to a few people who are defecting to the cults, but He is referring to a great falling away from churches all over the world. We see here the success of Antichrist to infiltrate the churches with false gospels. In the past centuries Satan has tried to stamp out the church by persecuting the church and physically killing the true believers. Remember for example the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, where in the kingdom of France in one night the Roman Catholic population slaughtered all the protestant people of that nation.

They dragged them out of bed and killed them, men, women and children. Or think of the Roman Catholic Inquisition which was responsible for burning at the stake many thousands of true believers, most of those were the Protestants whom they hated. But Satan’s objectives were never achieved for the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the true church. But here in 2 Thessalonians 2 we read that in the end times Satan has switched to Plan B: he does not fight the churches but he is joining them. And the result is a great apostasy all over the world.

And who is the man of sin, the son of perdition?

He is Antichrist, the anointed of the Devil. Since Satan is a spirit he needs a body to sit in the temple of God, which in the New Testament time is the church. The outward manifestation of the kingdom of God on this earth is the church. If Satan takes over the churches in the world then he must indwell the preachers in those churches, which means that he must be in the pulpit of many churches at the same time.

Satan cannot be omnipresent, but he has many demons that will gladly indwell the many preachers who are still unsaved.

Unsaved preachers and unsaved pastors?

How does this condition of the church come into being?

Well, for many years Satan has infiltrated the seminaries with plans of salvation that are O-so-close to the true gospel.

They have been tolerant of the Arminian Free-Will gospel that is so popular with people these days, and they have been tolerant of the Charismatic gospel that is so popular with people these last days, and they have been tolerant of the Prosperity gospel that is so popular with people these last days, and they have been tolerant of the Self-esteem gospel out of California that is so popular with people these last days, and they have been tolerant of the Purpose Driven Church gospel out of California that is so popular with people these last days.

All these gospels have made inroads into the Seminaries and have produced many preachers who are committed, but remained unsaved.

Remember the 200 million horsemen of Revelation 9 who are attacking the third part of mankind, and remember the third part of Zechariah 13?

The third part of Zechariah 13 is the church, and this is how satan has prepared the seminaries and the pulpits for many years.

And so we see that Antichrist is not one person, but he is the embodiment of Satan and all his demons in many preachers and teachers who are peddling a gospel that is not the Gospel of the Bible. And so we see where the seat of the beast is. The seat of the beast is in the church, and the church is being enveloped in total darkness.

Total Darkness (Revelation 11:7-8, Revelation 13:7-8)

By pouring out the 5th vial on the seat of the beast, God is saying that the churches which have been taken over by Satan are enveloped in total darkness. This darkness does not come suddenly at the end of time, for we must remember that the seven vials are poured out simultaneously, and thus this darkness is a condition that exists for as long as that church has been taken over.

And does it not fully agree with Revelation 11:7-8 that Antichrist shall overtake the church and silence the true Gospel?

Revelation 11:7
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Revelation 11:8
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

The two witnesses, representing those who preach the true Gospel, are silenced. All that is left of the True-church is an empty shell. All who are left in the organized churches are the False-church and the Show-church. All who are left in these organized churches shall cozy up to the religion of Sodom, and they shall cozy up to the religion of Egypt, the house of bondage. And is it not true that today we see a great deal of interest in the churches to justify homosexuality as an inherited condition; nothing you can do about it.

And is it not true that today we see a great deal of interest in morality preaching, laying down the law again, which people consider “practical preaching”, but which brings us back to the heresy that we will be saved if we live a good life.

Why is this not preached in the churches?

Why is it not preached that the Bible prophesies that the church is in danger of falling prey to Satan?

Why is it not preached that the church shall fall away into apostasy, so that we can arm ourselves for this battle?

And arm ourselves we must, by understanding the truth of the Gospel, and to trust in the righteousness of Christ that He has atoned for all our sins, and to prepare ourselves to bring the Gospel of peace to whosoever is willing to hear, and to defend ourselves with the shield of faith that God has given us, and to believe the hope of salvation for body and soul that God promised with an oath, and to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, in every occasion where we must take a militant stand against the wiles of the Devil.

Why is it not preached that the church is in great danger?

The evidence for this in the Bible is overwhelming.

Revelation 13:7
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Is it not crystal clear that the churches will be under severe attack from Antichrist, and that he shall overcome them, and that entire denominations will go apostate?

I will tell you why it is not preached today. Pastors are deadly afraid that the members of their congregations will discover these verses themselves, and then pastors are afraid they will lose their jobs, and lose their pensions, and lose their housing allowances, and lose their car allowances, and lose their medical benefits, and insurances, and their 401-K, and so on. And if you think I am exaggerating, remember that most pastors get these fringe benefits in addition to their salaries.

You might wonder why they should receive any salaries in addition to the enormous value of all these fringe benefits. But it is no secret that in the United States most pastors live in luxury compared to the living standards of the members in their churches. Gone are the days of living in poverty for the sake of Christ and for the furtherance of the Gospel. And so, because they do not want to lose their lucrative jobs, and because they did not develop any skills to do any other job, they remain silent about those parts of Scripture that might jeopardize their position.

And so, they follow where the money goes. That is why they keep their congregations in the dark about the great apostasy. And as a diversion maneuver they keep their congregations in suspense about great army movements in the Middle East, with spectacular speculations about a single person who is called Antichrist, and who will be defeated by a small Israeli army in a place called Armageddon, near the Mound of Megiddo.

But it is all a diversion maneuver to keep our eyes peeled in the distance to a land far far away, so that it does not affect us personally in the here and now. This is total darkness! This is the total darkness that enveloped the seat of the beast. With this introduction you might now be ready to receive the revelation that God has placed in the Bible in these two chapters about:

Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:5, Genesis 11:9)

Let us turn again to Revelation 17:5. We presently are living in an era that is unprecedented in the history of the world. An era where even the people in the churches have little tolerance for religious concepts and principles taught in the Bible. It is an era where people do not want to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is given to us in the Bible. It is an era where people do dot consider the Bible as the Word of God, God speaking. It is an era where churches are discarding religious practices used for centuries, for a more suitable form of religion that will unite the masses into one watered down and totally ecumenic religious order. It is an era where tolerance for other religions is held as a primary doctrine that may not be violated.

Indeed we are living extremely close to an era that may very well be called
“The Abomination of Desolation”.

The only remedy for the errors of the churches in this era is the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But this light is rapidly fading because the churches do not want a Christ who is totally sovereign and righteous as the Bible describes Him, especially here in Revelation. His sovereignty and His righteousness scares them, and thus they are bowing down to a different Christ, who is more a servant than a sovereign God.

Revelation 17:5
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

This messenger showed John a woman, who is a whore. A whore, or a harlot, is a woman who sells her body for fornication. But in Biblical language a whore, or a harlot, is someone who commits spiritual fornication. It is someone who goes after other gospels, worships other gods, or engages in other kinds of idolatry. We must understand that especially here in the Revelation of Jesus Christ God uses symbolic language. Therefore these chapters must be understood in accordance with their symbolism the way those symbols are used throughout the Scriptures.

The name of this woman as written upon her forehead is “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT”. The first word is “Mystery”.

What is a mystery?

In the Bible a mystery is not something mysterious, as in the English language, but it is something that has been hidden in the Scriptures throughout the centuries, and it is made known only by Divine intervention at an appointed time, and is revealed only to those whom God through His Holy Spirit desires to give this knowledge. And thus a “mystery” is something hidden, but it will be revealed. Secondly, the word “Mystery” is not found in the Old Testament.

It is a word that is found 27 times in the New Testament. And from the New Testament verses we learn that this word is strictly associated with the many secrets and mysteries of God, already written in the Old Testament, but now revealed in the New Testament as mysteries of God, and mysteries of the Gospel, and mystery of Christ with His church, and mystery Babylon, just to name a few.

Thirdly, in all these 27 times where the word “mystery” is found the spirituality of the things of God are addressed. Therefore, when we read in the title “Mystery, Babylon” we realize immediately that this Babylon could not possibly refer to anything outside the church of God. It must have to do with the church.

The name Babylon derives from an earlier city which was named Babel in Genesis 11:9, where we read, “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

The name “Babel” or “Babylon” means “confusion”. God confused their language and scattered them upon the face of the whole earth. Man’s purpose for the city of Babel was to have their own gods, even heaven itself, and yet maintain their own destiny. Instead God sends them confusion. As we track Babylon throughout Scripture we can expect to see this character of confusion and apostasy remaining with her down to the last mention of her as the great whore in Revelation 19:2.

Throughout Scripture Babylon is associated with pride and rebellion against God. God condemned Babylon for her pride. Babylon of old was destroyed and became a desolation and a dry land, and became uninhabited until this very day. This, however, is falling far too short of being God’s final outcome and teaching of Babylon. God has much more in view than a history lesson of a city that was destroyed because of her pride toward God. All the nations of the earth fall under this category. All nations as a whole are proud toward God. There is only one nation that is truly humble and God-fearing, and that is the nation consisting of all those whom God shall save, which is the remnant chosen by grace from all the nations of the world.

A superficial reading of Revelation 17 and 18 may leave the impression that these chapters are describing the destruction of a large city of this world, like New York, which would be code named “Babylon”.

But this is not the case.

There is a spiritual and symbolic teaching concerning Babylon which runs throughout Scripture like a thread, culminating in Revelation 18. All the Old Testament prophecies concerning Babylon will in the spiritual sense only be fulfilled in the confines of the end time Babylon. But there is more.

There is something incomprehensible, something of amazement and astonishment to all who come to a more clear understanding of these passages in Revelation 17 and 18.

Babylon is far more than just a wicked city. And Babylon is in these two chapters being judged at the end of the Final Tribulation Period, at the height of wickedness. Therefore these two chapters in Revelation with regard to Babylon are speaking of the worst conditions possible: There in Babylon spiritual degradation exists to the highest extent. She, Babylon the great harlot, is being judged. And this judgment seems to take place immediately before the coming of Christ. Now let us take a close look at this city, which is here described as a woman.

The Woman in the Wilderness (Revelation 17:3, Revelation 12:1-2, Revelation 12:14, Psalm 2:7, Malachi 4:2, Revelation 1:20, Ezekiel 16:8-22)

Revelation 17:3
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Babylon, the woman, is pictured as sitting upon the beast that has ascended out of the Bottomless Pit. And in verse 6 we read that John was amazed and wondered with great amazement at the sight of this woman. John was astonished.

Why was John astonished?

He had seen this woman before. Her general features were still the same, but now she is allied with the scarlet colored beast that carries her.

When had John seen this woman before?

Revelation 12:1
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

Revelation 12:2
And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

As we have seen in Revelation 12, this woman represents the Old Testament church, the Old Testament body of believers all the way from righteous Abel to John the Baptist. The Old Testament church was travailing and in pain of persecution until Christ was delivered from the power of the grave in AD 33.

God says in Psalm 2:7, “Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee”.

On that day the Old Testament church transitioned into the New Testament church, which began in earnest 50 days later on Pentecost. She is clothed with the sun, for Christ, who is known as the Sun of Righteousness, has covered her (Malachi 4:2).

She has the moon under her feet, where the moon represents the Word of God, which means that her foundation is the Word of God. She has a crown of twelve stars, indicating that God has blessed the church with a full assortment of pastors and teachers of the Word of God, for God said in Revelation 1:20: “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches”.

This woman was under heavy persecution from the Devil. But God came to her aid in Verse 14:

Revelation 12:14
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

She found refuge in the wilderness of this world, where God protected her from Satan’s relentless attacks on her faith. She was not altogether free from persecution, but it was by God’s grace that she was nourished with the Scriptures without being hindered in this by Satan. There she was, the woman in the wilderness, who was lavished with so many blessings from God.

But look at her now in Revelation 17:3, this same woman in the wilderness of this world, but now she is allied with the beast with seven heads and ten horns. This is the same beast of Revelation 13:1, which is Antichrist. Yes it is the same woman, the church, after having experienced the great apostasy in the time of the end. This Babylon has embraced a full and complete fellowship with the religious and counterfeit attributes of Antichrist.

The great Final Tribulation Period has arrived, because the woman and the beast are now intimately together. The woman is no longer faithful to Christ. Instead she commits spiritual fornication with the beast, and that is why she is called a harlot. And she drags all her spiritual children into the same judgment with her.

Why does she do this?

Because it feels so good.

And is it not true that all these other gospels that have been brought into the church all in the category of “feel good gospels”?

The Arminian Free-Will gospel is far more rampant in our day, and the Charismatic gospel, and the Prosperity gospel, and the Self-esteem gospel, and the sacramental gospel, and the Purpose Driven Church gospel are all appealing to people because they feel so good, and they make them feel so righteous, and they make them feel so blessed and they make them feel so secure because they now have done something for their salvation. It is true that this woman is not a picture of the true church, but of the false church, the counterfeit church, which has apostatized from her former husband Christ and is now committing fornication with the enemy. She is the unfaithful woman, the deceitful woman, who has broken the most sacred pledge.

In Ezekiel 16:8-22 we read of Israel as the wife of Jehovah, prepared and blessed by Him, but whoring after other gods. This is a complete picture of the spiritual harlot.

And how is she described here in Revelation 17 and 18?

As a woman and as a city. Satan is a great imitator. Let us look now at:

The Great Imitator (Hebrews 11:9-10, Hebrews 12:22)

Even as the Devil aims at establishing a counterfeit kingdom, so he also establishes a counterfeit church. The church as an institution was designed to be the army of the Kingdom of Christ. But during the little season, when Satan is loosed and the abomination of desolation is set up, that “church” will be used by the Devil as an army in his service. And the result is that a counterfeit church, the harlot church, is established.

The true church is the spiritual Bride of Christ, ingrafted into Him by a true faith, and through Christ stands in a covenant relation with the Lord Jehovah.

But that counterfeit church is the church which still bears the name of church, still appears as the church in the world, still claims or pretends to be the legitimate church, outwardly also looks like the church, has its ministers, baptisms, communion, the preaching of the Word and teaching, and all kinds of institutions and societies, but employs all the blessings she has outwardly received in the service of Antichrist, and not in the service of Jehovah. Her ministers preach for Antichrist.

The office-bearers work for Antichrist. Publicly she displays all the signs of Antichrist, and all her members she educates to work for the dragon and his kingdom. She becomes great and powerful. And the more she labors in the interest of the antichristian kingdom, the more she will enjoy the favor of the dragon: for she is nothing but his harlot, and allows herself to be the instrument of Antichrist. This is plain from the description that is given of her here in Revelation 17 and 18.

For she is called the harlot, and is described as one who commits fornication with the kings of the earth and with all that dwell in the world. That this is true is plain from the fact that she is sitting on the scarlet beast with the seven heads and ten horns, implying that she is borne by the power of Antichrist, and at the same time controls that power with her fascinating fornications.

That this is true is also plain from the fact that of her the terrible sentence is expressed that she is drunken with the blood of the saints. Surely this woman is the church as she appears on earth; but it is the false church, already beginning to be well developed in our own time. It is the church as a whole that has abandoned the truth of the Word of God, that rejects the real truth of the Atonement of Christ, His efficacious atonement on behalf of His people alone, and tramples under foot the blood of the New Covenant.

Every pledge with her Lord and covenant God she has broken. And even those who do remain faithful she kills in her hatred. But there is more. For this woman, representing the counterfeit or false church is also presented to us as a city. And so we learn that the real being of this woman is that of a city, and specifically of Babylon. She has the appearance of Jerusalem, the Holy City, the Bride of Christ; but in essence she is nothing but Babylon. That is her real nature.

Babylon stands in Scripture for all that opposes the Kingdom of God. She is the capital of the kingdom of oppression for the people of God. Babylon stands for the center of the kingdom of the dragon, and the king of Babylon, especially Nebuchadnezzar, stands for the embodiment of Satan in human flesh, Antichrist. And therefore this woman is essentially the center of the antichristian world power.

But this should not surprise us, for the same can be said of the true church. She ultimately appears as the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from God. The church that is in our time, is also a woman, the Bride of Christ, and is at the same time destined to be the power in control ultimately of the New Heaven and the New Earth, destined to reign with Christ forever in the glorious city the New Jerusalem.

The real and mystical character of the church is that she is also a city, the glorious city that shall be the center of the New Creation, of the Kingdom of Christ in glory. This is what we look forward to, and this is what the saints in the past have looked forward to. Abraham looked forward to this glorious city, for we read:

Hebrews 11:9
By faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

Hebrews 11:10
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

But we are in a much more favorable position than Abraham. Already now we are citizens of Jerusalem that is above.

Hebrews 12:22
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.

There is our true citizenship: Mount Sion, the place where God resides. Pray to God that here below we will keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus who awaits us there in the city of the living God.

AMEN.

Pastor Alfred J. Chompff was born on October 26, 1930 in Malang, Indonesia. He has been married for 57 years to Gysbarta, and they have two children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He holds a B.S. / Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from the Technische Hogeschool in Delft, the Netherlands. Alfred Chompff is Pastor at the Reformed Bible Church of Southern California, in Los Angeles. He was officially ordained on Jan 25, 1998, and has been studying the Scriptures for more than 25 years.

MYSTERY OF INIQUITY

THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY (2Thes.2:7)

Scrip. Refs. AKJV
6 September 2012

This tract brings man’s original sin out into the Light of Scripture. It explains its deadly consequence and God’s merciful Life giving Solution. It serves as a basis for discerning and correcting current doctrinal errors mainly with reference to 2Thes.2:1-12 where dispensationalists confuse the coming of the Spirit of the Lord at conversion (2Thes.2:8. Jn.3:8. 14:17-19, 23. 1Cor.4:5) with His second coming (1Thes.3:13. 4:15-17. 2Thes1:8. .2:2).

They err in teaching a secret coming (rapture) between these two events. This tract can be used for correction relating, for example, to dispensationalism, anti-Christ, the rapture, the devil, faith, health, wealth, the Israel of God, tongues, binding and loosing, the millennium and the so called “rule” of making every human effort to interpret Scripture literally to the letter. This rule excludes the life-giving help of the Spirit (1Thes.1:5. Jn.14:16-17, 26. 16:13. 2Cor.3:6. 2Pet. 1:20).

NATURAL MAN’S RESPONSE TO TEMPTATION

By crafty and deceitful use of God’s Word (2Thes.2:9-12. 2Cor.2:11. 4:2. Gen. 3:1-6), the great dragon, that old serpent in Eden, called the Devil and Satan (Rev.12:9), lied and successfully appealed to man’s natural desires. In this way he became the god of this present evil age (2Cor.4:4). This is a wake-up call to God’s sheep (Isa.29:18), many of whom have again fallen into a spiritually drunken, deep sleep (1Thes.5:6-7. Mt.13:25. Mk.13:16. Rom.11:8. Isa.29:9-13) because of their ignorance or by listening to deceitful teachers who pervert the meaning of God’s words for self gain (Gal.1:7. 2Pet.1:20. 2:1-3. 3:16. Mic.3:11). Literalism is to understand the Word of God only in a literal meaning. It makes sense to faithless man, but produces a fading “gospel” (2Cor.3:7. Heb4:2. .8:13. 1Pet.1:4. 5:4). It is not the eternal Gospel in the blood of the Lord Jesus (Gal.1:6-12. Rev.14:6). Bound by time (2Cor.4:18. Rev.10:6. Heb.7:16. Gen.1:14), it is dispensational (Eph.1:10) Old Covenant Judaism (2Cor.3:15. Gal.1:13) which is a “gospel” of death (2Thes.1:8-9. Mt.24:24. 35. 26:28. Rom.7:10. 8:3-6. 2Cor.3:6, 15. Heb.4:2. 8:8). It could be called “The Dawkins Delusion”!

STRONG DELUSION

Adam’s disobedience to the Word of Truth caused God to send man strong delusion that he should believe the lie (2Thes.2:10-12. Jn.8:44. Rom.1:25. Gen.3:4-6) and be trapped by the devil (Lk.4:6. Rom.5:12, 19). This caused man to become the man of sin and to fall away from God (2Thes.2:3. Rom.1:26-32). Secretly the devil and his demons, like a veil, a covering, a cloak, a cloud or a shadow, spiritually darkened man’s heart and mind (2Cor.4:4. 1Thes.5:5-6). Man had now become wicked – lawless, sinful and beastly (2Thes.2:3, 8. 3:2. Rom.2:21. Rev.17:17. Gen.3:1). Sin took advantage of Adam’s disobedience and slew him as it does to all under the law (Rom.5:12. 7:10-11, 24. Eph.2:2. Gen.3:5, 22). For man’s sake (Gen.3:17) God rendered creation, including man, corrupt, useless and fading away under His curse (Mt.24:35. Rom.8:20-23).

CALLING EVIL GOOD AND GOOD EVIL

Being deluded, man calls evil good and good evil and darkness light and light darkness (Mt.6:23. Jn.9:39. Act.26:18. Isa.5:20. 45:7). Undetected the devil comes to sit in man’s heart, God’s temple, pretending to be God (2Thes.2:4-6, 9. Mt.4:9. Isa.14:14-16. Eze.28:1-19. Gen.3:22). The devil, the anti-Christ spirit of error (1Jn.2:18. 4:1-6), tempts men to interpret God’s words of Light, from Heaven above (Jn.1:32), to mean the sensual or literal things of this spiritually dark hopeless world of death and decay (Gen.2:17. Heb.2:14-15. 1Jn.3:8. 5:19). This is the mystery of iniquity (2Thes.2:7. Eze.28:13-15. Isa.53:6) by which the serpent secretly (Mt.13:33), through the lusts of the flesh, blinds the mind of natural man with the earthly sensual and devilish enticing words of his dark wisdom below (2Thes.2:7. 1Cor.1:17. 2:4, 12-14. Rom.1:18. Jms.1:5. 3:15. Jude 19). For example, man calls riches and healings on earth “good” and those in Christ above “evil”. Because he cannot see or sense eternal riches and healings, they are foolishness to him and he thinks they are of no benefit (Jn.14:17. 1Cor 2:14. 12:28. 2Cor.4:18. Col.2:2-4). This strong delusion (2Thes.2:11. 1Pet.2:25. Isa.53:6.), is a mysterious, blinding, sensual, spiritual veil of words (thoughts) over the heart and mind (2Thes.2:6-7. 2Cor.3:6, 14-16. 4:4. Eph.4:17-18). Held captive by this covering (Lk.12:2-3. Jn.3:19-20. Rom.10:21. Isa.29:15. 30:1. 55:7-9. 60:2. 65:2) man justifies his wicked, lawless use of God’s Word (2Thes.2:3, 8. Hos.14:1-2) by yielding to his sensual cravings for the vain, enticing things of this evil world (1Thes.1:5. 2:13. Lk.12:15. 1Cor.2:4. Gal. 1:4) from below (2Thes.2:11-12. Mk.4:19. Lk.16:14-15. Jn.8:15. Rom.6:12, 19 2Cor.4:2-3. Gal.4:25-26. 5:16. Eph.4:22. Tit.3:3. 1Jn.2:16-17. Gen.3:6).

BLINDED TO THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF GOD

The delusion, sent by God (2Thes.2:11.Gen.2:17) and ministered by the devil’s children (2Thes.2:3. Jn.8:43-44. 2Cor.3:7. 11:14-15), secretly (mysteriously) restrains, with-holds and prevents (2Thes.2:6-10. Gen.3:24) man, born into this world (Ps.58:3. Gen.3:7), from seeing (Jn.3:3. 9:39. Act.26:18. Eph.1:18) the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ (2Cor.3:14. 4:4). Until this earthly, sensual and devilish wisdom is revealed and repented of (2Thes.1:8-9. 2:3, 6-7. Jms.3:15. 4:7), by God’s grace, God leaves the devil and his fallen angels to spiritually hold rebellious men captive in spirit (2Thes.2:11-12. Rom.1:18-21. 7:8-11. 9:18.11:32), in the outer darkness of the world (Mt.22:13. Rev.12:9. Isa.25:7, 30:1, 60:2). The mystery of iniquity can be seen and known (2Thes.2:5-6) in heart (2Thes.2:8. Jer.17:9) and mind only by revelation from God above (2Thes.2:3, 8. Mt.6:6. 16:17. Jn.3:27, 34. Rom.2:16. 1Cor1:18, 21, 29. 4:5, 14:25. Isa.45:14-15). Rather than hearing God’s words in a literal sense Christians, in order to increase their faith, must pray and ask God, by His grace, to open and reveal the meaning of the Scriptures to them (Jn.5:39). We must ask God to teach us how His words, unknown tongues to man (1Cor.14:2, 13), are signs, types, and shadows which, in as many ways as there are words, is a bright cloud of witnesses (Jn.20:30-31. 21:25. Gen.3:24) signifying and pointing to Jesus Christ crucified (1Cor.2:1-13). This is the miracle of the Bible heard in Spirit (Rom.10:17).

COME LORD JESUS THE LIGHT OF MEN

The anti-Christ spirit (Lk.22:53. 1Jn.2:18) of lawless preachers (Mt. 24:4. Act.2:23. Eph.2:2-3. 1Tim.1:7) interprets the eternal words, spoken by Jesus and God’s prophets (Jn.6:63. 2Pet.1:20-21. Rev.19:10, 13), in the literal, cursed, earthy, dark meaning (1Cor.14:11) of man’s words (1Thes.1:5. 2:13. 2Thes.2:11. Jn.3:12, 31. 8:23, 47. 9:39. Rom.8:6. 12:2. 1Cor.1:17-19. 2:5, 13. 3:19-20. 4:20. 15:46-48. Pr.3:5. Isa.55:8). The brightness of Jesus’ words (Jn.6:63) when He comes into sinful man’s heart at conversion destroys the anti-Christ meaning of words; Satan’s works (2Thes.2:3, 8-10. Jn.8:47. 2Cor.3:16. Heb.2:14. 1Jn.4:4-6. Isa.11:4). The power of sin and death (2Thes.2:7-12. Rom.7:23. 8:2. 1Cor.15:56. Gal.3:13) comes from God’s curse on man (judgment- Gen.2:17. Jn.2:18-21. 19:11. Lk.22:53. Rom.2:5. Rev.6:17) for which Jesus Christ was made to be sin and a curse for us by sacrificing Himself to take away our blinding sin as written by Moses and in the psalms and the prophets (Lk.24:26-27, 44-45. Rom.5:14-15. Rev.11:15. Dan.7:14, 27). Because Jesus, the Word of God, is the fulfillment of every word, jot and tittle of the Old Testament, He is able to keep the law for those of faith to receive His gift of righteousness and live forever. He is the One Who was, Who is and Who is to come, the Almighty God-Man Jesus Christ, the Tree of Life in Whom we live (Mt.5:17. Jn.11:25. 15:3. Rom.10:5. Rev.1:8. 22:14. Lev.18:5). What a Saviour! Come Lord Jesus (Rev.22:20).

Dick & Yvonne Harris. Email: dickharris@absamail.co.za Tel.0315612526. Cell-0828308015

The Old Rugged Cross

Objective:

The objective of this article is to help Christians discern between the two basic views of the Kingdom, the one is the Kingdom of the Gospel of the grace of God in Jesus Christ which is the everlasting gospel of the cross and the other is the contradictory interpretation of the temporal Kingdom of the Gospel of glory or Crown, the fading glory of man. This teaching places these views under the light of Scriptural truth in order for the unenlightened to make a judicious decision for the absolute Truth regarding eschatology. (End Times)

As an alternative for the theological name for eschatological views I will use lay language in order for people to be able to recognize in which gospel they are trusting. For Dispensationists or Premillennialists I will use the name Rapturists. For Postmillennialists I will use the name Kingdom Now followers and for the Amillinnialists I will use the name Spiritual Israel. For more elaborated definitions see: In Afrikaans: http://www.reformedtruth.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=132:christelike-woordeboek-of-woordelys-van-terme&catid=5:afrikaans&Itemid=8

Introduction:

What is the great task of the defender of the gospel of faith? It is to expose false and another gospels that create unconventional means of attaining salvation rather than the only way which is by grace; namely through the purity of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Throughout his letters Paul defends the absolute Sovereignty and the absolute dominion of God over His creation simply by the proclamation of the Truth. For the Post-modern Christian, it is no longer the case; God is not sovereign because man attempts to contribute towards his salvation, Jesus plus something. For others; they give Satan such glory and power on Gods earth that they almost make the Devil their god.

Man, totally Corrupt

The redemption of depraved, unregenerated, uncircumcised, spiritually dead, fleshly man in spiritual darkness, destitute in his death row situation; was God’s priority in His historical dealings with man to restore Paradise. All the glory to God alone for this salvation by His merciful mediation to obviate the total destruction of all His creation that has been corrupted by sin will be God’s Alone. Soli Deo Gloria. This was as Reformers understood man’s status: “outward pollution, and an evidence of spiritual death.” (Commentary on Colossians)

Any other gospel that does not proclaim the regeneration of a remnant out of the entire human race, without exception, is another gospel and not the mandate of the almighty King.

God progressively revealed His promised restoration of Paradise in His Council of the historic redemption of fallen man, (Gen 3:15) with images, signs, shadows, types, symbols, figures and allegories that He hid in parables for spiritual man only. See short introduction to spiritual understanding. www.reformedtruth.co.za

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 

The question is: can regenerated man be in the natural and wrongly understand spiritual things to be physical and worldly things? My answer is a convinced, yes!

The spiritual man interprets and comprehends; the things on earth that God uses in Scripture, as signs of the heavenly things in God’s spiritual language or tongues which, to the natural man seem foolish or sound like gibberish (Not the Charismatic phenomenon but Words spiritually understood.) The gospel of the cross is foolishness to natural man, but life eternal to the redeemed. Paul would rather speak words spiritually understood. To repeat the question: is regenerate man free from delusions and fleshly interpretations? Scripture clearly teaches that it is crucial to build on foundations laid by the Apostles and the cornerstone Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 3:15. Paul clearly warns of certain consequences to those that teach another gospel contrary to that of; by grace alone, by faith alone and in Jesus Christ alone to the glory of God alone according to scriptural Truth alone. Other gospel foundations, different to that laid in the life of the disciples harm the temple of God because these false foundation stones are spiritually harmful to the body of Christ. It is not the smoking of cigars that harm the temple but other gospel teachings.

There are basically only two Gospels of which only one could be the Truth

1. The gospel of a future glory of Rapturists and Kingdom-Now followers

The gospel of glory belongs to natural man, earthly riches and worldly kingdoms and secular Triumphs. This was the same type of King that the Jews and the Apostles expected, to redeem them from the yoke of Rome, and the Apostles from the bondage of the Pharisees and not from the yoke of sin. They expected a Kingdom of the Crown and not the Cross. It was only after the resurrection that the disciples of Jesus understood the real Good News of the Gospel, only after the veil had been taken away by the Holy Spirit when the Light shone in their darkness and they realized it

“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1.6).

Prof Scott Clark in his article the Israel of God mentions; that there was indeed a widespread rabbinic and popular notion that the Messiah should be a powerful politico-military figure of Davidic strength and skill—”David has slain his tens of thousands” (1 Sam 18.7). 

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. John 6,14-15 records

This was not the Missio Dei and God never intended nor Counselled an earthly Kingdom of any worldly kind in the future.

The veil taken away in that Mountain. Is 25:7

This was sadly the literal Pharisaic interpretation that brought on misconceptions of the Kingdom of God/Heaven and today it is still the situation. Do those that are literalists still then wear a veil, has the veil not been rent from top to bottom for them?

2Co 3:13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 

2Co 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 

“Until this day”, that, unfortunately, is still the expectation of a specific group of Christians. This was not the expected King since He rode on a donkey and not a horse a symbol of power; that is why they crucified Him:

“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt” (John 12:15; Isa 40.9; Zech 9.9).

Will they crucify Jesus again in the thousand year reign? They will have to if anyone is to be saved, or repent of their fallacy and destroy the ceremonies and temple, because the blood of beasts cannot save eternally and forgive sin. Classic Dispensationalism (Rapturists) has long held that the Pharisees had the right method of interpreting the Bible; but that they simply reached the wrong conclusions. (literalistic or Pharisaic interpretation, still reach the wrong assumption.)

We are still sinners, “non posse non peccare”, not able not to sin and can be led astray. Is it possible, that some even to this day, can have such a Veil that they cannot see spiritual fulfilments from past and passing shadows? Dick Harris rightly labels this “The Dawkins Delusion”. Is the Arminian; who trusts in subtle works of determining his destiny not clouded in his understanding of the True Gospel because with the “wrong conclusion”, they steal some of Gods glory because they always have to have made some contribution to their redemption?

We must urgently expose and demolish this matter of the two kingdoms.

The Rapturists erroneously expect a Restoration of the kingdom of Israel between the first coming of Christ and the return of the King for the White Throne Judgment. They anticipate an interlude of a thousand years of earthly reign after the Church disappears before a time of greater tribulation.

The physical battle of Armageddon will inaugurate the literal Davidic Kingdom of Israel for a period of a thousand years.

The “physical” battle of Armageddon will be followed by theocratic rule with Old Testament ceremonies restored, including temple sacrifices with the Devil bound during this earthly thousand year reign. This kingdom will be one where the Ten Commandments will be the rule of the Kingdom with the fulfilment of the Davidic Covenant with the manifestation of the righteousness of God in human affairs.

Today we have Mandela day, the saviour of the oppressed, it will not be surprising if during the Davidic Kingdom of the thousand years they will have a Moses day, where immortal Moses will re-enact the giving of the Law and come down Mount Zion with the Ten Commandment clay tablets with a display of fireworks. This is a funny remark, but maybe it will help to bring the point across.

The other false gospel, The Kingdom Now followers however, will similarly have an earthly rule not unlike the Rapturist but with the distinction that they will personally inaugurate the earthly Kingdom rule with a theocratic government. They will achieve this by overcoming Satan with spiritual warfare and signs and wonders superior to even what Jesus could accomplish. Both these are analogous in that both expect an earthy triumphant kingdom.

The Kingdom Now Triumphant earthly Kingdom will be inaugurated by super-Apostles and Prophets and so-called Joel’s Army to take the earthly potentates and devils by physical and spiritual force and subject all nations under a theocratic rule.

The Rapturist will have the rule of law and the restoration of Old Testament ceremonies in the kingdom and in that kingdom the Cross of Jesus Christ will be archaic and of no avail for those in the thousand year reign, in fact it will not be the way people come to Christ but with the manifestation of the righteousness of God in mortal human affairs. According to the Rapturists, God was so committed to creating such an earthly, national people that this was the primary reason for the incarnation, birth and ministry of Christ. Had they accepted His offer of an earthly kingdom, Jesus would not have died. In this scheme, Jesus’ saving death on the cross is a blissful by-product of God’s plan for national Israel. If Jesus, as they proclaim, did not go the Cross to die for our sin and to overcome Satan, we would still be in our sin, Satan would still be in control, for salvation we would have to keep the law and for our sin we would still need to use the blood of beasts to COVER our sins. There would be no eternal destination in their false gospel. WHAT A MONGROL OF THINGS.

However, the Kingdom Now proponents will see the work of Christ as insufficient during the Church age, and the super new age Apostles and super Prophets that will be raised will accomplished what Jesus did not because according to them, the Devil is Lord of this world and God cannot do anything without men being gods as they proclaim. They will establish a Triumphal theocratic Kingdom Now where Paul, they actually decree, will shake the hands of these gods (Rick Joyner, Benny Hinn, Copeland) to congratulate them on what they have accomplished. It is as sad day to see Angus Buchan (not surprisingly so) stand on the same pulpit as Rick Joyner and commit pulpit crimes. There are great resemblances between these two other gospels, and it also tends to lean towards Romish dogma of purgatory (other forms of salvation) and State and Church and substitute reign.

2. The Gospel of the Grace of God, the Gospel of the Cross of Spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, the Church.

Let us look at Col 2

Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 

Col 2:14 en die skuldbrief teen ons, wat met sy insettinge ons vyandig was, uitgedelg en weggeruim het deur dit aan die kruis vas te nael, Col 2:15 nadat Hy die owerhede en magte uitgeklee en hulle in die openbaar tentoongestel en daardeur oor hulle getriomfeer het.

“In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, a wondrous beauty I see, for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me”.

The Old Rugged Cross, how sweet the sound of those words to the Redeemed. These Words and their meaning will not be savoured in the Rapturists millennial reign and the Kingdom Now proponents will expect a standing ovation when they say, “Jesus can return, we have triumphed.” For a more enlightening exposure of the three eschatological views allegory style see the following link:

(http://www.reformedtruth.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=202:the-vision&catid=12:true-and-false-teaching-of-the-future-of-the-churc&Itemid=9

The Real Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is; that our sins have been blotted out, that God’s wrath towards the sinner was turned away because man’s death penalty for his transgressions was placed on the Son of God. Jesus became the propitiation for our sin from the wrath of God; our righteous God had to punish, and would not, could not, just forgive sins, but had to punish sins in order to remain just. The handwriting of ordinances that was against us was fastened to the cross and blotted out. By Grace Alone alone, we were justified, He died in our stead, our sin imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us, so we can stand pure before Holy God and will be eternally in his presence.

All nations, and each individual of God’s Created Human Family, can only be redeemed from their totally “status corruptionus”, by accepting Jesus Christ as their only Saviour; by no other name or way can we be saved. Not by keeping the law, not by our Nationality, nor our Citizenship, our Heritage, or any other future earthly kingdom. The only requisite for some to inherit the kingdom of heaven is by admitting to being a sinner from the race of one Human Family from Adam and Eve; our ancestors and by begging God for His mercy. The time for anyone to be redeemed is now and now only and not as a mass conversion, or as a nation during a great tribulation or during a Romish type of purgatory in an imaginary thousand year reign.

Luk 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Jerusalem and the temple are left desolate. For the Jews the temple became an idol and Christ withdraws from those who reject Him. He did not postpone His withdrawal as the Rapturists say but unbelieving Israel will be left desolate. Only individual believers will see Him. For unbelieving Israel it will be too late when the Messiah comes to Judge the living and the dead. “Ye shall not see me” No sight of Christ coming for a so called Rapture, but He will come only once more and that is to judge the living and the dead. It was FINISHED which designated that all was fulfilled and ended on the Cross of Calvary. There will be no more delay in these last days and no more earthly reign. Those that have ears to hear, hear.

One Created Human Family

Our first ancestors were created mature adults, with created human DNA genetically different from the rest of Creation. It had to be so and still has to be that all humans born into this world are potentially fully mature created individuals and not evolutionary beings.

Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Why? Because it is only from such a nature, this Specific Seed Jesus could have blotted out our sins that no evolutionary animal could have done. There is no such thing as vertical creation and horizontal evolution. It was only fully man with inherited DNA and fully God who could have been the second Adam, to take away the sin of man. In Gods Son Israel and in Him only can man be saved. No other plan of salvation is good enough, only one plan from God’s historical Redemption strategy with sinful man. Redemption does not come from the first fleshly Israel, the type of the Spiritual Israel, but from God’s Israel, his Son Jesus Christ.

Hos 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Note, Those whom God loves he calls out of the bondage of sin and Satan into the glorious liberty of his children. These words are said to have been fulfilled in Christ, when, upon the death of Herod, He and his parents were called out of Egypt (Mat_2:15), so that the words have a double aspect, speaking historically of the calling of Israel out of Egypt and prophetically of the bringing of Christ thence; and the former was a type of the latter, and a pledge and earnest of the many and great favours God had in reserve for that people, especially the sending of His Son into the world, and the bringing Him again into the land of Israel when they had unkindly driven him out, and He might justly never have returned. The calling of Christ out of Egypt was a figure of the calling of all that are His, through Him, out of spiritual slavery. (M. Henry Commentary)

Jesus is the fulfilment of literal Israel, which is now spiritual Israel. Jesus is the only Saviour in the Old, as in the New Covenant. Christ preached in the Spirit to Abraham and they were saved by faith and not works, believing in the Covenant and thereby being spiritually circumcised.

Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Joh 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

The physical temple was the figure or shadow of the spiritual temple fulfilled in Jesus Christ the spiritual temple. By the resurrection of Jesus the temple was made obsolete forever. Any attempt, as is now happening, to rebuild and restore this temple would be gross disobedience and an utterly sinful and worthless exercise. The old has been destroyed never to be raised again, those that have ears to hear, hear. (never to be restored again). Spiritual Israel, has always been God’s, the Israel of God. It has never replaced physical Israel or Israel in the flesh, as some falsely say because physical Israel is merely the shadow of the True Israel. The dispenstionalists are blinded to the truth of God’s Israel and therefore they are the ones who should be called “Replacementists”. The simple fact is; that there is not going to be an earthly kingdom, with Jesus reigning from the Temple in Jerusalem. The coming of Jesus to die on the cross and His sending of the Holy Spirit has inaugurated the Kingdom of God for the reign of Christ in the Church for the Millennium, which is the symbolic time of the Church. Christ has purchased His only Bride. He bought His Bride with His precious blood. No other Bride, nor Flock, nor People will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb but only those bought with the Blood of Jesus Christ. Spiritually the marriage supper of the lamb has already come and is taking place for each and every one redeemed, when we are wedded to Christ, when we are born again. We used to be married to the Law, but now to Christ.

The Battle of Michael the Archangel inaugurated the Church Age, that was the battle on the Cross, resulting in the spiritual Millennial reign of Christ.

The promised Holy Spirit came, the inauguration of the fulfilment of the promises, the Covenant with Abraham’s offspring Isaac, the free son and not the son of the slave, the law. The slaves son will never inherit what is the Free Son’s. The Son of grace is the one that inherits according to God’s Council. The coming of the Kingdom came when Jesus came, it is not a new future coming Kingdom; it is the continuation of the children of God by faith only, in the promises, even from Gen 3:15, yes, even from Creation!

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

From Genesis God commanded: “Let there be Light” and this points to Christ, the Light shine in our darkness, in our “status corruptionus”so that we can see Christ and be made alive in Him. Jesus the Cross bearing Saviour was before the Cross and is now this side of the Cross, Redemption knows no dispensations, no timeline, but I AM, is, was, and is to come.

Before Moses, the Abrahamic covenant was made by God with man. The Seed was the One to restore Paradise Lost. In that Seed, God redeemed man. Only in that Seed, is there Salvation for the children of the Promise, the Covenant. The earthly kingdom of Israel was a type, a shadow of the spiritual heavenly Kingdom, the spiritual Israel with people filled with the Holy Spirit and regenerated and spiritually circumcised. What God intended was not a material, earthly political or nation-state, but a Body of believers, a Flock, a remnant of every tongue and nation of spiritually regenerate man, a heavenly kingdom of an immortal holy nation.

Jesus was the second Adam as He was the second Israel. We cannot be saved in the first Israel nor in a physical millennial reign, but only in Jesus. Only God knows the duration of the spiritual millennial reign. Since the Cross individuals in national Israel are saved like anyone else but the expectancy of Israel to be saved and blessed as a genealogical nation is obsolete. National Israel is not the apple of God’s eye, it is not the anointed of God that should not be touched, it is the Church, the Israel of God and Woe to those that blaspheme the Body of Christ by replacing it with another body. The True Body is one of suffering that will go through tribulation and will not be saved with a false rapture. The false body is the one of physical triumph and not the cross, which is one of spiritual triumph.

The Reason for Persecution and Suffering

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Two precious gifts are given to the Church, Faith is a gift, (the gift of revelation what Jesus has done) and to suffer is a valuable gift, it is a great honour and a great advantage; for we may be very serviceable to the glory of God, which is the end purpose of our creation, and perseverance of faith and suffering encourages and confirms the faith of others. Our temporary suffering encourages us to look up towards our eternal salvation to be, when we reign with Christ, which is our great spiritual reward. Our reward of eternal redemption is great in heaven; we are not rewarded because we suffer.

Blessed are you when men shall persecute you, for great is your reward in heaven, Mat_5:11, Mat_5:12. And, if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him, 2Ti_2:12.

“Keep this thought in mind”; our eternal destination is our great reward. If we suffer reproach and loss for Christ, we are to reckon it a great gift, and prize it accordingly, always providing we behave properly under our sufferings with the mind of Christ, martyrs and confessors.

Lo and behold; this suffering is not in the scheme of the Rapturists during greater tribulation. The Zionists Christians and Judaizers will leave their Jewish brothers in greater tribulation and secretly escape by disappearing to heavenly places. The Great Chicken Run.

In the Rapturists kingdom there will be no mortals that will need to be regenerated, born again, there will be no evil, because according to this view, the devil will be in chains and consequently man can reach his full potential, become holy men without any satanic influences on their shoulders to whisper evil in their ears. The devil will be bound, but what about the flesh, is that still alive, the worldly greed, is that still alive for sinful man during the kingdom of a thousand years? The survivors of the great tribulation and the battle of Armageddon will not be able to come to Christ, because there will be no grace, but law. At the end of this Kingdom, according to their delusion, the devil will be loosed and so again men will be corrupted and rebel against God.

What in heaven’s name then is the purpose of the thousand year reign? It is not to save; it is to rule, to live for a time in an Utopia, not unlike the Kingdom Now people, because people will have longevity, like the evolutionists believe science will one day be able to create. Is their system not based on natural man’s earthly desires to have immortality? The Dawkins Delusion?

Oswald T. Allis in The Evangelical Quarterly, January 1936 said that Dispensationalism shares with Higher Criticism (evolutionists) its fundamental error. It is divisive and holds a doctrine of Scripture which tends to be and is in many respects as destructive of that high view of Scripture which its advocates assert as it is disastrous to some of the doctrines most precious to the hearts of those that hold it. In a word, despite all their differences Higher Criticism and Dispensationalism are in this one respect strikingly similar. Higher Criticism divides Scripture up into Documents which differ from or contradict one another. Dispensationalism divides the Bible up into dispensations which differ from or even contradict one another; and so radical is this difference as viewed by the extremist that the Christian of today who accepts the Dispensational view finds his Bible (the part directly intended for him) shrunk to the compass of the Imprisonment Epistles.

This (the thousand year reign), is the same Kingdom that the Jews expected, and still expect; a Crown of a Glorious Kingdom where David will be raised immortally and reign with Jesus in this earthly Kingdom. This Kingdom will be for the Jews only; the Church will be hanging around in the heavens. This is the “two salvation” plan, one for political Israel, the Kingdom of the crown and a separate plan for the nations through the cross of Jesus Christ, the Church. In this Kingdom of the Rapturists, the sacrificial altar will be restored, sheep will be raised for sacrifices for mortals in this thousand year reign, a new temple will be built in the place of Jesus who is the True spiritual temple, and the Levitical priests will be trained to perform ceremonial duties in the stead of the ultimate Priest, Jesus Christ. Beasts will replace Jesus for the blood offerings, while Jesus, the God of the universe oversees such blasphemy; this deception, this delusion according to Rapturists proponents. Scott Clark: “Therefore, the promise that God’s intent has been to establish a permanent or millennial, national, Jewish people have it exactly backwards. Our Dispensationalist brothers confuse what is temporary with what is permanent, and what is permanent with what is temporary.” 

God’s Redemption plan in the Seed Jesus is thwarted by a Millennial reign of Resurrected Immortal David

David will not reign with Jesus, he is a sinner and saved by faith, no crown will he wear. For 4000 years God has protected the Seed, established a Jewish nation, establish an earthly kingdom of Israel in order that eventually the Messiah was to be born a Jew. This Jew was rejected as the Messiah, as the King of God and Heaven; He died for all nations including a remnant of Jews. Now, the Rapturists have the false perception; that because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, God had to go to His “Plan B” and delay the expected earthly reign of the Kingdom for another time, the time of an imaginary millennial reign between the Cross and the Judgment day of the White Throne. This is the so called Postponement of the Kingdom that the fathers of the Rapturists (Darby, Scofield, Walvoord,) invented and their disciples preach. In that fictional earthly reign, the sacrifice on the Cross will be archaic as a salvation plan for the Jews and mean nothing, because God has a separate redemption strategy for the Jews, they proclaim, one that does not depend upon the sacrifice of Jesus but on Satan being taken out of the way so that they can achieve a salvation of works through the law, (according to Scofield). In this so called earthly reign, they spurn the Cross of Jesus Christ not unlike the clergy of the Jews spurned the True and only Messiah and only means of attaining eternal life and redemption of sins, they spurned the Lamb of God. They want a Kingdom Now.

I do not say that the Rapturists spurn the Cross of Christ for anyone who wants to come to Jesus but because of their dogma regarding the Jewish nation and for their thousand year reign they do. They do have biblical truths that we all hold dear to, but it only takes one drop of poison to pollute The Truth.

When you restore ancient ceremonies that cannot redeem, do you not then reject such a salvation for the very people that Christ died for? Now and now only is the time for the Jewish people to be saved. They will not all be saved as a nation when they see their Redeemer in some future tribulation time; they already have seen him and rejected Him.

Joh 19:37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced,

This scripture is fulfilled at Pentecost and is fulfilled every time someone comes to the Lord, it is not for a future national Israel’s redemption, but for each individual wherever and whenever the wind of the Spirit goes.

According to the Rapturists; during the Kingdom Reign the Law of God will reign, the shadows reinstated, the temple sacrifices, all those things that gave the devil power and permission to bring man into bondage, to reinstate Hagar the slave woman, not understanding who the free woman and her children are. The children of promise according to them have been raptured, the church, those first Jews that came to Christ, the Church was mainly made up of Jews that came to Christ. What heavenly use is the eternal sacrifice of the Son in the thousand year reign? None, they have made the Cross of no avail, of no power and the sacrifice of no profit during that dispensation.

Satan they say; is bound in the Millennium of the Rapturist. The question is: how can Satan be bound when the Law is re-established, even sacrifices for sin and the Levitical rituals and the Temple? Why? According to them; Satan is no longer there, why do they need all the ceremonies and rituals for sin then? How lucky can you get, we were born at a wrong place and at a wrong time. No, their dogma actually set Satan loose because he can stand in front of The King now and bring accusations against mortal man directly to Jesus as Jesus is within walking distance of the Devil to accuse the uncircumcised. The power of sin is the Law.

The Truth is; Satan is bound in Spiritual Israel’s Millennium, the age of the Church in order that his goods can be spoilt. (The gospel can be preached and light can shine in darkness to take those predestined for rebirth out of the clutches of a Satan that can no longer hold them in darkness). The Light has come and now shines in the darkness, the darkness flees and there is an eternal separation. God is light and in Him there is no darkness.

The Rapturists have another view of the devil bound; they incorrectly think that during their thousand year reign the devil will be completely immobilized without any influence whatsoever. This is the antithesis of what Spiritual Israel understands as we shall see later. What an excuse for those burning in hell, they will strike and say “the Devil made me do it, it is unfair because in the Rapturists millennium God bound the devil in such a way that it is easy then to live a holy life”. Will these be judged by their works only?, if they, as the only mortals on the planet eventually die, will their sin be covered by the sacrifices, which we know cannot take away sin, but cover it? This view is a mongrel of things and raises unanswerable questions.

The Rapturists make the wondrous Cross of no power, the precious blood of the Lamb is not available for man during their reign of Kingdom David’s Crown and King Jesus because the blood of beasts have replaced it. This is the real Replacement theology of the Rapturists, they are the ones who are replacing Israel in the spirit with Israel in the flesh. They are in fact the replacementists, the accusers who falsely label the Israel of God as replacementists. This theology is such a misconception that it can only be a strong delusion. The Muslim delusion is as strong and powerful as that of the Rapturists, both have the Pharisaical interpretation of scripture and to be saved out of those deceptions can only be by the grace of God.

In actual fact, those who survive the Rapturists tribulation will find themselves in a position of having no free choice in a millennium reign where Satan is bound; they will only bow to the earthly King and follow the Law, bondage of free will. They have to keep the law and come to Jerusalem by force, even when the Saviour of the Church is overseeing the animal sacrifices, the ultimate fulfilment of Sacrifice for sin.

If Jesus died for all as they teach, why then are those in the millennial reign not included?

True heavenly peace.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” True peace has come in the City from above, the one Abraham saw from afar; Jesus is that peace and it has been fulfilled. Not peace on earth, there will never be such a peace according to Scripture, but only peace with God, reconciliation with man and between man spiritually as we read the following Scriptures.

Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 

Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 

Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 

These verses speak about the reconciliation between the Jews as a nation that has fulfilled its task to bring forth the Messiah to save some of the Jews and some out of the Human Family. There is no more Jew, or Greek, or slave or freeman or barbarian, cannibal, neither man nor woman. No more earthly shadow of literal Israel but spiritual Israel. Prof Clark http://rscottclark.org/ says: “Who is to say that we should focus on the Israeli state? Perhaps we should focus on the plight of Palestinian Christians who have suffered gravely at the hands of Jews and Muslims, especially since the formation of Modern day Israel?” This according to the Rapturists; is an anti-Semitic statement, but this accusation is far from the truth as will be explained.

The abolishment, the abrogation of ceremonies

All types and shadows have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Tree of Life, Zion, Jerusalem, the Blood on the Doorpost, the Lamb, the Cloud and Pillar of Fire, the Crossing of the sea, the Burning Bush, the Manna, Israel, the Crossing of the Jordan to the Promised land, the Altar, the Kingdoms and the Temple and all pointed to Jesus and to eternal things and had spiritual connotations.

Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Jesus was revealed as the fulfilment of the Lamb, the Cross the Altar and the Temple. He fulfilled the Priestly office. Jesus replaced and fulfilled all the ceremonies and feasts which were made old by virtue of the New Covenant and were abolished, never to be reinstated.

Let us go back to Colossians 2:

14:Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,

Let us go back to what reformers said after light shone in the darkness of Rome: These ceremonies (ordinances) have been abolished, we have been freed from condemnation, even the hand-writing is blotted out, that no remembrances of it might remain. The debtor is set free. Hence it follows, that all those who still urge the observance of ceremonies, detract from the grace of Christ, as though absolution were not procured for us through him; for they restore to the hand-writing its freshness, so as to hold us still under obligation.

There are two things to be considered in the ancient ceremonies—that they were suited to the time, and that they led men forward to the kingdom of Christ. Whatever was done at that time showed in itself nothing but obligation. Grace was in a manner suspended until the advent of Christ—not that the Fathers were excluded from it, (Grace was always there, for everyone since creation, but fulfilled only in Christ, in our lives, suspended until we became born again) but they had not a present manifestation of it in their ceremonies. For they saw nothing in the sacrifices but the blood of beasts, and in their washings nothing but water therefore condemnation remains; nay more, the ceremonies themselves sealed the condemnation. The whole of Hebrews places Christ in direct opposition to ceremonies. But how is it now? The Son of God has not only by His death delivered us from the condemnation of death, but in order that absolution might be made more certain, He abrogated those ceremonies, that no remembrance of obligation might remain. Although the law is abolished Christ took it away, Christ fulfilled it.

Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Once these shadows and types were fulfilled in the Son of God, He abrogated those ceremonies that no remembrance of them might remain. It is therefore foolishness for Rapturists, and not true to the message of the Bible, to expect a restoration in antithesis towards abrogated ceremonies the likes of circumcision, sacrifices of blood of beasts, in a temple built with hands. It does not honour Christ, does not glorify Him, and does not give Him ALONE all the glory ALONE.

They want to bring God down to rule over this cursed earth and unregenerate man. After the glorification of Jesus Christ, man will be not being able to stand in His presence when He comes for the last time to judge from His White Throne. He is not coming again before the judgement for a preposterous earthly rule, temporary things and the unbelievers will not survive such a holy sight.

Col 2: Fastening to the cross bound them on the cross the bondage of the law 

The bondage of the law, all curses, our sins, our punishment due to us, have also been fastened, bound on the Cross.

Col 2, Spoiling Principalities

These are the devils that during Job’s and our lifetime, before we were born again, could accuse us before God for not keeping the ordinances of the law. Now that the Devil is disarmed, naked and disrobed, he cannot bring any accusation against us, because our guilt has been forgiven. Now, the writer expressly adds this with a view to showing, that the victory of Christ over Satan, which He has procured for Himself and us, is distorted by the false apostles, who deprive the Church of the fruit of it by restoring the ancient ceremonies. For if our liberty is the spoil which Christ has taken from the devil, would we not then be brought back into bondage by those, who are restoring to Satan the spoils which he had been stripped bare of?

Satan the created servant of God

Satan was created to serve God, how evil started is not clear but that it exists is true. God almighty has Satan under his control, Satan brought man to a fall, it was man’s lot but also his fault, man had to fail, a mystery, but Satan has indeed been bound from the beginning. He has been humbled and limited in his capacity and environment in Gen 3:14. On the Cross Satan was further restricted, Gen 3:15, in fact he was cast down like lightning, he was bound and his house spoiled of his past, present and future children of the devil who have come out of darkness into the Light by Satan being disempowered to hold them captive. Satan was always bound in the spiritual sense, and will always be restricted or permitted, whatever strategy is in God’s Council.

It is God’s prerogative to limit Satan’s influence or to give him free reign whenever it suits Gods purpose in the redemption of man.

Let us briefly look at the word bind as we read it in the Bible.

Bound does not mean to immobilize, rendering totally helpless. In context it means to compel, to restrict, to prohibit. (The Greek-English Lexicon base on Semantic Domains, Louw and Nida) During the days of Christ in the tomb, Jesus was not dormant but Michael our Archangel who fought the Battle in the heavenly realm to expel Satan from his place in the heavenlies where he could accuse the brethren with the power of the Law. Of course it was not a battle fought with weapons but a spiritual battle, the same as the end time spiritual battle of Armageddon when the King comes back to Judge on the White Throne. An instantaneous triumph over the Devil and his followers.

Compel, restrict, prohibit by God sovereign rule. That does not mean he does not go about as a roaring lion, but Satan is God’s servant and can only roar when God allows him to roar. After the Cross his roar is worse than his bite. No teeth anymore, no fangs anymore and no fire out of the dragons mouth any longer, Jesus has: Gen 3:15…..her seed; it shall bruise thy head. Thus has this prophetic scripture has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, Bound at the battle of the Cross for the gospel period of the Church, the Church millennium.

Mat 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you

Jesus exhibited His authority and credentials over the devil by showing what will happen on the Cross and in the next verse confirms what will happen to redeemed man. This has the same meaning as when Jesus sends out the disciples to proclaim the Year of the Lord and His disciples came back rejoicing that spirits were in submission to them. Jesus gave the figure of Satan falling as lightning does from the sky giving a future sign of what happens when the Gen. 3:15 prophecy was to be fulfilled. This is similar to when Jesus drove a legion of devils out of the demoniac and permitted them to enter into the pigs, which threw themselves into the sea. This is a sign of the world being cast out of the children of God.

Mat 12:29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 

Col 2, showing the victory of Christ over Satan

Mathew Henry rightly comments: The Cross can be compared to a signal trophy of show of triumph, in which Christ led about his enemies, so He now also compares it to a triumphal car. There is no tribunal so magnificent, not throne so stately, no show of triumph so distinguished, no chariot so elevate, as is the gibbet on which Christ has subdued death and the devil, the prince of death; nay more, has utterly trodden them under His feet. Never had the devil’s kingdom such a mortal blow given to it as was given by the Lord Jesus. He tied them to his chariot-wheels, and rode forth conquering and to conquer – alluding to the custom of a general’s triumph, who returned victorious. – Triumphing over them in it; that is, either in His cross and by his death; or, as some read it, in Himself, by His own power; for He trod the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.

What a terrible thought, once our spiritual eyes have been opened, to think that after the wondrous cross, FOR HE TROD THE WINE-PRESS ALONE, Is 63;3 that the Rapturists want to go back to restoring ancient ceremonies and in so doing, depriving the Israel of God of the fruit of the work of Christ. We must not be tempted to go back to shadows that have all been fulfilled.

Our liberty is the Spoiling of the strong man who has been bound on the Cross. Satan has been bound in the millennium of the Gospel age, and will not be bound in a so called future physical reign of Christ. Christ reigns from heaven and we are seated with Him in heavenly places. The Gospel of God is being preached to the Jews as well and a remnant of the Jews are included without differing between Jews and Gentiles in the Kingdom of heaven, God has not forsaken the Jews, they are saved in the same manner as the people of other nations and so all Israel (Jews and Gentile believers) will be saved.

The symbolic number of the 144000, the symbolic meaning of all, similar to the same number that cannot be counted, which is a perfect number of the redeemed. The twenty four elders are symbolic of the 12 patriarchs and the 12 Apostles, indicating the unity of the Old and the New Testament Church who cast their crowns before the Throne of God while saying Glory to God and to the Lamb. The Old Testament assembly is represented by the twelve tribes who can only be saved by the Blood of the Lamb which Christ preached was to come. He was then looking forward to the Cross and we now look back to His finished word on the Cross. No one in the past from National Israel was saved by keeping the Law. It was only by faith and no one in the future will be saved by the “Plan B” of the Rapturists.

This is the real Kingdom of God; the literal Spiritual interpretation is the reality, Jesus is the literal Truth. The literal things of the literalists – dispensationalists – are all shadows of Jesus Christ crucified. It is the literalists who are anti-Semitic because they leave the Jews in their unregenerate state. It is the literalists that are Replacement theologians; they replace the Church with an earthly Kingdom of Israel. It is the literalists that replace the Blood of the Lamb in their Kingdom with the blood of beasts.

Last thought:

God has offered up His only Son; so that we can live eternally. Jesus did not let the Cup go by, He drank the Cup of suffering, we drink from that Holy Fountain and we drink the Blood of the Lamb He is the Bread of Life, which we eat. Jesus became the Manna; He fulfilled the Priestly office, the King of Kings. THE WOODEN CROSS OF CALVARY is His throne; the WOODEN CROWN His glorious enthronement. He reigned in ancient times, He reigned then, and He is reigning now and will not come to reign on an earthly throne. Jesus never came down to reign on an earthly throne and He never will. He is seated on the heavenly throne, he humbled Himself to come down to die and never to reign on a deteriorating and cursed earthly throne to rule over sinful men, but only to rule over regenerated men who are Kings and Priests of the Great King. Next time He comes it will be with a Sword out of His mouth to destroy the wicked and to cast Satan and his hordes into eternal damnation.

Woe to you Rapturists who scorn the Cross of Jesus Christ during the Rapturists reign. It is you who take it away from man, to prevent people from looking unto Jesus high and lifted up. To restore ceremonies and types and shadows is to go back to the past and so commit the terrible sin of using the name of Jesus in vain by spurning the finished work of the cross which is the spiritual fulfilment of the Kingdom of grace, the kingdom of the Cross for all nations.

Woe to you Kingdom Now, who lead people astray causing them to see the cross as insufficient and therefore causing them to think that they have contribute to the work of Jesus which is the blasphemous illusion of these super apostles and prophets. You will not get a standing ovation when the King comes back, your crowns will be burned with your works.

Woe to you who call yourselves Spiritual Israel, and are not proclaiming the Gospel Truth and are compromising with Post Modern Christianity with its liberalism, pragmatism, literalism, universalism, relativism, mythologies, evolutionism and new reformism with the rejection of Christ’s historical resurrection. We should not have a reformation which continuously ”reforms”; to adjust to culture and political agendas the likes of the BELHAR Confession, (nothing to do with faith). True reformation is rather to go back to the Reformational principles which include One Human Family of equal value without partiality.

John Hagee In Defense of Israel A Response

IN DEFENCE OF THE GOSPEL – a response to John Hagee’s “In Defense of Israel”

Peter Cohen

“Messianic Good News” was formed for the purpose of proclaiming and publishing the Good News that Jesus is the Messiah. There is no other good news or promise of blessing apart from that of being reconciled to God through faith in Him – for Jew and non-Jew alike. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). In view of certain teachings suggesting that there is another gospel for Israel which is yet to be fulfilled we felt it necessary to define exactly what the gospel is and to refute the false notion of another gospel that is being held out as the hope of Israel.

What is the gospel? 

Since gospel means good news, in order to fully appreciate the good news we need to first grasp the bad news of the collective condition of mankind. Following the disobedience of Adam and Eve mankind was driven from God’s presence, represented by the Garden of Eden, and subjected to the curse of death. But at the same time that the curse was pronounced over them the LORD gave them the promise of good news: the seed of the woman would crush the head of the deceiver (Genesis 3:15). The exile from Eden set mankind on a course through which they would experience the devastating consequences of sin and rebellion in the hope that they would seek the LORD and be reconciled to him in genuine faithfulness through the Messiah (see Romans 8:18-22). The Messiah/Redeemer was only destined to be born thousands of years later, but those who believed God were sustained by faith in the promise.

Abraham was such a man of faith, as Jesus testified: “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 5:56). God called Abraham out from among the pagans to further his purpose of redemption through the descendants of Abraham, re-iterating again the good news of a future redemption with the promise that all nations would be blessed through his seed (i.e. the Messiah). Thus the nation of Israel was formed as the vehicle through which his redemptive purposes for mankind would be realised.

The Law of Moses was given to Israel as a measure to show how far man has fallen short of God’s perfect standard of holiness and as a means by which the people could draw near to God through the sacrifices of atonement. Everything in the Law – temple, sacrifices and priesthood – pointed ahead to the Messiah who would fulfil the Law in every aspect: The Messiah is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes (Romans 10:4). (1)

Unfortunately the Rabbis failed to understand the goal and purpose of the Law, imagining that it was the means by which righteousness could be attained. But what emerges throughout Scripture is that what is needed is not a change from without, but a change within. Until we are transformed by the Holy Spirit, God’s perfect Law given through Moses testifies against us that we are sinful and rebellious by nature: “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are (Deuteronomy 31:26). Moses knew that the people of Israel would fall into apostasy and be scattered among the nations. This is why Jesus said to those who pretended to be righteous according to the Law, “Do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set” (John 5:45).

As predicted, first the northern tribes were taken into captivity and finally Judah was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. The exile into Babylon reminds us of the banishment from Eden as a consequence of sin and rebellion and illustrates the hopeless cycle of disobedience and punishment. But once again the Lord reaffirmed the promise of redemption with the promise of a new covenant that would not be like the covenant he made with them at Mount Sinai because he would not only forgive their sins, but he would write his law upon their hearts (see Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The Lord promised to re-gather the Jews to the land after seventy years in exile, but that was not, in itself, the good news. Even after having endured such an evident demonstration of God’s judgment against apostasy they soon fell into the same sins and had to be rebuked by the prophets all over again. Although they returned with eager expectations of rebuilding the temple and the city of Jerusalem the dream of the restoration to the land never materialized into what some idealists may have hoped for. Those who returned experienced immense hardship and frustration and were soon despondent and discouraged.

Many people imagine that given a perfect environment everyone would live in perfect peace and harmony with one another and with their creator. Some think that we must endeavour to bring about these idyllic conditions on earth. But the problem remains the sinful nature – returning to the land flowing with milk and honey is not the good news for those who remain in bondage to sin because they inevitably bring the curses for unfaithfulness to the covenant upon themselves all over again. Until sin is dealt with there can be no restoration to fellowship with God or with one another. Those who returned knew that the exile was not really over. The promised redemption remained a future hope – the post-exilic prophets continued to encourage them with the certain hope of the coming Messiah. This is the real restoration that God intends for his people.

This was confirmed by the prophets: It was revealed to Daniel that the redemption would not be complete until the coming of the Messiah 483 years after King Cyrus issued the decree allowing the exiles to return.(2) In other words, the exile would only really end when the Messiah and Redeemer came to make the new covenant in which he would write his law upon their hearts. Ezekiel’s prophecy (chapter 37)(3) likewise confirmed that the exiles who returned would be like dry bones whose hope was all but gone. The Lord said that he would then attach tendons and make flesh come upon them, but even then they would remain lifeless until he breathed life into them. In other words, he would put his Spirit in them and make them live. Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63).

God’s promise given through Moses – “even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back…,” was only half the promise and is quoted by many people who are proclaiming this as the gospel for the Jews. The purpose in the coming of the Messiah was to fulfil the second part of the promise of restoration which was given to Moses: The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live (Deuteronomy 30:6). The good news was not the promise of being restored to the land, but of the coming Redeemer who would set them free from the power of sin and the curse of death. This he would accomplish by providing a final atonement for sin (which all the sacrifices of the Old Testament had prefigured) thereby meeting God’s justice by paying the penalty for our sin, thus reconciling us to God. God testified that the promised restoration was fulfilled through Jesus’ death on the cross by raising him from the dead.

Peter testified that God has fulfilled the promises made to the patriarchs by raising Jesus from the dead: “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus (Acts 13:32-33). Jesus established the new covenant within the very period that had been revealed to Daniel. The restoration and promise given to Moses is made complete through Jesus the Messiah when he circumcises our hearts, through the power of the Holy Spirit whom he gives to those who believe, so that they may love him with all their hearts and with all their souls, and live. Later he literally breathed on is disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead (Colossians 2:11-12).

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live” (John 5:24-25).

Jesus said (to Martha), “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25).

Those who are suggesting that God will yet re-gather the exiles so that he can circumcise their hearts by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that they may live, thereby completing his gracious promise of redemption are nullifying what God has already done. This was fulfilled two thousand years ago with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:1-5).

The Lord did gather the Jews from every nation where they had been scattered to fulfil his promise. At that time the disciples were instructed to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promised Holy Spirit. Since then the gospel has spread from Jerusalem (for the Jew first, not last) to the ends of the earth (cf. Is. 2:3) and is accompanied by the promise of the Holy Spirit irrespective of time or place. This is now an ongoing reality, based upon that historical event, not dependant upon a future re-gathering.

Jesus was destined to be not only the Redeemer of Israel, but also the Redeemer of all who would believe. He is the Messiah of Israel and also the blessing to all nations promised to Abraham, so that: to all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…that everyone who believes may have eternal life…

This is the gospel – that through Jesus Christ what was promised to Abraham has been fulfilled. By faith in his atoning sacrifice our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God having received the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of eternal life. But this good news is being undermined by certain men posing as ministers of the gospel who hold out a separate hope for Israel through a future coming of the Messiah. Jude was compelled by the Holy Spirit to write:

Dear friends although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt that I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (Jude verses 3-4).

In Defense of Israel? 

John Hagee, who pastors a church in Texas with an active membership of over 19 000 and who has a radio and television ministry that reaches 99 million homes, has written a book, which, by his own admission, is an attack on the very foundations of the Christian faith! In a video promoting his new book, Hagee makes the following claims:

“In Defense of Israel will shake Christian theology. It scripturally proves that the Jewish people as a whole did not reject Jesus as Messiah. It will also prove that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah. It will prove that there was a Calvary conspiracy between Rome, the high priest, and Herod to execute Jesus as an insurrectionist too dangerous to live. Since Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah, how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered? Read this shocking exposѐ, In Defense of Israel.”

Hagee tries to suggest that Jesus was not the Messiah of Israel because he did not fulfil their (false) messianic expectations, but he does not deny that Jesus came to be the Saviour of the Gentiles. As we have endeavoured to show in the first section by setting forth what the gospel is, the promise of the coming Messiah was given through the Jewish prophets to the Jewish people. The same prophets revealed that the Messiah would also be a light to the Gentiles. If Jesus is not the Messiah to the Jews then neither can he be the light to the Gentiles. These roles cannot be divorced since his very purpose was to create one new man out of the two, comprising both Jews and Gentiles, and this he accomplished through the cross (See Eph. 2:15).

And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honoured in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength—he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:5-6).

Hagee makes several statements in this book that are completely heretical. “Heresy” is the transliteration of a Greek word meaning sect. The root means ‘to choose or select’. Heretics overemphasise one aspect of Biblical revelation without reference to the whole, thus distorting the truth.(4)

Using Hagee’s own perverted logic, one could propose a heresy of the opposite extreme by quoting Mark 15:24 where Jesus says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” This, without reference to other passages, would imply that Jesus is only the Messiah of Israel and not the Saviour of the world. But Jesus also said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

1) Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah? 

Hagee says, “Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah, …”

Since the gospels are replete with claims to Jesus’ messiahship, both in word and deed, we cite just a few of the more obvious ones. Jesus began his ministry with a bold messianic claim:

Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me (“messiah” means “anointed one”) to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16-21).

Jesus own testimony was that he had plainly communicated by word and deed that he is the Messiah: Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ (Messiah), tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe” (John 10:22-25).

Jesus also said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
“Who are you?” they asked.
“Just what I have been claiming all along,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him (John 8:23-30).

The Jewish leaders were clearly aware of his messianic claims. When Jesus was charged by the High Priest, under oath by the living God, to tell them if he was the Messiah, the Son of God he replied, “Yes, it is as you say.” (Matthew 26:62-64).

2) The apostles proved that Jesus is the Messiah

Hagee says that he will “prove that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah”.

Hagee sets out to disprove what the apostles suffered and gave their lives for:

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 5:41-42).

The apostles made every effort to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah: …Paul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 9:22).

There is absolutely nothing in the apostles preaching to support Hagee’s assertion that Jesus “refused to be their Messiah, choosing instead to be the Saviour of the world.” On the contrary, Paul proved from the Scriptures (i.e. what Christians now term the Old Testament) that the very purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth was to be the Messiah, who had to suffer and rise from the dead: As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. (Acts 17:2-3).

The messianic titles applied to Jesus in the New Testament reveal how the early church understood Jesus in context to the prophecies of the Old Testament. He is the servant of Isaiah 53, the Prophet like Moses promised in Deuteronomy, the Holy and Righteous One, the Prince of Life. He is the stone the builders rejected that has become the cornerstone, the “seed of Abraham” through whom all nations will be blessed and the anointed King of Psalm 2. He is the Son of man, the Son of God, the Saviour. Above all he is Lord and Messiah! It was upon this conviction that the church is constituted.

Jesus is Saviour of the world because he is the Messiah – the idea that he could be the Saviour of the world but not the Messiah of Israel is an absolute contradiction!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ (i.e. Messiah) the Lord (Luke 2:8-11).

3) Did God testify by signs that Jesus is the Messiah?

Hagee writes; “If God intended for Jesus to be the Messiah of Israel, why didn’t he authorize Jesus to use supernatural signs to prove he was God’s Messiah, just as Moses had done?”

But Jesus indeed used supernatural signs, including raising people from the dead, so that the people would believe that he is the Messiah. Jesus said, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves” (John 14:11).

Jesus’ miracles bore powerful testimony to his messianic mission: The first miracle of turning water into wine would have made an astute student of Scripture think of the messianic expectations of an abundance of new wine (Amos 9:13, Joel 3:18). When John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one who was to come or should they expect someone else he referred them to the signs that he was performing: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me” (Matthew 11:3).

The signs were recorded for the benefit of future generations precisely for the reason that we may believe that Jesus is the Messiah: Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his Name (John 20:30-31).

Hagee concludes that when Jesus repeatedly told his disciples not to tell anyone about his supernatural accomplishments, “the Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah; it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews.” But the Scriptures give a different reason. The apostles were instructed not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead. Jesus knew that his mission as the Messiah entailed his suffering and crucifixion before he would be raised to life. That is the reason that he told his disciples not to tell anyone until after the resurrection. Thereafter they were instructed to broadcast to the whole world the things they had witnessed.

Hagee says that Jesus refused to produce a sign for Herod “… because it was not the Father’s will, nor his, to be Messiah.” Rather he was refusing to perform like a circus monkey before the wicked King Herod.

The supreme sign given by God to testify that Jesus is the Messiah, was the “sign of Jonah”. Hagee deliberately subverts the meaning of the sign of Jonah to suggest that it signified that the gospel was intended for the Gentiles, not for Israel, just as Jonah was sent to Ninevah. However, Jesus himself lays the emphasis of the sign of Jonah on the resurrection:

Jesus answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:39-41).

This was how God testified to Israel that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Jesus also said that the men of Nineveh will condemn that generation who rejected him. Why would they be condemned, if, as Hagee asserts, Jesus refused to be the Messiah of Israel? The account of Jonah shows how Jonah, typifying Israel, was reluctant to go to Nineveh in case the people there repented and were saved from God’s judgement.(5) The irony is that Hagee is reluctant to proclaim the good news that Jesus is the Messiah and Saviour of Israel to the Jews. Surely the worst form of anti-Semitism is to withhold the gospel of salvation.

The Lord said through the prophet Isaiah, “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). This is a necessary precursor to repentance and reconciliation, but Hagee instead tries to exonerate them of their rebellion against the LORD’S Anointed one (see psalm 2). Fear the LORD and the King, my son, (Jesus is the Anointed King/Messiah of the Jews) – and do not join with the rebellious, for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring? (Proverbs 24:21-22).

4) Are the Jews accountable for rejecting the Messiah?

Hagee asks, “…how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered?”

The gospel was indeed offered to the Jew first! The apostle Paul wrote, I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16).

On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:44-47).

Paul wrote, “ But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’…But I ask: Did they not hear? (the gospel message) Of course they did…” (Romans 10:16;18).

The fact that Rabbinical Judaism is predicated on a denial that Jesus is the Messiah shows that their unbelief is not because they were not offered the gospel. The apostle John teaches that spiritual blindness is itself God’s judgement upon self-righteousness and pride which manifests in a sinful, unbelieving heart (cf. John 12:35-43).(6)

Furthermore, scripture testifies that not only was the gospel offered to the Jew first, but that the consequence of rejecting the truth would also be manifest among the Jews first: There will be wrath and anger, trouble and distress for those who reject the truth, first for the Jew (Romans 2:8-9).

When Hagee asks “…how can the Jews be blamed…?”, does he not realise that the desolation of Jerusalem in AD70 and the subsequent scattering of the Jews among the nations was a direct consequence of their rejection of the Messiah?

As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).

And Jesus said: “For this is the time of punishment in fulfilment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:22-24).

The Jews of that generation were indeed held fully accountable for rejecting the Messiah. Jesus himself confirmed their accountability: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ (John 15:22-25).

In the Law it is written, If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account (Deuteronomy 18:19). The apostle Peter paraphrased this that anyone who does not listen to him (Jesus) will be completely cut off from the people of God!

“…let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36). “Men of Israel, …The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this … “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people’” (Acts 3:12-23).

While Hagee attempts to absolve the majority of the Jews for the rejection of the Messiah, the judgement that came upon Jerusalem in AD70 did not spare even infants. The entire nation suffered the consequence of rebellion. Hagee tries to cast a slur against Gentile believers by suggesting that they abandoned the city, leaving their Jewish brethren to suffer. In fact it was the Jewish believers who fled and they did so in obedience to their Lord’s own words. It was the Lord who instructed them to flee the city so that they would not share in its fate just as Lot was told to leave Sodom before it was destroyed and the faithful Israelites were called to separate themselves from Korah’s rebellion before they were judged: “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” (Luke 21:20-22).

Hagee’s sympathies seem to be solely reserved for the unbelieving Jews whose suffering was a judgement against unbelief, while he ignores the suffering of the thousands upon thousands of believing Jews who suffered intense persecution, at the instigation of their kinsman, from the Romans and from their fellow Jews. Shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians who were experiencing opposition from their own countrymen: “You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last (1 Thess. 2:16).

Christian Zionism founded upon erroneous messianic expectations

Most of Hagee’s book is an expression of his misplaced sentimentality towards unbelieving Israel. He shamelessly plays on the guilt associated with the Holocaust in an attempt to defend the unbelief of the Jews and garner Christian support for Zionism on the assumption that the re-establishment of the Jewish State in 1948 is part of God’s purpose of redemption. Hagee’s attempt to “prove” that Jesus did not come to be the Messiah of Israel in his first coming, but rather came to be the Saviour of the world, stems from an erroneous understanding of the purpose of the Messiah and his Kingdom. It is the identical error that caused the majority of the Jews to miss the coming of the Messiah two thousand years ago. They were expecting a Messiah who would destroy their enemies and vindicate them as God’s chosen people. But they failed to identify the real enemy – sin that leads to death.

Hagee says that Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah because he was, “refusing to be the Messiah for the Jews”.

It was because of their misplaced messianic hopes that Jesus warned his disciples not to tell people yet that he was the Messiah. After his suffering and resurrection, which vindicated his messianic claims, they were told to tell everyone, beginning in Judea and then Samaria and then to the ends of the earth, that he is the Messiah.

The Jews were more eager to see their Roman oppressors crushed by a conquering Messiah than to be set free from their bondage to sin that had brought them under Gentile oppression in the first place (see Deut. ch. 29). They wanted a Messiah who would restore the former glory of David and his son, Solomon – kingdoms which were merely shadows and types of the glory of the kingdom of God that was to be revealed in Christ. The Jews to this day reject Jesus as the Messiah because he did not live up to their false expectations of the Messiah’s coming and purpose. Many people indeed believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but most did not understand that his kingdom is not of this world.

After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself (John 6:14-15).

Hagee interprets this to suggest that, “They wanted him to be their Messiah, but he flatly refused” (p. 141). On the contrary, Jesus, as the Messiah, was resolute in accomplishing the purpose for which he had been sent. He refused to be Messiah on their terms – He is God’s Anointed! He would not fulfil their carnal-minded agenda because he came to set them free from the power of the devil and from sin and death, not from political oppression. It was by the victory of the cross that he made atonement for the sins of Israel and the world, making a public spectacle of his enemies, and conquering the last enemy, which is death.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross(Colossians 2:13-15).

The dispensational method of interpretation propagated by Hagee, which has insidiously spread through the church, undermines the good news of what Christ accomplished through the cross, essentially vindicating the unbelief of the Jews by suggesting that God’s purpose for Israel has been put on hold while he is accomplishing the salvation of the Gentiles. It sees the church as merely a parenthesis in God’s dealings with Israel and maintains that God does have another purpose for Israel that he did not fulfil through the historical coming of the Messiah (which contradicts his stated purpose in Ephesians of making one new man out of the two). It insists that he has two separate peoples (Israel and the church), not the one flock that Jesus spoke of in John chapter 10, and that he will bring salvation to the Jews in the future when he appears the second time. It buys into the carnal-minded Jewish expectations that were held by the Pharisees who rejected Jesus as Messiah in the first century, suggesting that their expectations were correct and that he will fulfil them at his second coming.

However, Paul is emphatic that “now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2) through faith in Jesus the Messiah and that faith comes by hearing and believing the message of Christ. The writer to the Hebrews said that when he appears a second time it will not be to bear the sin of those who rejected Him, but to bring salvation to those who already have accepted his atoning sacrifice on the cross and now await his return to judge the living and the dead (cf. Hebrews 9:26-28).

How should we bless Israel? 

Hagee, like many Christian Zionists, suggests that Christians will be blessed as they bless “the seed of Abraham”, by which he means the natural descendants, i.e. the Jews. This again is based upon an erroneous understanding of the blessing spoken to Abraham.(7) Paul taught plainly that the Seed of Abraham is singular and refers to Jesus the Messiah (Galatians 3:16). It is not by one’s relationship with unbelieving Jews that people will receive the blessing of salvation, but through one’s response to Jesus the Messiah. He corporately represents Israel and the true Israel of God is constituted through allegiance to the King.

Hagee quotes Matthew 25:40 where Jesus said “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” as referring to unbelieving Jews but Jesus said that the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63), that whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother (Mt. 12:50), that anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward (Mark 9:40-41) and that those who hated him and plotted to kill him, belong to their Father the devil, (John 8:44).

The blessing of Abraham is Christ and the blessing is imparted by spreading the gospel through those who are ambassadors of Christ … if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9). This must not be taken to the opposite extreme as if to suggest that we should curse unbelieving Jews. On the contrary, we must bless them by sharing the good news of reconciliation with God through Jesus the Messiah.

Hagee has unwittingly followed the way of Judas, betraying Jesus “with a kiss,” professing to serve him while at the same time betraying him before the Jews who reject him. The Jewish leaders used Judas for their own agenda and when he realised that he had betrayed innocent blood, returning the silver coins to the chief priests and confessing that he had sinned, they said, “What is that to us? That’s your responsibility” (Matthew 27:3-4).

By his own words Hagee declares that his intention is to “shake Christian theology.” He has indeed launched an attack against the very cornerstone of the Christian faith – i.e. that Jesus is the Messiah. It is upon the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah that he founded his Church. (Ironically Hagee’s church is called Cornerstone Church).

Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock – (i.e. the revelation and confession that Jesus is the Messiah) – I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it (Matthew 16:15-18).

While Hagee imagines that his heresies will shake Christian theology the Lord himself said that the gates of Hades will not prevail against his church. Jesus warned: The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed (Luke 20:18).

At the same time, while his heresy might seem obvious, we have for some time been warning about the theology that underpins Christian Zionism, for this is precisely where it leads – to a denial that Jesus is the Messiah – whether as blatantly as Hagee or in a more subtle way through not recognising the fulfilment of God’s purposes for Israel through the cross.

The apostle John wrote, Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Messiah. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also (1 John 2:22-23).

________________________________________
Endnotes:

  1. the end: [Strong’s G5056], the object, scope, or final cause; the end proposed and intended
  2. See our book “Jerusalem – Peace or desolation” by Peter Cohen, published by Messianic Good News for a detailed explanation of Daniel’s prophecy
  3. See our booklet “The hope of Israel – a study of Ezekiel 37”
  4. Strong’s hah’ee-res-is G138; properly a choice, that is (specifically) a party or (abstractly) disunion.
  5. For further analysis see “The sign of Jonah” by Kevin Daly
  6. See “Restoring sight to the blind” by Peter Cohen
  7. See article “I will bless those who bless you” by Peter Cohen

2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillennialism By Vern S. Poythress

2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillennialism 
by Vern S. Poythress
Westminster Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 27009
Chestnut Hill, PA 19118-0009
[Published in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 37/4 (1995): 529-38. Used with permission.]

Abstract 
2 Thessalonians 1 supports amillennialism because it is in tension with all the other major millennial views. First, 2 Thessalonians 1 is in tension with pretribulational and midtribulational premillennialism. It supports the idea that the Second Coming of Christ is a unified event rather than two chronologically distinct events. That is, the rapture of the saints and the open appearing of Christ take place together. Verses 6-7 indicate that the revelation (apokalupsis) of Christ brings a reversal of status. Relief to Christians can only be identified with the rapture. Trouble to persecutors involves not a seven-year tribulation but hell, as described in verse 9. Both sides of this reversal take place at the same time, namely “in” the open appearing of Christ described in verses 7b. Hence the rapture of Christians and the consignment of unbelievers to hell take place at the same time.
Second, 2 Thessalonians 1 is in tension with posttribulational premillennialism. It knows of only two classes of people, namely Christians and their opponents. At the Second Coming, Christians enjoy eternal glory (verse 10) and their opponents experience eternal destruction in hell (verse 9). Both destinies are final and irreversible. Moreover, we know from other passages that at the Second Coming Christians have resurrection bodies, not subject to death. Their opponents experience eternal death. Hence, immediately after the Second Coming there are no human beings left with bodies in a nonfinal state. There is no one who could populate a supposed millennium, in order that more children might be born and that some human beings would still experience a later physical death. Posttribulational premillennialism can be rescued only by introducing a third category of people, who are neither Christian nor opponents of Christianity. But the idea of a third category contradicts the uniform testimony of Scripture that there are only two classes of people, those who are for God and those who are against him. Producing a third class out of thin air also threatens to modify the seriousness of” the gospel message by introducing the idea of a “second chance” for this third class in the millennium. Third, 2 Thessalonians 1 is in tension with postmillennialism. The text of verses 5-7 indicates that Christians may continue to expect trouble for awhile. They are to anticipate relief from the Second Coming, not merely from a coming time of millennial prosperity, as postmillennialists would have it.

2 Thessalonians 1 provides support for amillennialism because it is in tension with all the other major millennial views. We shall consider separately how it is in tension with pre- and midtribulational premillennialism, posttribulational premillennialism, and postmillennialism.1  As one might expect, none of the global issues connected to 2 Thessalonians 1 is new to the millennial debate. But new angles appear as we consider how the global issues interface with a careful reading of 2 Thessalonians 1 in the context of first-century Thessalonica.
Tension with pretribulational and midtribulational premillennialism 
Let us begin by looking at pretribulational and midtribulational premillennialism. In both of these views, the rapture of the saints and the open appearing of Christ are chronologically distinct. Only the saints see Christ at the rapture, while the visible Second Coming takes place several years later. The idea that we have here two chronologically separate events does not easily harmonize with 2 Thessalonians 1.2
Let us start with verses 6-7. Verses 6-7 indicate that the revelation (apokalupsis) of Christ brings a reversal of status. Those who trouble you will be troubled. You who are troubled will experience relief. “You” means the Thessalonian Christians. Paul includes himself and his friends by saying, “and to us as well.” The relief envisioned here is clearly relief from the trouble that the Thessalonian Christians and other Christians are now experiencing at the hands of opponents.
Verse 7 specifies that this relief comes “in the revelation of Jesus Christ from heaven with his powerful angels . . . .” That is, relief comes in connection with this revelation of Jesus Christ. It comes at the time of this revelation, and as an aspect or implication of this revelation.3  By implication, the Thessalonian Christians should not focus their hopes on expecting relief before the revelation of Jesus Christ. Other passages confirm the general idea that Christians must expect suffering and persecution in this world (1 Thess 3:4; 2:14; 2 Tim 3:1-13; 4:4-5; Acts 14:22; 1 Pet 4:1-5, 12-19).
The time at which Christians experience relief can only be identified with the rapture (as in 1 Thess 4:13-18). Paul expects troubles to continue up until the rapture. And there can be no more trouble for Christians after they have been raptured. Whatever may be the details about the second coming of Christ, the fundamental transition for Christians occurs when the rapture brings them relief from troubles.
Before we proceed further we must briefly deal with one parenthetical difficulty. Living in the twentieth century, we know that the Thessalonian Christians as well as Paul and his friends died before the Second Coming took place. In actual fact, they got a certain “relief” from their troubles at the time of their death rather than at the rapture.4
How do we deal with this difficulty? We must remember that even though Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit did not reveal to him or to anyone else the time of the Second Coming (Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7). Hence Paul speaks as one who might be alive at the time of the Second Coming (1 Thess 4:15; 1 Cor 15:51). Moreover, the Thessalonians knew that some Christians had already died, and more would die if the Coming of Christ was still some years distant (1 Thess 4:13-14). Quite properly, Paul did not focus their hopes on the possibility of their coming death, but on the certainty of the rapture. Death is but a partial and ambiguous “relief”; the real relief comes with the resurrection of the body (1 Thess 4:13-18; 2 Cor 5:4; 1 Cor 15:51-57). Hence, in 2 Thessalonians 1 Paul speaks as one who has his focus on the Second Coming. If Paul had included technical qualifications about the fact that some Christians might die before the Second Coming, it would distract from the main point. Moreover, Paul had already explained this kind of complex qualification to the Thessalonians in 1 Thess 4:13-18.5  We conclude, then, that 2 Thessalonians 1 applies preeminently to all Christians who are alive at the time of the Second Coming. But subordinately, it applies to all who have died with respect to the body and await the resurrection. They too long for the Second Coming, as in Rev 6:9-10.
With this matter settled, we may continue to consider the teaching of 2 Thessalonians 1. The specific language use in verse 7-10 indicates that this time of relief is the time of the open appearing of Christ. It is “the revelation (apokalupsei, ἀποκαλύψει) of Jesus Christ from heaven with his powerful angels in blazing fire, giving vengeance to those who do not know God . . . .” To an average reader, this description certainly sounds like the open, visible Second Coming. The “revelation” is not just visible to the saints, but is a revelation that includes blazing fire for taking vengeance on God’s enemies.
Moreover, in the OT the “revelation” or appearing of God is regularly the first event in holy war. God appears in glory and power in order to fight against his enemies (Zech 14:3-4; 9:14-16; Isa 63:1; 66:15-16; Hab 3:3-15; etc.).6  Vengeance is a consequence of appearing. This same pattern is evident in 2 Thess 1:7-8, where the vengeance issues from the presence of God. God appears with the accompaniments of angels and fire, and according to biblical expectations the angels and fire are integrally involved as instruments in executing vengeance.
Thus, the rapture of the saints, the point at which they are relieved, comes “in” the revelation of Jesus Christ openly. The two events–the rapture and the revelation—are basically simultaneous. They are two aspects of the one revelation of Jesus Christ.
Advocates of pretribulational and midtribulational views have a difficulty here. They may argue that in spite of the strong language of verses 7-8, we have to do with an appearing of Christ to Christians alone. The description here must relate only to the rapture, not to the open Second Coming.7  But in so arguing they pull apart the appearing (which they say is to Christians alone) and the acts of vengeance (which is directed to non-Christians). Such a separation is wholly artificial. God appears to his enemies as an aspect of judging and punishing them. The OT shows the regular theological and causal linkage between the two in its depictions of the day of the Lord.
Even if we grant to pretribulationists and midtribulationists the possibility of such a separation, they have still not escaped all their difficulties. The symmetry in verses 6-7 indicates that the revelation of Jesus Christ has two sides.8  The one side involves relief for Christians (the rapture). The other side involves punishment for their opponents. According to pretribulational and midtribulational views, the punishment is the Great Tribulation itself. But that is not what 2 Thessalonians 1 says. The opponents receive “vengeance” in connection with the blazing fire of Christ’s appearing (verse 8). This vengeance is further defined in verse 9 as “eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” Verse 9 is talking about punishment in hell, not punishment in some tribulation period. Note also the linkages between the presence of the Lord in verse 9 and his revelation in verse 7, between the punishment (diken, δίκην) in verse 9 and vengeance (ekdikesin, ἐκδίκησιν) in verse 8, between “his might” in verse 9 and the “powerful angels” in verse 7.9  The close linkages make it very awkward to try to distinguish two different stages here. The Thessalonian Christians would surely have understood the description as one unified picture, in agreement with the unified pictures of the “day of the Lord” in the OT.
The chronological unity of the events is further reinforced by the conjunction “when” (hotan, ὅταν) at the beginning of verse 10. Verses 9 and 10 offer us the same symmetrical antithesis as do verses 6-7. In verses 9 and 10 the saints10 experience relief and vindication, while the wicked experience hell. The two judgments are simultaneous (“when”), just as the reversal in verse 6-7 involves simultaneous relief for the saints and punishment for their opponents.
In short, the consignment of non-Christians to hell is simultaneous with the relief of Christians in the rapture. There is no intermediate stage of tribulation between the two events.
Therefore, the rapture of the saints and the open appearing of Christ take place together. 2 Thessalonians 1 is in tension at this point with pretribulation and midtribulational premillennialism.
Perhaps the best answer to this interpretation is offered by Paul D. Feinberg.11  He observes that the revelation of Christ in 2 Thess 1:7 could “be understood as the whole complex of events, beginning with the Rapture and ending with the Second Advent.” The passage groups together “various phases of end-time happenings. This association of events is not uncommon in prophetic portions.”
But then Feinberg has virtually admitted that 2 Thessalonians weaves all the events together . On the basis of 2 Thessalonians 1 the Thessalonian Christians would have understood the Second Coming as a unified event.
Tension with historical premillennialism 
Second, let us consider the position of historical premillennialism, that is, classical premillennialism. In this view, the Second Coming is a single unified event. After this one event comes a period of millennial peace and prosperity, during which people still give birth to children and die.
2 Thessalonians 1 creates difficulties for this position as well. It knows of only two classes of people, namely Christians and their opponents. Technically speaking, in verse 6 Paul speaks only of the persecutors, not all non-Christians.12  But persecution is only the most virulent form of rejection of God characterizing all non-Christians (Eph 4:17-19; 2:1-3; Rom 3:9-20). Hence in principle Paul’s description applies to the broader group. By verse 8 the description has in fact broadened out. Retribution comes to “those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”
In short, at the Second Coming, Christians enjoy eternal glory (verse 10) and non-Christians experience eternal destruction in hell (verse 9). Both destinies are final and irreversible. Moreover, we know from other passages that Christians have resurrection bodies, not subject to death. Non-Christians experience eternal death. Hence, there are no human beings left with bodies in a nonfinal state. There is no one who could populate a supposed millennium, in order that more children might be born and that some human beings would still experience a later physical death.13  Interestingly, pretribulationists are well aware of this difficulty, and use it as an argument against posttribulationist premillennialism.14
The absence of any human beings in an intermediate category is not merely an incidental technical difficulty. The whole of the Bible teaches that people are either for God or against him. There is no neutrality in the spiritual warfare described in Eph 6:10-20, 1 John 5:18-21, and Revelation.
The gospel itself is at stake in this issue. The only remedy for sin and spiritual rebellion is found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If you are united to Christ, you are redeemed. If you are not so united, you are not redeemed. At the Second Coming, those united to Christ receive resurrection bodies, and those not so united go to hell. There is no third category; there are no people in a no-man’s-land in between. Christ is the only redeemer (Acts 4:12). “He who is with me is against me,” he says (Matt 12:30). “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). Hence, it is not possible to introduce a hypothetical third category without doing violence to central truths of the gospel.
Posttribulational premillennialists have commonly suggested on the basis of texts like Zech 12:10-13:1, Rom 11:26, and Rev 1:7 that numerous Jews will place their faith in Christ at the time of his appearing.15  At first blush this theory might appear to offer a useful escape. But there are problems with it.
First, it is not clear that the theory can be reconciled with 2 Thessalonians 1, since 2 Thessalonians 1 so clearly operates in terms of two categories of people. Second, none of the verses offered in support of the theory clearly locates a conversion of the Jews at the very moment of Christ’s visible appearing rather than before it.16  Third, neither these biblical passages nor others contain a hint that would encourage us to break down the fundamental dichotomy between the saved and the lost. Fourth, no passage in the New Testament encourages us to introduce the pastorally dangerous idea that the final appearing of Christ opens a “second chance” for salvation rather than the termination of the time of salvation. Hence, if Jews are saved through Christ, they enjoy the same privileges as all the saved, namely resurrection bodies at the coming of Christ.
Tensions with postmillennialism 
Finally, let us consider postmillennialism. Postmillennialism says that, through the gospel, allegiance to Christ and Christian obedience will gradually spread through the world until the great majority of people are Christians. Societies and their institutions will be progressively conformed to the will of God, and an era of great peace and prosperity will ensue before the Second Coming.
In my opinion, it is possible that this sort of thing might happen. In fact, because I am awed by the power of God for salvation in the gospel (Rom 1:16), I am optimistic about the future. Christ may return very soon, but if he does not return in the next hundred years, we may see a great harvest for the gospel. Some other amillennialists display the same optimism.17
What, then, is the difference between this sort of “optimistic amillennialism” and a full-blown postmillennialism? Is there any significant difference at all?
2 Thessalonians 1 helps to indicate one difference that remains. 2 Thessalonians 1, I claim, asks us to focus our hopes on the Second Coming of Christ, not on a hypothetical millennial prosperity taking place before the Second Coming. The rest of the New Testament has a similar focus. Thus, in my mind, the main issue separating contemporary amillennialists and postmillennialists is not the issue of mere possibility, that is, the issue of what might possibly happen if Christ’s return is still some decades away. Rather, the issue is whether biblical promise and prophecy invite Christians to focus hopes on such a millennial possibility. Is such a prosperity the main focus of prophetic expectation, and is it a certainty guaranteed by prophecy? Postmillennialists say yes, and on that basis they expect confidently that the Second Coming is still quite a long way off. Hence they find it theologically inappropriate and psychologically impossible to focus their most urgent, immediate hope and expectation primarily on the Second Coming. In contrast, premillennialists and amillennialists think that the Second Coming is the next main event in God’s plan for history. It may be very soon, and they hope and pray for the Lord’s coming.18
Now consider 2 Thessalonians 1. 2 Thessalonians 1 is in tension with postmillennialism, insofar as postmillennium wants to focus hopes on a coming millennial prosperity. The text of verses 5-7 indicates that Christians may continue to expect trouble for awhile. They are to anticipate relief from the Second Coming, not merely from a coming time of millennial prosperity, as postmillennialists would have it.
(To be sure, persecutions come and go, as can be seen in the history of the northern kingdom of Israel as well as in the Book of Acts. Christians may sometimes have a measure of “relief” when persecution subsides or when persecution takes more “civilized” forms like ridicule. But the focus for our hope, according to 2 Thessalonians 1, is on the Second Coming. Whether the troubles vary in form or whether Christians may at times expect to be in a numerical majority is from a theological point of view a matter of merely secondary interest.)
Some postmillennialists have endeavored to escape the implications of 2 Thessalonians 1 by postulating that 2 Thessalonians is actually describing the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. rather than the Second Coming.19  According to David Chilton and some other contemporary postmillennialists, not only 2 Thessalonians but most of the other NT passages that have traditionally been understood as describing the Second Coming are in fact describing the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The language is figurative rather than literal. Chilton applies a similar procedure to 1 Thess 5:1-9.20  But he believes that 1 Thess 4:13-18 and 1 Cor 15:51-58 are about the Second Coming.21
We cannot enter into all the details of Chilton’s system at this point. But we claim that this kind of approach cannot reasonably be sustained in dealing with the Thessalonian letters. 1 Thess 4:13-18 is about the Second Coming. 1 Thess 5:1-10, which is right next door to 1 Thess 4:13-18, must also be about the Second Coming. Hence, 2 Thessalonians 1, which builds on 1 Thessalonians, is also about the Second Coming. Nothing in either letter has any real tendency to point in a direction different from this understanding.
Chilton and others like him can find what they want in the Thessalonian letters only because they first read in what they afterwards read out. But their interpretations disintegrate once we try steadfastly to put ourselves in the shoes of the Thessalonian Christians. Paul only stayed in Thessalonica for a few weeks (Acts 17:1-10). Moreover, even though Paul had talked to them about the Second Coming (2 Thess 2:5), the letters show that the Thessalonian Christians were confused. They did not completely grasp even relatively basic matters of eschatology. The Thessalonians did not already have a mastery of some esoteric eschatological system.
Now Paul understood the situation of the Thessalonians and their capabilities. Paul would not have used language in such way that the Thessalonians would almost surely misunderstand.
Once we understand the level on which Paul must communicate to them, it follows that 1 Thess 4:13-18 is about the Second Coming. The transition in 5:1 is not violent. Hence, The Thessalonians will understand the “times and dates” of 5:1 as the times and dates regarding the events associated with the Second Coming. Hence 5:1-10 is about the Second Coming.22
Next, 1 Thessalonians in the main background for 2 Thessalonians. In view of the sustained concern for the Second Coming in 1 Thessalonians, the Thessalonian Christians are bound to understand 2 Thessalonians 1 as a continuation of the same topic. The question is not whether one can invent an interpretive scheme, such as Chilton’s, capable of interpreting the whole passage figuratively. The question is whether the Thessalonians have any significant clues that would lead them to turn away from what from their point of view is the most obvious meaning.
In short, there is no escaping the fact that from the standpoint of the Thessalonian Christians 2 Thessalonians 1 is “obviously” about the Second Coming. Paul knew the capabilities of the Thessalonians and did not intend to confuse them. Hence, Paul was actually talking about the Second Coming.
Chilton (p. 120) has one further argument:
Clearly, Paul is not talking about Christ’s final coming at the end of the world, for the coming “tribulation” and “vengeance” were specifically aimed at those who were persecuting the Thessalonian Christians of the first generation. The coming day of judgment was not something thousands of years away.
Chilton, from his “secure” vantage point centuries later, knows that the Second Coming was thousands of years away. Hence, Paul could not be referring to the Second Coming. But unfortunately for Chilton’s interpretation, neither Paul nor the Thessalonians had the same knowledge that Chilton now has. Neither Paul nor the Thessalonians knew how far away the Second Coming might be. For all they knew, they might be alive when the Lord returned (1 Thess 4:15, 18; 1 Cor 15:51). Hence, it is perfectly appropriate for them to look forward to the Second Coming as the time of vengeance and vindication. Chilton’s interpretation works only by projecting his later standpoint onto the Thessalonians. It is quite evident from the nature of Chilton’s argument that he has not put himself in the shoes of the Thessalonians; he has not engaged seriously in grammatical-historical exegesis.
Moreover, from the point of view of first century Christians, regardless of whether we wait a short time or a longer time for Christ’s Second Coming, the fundamental judgment takes place at the Second Coming, not merely at death or through some earlier historical calamity or blessing. Hence the principle that Paul expresses in 2 Thessalonians 1 is valid not only for the Thessalonians of the first century but for all Christians who are undergoing persecution.
Hermeneutical lessons 
Curiously, a dispensationalist like Walvoord (Rapture Question, 235-245) and a postmillennialist like Chilton show similarities here. Both appeal to the fact that the Second Coming did not take place in the first century, in order to invalidate the reference of 1:7-10 to the Second Coming. Both interpret 2 Thessalonians 1 within a complex, fully articulated eschatological position, with little regard for the question of whether the Thessalonian readers were as sophisticated as they.
The manner of argument here alerts us again to the problems that all of us confront with regard to the circularities in biblical interpretation. It is easy for all of us to assume that the Paul and the Thessalonians held beliefs exactly like our own. That is, we postulate that the Apostle Paul had taught the Thessalonian Christians exactly what we ourselves happen to believe. Granted that postulate, we then presume that the Thessalonians knew what we know. Knowing what we know, the Thessalonians naturally understood Paul’s letter in the same way that we do. Hence, 2 Thessalonians means exactly what we already knew it meant. Hence it confirms our point of view.
Unfortunately, such an argument is circular. What is the final result of using such a circle? However strained or odd our modern interpretation may be, we can still assure ourselves that the understanding by the Thessalonians matches our modern interpretation. After all, the Thessalonians knew what Paul really meant, because they could place his teaching into a framework already well established by his oral teaching (which was naturally the same as our own modern view).
The postulate that the Thessalonians had a sophisticated, complete framework seems attractive because it helps protect our modern positions; but it is dangerously circular and, I believe, improbable in the light of the Thessalonians’ confusions and Paul’s short stay at Thessalonica.
Returning to the Rapture question 
These hermeneutical observations have relevance for 1 Thess 4:13-5:10 as well as for 2 Thessalonians 1. How so?
All agree that 1 Thess 4:13-18 concerns the rapture. Pretribulationists and midtribulationists have usually thought that 1 Thess 5:1-10 concerns the “day of the Lord,” which includes both the Great Tribulation and the open Second Coming. On their view, there are two or more chronologically distinct events here. If indeed we could separate two or more distinct events by means of these passages in 1 Thessalonians, we would at least have some basis for claiming that the Thessalonian Christians already understood pretribulationism when they received 2 Thessalonians. 2 Thessalonians 1 would then be confusing to the Thessalonians, but might not overthrow their previous view.
But the idea that 1 Thess 4:13-5:10 deals with two chronologically separate events has problems of its own. In interpreting these verses we are in danger once again of assuming that the Thessalonian Christians had knowledge of a complete system before they received Paul’s letter. For example, can we indeed assume that the Thessalonians would already have been familiar with the modern dispensationalist distinctions between two stages? Or would they have operated instinctively, as a modern dispensationalist does, with a clear-cut distinction between tribulation (broadly conceived) and the Great Tribulation? Would they self-consciously distinguish between being removed from the Tribulation versus being preserved and protected as they passed through it? Would they have seen a word like “wrath” (5:9) as an allusion to the Tribulation in distinction from final judgment? Unless they are aided by a complete eschatological system, do they really have clues to tell them that 1 Thess 4:13-5:10 concerns two successive events, rather two aspects of a single event?
In this article we cannot explore in detail the interpretation of 1 Thess 4:13-5:10, but we should be aware that some of the same hermeneutical circularities may crop up there as well as in 2 Thessalonians 1.

Footnotes 
1.  For useful summaries of the main positions, see Robert G. Clouse, ed., The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1977); Millard J. Erickson, Contemporary Options in Eschatology: A Study of the Millennium (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977); Richard R. Reiter, Paul D. Feinberg, Gleason L. Archer, and Douglas J. Moo, The Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulational? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984).
2.  My argument on this point is substantially the same as Douglas J. Moo, “The Case for the Posttribulation Rapture Position,” in Reiter, The Rapture187-88.
3.  Leon Morris, The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, rev. ed., NIC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991) 201n25.
4.  John F. Walvoord (The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation: A Biblical and Historical Study of Posttribulationsim [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976] 123-24; and The Rapture Question, rev. ed. [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979] 236-37) concludes on this basis that 2 Thessalonians 1 cannot be about the rapture at all. All of 1:7b-10 describes a judgment at the end of the millennium. But he offers no explanation of the word ἐν in verse 7, which temporally links the description of verses 7b-10 with relief to the Thessalonians.
5.  With the bulk of New Testament scholarship I believe that 1 Thessalonians dates earlier than 2 Thessalonians. I assume also on the basis of the explicit claims of 2 Thessalonians that Paul is the real author (it is not pseudepigraphal).
6.  Cf., e.g., Tremper Longman, III, “The Divine Warrior: The New Testament Use of an Old Testament Motif,” WTJ 44 (1982) 290-307; note also that Isa 66:15-16 LXX offers one of the significant textual backgrounds for verses 7-8. Cf. Charles A. Wanamaker, The Epistles to the Thessalonians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990) 226-227; F. F. Bruce, Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 45: 1 & 2 Thessalonians (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1982) 151.
7.  Paul D. Feinberg, “Response,” in Reiter, Rapture 227, briefly mentions this possibility.
8.  Charles A. Wanamaker, The Epistles to the Thessalonians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990) 223-224.
9.  Cf. Wanamaker, Thessalonians 228.
10.  “Holy ones” in verse 10 refers to Christians, not angels, as the parallel phrase “among all those who have believed” makes clear. Earnest Best, A Commentary on the First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians (New York: Harper & Row, 1972) 265.
11.  Feinberg, “Response,” in Reiter, The Rapture 227.
12,  So Best, Thessalonians 262-263.
13,  Douglas Moo briefly contemplates the possibility of a “millennium” without physical death (Moo, “Response,” in Reiter, The Rapture 162). But this sort of situation would either be tantamount to the consummation or would still involve evils that would only be possible through human beings in a nonfinal state.
14.  See, e.g., John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979) 86-87; Paul D. Feinberg, “The Case for the Pretribulation Rapture Position,” in Richard R. Reiter et al., The Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulational? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984) 72-79.
15.  So Douglas J. Moo, “Response” 163-65; in the same book Feinberg discusses this view on pp. 73-79.
16.  In Rom 11:26 the word οὕτως is a well-known barrier to understanding verse 26 as teaching that the conversion of the Jews is chronologically subsequent to the completion of the salvation of the Gentiles. Zech 12:10-13:1 involves a description that seems to involve events of the whole eschatological era, from the first to the second coming of Christ. Rev 1:7, as a reuse of the language of Zechariah, does not clearly contemplate salvation of the mourners, but rather their discomfiture.
17.  Cf. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., “Theonomy and Eschatology: Reflections on Pstmillennialism,” in Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, ed. William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990) 201, 208, 210.
18.  But the issue of future hope is not the only issue involved in the differences among millennial positions. We are also concerned with whether present time already manifests the exaltation of Christ, inaugurated exchatology, and the beginning of the end. See Gaffin, “Theonomy and Eschatology” 197-224.
19.  So David Chilton, Paradise Restored: An Eschatology of Dominion (Tyler, TX: Reconstruction Press, 1985) 120.
20.  Ibid. 119-20.
21.  Ibid. 147.
22.  Chilton (ibid. 119) wants to make 1 Thess 2:14-16 into a background for understanding 1 Thess 5:1-10, but his appeal to 1 Thess 2:14-16 is very weak. For one thing, 2:16 is a notoriously difficult and obscure verse. It may possibly refer to the fall of Jerusalem; but it may just as easily be a general reference to the hardening of the Jews, along the lines of Rom 11:8. Moreover, the immediate context of 4:13-18 is decisive for the way that 5:1-10 will be understood; 2:14-16 is too remote and too lacking in prominence for the Thessalonians to be aware of a salient connection.

Dr Scofield And The Kingdom Of Christ By Charles D. Alexander

024 The Synagogue
Dr. Scofield And The Kingdom Of Christ
Matthew Ch’s 12 & 13
By Charles D. Alexander
All By Grace
Sola Christus           
Sola Scriptura            
Sola Gratia            
Sola Fida            
Soli Deo Gloria
Endless must be the systems of theology and schemes of prophecy without the laying down of valid principles of interpretation. It is noteworthy that in all the books produced by “dispensationalist” writers (that is, they who more or less follow the theories of Dr. C. I. Scofield) no attempt is made to establish any such valid principle. The case for Dispensationalism rests entirely on assumptions which writers and preachers take entirely for granted.
These unproved assumptions are usually copied from writer to writer with a monotony only occasionally broken by some contemporary event in Russia or the Middle East (which induces a fresh enthusiasm for authorship).
[Note: This article was published circa 1970.]
Hence it is accepted without question that the restoration of Jewry to all its forfeited privileges–with temple, priesthood, and earthly monarch and establishment–is something beyond challenge and scarcely requiring the burden of a proven principle of interpretation. The fact that nowhere in the New Testament is there a line to suggest that there will ever be a Palestinian restoration is something which seems to weigh not one featherweight with the theorists. Even our post-millennialists, who are usually more cautious and restrained than their pre-millennial brethren (as why should they not be,- seeing the realization of their theories lies so far away in the remote and shadowy future?), fail to perceive that not even in Romans 11 (on the interpretation of which all their hopes lie) is there a hint of a Jewish restoration in Palestine.
A popular theory founded upon plausible assumptions is usually found more acceptable to the impressionable masses of Christian people than an interpretation which moves forward stage by stage upon a carefully demonstrated ground of proof.
To define our terms, pre-millennialism is that system which holds that the Second Advent of Christ will take place prior to the anticipated thousand years of universal peace and truth; post-millennialism believes the thousand years will first run their course, and then Christ will appear. There is a third belief which holds that the only millennium is the Christian era, beginning with the Day of Pentecost and ending with the Day of Judgment. It is this third view that we who issue these writings hold to be the true teaching of Holy Scripture. For what it is worth, this third view was the generally accepted view of the Christian Church until the Puritan era.
But who is to judge between the three systems of belief? The answer is that the New Testament must be the only judge and interpreter of prophecy.
We invite all men of goodwill, who desire only to know what is true, to note the solemn fact that the advocates of the pre-millennial view never make any serious attempt to prove their position from the New Testament. Their books are filled with quotations from Old Testament prophecies and seldom any New Testament texts, except in subordination to the Old Testament.
Readers who attend to this fact will certainly be gravely disturbed by it.
The post-millennialist does no better than his pre-millennial brother. Be repudiates the fallacies of the pre-millennial scheme (which requires the invention of THREE separate “Comings” of Christ in order to fit in with the constitution of their millennial earth), but builds his entire structure upon one key text which he thinks he finds in Romans 11:26, where certainly no millennium is mentioned at all. It is a dangerous thing to stand a pyramid on its apex. To subordinate the interpretation of all prophecy to one text is a dubious proceeding.
Our principle of interpretation has been stated again and again: OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST ARE TO BE UNDERSTOOD ONLY ACCORDING TO NEW TESTAMENT USE OF SAME.
In this paper we shall proceed to show from two notable chapters in Matthew’s Gospel that the Jewish expectation of an earthly kingdom in which their national privileges and prerogatives will be restored is repudiated by the Savior Himself, who shows that on the contrary His kingdom was to be one which could only be entered by repentance and faith on an individual basis and that the only instrument of its establishment and propagation was to be the preaching of the Word.
Moreover, in the Seven Parables of Matthew 13, He clearly shows there is no room for any millennium, for the Kingdom of Grace established by His Apostles after His resurrection and ascension to heaven was to continue unchanged till the end of the world, for only then would the tares be separated from the wheat and the bad fish from the good.
LITERALISM LED TO THE CRUCIFIXION
Literalism (the method of interpreting prophecy by the letter, without recognizing the symbolic and parabolic nature of most of the prophecies) has its heaviest indictment in the fact that it was this method which led directly to the crucifixion of Christ.
There can, of course, be no doubt whatever of the truth of this grave assertion. To this day the official view of the Jewish theologians is precisely that of their ancestors 2,000 years ago, that the claim of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah must be resolutely repudiated because “He did not fulfil the prophecies.”
We are not alone in our protest against the prevalence of this same literalism in Christian theology today.
In an appendix to his famous, but too much neglected, Interpretation of Prophecy (Edition 1875), Patrick Fairbairn (1805-1874), one-time Principal of the Free Church of Scotland College, Glasgow, wrote:
PROPHETICAL LITERALISM ESSENTIALLY JEWISH
By Patrick Fairbairn
“The essential coincidence between the Jewish mode of interpreting prophecy, and that of the extreme literalists among Christians, will force itself on anyone who compares for a moment what has been written by the respective parties on the prophetical future. For the most part, he will find the same passages quoted by both, and the same principle of the historical sense applied to them–only, with this difference, that while both apply it to establish the necessity of a future restoration of the Jews to Palestine, and the re-institution of the Mosaic polity and worship, the Jew also applies it, and with perfect consistence, to the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. We say with perfect consistence, for the principle is as fairly applicable to the one point as to the other, and by that principle, the evidence of prophecy in favor of the Messiahship of Jesus is not impaired merely, but annihilated. The argument from prophecy as between Christians and Jews is gone; that only remains which may serve the Jew against infidels and heathens. If, for example, the literalist school of interpreters among Christians are right in maintaining, as they do, that Christ has not yet appeared as King of Zion, or as the possessor of David’s throne and kingdom, why should not Rabbi Crool (in his ‘Restoration of Israel,’ a work replied to by Thomas Scott), and other Jewish writers, be equally right in contending, that Jesus of Nazareth cannot be the Messiah? The passages which both parties appeal to–such as Zechariah, ix. 9; Isaiah, ix. 6,7; Micah, v. 2–though they are expressly declared by the evangelists to have been fulfilled in Christ, yet speak of the Messiah under the very character and relations, which, it is alleged, have not yet been assumed by him: they represent him as going to appear among men, to be born at Bethlehem, to ride on an ass into Jerusalem, etc., in the character of the king of the Jews, and to the great joy of his subjects. Therefore, says Crool, and with manifest right on this principle, your Jesus cannot be the Messiah; for He did not sit upon David’s throne, He set up no Jewish kingdom, and instead of finding joy and peace and union from His presence, the Jewish people only then began to experience their greatest troubles and their widest dispersions. In a word, the apologetic value of prophecy as regards the truth of Christianity is gone, and instead of a means of defence we find a weapon of assault. So much is this felt to be the natural tendency of the line of interpretation referred to, that those who adopt it have, of late years, been withdrawing prophecy after prophecy from the number of those which the inspired penmen and all truly Christian writers hitherto have understood of Christ. As in regard to the first great promise to fallen man, so also here, the principle of a prophetical literalism has led to the same result as its apparent opposite–a subtilizing rationalism; the one needs as much the doctrine of accommodation as the other, in explaining the New Testament applications of prophecy to Jesus.”
It is therefore justly said by Hengstenberg (Christology, 2nd Edition, App. vi), that the strictly literal style of prophetical interpretation is essentially the very same as that which the Jewish commentators adopt; that its value may also be understood from the countenance given to it by many Rationalists on the continent; but that its strongest condemnation consists in its being the very method of interpretation which led to the crucifixion of Christ.
___________________
100 YEARS ON FROM FAIRBAIRN
We are now 100 years on from Fairbairn and much has happened to give increasing disquiet to those who plead for a return to the right understanding of Holy Scripture.
Those who are familiar with the “Scofield Reference Bible,” which for all the years of our own century has framed much of Christian thought and belief on prophetical questions, will know (as Fairbairn never lived long enough to know) that the passing years have only worsened the situation. Nowadays almost every reference in the Old Testament to the Kingdom of Messiah is wrenched from the Christian Church and handed over to the Jew. Gentile enthusiasm for Jewish prerogative exceeds that of the Jews themselves and amounts (if we may be pardoned for the simile) to an act of suicide for the Christian Church on the doorstep of the synagogue.
But we must let the New Testament be the arbiter of the Old. What says the New Testament of the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of Israel? Nay, what says the Lord Christ concerning Himself and the work He came to do? Surely, in “the words of the Word” we shall find the key to the understanding of all things which were written concerning Himself. Nothing is more fascinating in the pursuit of Bible knowledge than the discoveries made in the four Gospels of the Savior’s testimony to Himself in terms of the writing of the Old Testament prophets.
In unexpected places to which justice has never been fully done by the expositors and preachers, there flashes out the hidden meaning of common acts by the Savior, as for instance in His contention with the Jews over the observance of the Sabbath in Matthew 12. The disciples grind the ears of corn in the palms of their hands (Luke 6:1). The Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8) approves, for He is the Bread of Life; and what better day than the Sabbath to feed upon Him who takes the symbol of the corn to prefigure His own redemptive sacrifice (“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die…”) and the far-spreading cornfields to symbolize the harvest of the souls of men (“Lift up your eyes and look on the fields: they are white already to harvest”)?
Did not David the King eat of the holy temple bread when he fled from Saul? Here is one greater than the temple and greater than David, in whom all become kings and priests who are redeemed by His blood. The Kingdom of Grace was coming in fast, and there would be some mighty scene-shifting as all Israel’s earthly administration passes into the inward and spiritual reality which the externalism of the law only prefigures (see verses 3-8). Are our “literal interpreters” listening? See how the Savior was all the time preparing to abolish the outward signs to make way for the things signified thereby.
THE WITHERED HAND
A man’s withered hand is healed in “their synagogue” (verses 9-13). That man is Israel. “Their synagogue” could do naught for him. The human hand is the greatest instrument on earth. It can stroke the keys, and if it is the hand of Handel even the angels will stoop to listen. A withered hand is the symbol of man’s lost dignity and inheritance. The withered hand is here the token of Israel’s impotence under the law. The healing of the man shows the nature of Messiah’s kingdom. Its subject are those who are restored to the true dignity and function for which God created man—that he should be the regent of God in creation–as it were, God’s right hand. This is Christ’s Kingdom–not the setting up on an earthly throne at Jerusalem and the raising of flocks and herds on the mountains of Palestine. The empire of Christ is not bounded by oceans and mountain crests. His throne is the right hand of God. His Kingdom exists neither in time nor space but in His own eternal rest; the walls of His city are called “salvation” and her gates “praise” (Isaiah 60:18); Zion exists only in a state of eternal day, of which He is Himself the light (“The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee”–Isaiah 60:19).
Still listening? Still cleaving to a false literalism? Still expecting Jerusalem to be the earth’s capital city? Behold Jerusalem! Behold the city of God, the mount Zion to which believers have already come, though they may never see the earthly city in Palestine. “We are come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God…”
(Hebrews 12:22).
The Pharisees are incensed as the sacred precinct of their earthliness and senseless literalism is invaded. They hold a council to destroy Him, and “Jesus withdraws Himself” from them (verses 14-15), as He would in fact abandon them to their fate ere that generation should pass.
Matthew, the inspired writer of the first gospel comes in at this point with an all-important prophetic quotation from Isaiah 42. Modified in the Greek language (in which he wrote) the quotation begins, “Behold my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased.” This brings it nearer to the baptismal voice of God from heaven recorded 11 Matthew 3:17, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Greek word for servant here is a special word, elsewhere translated “child” (see Acts 4:27-30). It means Sonship in the highest degree, fulfilling the Father’s nature and will. Matthew’s quotation of the crucial, prophecy of Isaiah 42 fixes the nature of Christ’s Kingdom as that which in fact He established 2,000 years ago.
Our interest lies at the moment in that part of the quotation which declares that in bringing in His kingdom Christ would not use the style and language of regal proclamation and majesty as though introducing Himself as an earthly potentate—“He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets….” This is the manner of the coming in of His kingdom–in quietness and secrecy, like the seed in the ground which germinate in the dark and then comes forth, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.
What a contrast with the millennialist’s dream of a sudden appearance of Christ at Jerusalem to set up an earthly monarchy.
THE UNPARDONABLE SIN
One possessed with a devil, blind and dumb, is brought to Christ (verse 22). The devil is cast out and the man sees and speaks. Just another work of healing and mercy? Not at all. This man, like him with the withered hand, is a picture of the state of the Jewish people, and he is a part of the prophecy just quoted by Matthew. Isaiah 42 describes the onset and the course of Christ’s reign. There is no hint of earthly glory and exaltation for the Jewish nation. The kingdom exists in the opening of blind eyes and the deliverance of captives from prison and from darkness (verse 7). The times are changed (verse 8)—“Behold the former things are come to pass” (i.e., the Old Testament order has run its course); “new things do I declare” (i.e., the new covenant kingdom of grace is announced).
A “new song” is heard in the earth, never before sung (verse 10). It is the new song of eternal salvation through the blood of Christ. Revelation 5:9—“and they sung a new song, saying, ‘Thou art worthy…for thou vast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.’ ”
Isaiah’s oratorio on The Messiah rolls along, describing the long anticipated Kingdom of Christ, composed of Jew and gentile and having no center but in heaven and no ruler but the One who reigns in the invisibility of the Godhead. The triumphant march of the Son of God to His predestined glory is shown by the manner of true conversion: “I will bring the blind by a way which they knew not. I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.” Let none say that this is descriptive of a Jewish kingdom on earth.
The Lord does indeed refer to the Jewish people as a people in this chapter, but it is only to rebuke them as those who would not walk in His ways. This is now the point of Matthew’s quotation of Isaiah 42. The deaf and dumb man is (as we have said) Israel. His presence before Christ is a dramatization of the prophecy which declares, “Hear, ye deaf, and look, ye blind, that ye may see” (verse 18). It is a call to the unconverted. No Jew will ever be saved or exalted except on the precise terms of individual conversion available equally to gentiles.
Israel, as the servant of the Lord, should have guided the nations to the true God. They boasted (and still do) that as a people they are the only agency by which God reveals Himself to the world. They are (or should have been) the people who, seeing, give sight to the blind gentiles. Hearing the Word of God, they should have opened the ears of the deaf heathen: “Who is blind but my servant? or deaf as my messenger that I sent?” (verse 19, etc.). Instead of fulfilling their divine function, they were blind, deaf and dumb themselves, therefore the kingdom would be taken from them. Worse, their infirmity was sinister. It was the fruit of Satanic activity, for their representative man was “possessed with a devil, blind and dumb”
(verse 22).
The prophetic drama ends. The devil is cast out of the poor sufferer. He sees and speaks. Israel watches and notes, and commits the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, for which there is no forgiveness either in this world or in the world to come: “This fellow cloth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (Matthew 12:24).
Readers must, for themselves, note the remainder of the Savior’s words, which have a special application to the nation of Israel, from Christ’s day onward devoid of light and truth, a people from whom the Spirit of God has departed, never to return. This does not, of course, mean that individual Jews may not have hope. Jews are converted in considerable numbers. But the nation as such has been given over to judgment and has no light to give the world. Yet it is to this people and its teachers that Dr. Scofield and his fellow dispensationalists go for “light” upon the future of the world and learn from the Jewish Pharisees to say that no kingdom of Messiah has yet been set up, for if it had (say they) the Jewish nation would be restored to its ancient status and privileges.
“The tree is known by its fruits,” says Christ to unbelieving Israel. “O generation of vipers,” He cries, “how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” (verses 33-34).
The Lord concludes His invective against Israel with an ominous warning: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return to my house from whence I came out; and when he is come he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation” (verses 43-45).
This word can only be understood in terms of Israel’s fate, for Christ shows this in His final sentence—“Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
The interpretation is clear. The house is Israel’s house. The expulsion of the first demon denotes the temporary respite which Israel received when the gospel was being preached for forty years after Pentecost, “to the Jews first.’ The return of the demon denotes how the unbelief and final impenitence of the nation presents the powers of darkness with ready and prepared access. The seven devils more wicked than the first show the complete extent to which the nation after its probation gave itself up to final impenitence with the appalling consequences of greatly magnified unbelief and irremediable darkness and blindness.
“The last state is worse than the first.” These terrible words of Christ show the “last state” of Israel (as a nation)–a people blind and dumb, without guidance or hope. Their state is worse now than ever before in history, because most of the nation is openly atheistic, or at best sceptical, and without any assurance of immortality.
Their repudiation by the Lord is complete. The chapter closes on a solemn note. The virgin mother and the “brethren” of the Lord stand outside the house. They wish to speak with Him. A messenger intimates to the Lord their desire. But He answers “Who is my mother? And who are my brethren?” He waves His hand toward His disciples and says, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Be no longer stands in blood relationship with the nation of Israel. Even the virgin mother must stand aside (good woman though she be) because she has fulfilled her task in bringing the Firstbegotten into the world. Henceforth she stands towards Him not as mother but as creature in the presence of her Creator. She stands also for that true and spiritual Israel which can be related to Him only insofar as its children do the will of God in believing on Him whom the Father has sent.
There could not be clearer or more conclusive and solemn asseveration that Israel’s special relationship with Jehovah had come to an end.
WHAT IS A PARABLE?
Chapter 13 of Matthew settles beyond question, on the authority of the Lord’s own words, the issue of prophetical interpretation. What is the Kingdom of God and where? When and how is it set up? In the seven great parables of Matthew 13, the Lord purposefully gives the key to the understanding of all prophetic mysteries.
Let it be remembered that He was contending with Jewish literalism–the same infatuation which Dr. Scofield has standardized and which has dominated the Christian world for more than a century. It is more than time that this issue was settled.
It will be observed that nowhere does the Lord breathe the slightest hint of a Jewish kingdom. Nowhere does He give any ground for the millenary illusion. His words leave no room either for a Jewish restoration or for an earthly millennium. He describes the history of His messianic kingdom and reign with consummate skill, showing that it is so secret and mysterious that none know of it save those to whom the knowledge is imparted by the Divine Spirit.
The chapter begins with the historic words: “The same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the seaside.” These opening words connect chapter 13 with chapter 12, which we have already been discussing—“the same day.” The theme of the two chapters is the same–the coming of the Kingdom and its mysterious nature. The discourse is delivered from an unusual pulpit–a vessel afloat a few yards from the shore. The Sea of Galilee is a prophetic sea, and all the Lord’s actions are “word and doctrine.” The sea is the world and the vessel is the Church, as in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6–when the storm on the same sea and the apprehension of the disciples when the Lord is seen walking on the waves have clear reference to the voyage of the Church through all the perils of history.
The Savior develops the theme of His own coming into the world. Strange indeed that instead of enlightening the people and telling them plainly of His purpose and mission, He “speaks to them in parables.” A parable is a “dark saying”–truth deliberately shrouded in mystery so that its message should be understood only to faith and not to carnal understanding.
The first of the seven parables is the familiar one of the sower who went forth to saw. All too familiar, alas! The ignorant tell us that our preachers should study the simplicity of the Lord’s methods in making truth so very plain by the use of familiar figures and simple illustrations. On the contrary this is the very thing the Lord studiously avoids. “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?”
“Because,” replies the Savior to the disciples, “it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (verse 10-11).
He is saying that in His parables truth is deliberately withheld from the hearers because, through their impenitence and unbelief, it is not given to them to know the truth.
“For whosoever hath” (i.e., possesses faith and repentance) “to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not” (i.e., does not have faith, as these Jews had it not) “from him shall be taken even that which he hath” (verse 12). From him (the Jewish nation) shall be taken that which hitherto was their boast, namely, their prerogative as children of Abraham, their knowledge of the Law, and their expectation of Messianic deliverance. The present state of Jewry is manifestly a judgment of God, hardening the heart and binding the understanding.
Nothing can be more fearfully plain than the Savior’s words of judgment upon this abandoned people: “Therefore speak I to them in parables because they seeing see not and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which saith, By hearing ye shall hear and not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart and should be converted and I should heal them.”
The predetermined judgment having been so solemnly pronounced, the Lord turns to His “little flock,” representing His true Church and Kingdom throughout history, and pronounces them blessed: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
The Lord makes it plain that what the apostles saw and understood–what was made plain to them in the gospel–was in fact the expectation of the true Israel (Israel within Israel), represented by the prophets and righteous men from of old, who prophesied and spoke of Christ’s kingdom and longed to see it for themselves, but died before the time.
What was it the prophets of Israel desired to see? A millennial kingdom for Israel? “Yes,” declares Dr. Scofield and the whole dispensational family. “No!” declares the Lord in this passage. That which they desired to see was that which the Lord was now revealing to the apostles and which the apostles in turn declared to the whole world and wrote down for a record in the New Testament. This which was being revealed was the Messianic kingdom for which the world had waited 4,000 years since mankind was cast out from the presence of God. What the righteous men of old time longed to see was the coming of the promised “Seed of the Woman” who by His cross and passion bruised the Serpent’s head and overcame death and sin and the grave.
In short, the kingdom of Christ, the Messianic deliverance, was not to be a Jewish restoration to privilege and to Palestine, for there is not a mention of this in Christ’s discourse here or anywhere else. The promised kingdom was to come by the preaching of the gospel, and the right of entrance thereto was not by a Jewish birth certificate but by individual repentance and faith.
THE MYSTERY OF THE SOWER
We take the parable of the sower and ask, “What is mysterious about this parable that its meaning should be shrouded from the unbelieving?” The answer lies in the false expectation which Israel had of a kingdom of the Jews which would come with automatic suddenness at the advent of Messiah. Now here was the Messiah, yet He was setting up no visible kingdom; He comes without “shout or cry.” He does not fall in judgment upon Israel’s foes and put them to rout. He holds no weapon, wields no scepter, appears in deep humility and tells the people in this parable (which they did not and could not understand) that His kingdom was not what they supposed and could only come by the earnest, believing, penitent reception of the Word preached–the Word of the Cross, of free grace and mercy, and justifying faith.
The kingdom comes, therefore, secretly, silently, imperceptibly, as here and there the seed falls into the receptive hearts of the repentant who look for mercy and forgiveness. Silently it works (as other of the parables in this chapter show), as leaven works in the dough, as fish are caught in the gospel net, or as a grain of mustard seed produces from the smallest of beginnings, the greatest of results.
All this was foreign to the Jews of Christ’s day, as it is foreign to their descendants of our day, and as it is foreign also to multitudes of evangelical dispensationalists who follow Dr. Scofield into Jewish territory to find a kingdom of this world which Christ repudiated from the beginning and continued to repudiate until the very day of His crucifixion, when He declared to Pontius Pilate,
“My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36)
The Lord is very careful to warn His hearers in the first of the parables that even the ready acceptance of His Word would not necessarily be a real acceptance of His kingdom. Some would remain indifferent or hostile (the wayside hearers); some would hear with apparent joy, but without the root of faith and repentance in themselves (the stony ground hearers); some would receive the Word only for its growth to be subsequently choked by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches (the seed among thorns). They only would inherit the Messianic kingdom who brought forth the fruit of it in holy living and faithful endurance of the cross and trial.
A strange kingdom of the Jews this! A strange millenarian kingdom in truth! Not a converted world after all! Not a restored Hebrew race with temple, king, and priest and worldwide dominion! Only a harassed flock of sheep, exposed to the trials and tribulations and furious hostility of a sinful world!
The only “kingdom of heaven” which Christ announces is that of Matthew 13. There is no room for another while the earth stands, for the parables carry us on, not to the end of an age, but to the consummation of all things, and the Last Judgment when there shall be no more earth, sky or sea stars or universe. These are the words of Christ in explanation of His second parable (that of the tares and the wheat which were to grow together UNTIL THE HARVEST)—“The harvest is the end of the world” (verse 39). “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (verse 43). “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
The last of the seven parables is of the gospel net let down into the sea, gathering fish “of every kind,” good and bad, not to be sorted out till the net is full and brought to the shore: “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (verses 49-50).
No room for a millennium here. The gospel net drags on in the sea of this world, without change and without rest, till the day of judgment. Never a converted world. Never a golden age. Never a “latter-day glory.” Never a “Puritan Hope” of a Jewish solution to the problem of this world.
Christ reigns now by His Word and Spirit in the preaching of the gospel. The kingdom of heaven is the gospel kingdom. The only millennium is the preaching of the gospel, and the only “binding of Satan” is that effected by the downfall of his power through the light of truth and the preaching of the Word of God.
Christ had previously said on that “same day”— “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house” (Matthew 12:28-29).
The token of the kingdom of God is the binding of Satan. This was done at the cross, where Satan was cast down and “bound,” being limited henceforth in his domain till all the elect people of God, the new creation of regenerated men and women, should be called out and completed as to their number and testimony.
It remains for us to look at the subsidiary parables in this constellation of the mystic Seven.
DISPENSATIONAL BANKRUPTCY
Nowhere is the bankruptcy of exposition and understanding more in evidence than in Dr. Scofield’s treatment of the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven: “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matthew 13:31-32).
Says Dr. Scofield, this parable “prefigures the rapid but unsubstantial growth of the mystery form of the kingdom from an insignificant beginning to a great place in the earth. The figure of the fowls finding shelter in the branches is drawn from Daniel 4:20-22. How insecure was such a refuge, the context in Daniel shows.”
Now Dr. Scofield ought to have known better. The figure of the tree whose branches provide shelter for the birds of the air is not taken from Daniel but from Ezekiel 17:22-24. “Thus saith the Lord God I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. All the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high trees, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.”
Ezekiel’s tree is the tree of the New Covenant of Grace. The tender young twig cropped off from the old cedar is Christ, springing (as touching His humanity) from the old stock of Israel’s tree–the Covenant of the Law. From this new tree (Christ), the kingdom of grace springs up till its branches spread throughout all the world (as they do today) so that “birds of every wing,” that is, all kindreds of men, Jew and gentile, find shelter in this covenant of divine grace.
THE FATE OF THE JEWISH NATION
It is the more inexcusable that Dr. Scofield should make this elementary mistake, because he must have known that the last verse of Ezekiel 17 (the high tree brought low, and the low tree exalted; the green tree dried up, and the dry tree made to flourish) is actually quoted by Christ on the way to the Cross: “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:27-31).
This was a foretelling of the fate of the Jewish nation. At that time, the sap of divine grace was still in the old cedar. Life was still rising to Israel’s green tree. But as according to Ezekiel’s prophecy, divine grace would be withdrawn from the Israelitish cedar so that it would become dry and its place be taken by the dry gentile tree, now by the covenant of grace in Christ made living and fruitful; so the fall of Israel’s tree was imminent. Forty years on from Calvary, and the awful tragedy of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah would be recompensed by the tragic end of the forlorn nation in the Roman destruction of city, temple, priesthood and people: “If they do these things when the tree is yet green, what will be done when the tree is dry and ready to fall?”
Dr. Scofield is wrong, and not for the first time. It grieves us to write this of a good man who has long since gone to be with his Lord, but the welfare of Christ’s flock must ever be the chief solicitude, and we can only say mournfully of Dr. Scofield, as Robert McCheyne said of Edward Irving when he learned of his death: “A good man, but one who did his Lord much harm.”
The harmfulness of that Dispensationalism and literalism which was standardized by Dr. Scofield, who inherited it by direct succession from poor Edward Irving, is manifest in the present state of Bible knowledge in Britain and America. The devastating effects of Dispensationalism on Bible exposition and preaching are too lamentable for words. Where now will one go for adequate exposition of the Word of God? Jewish interpretations prevail so widely that the true Word of God is often made of none effect, as is the case of the interpretations of these parables.
The meaning of the parable is clear. The mustard seed is the word of faith–the word of the kingdom of heaven. Did Dr. Scofield also forget that a few chapters later in Matthew’s Gospel the Lord uses the mustard seed as a symbol of faith? (Matthew 17:20). Faith brings in the kingdom of heaven, because by faith alone the promise of salvation, cherished by the people of God from the foundation of the world, is brought to fruition, and the kingdom realized. The sheltering birds are the souls of men.
THE LEAVEN IN THE MEAL
Dr. Scofield is equally wrong in his exposition of the next parable: “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened.”
Says Dr. Scofield: “Leaven is the principle of corruption…it is invariably used in a bad sense.” This we heartily dispute, and cite Leviticus 7:13 and Leviticus 23:17 to show that leaven was commanded by the Lord to be used in two notable acts of worship.
That in Leviticus 7 was part of an act of thanksgiving, while that in Leviticus 23 was part of the worship which prefigured the day of Pentecost and the new dispensation of grace. Dr. Scofield makes an unwarranted attempt to prove that the presence of leaven on these occasions was to memorialize man’s sinfulness. But all offerings and sacrifices in the Levitical code were designed to exhibit Christ and salvation, not to memorialize sin.
Dr. Scofield should have looked further, however, than the Levitical code. He is not the only expositor who has stopped short at the mention of leaven and failed to perceive an underlying wonder. Long before the Levitical code was established and leaven received its theological significance, an event occurred which became the ground of this wonderful parable. There can be no room for doubt that the peculiar (and otherwise irrelevant) emphasis in the parable that it was “a woman” who took the leaven and “hid” it in the three measures of meal points to a historic precedent; and we have no difficulty in finding it in Sarah, the wife of Abraham.
When Abraham received the visit of a heavenly delegation in the form of “three men” who came to announce to the patriarch the coming birth of Isaac, the promised seed (Genesis 18), Abraham–ignorant as yet of the heavenly character of his guests–sends his wife Sarah to prepare a meal, saying to her: “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.”
The action was prophetic. Sarah is a scriptural type of the Church of the New Testament (see Isaiah 54:1 and compare Galatians 4:22-27). In Galatians the allegory of Abraham’s two sons, corresponding to the Old Covenant (Ishmael) and the New Covenant (Isaac), shows clearly that the New Testament Church was being prepared in the mission of the angelic visitors to Abraham. The three measures of meal (corresponding to the three sons of Noah, by whom the families of the world were divided) are the gentile world, to be “leavened” by the preaching of the Word after Israel’s fall from grace. As leaven works secretly in the dough in which it is “hidden,” so the “Kingdom of Heaven” comes secretly, and its operation is “hidden” from the eyes of men. The parable endorses therefore the Savior’s teaching in this chapter, that the Jewish view of the Messianic kingdom was altogether false and carnal. The only kingdom Christ came to establish enters into the world invisibly in hidden form, yet its power through the preaching of the Word penetrates all the world.
The poverty of Dr. Scofield’s thought is matched by that of most of the present day expositors and preachers. How could it be otherwise, when literalism has done its fell work and turned the Eden of God’s Word into a desert?
THE TREASURE AND THE PEARL
The remaining two parables (of the treasure hid in the field, and of the finding of the “pearl of great price”) are explained by the dispensationalist (after Dr. Scofield) as being (1) the salvation of the “lost” tribes of Israel and (2) the salvation of the Church–as being the “pearl of great price.” These conclusions are open to grave objection. The first gives natural Israel a special national interest in Christ, contrary to all the teaching of our Lord concerning “the kingdom of heaven.”
Dr. Scofield and his friends might have done better if they had followed the invaluable references given by our translators in the incomparable Authorized Version. It has always astonished us that Christians make so little use of these helps (which are abandoned in the much vaunted modern versions). The margin of the Authorized Version contains the answers to many Bible difficulties and well repays constant use. In the case of the parable of the hidden treasure, we are referred to Proverbs 2:4. “If thou seekest her (i.e., divine knowledge and wisdom) as silver and searchest for her as for HID TREASURES….”
Dr. Scofield says, “The seeking sinner does not buy, but forsakes, the world to win Christ. The sinner has nothing to sell, nor is Christ for sale….” Very plausible indeed, but again our Authorized Version references correct the plausibility by reminding us of Isaiah 55:1, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.” And Paul in Philippians 3:7-8, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, far whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that I may win Christ.” And Christ, in Revelation 3:18, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich….” In short, to buy, in the evangelical sense, is to repent and believe; and Scofield really had no excuse for so neglecting his Authorized Version.
The pearl of great price is unquestionably Christ, not the Church, as our Authorized Version references again testify, for in Proverbs 3 the text fits the parable even to the extent of turning the seeking soul into the “merchantman” seeking gems. Thus Proverbs 3:13-15, in which “wisdom” is the synonym for Christ: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”
Happy the man who engages in this divine traffic–this holy merchandise–this prudent buying and selling and gaining and enriching. Sad indeed that we have in Dr. Scofield’s notes, so many examples of merely casual and superficial interpreting, which has been the ruination of preaching for a century past.

The Timing of the Rapture! By Tony Warren

The Timing of the Rapture!
by Tony Warren
In many Christian circles there is a popular theological view which states that the Church must somehow be taken out of the world before the Great Tribulation period. Sadly this doctrine has become one of the most predominant views in the Church. This form of theology is the product of spurious dogma that over the years has been taught relentlessly. It is not supported by sound Biblical hermeneutics, but is constantly repeated so that now many Christians actually believe that the scriptures themselves say these things. Clearly they do not! Neither do they imply, nor allude to such things. In truth, this doctrine is a predisposed handling of certain scriptures which say other things, but which Theologians teach to indirectly support this doctrine. If you were to ask these people to give you the exact chapter and verse of scriptures which says that the Church will be taken out of the world before the Great Tribulation period, they couldn’t do it. For they are forced to provide other scriptures which they then allege implies it, even though they readily admit it doesn’t say it! i.e., it’s their own interpretation of the verses, not something that God has actually declared. However, the scriptures are not subject to private or personal interpretation. Interpretations belong to God (Gen. 40:8, 41:16). unfortunately, this very glaring lack of sound hermeneutics doesn’t deter those who choose to believe these type doctrines. The age old adage still applies:
“if you repeat an untruth enough times, many will begin to believe it simply by process of indoctrination, and will look upon it as their truths.”
-WiseManSay
This is how all false teachings start. If you say things enough times in a way which on the surface sounds reasonable, or which seems right in their own eyes (proverbs 12:15), there are always people who will believe it, no matter what the scripture actually says. There is not one Theologian who can give you a single solitary verse which actually says these things, nor which unambiguously alludes to them, but somehow to many this is not an important point. However, this is ignoring a most basic fundamental Biblical principle of sound exegesis. That which states that, “Man cannot of himself interpret God’s Word, the scriptures interpret scriptures.” Which means that we cannot of our own will personally interpret or assign meaning to scripture which God has not assigned to it. If God doesn’t say this in some part of the scriptures, or if there is no unambiguous scripture which supports this view, then it’s simply not God’s interpretation, it’s man’s own interpretation. Because as righteous Joseph declared, “it is not in me, interpretations belong to God -Gen 40:8, 41:16“. Unless God is talking to us through the burning Bush, or from the smoke on the Mountain, then His revelation is in His Holy Word, the Bible, and this is where the interpretation must be found. In the Word of God revealed by the Spirit of truth.
As a practical example, we cannot privately interpret Ezekiel’s wheel to be a flying automobile, or that the 7 candlesticks of revelation are 7 great volcanoes in Asia, or that the 10 horns of daniel as collection of utilities which help men put their shoes on. to do so would constitute making private (personal) interpretations. Interpretations belong to God, not Webster’s dictionary nor man’s own thoughts on a matter!
In this study we will take a careful look at this teaching to see if it is in any way in agreement with the rest of the Bible. Comparing scripture with scripture we shall see if it can possibly be true. If so, then it will be made manifest by the Spirit of God via the Word, and if not, that will be made known as well.
First of all, a brief recognition that there are some Christians who object to the use of the word Rapture. Generally they argue against it because it’s not a word that is found in the Bible, or because they have the idea that it pertains to premillennialism or dispensationalism. This is because so many of this Theological viewpoint use this word in their unbiblical doctrines. However, the word Rapture has nothing whatsoever to do with Premillennialism or Dispensationalism. Not only do I see no problem with using this word, I think it perfectly describes what is unquestionably scripture. We should understand that the word Rapture is derived from a Latin term meaning “caught away” and is merely used by Christians to avoid repetitive awkward quoting of an entire verse of scripture each time we reference an the event it describes. So let me be clear that when I use the word Rapture, I am simply speaking about nothing more and nothing less than what the scripture itself define as:
when the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and when the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we forever be with the Lord.
-1st Thess. 4:17 
This is our being caught up (Raptured) together to be with Christ in the air at His Coming. In order to avoid typing or repeating that whole verse every time we refer to this great event, we simplify it by calling this “The Rapture!” So when we use this word Rapture, know that 1st thessalonians chapter 4:17 is what we are referring to. ..Nothing more should be read into it.
The first obvious question about this belief that the Church must be removed before the Tribulation would be, “Why would God want to take the believers out of the world before the great tribulation?” The most common responses are,
  1. “because God does not want his believers to go through the horrendous Tribulation of that time”
  2. “He has not appointed the Church to wrath”
  3. “He has said He would keep us from the hour of temptation.”
Let’s be the faithful stewards and try/test these reasons by what the Word of God has to say. Does God say that He won’t let the believers go through any tribulation, whether Great or Small? The only Biblical answer is, No! It is an absolute fact that God nowhere in scripture says believers will not go through Great Tribulation. So we’ve established that Biblical fact right from the onset. God never “ever” uses that word tribulation to either say, imply, indicate, or even allude that we won’t go through it. On the contrary, when we search the scriptures (correct Biblical hermeneutics), and we examine the places where that word is used, and the event spoken of, we see believers are always there! And if believers are there, that means that the Church is there. Because they are one and the same. God tells us all through scripture that we “will have tribulation” in this world and we will have trial in this world, but we will overcome it because we are in Christ who is our strength. The Word declares “Plainly” that tribulation is in fact normal for the believer, not something that we fear or are expect to be taken out of the world from. Great Tribulation is simply more of what Christians normally have in the world. It’s the normal expectation. Many Theologians understand this truth about tribulation and believers, and so they attempt to make an artificial distinction by claiming:
“..Yes, True, but in this time, it will be different tribulation, and so God will be merciful and not let us go through that, for he is not going to beat up on His bride”.
As faithful Christians, the first obvious question is, Where is the scriptural support for the claim that God won’t allow His believers to go through Great tribulation? Moreover, where is scriptural support that this tribulation will be different (other than more or greater)? There is no scripture where God says, “I will let my Church go through tribulation, but not if I add the word Great to it?” That is a addendum by those who believe this in doctrine, but not prescribed by the Word. This is nothing more than the rationalizations required to justify believing this theory. There is not one scripture anywhere in which God tells us that He will not let the Church go through Great Tribulation! And the Word of God being our authority, we should not presume to say it either.
Something that we need to understand here is that this Greek word Great [megale] means large in size or big in dimension. For example as we would use it in a sentence like, “A great fire swept through Chicago“, or “the tribulation in New York was great“. It doesn’t mean a new kind of tribulation, it simply delineates there is a greater degree of tribulation.
The way some Theologians speak on this issue, you would think that there is going to be new ways invented to persecute Christians in this time. Not at all! Christians have been persecuted in every imaginable way, and had tribulations which are unthinkable, but God never took them out of the world to avoid it. Great tribulation is used to denote that the tribulation of this period will be more widespread, greater than it has ever been in history. Just as if we say, “Noah was in a Great flood“. It doesn’t denote there was a new kind of water or flood, it simply denotes that this flood was greater (more water) than all the rest! The flood waters were the same, there was simply “more” of it.
Likewise, that is how the word great is used to describe this period of tribulation. At this time Christ speaks about, there will be much more iniquity abounding and persecution of anyone holding to the truth of scripture. Thus, greater tribulation in the world than ever before. But nowhere does God say Christians won’t go through it. On the contrary, indeed the Church is the very ones who are in tribulation and persecuted for the cause of Christ. Just as they have been for centuries.
They have been burned at the stake, Stretched on the rack, Stoned to death, Sawn asunder, fed to the lions, crucified, tortured, and severely beaten. God didn’t rapture them because he didn’t want them to suffer in this world, He allowed it! Are we better than these who went before us that we won’t go through the same? Theologians say these things, but God says, “pick up your cross and follow Me“. God says, if they’ve done it to me, expect that they’ll do it to you, for we are not greater than He.
    John 15:20
  • “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also”.
These are the things God says, not, “..you poor Christians, I’ll not let you go through Great Tribulation“. That would be the exact opposite of what we see as normative for Christians all throughout scripture. Indeed it is through these persecutions that we learn humility and grow closer to the Lord! Our weakness in tribulation makes us aware of our lack of ability to overcome of ourselves. It highlights our inadequacies cause us to turn our hearts to God, from whence cometh our help. In trial and persecution we come to understand more fully our dependence upon God, to His Glory! Tribulation humbles us and is a blessing in disguise, compelling our dependence on Him. We don’t need to be taken out of the world, for Grace is more than adequate.
    2nd Corinthians 12:9-10
  • “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong”.
Paul understood this concept, for he knew that nothing this world could offer was a defeat. Stephen was dreadfully and brutally stoned to death, and God allowed it. Would Christians in the time of future Great tribulation be killed in a more horrible way, so that God couldn’t allow it? There is no scripture to support this. For that is not what is in view for this period. Tribulation in fact is normative for the believers. But don’t take my word for it,
    John 16:33
  • “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me, ye might have Peace, in the world ye shall have Tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We’ve all heard what these Theologians tell us about believers and tribulation, but here is what God Himself tells us about the matter. God didn’t promise us peace in the world. On the contrary, He promised us Peace with God, and war with the world. We shall have tribulation in this world, and Christ didn’t add a end note of, “unless it is Great tribulation!” That idea is a product of wishful thinking, sensationalism, and humanism.
The unsaved hate us and revile us and persecute us. God isn’t going to take us out of the world so we can have peace. As John 16:33 says, our Peace is in Christ and that is all we need! Yes, in the world we shall have tribulation, but He has overcome the world for us. That is precisely why “His Grace is sufficient.”
Note that whenever these Theologians allege that we won’t be in the great tribulation period, the verse they will give you as (supposed) Biblical support will never “ever” have this actual word Tribulation in it. Mark that down in indelible ink because it is a faithful truth! Whenever they explain about how we won’t go through the Tribulation, any verse they give to confirm this, will never actually have the word tribulation in it. ..Amazingly some do not find this curious that God would talk about saving us from the Tribulation, without ever using the word.
But we can readily discern why this is the case. It’s Because God never says we won’t go through the tribulation, “therefore” they can’t give you a verse where he uses the word. Think about that! They will give you a verse and tell you we should interpret it as the Great Tribulation period that Jesus spoke of, or they will give you a verse and tell you God “means” tribulation when He says this, but they can never give you a verse where the actual word is used. That’s no small caveat to brush aside. It’s a very telling fact when we consider wisely what this means. It means God didn’t actually say what they are alleging, they did! By contrast, I have given you an unambiguous verse, direct from scripture that says, “in the world you shall have tribulation.” And there was no exception to great tribulation.
Moreover, the very 24th chapter of Matthew which speaks of the Great Tribulation Period clearly illustrates that believers are both there, and they are being warned of Christ how to deal with it!
    Matthew 24:20-21
  • But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
  • For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”.
Christ is talking to the Church throughout this narrative, and he says “Pray ye” (indicating that the Church are still here during this Great tribulation period), and telling them that they are to flee to the mountains. How can Christ’s people (The Church) flee to the mountains if they are not here?
So who is right, God’s Word or these theologians? Will believers have tribulation in the world as God says, or will God take them all out of the world so they won’t have great tribulation? According to what scripture declares about this great tribulation and persecution, and the people who will be trying to deceive them (believers) at the time, they will be there. That indeed is why Christ is warning the Church here. So it comes down to the same age old question. Are we going to believe man’s tradition, or believe what God’s Word says?
The fact is, this tactic of making an artificial distinction between tribulation, and Great tribulation (as different persecution where God won’t allow us to be persecuted this way), does a great disservice to the great Christians who went before us. The logic is extremely flawed. Tribulation is tribulation. Whether great, or small it’s still the same thing. The word does not change, only the amount changes as a mathematical equation. In other words, the difference between Tribulation, and Great Tribulation, is the amount of it. It’s not a completely different thing, it’s been qualified! The rationalizing of this is a diversion from the contradictions and lack of biblical support manifested in this whole theory. It’s only different (as God’s description of it demonstrates), in that there is simply a greater amount of it. We can make it simple. We simply define Tribulation, then we define Great Tribulation.
Tribulation: 
  • a time of persecution, hatred, offences, revilings, betrayal, and affliction.
Great Tribulation: 
  • a time of great persecution, great hatred, great offences, great revilings, great betrayals, and great afflictions.
Where is the mystery? It is very simply a time when tribulation is multiplied greatly.
More than that, all we have to do is look where the Great Tribulation is spoken about in scripture and we see clearly that believers are still in the world. Unlike those who teach the theory of a pre-tribulation rapture, “we” can look at the places where the actual word Tribulation is found and get our understanding direct from these scriptures. That’s the way to come to real truth. By comparing scripture with scripture that we know what God says. For example, speaking of the Great Tribulation (and talking to believers) Jesus says:
    Matthew 24:9
  • “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake”
Sounds very consistent with what Jesus said before doesn’t it? In the world, ye shall have Tribulation. Note that these are Christians. i.e., People who are being afflicted for Christ’s name sake. Carefully note the language, “hated for the name of Christ!” It’s the Church who takes the name of Christ, we are the Christ-ians! It’s Christians who are hated because of the name of Christ. Not Non-Christians, but the body of Christ. The Church! In the literal, that verse says:
“..being hated by all the nations because of the name of Me!”
These believers are being hated because of the name of Christ. i.e., they are Christians. We are either with Christ or against Him, there is no in between. And those hated for Christ’s name are quite “obviously” here during this tribulation.
    Verse 13
  • “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be Saved.”
No one is going to be Saved but Christians. If there are those here who will endure this Great Tribulation for Christ name sake (Christians), and be Saved, then obviously the body of Christ is still on the earth when this is happening. As Paul asks in the Corinthians, “Is Christ Divided?” And the answer of course is, No! There is only one body who takes the name of Christ and that is the Church of Christ. And we see here that it is still here at this time, being persecuted, reviled, and hated, because of His name!
Moreover, if God doesn’t want his bride to go through this horrible tribulation, then what are these believers that Jesus is talking about doing going through the Great tribulation for Christ’s sake? It makes no sense because it is man’s private interpretation and not biblically validated. It’s man’s wrested or twisted Theology! God is not going to take His people out of the world because He doesn’t want them to go through this horrible tribulation, and then turn right around and have a whole other group of His people go through that very same Tribulation. That is just plain ridiculous! Unsound exegesis which is contradictory to all that God has written. God is not the author of confusion, man is.
    Verse 14
  • “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the End come!”
Who is this preaching the gospel to all nations if the Church has been taken out of the world? This is the Church’s job! That’s what Acts chapter one tells us is our commission! To be a witness unto all nations in the name of Christ. It’s one of the very last things Jesus told the Church before He ascended back to heaven,
    Acts 1:8
  • “..and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”
Now, if Matthew 24:14 is not the Church, are we to assume that the Church failed in it’s commission to do this? Perish the thought! No, they did not fail, because they are here in the tribulation and they are the ones doing the witnessing and being reviled and persecuted because of it. And when their testimony is finished, God says, “..and then shall the end come.” It’s totally consistent with verse 31 which declares, immediately “after” the tribulation Christ will return and gather the chosen. The gospel is preached “by the Church” to all the world, then there is a short period of Great tribulation as Satan is loosed (Rev. 20), and then the end will come. It only becomes clouded when Theologians go to the scriptures with preconceived ideas about a Pre-tribulation Rapture. Then they of necessity make God’s Word uncertain and confused so that their own word will appear to stand. But in order for the Church to be preaching the gospel to the whole world at this time, it has to be here in the world. There are not two separate bodies of Christ! Christ is not Divided!
    Matthew 24:21-23
  • “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
  • And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be Saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
  • Then if any man say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or there, believe it not.”
We are still here, and there are false prophets and false Christs’ abounding, trying to deceive us. And God warns us, follow them not! Don’t Believe them! So why would God warn the Church if the Church was not present at this time? Of course the truth is, He wouldn’t! He warns the Church not to be deceived because they are still here. They are those commanded to Watch!
If we were to listen to all the voices telling us that we would be taken out of the world before this Great Tribulation occurs, we’d have to ignore great blocks of scripture altogether. Not once or twice, but continually and consistently. But many seem to have no conscience in doing just that. It’s just amazing what man will believe without one shred of Biblical validation that it is true. And it’s because he is indoctrinated or just too dependent upon others to check it out in the scriptures for himself. How can someone say to the Church, Lo here is Christ, or lo there is Christ (trying to deceive them), if the Church isn’t even there? How could it almost deceive even the very chosen (elect) if that were possible, if the very chosen are not here? The Chosen are the believers, Chosen from the foundation of the world.
    1st Peter 2:9
  • “But ye are a Chosen generation, a royal Priesthood, an Holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praise of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”
Note the word Chosen there. It’s the exact same word as you read in Matthew chapter 24. Elect and Chosen are the exact same word. If you want God’s definition of the elect, read God’s Word rather than listen to the traditions of men. On the old testament side of the cross, the Old Testament Congregation primarily were the chosen, and on the New Testament side of the cross, the New Testament congregation are the Chosen! We are the Elect (Eph. 1:4, Romans 9:11) that the false Christs’ will be trying to deceive, but who they cannot deceive, because we are the Children of God who endure to the end. They will deceive the unfaithful of the Churches, but not the Elect.
Again, how is it that these Theologians say the Church is raptured, and yet no one on earth knows that Christ had come (secret rapture) and taken them? Are we to believe that Christ will come and gather the elect and no one will notice, or that they’ll notice, but go about their business as usual? That quite frankly is Ludicrous!
God says the rapture is with the Sound of a great trumpet and the Lord descending with a Shout and the voice of the Chief Messenger! Without conscience man teaches that, “No, Christ comes in secret (as a thief in the night) so the world doesn’t notice the Church is gone“. It’s not only unbiblical, it’s anti-biblical. The verses that speaks about Christ coming as a thief in the night is signifying how the unbelievers won’t expect anything until they see Christ in the air. It doesn’t mean they won’t see Him come and take the Church. In other words, it means the end catches them unawares! But this is just another example of how some Theologians use scripture carelessly and without mandate. He comes as a thief in the night to the unsaved because they’re not “Watching” as the believers are. But the true believers is not caught off guard like the unbelievers. He doesn’t come as a thief to us! And that contradicts this teaching. But again, don’t take my word for it..
    1st Thessalonians 5:2
  • “For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
    1st Thessalonians 5:4
  • “but ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a Thief.
It’s the “day of the Lord”, The Day of Judgment, and notice they are both here. The Church as well as the unrighteous. For the unsaved, that Day overtakes them as a thief in the night because they live in darkness they won’t see it coming. The judgment of God will come on them quickly as they are subject to the wrath of God. But notice God says that Day shall not overtake us as a thief. Why not? Because we are the Children of light. We see and we’re ready! As Jesus says in Matthew 24, we’re Watching! Read that chapter carefully. It’s one day, the day of Judgment, and the day of deliverance. That Day is the day of the Rapture of God’s Church, and of God’s wrath upon the wicked.
    1st Thessalonians 5:9
  • “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain Salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
That day will be a day of wrath for the unsaved, but we have been spared from it “by the blood of Christ”. We are not appointed to wrath and judgment in the lake of fire as the unsaved are. There is absolutely no question that this wrath of God is the judgment at the end of the world. We see all through scripture the same consistency.
    2nd Peter 3:10
  • “But the DAY of the Lord will come as a Thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
Does that (coming as a thief) sound like a secret coming to you?
…He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!
How do most of these Theologians get past all these verses which are contradictory to their doctrines? They usually “ignore” them or pretend that they aren’t there. Others attempt to explain that, “they don’t really mean exactly what they say“. Still others wrest the scriptures and twist them until they conform to their own ideas. But to the faithful it is clear that the coming as a thief in the night refers to Christ’s second advent at the “last” day, the end of the world. All of scripture uniformally confirm this.
    Matthew 24:29-30
  • “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
  • And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with Power and great glory.”
We see that immediately after the tribulation Christ will return (and verse 43 illustrates it’s as a thief and the unrighteous are not watching), and that is when the Chosen will be raptured. Curiously, many Theologians say that the rapture is when Christ comes as a thief in the night. However, when they get to Matthew 24 they claim that this chapter speaking of Him coming as a thief, is not the rapture? ..it becomes like Alice in wonderland getting curious-er and curious-er.
Matthew 24 says Christ will return, and verse 31 says, with the sound of a trumpet Christ will send his angels and gather the elect (remember God’s definition of the elect) from the four winds of heaven. We’ll all be gathered together in the air to be with the Lord. So here we have the Word of God telling us the rapture is after the Tribulation, and we have man telling us it is before. Nowhere does the Word of God say the rapture is before the Tribulation. On the contrary, it illustrates immediately after. I didn’t say it, God’s Word said that the Chosen were raised here immediately after the tribulation of those days. And it’s with the sound of the Trumpet, not in secret. Christ will appear on the clouds and send his angels to gather his chosen from the four winds. Written clearly there in Matthew 24:29-31. This is the rapture, and is exactly what’s spoken of again in,
    1st Thessalonians 4:16
  • “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a Shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Compare scripture with scripture, Matthew with 1st Thessalonians, and the picture is clear when and how the Rapture occurs. And again note, it is with a shout and sounding trumpet, not secret! To think that the Lord will take the Church out first (before tribulation) is to ignore both content and context of matthew 24. Scripture is in agreement only with “a last day” rapture.
Another telling passage is the parable of the tares. All parables are given by inspiration of God for our learning, and there is a valuable lesson in this one concerning how we will be left in this world.
The Parable (Matthew 13) is that there are wheat and tares sown in a field. The wheat is the believers and the tares are the unbelievers. The field is the world and the harvest is at the end of the world. That’s how God (not I) interprets the parable. So it was said, “Shall we take the tares out of the world so they won’t hurt the wheat“. God said No! He wanted the tares and the wheat to remain “together” in the field until the end of the world (Which He said is the harvest), and then the separation would occur. Note carefully, God didn’t say, I want to take the tares out so they won’t hurt the wheat, nor the wheat out of the world because He doesn’t want the tares to hurt them, He says leave them both there until the end of the world when the separation would occur. Clearly, without ambiguity, we see in this that both believer and unbeliever will remain in the world “together” until the end of the world. Then the tares will be burned in the Furnace, and the wheat gathered into God’s barn. This parable teaches us that the separation is at the end of the world, and not before.
One reason given by some Theologians for the belief that the Church won’t go through the tribulation period is based on a misinterpretation of verses such as:
    1st Thessalonians 5:9
  • “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain Salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Carefully note, the word Tribulation is never mentioned here (as usual), yet it is read “into” this verse by these Theologians. The most common teaching method is to read the verse quickly, and then declare, “..you see, the Lord has not appointed us to go through the wrath of the tribulation.
      ….Wait!   That’s Not what it says!
This is the slight of hand method of interpretation, or simply put, subterfuge. Frankly, it’s deceitful handling of the scriptures where people hope you listen to them, rather than read the actual text. It’s to make something appear to say things that it really doesn’t say. God has a perfectly good word translated tribulation and it is not the word “Wrath.” If God wanted to say He hath not appointed us to go through the wrath of the great tribulation, He most certainly would have said it. ..He didn’t! God doesn’t need man to add his private interpretations or additions to His Word.
It goes without saying that the Lord has not appointed the Church to wrath! But the wrath is the wrath of God’s final judgment for sin. When the unsaved stand before God, they will feel the wrath of God as they are Judged. That’s the wrath that we are not appointed to, not the tribulation period. They might have a leg to stand on if the verse indeed said, “we are not appointed to Tribulation,” but it doesn’t. And do you know why it doesn’t? Because God is not the author of confusion, and He’s already said that in the world we shall have Tribulation! Being appointed to wrath, and going through the tribulation are two entirely different things. For example, here is what is meant by the Church (believers) not appointed to the wrath of God.
    John 3:36
  • “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him.”
You see, this is the wrath of God that the Church is not appointed to. It’s the coming judgment of the unbeliever. Of course we are not appointed to this. But that does not say we are not appointed to go through the Tribulation. In fact, we can see this clearly explained right there in the very verses of Thessalonians that these Theologians use to try and support this theory.
    1st Thessalonians 1:9
  • “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
There we have solid Biblical proof that Christ has “Already” delivered us from the wrath to come by the cross. Because the wrath to come is the Judgment of God for our sins, not the Great Tribulation period. Christ didn’t go to the cross to deliver us from the tribulation period (in the world we shall have Tribulation), He went to deliver us from the wrath of God that would come upon us for our sins. And this verse shows that conclusively.
Another verse that is often used to make the claim that the Church won’t go through the tribulation, is Revelation 3:10. But once again note carefully (as usual) the word tribulation is “Nowhere” to be found in that verse. It is again “read into” the verse by those predisposed to do so.
 Revelation 3:10...the hour of temptation to come on the world
                                 /|\
                                  |
                 NOTE: Does Not Say Tribulation
They read this, and then they declare, “this is talking about the Great Tribulation Period!” But again, it says nothing about a Great Tribulation Period, and this verse applies to us all throughout time. It spoke to the Church in Philadelphia (over 2000 years ago) which has been faithful, and it says God will keep them from the hour of temptation. Was that Church in Philadelphia under any danger of going through the Great tribulation period? No, not at all, and yet this message was to them, as well as us! Because we keep the Word, we are all kept from the hour of trial or temptation, because God keeps us from falling in time of trial. But that in no way equates to the Church being “taken out of the world” to avoid any tribulation. This is where the problem lies. These theologians assume that the wording “kept from” means taken out of the World. It does not, it never has, and we can see this by comparing scripture with scripture.
First of all, the word temptation there is the Greek word [peirasmos], meaning “Trial or Testing” and is never translated Tribulation. They are two entirely different words. The word Tribulation is [thlipsis] meaning “Persecution or Affliction”, and is never translated temptation. We cannot simply take the word temptation or trial (which is used liberally throughout the scriptures) and make the claim that it is the Great Tribulation period. This would be personal interpretation, a sloppy and unsound handling of the scriptures. Temptations or trial “can” be by evil or deceivings, but that does not give licence to say that where this word is found, it means the Great Tribulation period. If that were true, we’d have all sorts of verses made ridiculous by the use of that word.
    Revelation 3:10
  • “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
Note again they use this verse an an attempt to prove that the Church is not here, and yet we see the language of the earth being “tried” and those who overcome in this time of trial being made a pillar in God’s Temple. He who overcomes is he who is in Christ. But their theory is that the Church isn’t even here during this temptation (trial) in order to be tried. It is confusion! By the context we know believers are obviously here, and where two believers are gathered together in Christ’s name, Christ is in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). I.e, that is the Church! So again, the bible illustrates that the Church is still here. They are the ones being “tried” to see if they will remain faithful in the face of the false teachings and Apostasy, and be a part of God’s Temple.
This message to the Church of Philadelphia (2000 years ago) was a promise to them, and it is a promise to the Church today as well. It’s a promise to all of us no matter if we lived at 33 A.D. or today. If we keep God’s Word, He will deliver us out of the hour of trial. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the hour of temptations today, yesterday, 500 years ago, or 1000 years ago. The promise remains un-abrogated. God promises to deliver the Church out of trial if they keep His word is the prayer we pray every day.
    Matthew 6:13
  • “And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the Kingdom”
The word Temptation there is the same word [peirasmos]. We are praying here for the same thing God is promising the believers in that Church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3. The Promise is that in trial, testing, or temptation (all are the same Greek Word), we’ll be delivered out of the temptation, out of the evil of judgment. We pray not to be taken “out of the world”, but that God will “deliver” us out of this temptation. In other words, bring us safely out of a time of temptation, or trial. In Contrast to the world, when the world is tried by evil, it falls headlong into it. It’s deceived by it like a bird snared in a trap, and it is not delivered out of it. Our prayer is that we will not be brought into this trap of temptation, but delivered out of it. The Lord’s prayer. That’s the temptation or trial that Revelation 3 says we are keep from the hour of. When the time of trial or tempting comes upon the world, the Lord’s prayer we pray is that, God will Keep us from it. Not from the world, but from the temptation in the world. And to be sure, “God will see to it..”
    1st Corinthians 10:13
  • “There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with that temptation also make a way to escape that you may be able to bear it.”
There it is again, the time of temptation (same word, peirasmos) that God will keep “The Church” from who keeps His Word patiently. Note that God says it will never be greater than we can bear. That’s an Important Point! There is No Temptation taken the Church which is Greater than we can bear, and that logically, Biblically and Rationally would include the temptation that is spoken of in revelation chapter 3. That is to say, if God’s Word is True! So why are these people talking about the temptation of Revelation 3 that is so bad and uncommon that we have to be taken out of the world to be kept from? ..Good Question! Look at that scripture above. It says, when the temptation comes, God provides a way of “Escape” out of it. That’s not what I said, that’s what God said! And notice carefully, it’s out of the temptation, but not out of the world. though it uses the word escape, it is clearly not from the world, but from snare of this evil. And that’s what Revelation is saying. He’ll keep us from the hour of temptation. He’ll make a way of escape out of it, but nowhere does it say, allude or imply that it will be by taking us out of the world!
Notice also the verse clearly says there isn’t “any” temptation taken the Church but is common to man. That’s nothing to be ignored as if it is insignificant in this issue. Consider what it says humbly and with understanding. God is telling us that there is,
“no temptation on this earth but that is common to man, and that He will with that temptation make a way for us to escape it”. 
And God further defines that “escape” as “being able to bear it!” So be not deceived by words like escape and kept from temptation. There is no temptation too great for the Church to bear that God will take it out of the world. God says there isn’t any temptation greater than that He will provide a way to escape “that” we’ll be able to bear it.
By contrast, the Pre-tribulation Rapture theorists claim, “look at revelation 3, it’s temptation so great, that the Lord will take His Church out of the world”. But God never said it, and it blatantly contradicts all that He has said. Because it is man’s humanistic logic and reasoning, and not God’s Word. We’re going to escape the hour of temptation all right, but it will be as God defines it, not man! God will provide that we shall endure (matt. 24:13) to the end. He will provide a way of escape, that we will be able to bear it. Jesus taught this lesson of endurance when He spoke of the parable of the sower, that the seeds that fell on rocky soil were those who would not endure?
    Luke 8:13
  • “…and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of Temptation fall away.”
This is the same word [peirasmos]. These are those who were not really Saved. These are those who hear the Word, but have no root in themselves (Christ is the Root), and so they are not kept by God to escape the hour or time of temptation or trial, and they fall away. They have no Saving faith to patiently keep the Word of God. But with true belief there is the keeping of God’s Word, and when the time of temptation comes (whenever it comes), there is a way of escape made, that we are able to “endure” or bear up under it. Whether this Church in Philadelphia, or our Church today, we are kept from the hour of temptation. Not plucked out of the world, but escape out of the temptations in the world. That’s what we just read in 1st Corinthians 10:13. And that is why revelation 3 says it’s “those who keep the Word of His patience.” That’s the key. Those who keep the Word patiently in the face of this temptation (testing) will endure. God will provide a way of escape, that we are able to endure in tribulation, or in Great Tribulation. AMEN! It’s not unlike what we read in:
    1st Samuel 26:24
  • “And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation”.
Does that verse mean that this was a prayer that God would take him out of the world? No, it’s a prayer that when all tribulation comes, God will make a way for him to escape it. Just like the verse we read in 1st Corinthians chapter 10. It’s the exact same principle.
If we are going to listen to what God says, we have to compare scripture with scripture in surrender to what it says, not what our teachers told us about this. In doing so, it becomes abundantly clear that God has promised to deliver us from the hour or [hora] time of temptation, by keeping us when we are tried. Not delivering us out of the world, but by keeping us in time of Trial that we do not fall. This is a fundamental principle of Christianity which seems to have gotten lost somewhere in these changing times. There is no reason to be delivered out of the world. We are here for a reason, and that reason is to spread the gospel, and that mission is not complete for us until the “Last” day. Our prayer is to “…bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. It is not to “..take us out of the world of temptation”. It’s not OUR prayer, and it’s not our Lord’s Prayer for us..
    John 17:15
  • “I pray Not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
I ask you plainly, how much clearer can it get? Christ’s prayer is not that we’ll be delivered from the world of evil, but kept from it. And just as kept from evil doesn’t mean we are delivered out of a world of evil, neither does kept from the hour of temptation mean we are delivered out of a world of temptation. We are tried by it! God knows what he wants for us, and He’s said it. But don’t take my word for it (Because you shouldn’t) Compare Revelation 3:11 with James 1:11 and see if we are delivered from the world in order to get the crown, or if we are delivered in time of trial “in” the world. Compare these things carefully, and let the Holy Spirit of God reveal truth.
    James:1:12
  • “Blessed is the man that endureth Temptation: for when he is Tried, he shall receive the Crown of Life, which the Lord hath promised to them that Love Him.”
Look at that Verse carefully It speaks of being tried, it speaks of being tried in the time of temptation. It speaks of being tried in time of temptation, and enduring! It speaks of those blessed who being tried in time of temptation and enduring, receive a crown of life. Compare that with the Revelation chapter 3 verse. That’s the same promise he has given here to the Church of Philadelphia, and to us, and to all who keep His Word patiently.
    Revelation 3:11
  • “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of Temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to Trythem that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy Crown.”
We will never fall or become apostate, we are safe that no man can take our crown as we endure (hold that fast) and keep the Word patiently. We endure the temptation when we are “tried,” and God promises the faithful of the Church Philadelphia from 2000 years ago, to now, he will keep them from this hour of trial and temptation that shall come upon all the world, if they keep the Word patiently.
Again note: God says, “Hold fast that no one takes their crown”. He’s talking to the Church there! If they were going to be taken out of the world at this time, no one could take their crown because they’d be in heaven in this time of temptation. So obviously, they are not taken out of the world, but are in the midst of those trying to take their crown by falsehoods and deception. Just like James clearly says, Blessed is he who “endures Temptation” for when He is tried he receives a crown of life. The crown is the Kingdom and everlasting Life. No question but that they are here and must endure that no one take the crown promised them who endure.
It continues: God says, Because you keep My word.. That’s what we’re trying to get across here. The Church is kept from temptation because they keep the Word of God’s patience, or in the Literal, “The Word of endurance of God.” In other words, to endure in the Word of God patiently. There is nothing here or anywhere else that says one single word about the Church being raptured before the tribulation. Just because this verse says, “Because we keep the word of God’s patience, God will keep us from the hour of temptation,” does not mean that we can arbitrarily re-interpret that to read, “We won’t go through the Great tribulation period.” God simply does not say that. ..Man does.
Yes, the Church will be raptured. But it will be the time that God says, not man. It will not be before the Great Tribulation, it will be immediately after. The Last day of the world is when Jesus will return. And as we saw in the parable of the tares, it will be to raise up both the Believers to everlasting life, and the unbelievers to judgment. The last day, not a minute before. But again, don’t take my word for it. Get it from the source:
    John 6:39
  • “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at The Last Day!
    John 6:40
  • “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the son and believeth on Him may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at The Last Day!
    John 6:44
  • “No man can come to Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him; and I will raise him up at The Last Day!
    John 6:54
  • “Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at The Last Day!
    John 11:24
  • “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at The Last Day!
And God makes it plain that not only the resurrection is on The last day, but also the Judgment of the unjust is also on the last day. This is totally consistent with sound biblical theology, and contradicted by Premillennial Pre-tribulation Rapture theories.
    John 12:48
  • “He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in The Last Day!
In a court of law, I think they’d call that an open and shut case. As we see above in the quotes, both the judgment, and the Resurrection will come on the very same “Last Day.” Not 7 years before the the last day, and not 7 years before the Word of the Lord will judge men, but God says they both occur at the same time. At the Last Day! Totally consistent with what God said about the wheat and the tares. Totally consistent with what God says in Matthew 24, about immediately after the tribulation. Totally consistent will all of scripture. Man can retort, “..but which Last day?” But God is not mocked!
Likewise, God says both the Resurrection and the Judgment is also at the “Last Trumpet”. uniformally consistent because it’s the truth of God’s Word rather than premillennial tradition.
    1st Corinthians 15:52
  • “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at The Last Trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Seriously, could God have made it any Clearer? And yet, the unrighteous take God’s clear scripture and twist it and turn it until it bears no resemblance to what God has actually said. I’ve had Theologians tell me, God really didn’t mean the last trumpet, He really meant “next to the last”. Why would they do this to scripture? The answer is, because God’s Word of this last trumpet being the Rapture conflicts with their tradition and man’s word that the Matthew 24 trumpet actually occurs “after” this rapture Trumpet! i.e., in their warped Theology, the rapture cannot be at the “last” trumpet because there is a trumpet in matthew 24 which they “claim” is not the rapture of the Church after the Great tribulation.
Frankly, what they are doing is tossing God’s Word behind their back, and seating their teachers as the authority of God. Their understanding of the Matthew 24 trumpet is that it takes place “after” the rapture trumpet in 1st Corinthians. And so (believe it or not), they actually claim the trumpet God said was the Last, is not really the last at all. In this, they deny God’s Word! And deceiving themselves, they wipe their mouths and protest, “..What evil hath we done?” It’s the age old story that began in the garden of Eden with the serpent’s question of “..hath God said?
If the Matthew 24:31 trumpet, is the last Trumpet (as Pre-Tribulation Rapture theorists rightly confess), then it is abundantly clear that both the rapture and the judgment is on the last day. For clearly 1st Cor. 15:52 tells us that the Rapture is at the “Last Trumpet.” That means, there “Cannot” be a trumpet after that one. And Matthew 24:29 clearly tells us this is immediately “after the Tribulation”. ..Case Closed right? Not for the indoctrinated! For they will not receive the love of the truth of God’s Word, but will wrest these scriptures in order to cling to the false teachings of man that the rapture is not at the Last Day, and the matthew 24 Last trumpet is after the Corinthians last trumpet. They cling to the tradition of their Church teachers as if it were their security blanket. But this Contradiction is self evident!
This is the difference between those who keep God’s Word faithfully, and those who have no conscience and will change the Word of God to fit their doctrines or theology. They condemn catholics for this error, and then drink from the same troth. They make their teachers the authority over God’s word, therefore anything that God says must be viewed in light of what their Church teaches, when it should be vice versa. Often that means that scripture must be manipulated in order to conform to their views. It’s a matter of the will of man verses surrender to the will of God. After all (they reason), their teachers can’t be wrong, so God must not have meant what He said. They’ve been taught that the trumpet in Matthew is the last one, and that the rapture has already taken place before this, so they will not receive the scriptures about the last trumpet in 1st Corinthians being the Rapture and the last trumpet. Oh, they won’t use the words “God is wrong,” but they in practice make that statement none-the-less. They do this by simply ignoring His Word about the Rapture at the last Trumpet! And when faithful Christians bear testimony to this obvious contradiction, they retort that this is merely “just their interpretation” and not what God said. Man’s Word that was taught them becomes more precious to them than God’s actual Word, evidenced by their holding onto it, instead of forsaking it for what God said.
Not one Christian can give you one scripture that says we won’t go through the tribulation. We can give scripture after scripture which says we will have tribulation in the world, and near the end there will be the Greatest Tribulation, and we will be right there in the midst of it. We have given scripture that shows that the wrath that we are not appointed to, has nothing to do with going through a certain period. It is God’s Wrath upon the unrighteous. His judgment for their sin. No scripture has been given to show the “last” day is not the last day. No scripture is given to show the “last” Trumpet, is the next to the last trumpet. No scripture has been given to show that the Wheat comes out of the field and the tares remain in the field for many years thereafter. So the question is, shall we believe the Words of the Bible, or the words of men. That’s always been the question, and how we answer it may determine our spiritual well being. Because it is a good indicator of just who our authority is. If the Word of God is your authority, then you serve God. If the word of man is your authority, then you serve man. But you cannot serve two masters. If we serve the lawless man (man forsaking God’s laws), it’s for sure that we’re not serving God, no matter what we call ourselves.
Dispensational Premillennialism is a popular doctrine in our day, and these people don’t take kindly to the witness against it. But it’s not a question of how many people will revile you, or call you a false prophet, or hate you, or gainsay. The only question worth anything here is, “is this truly what God says, or is it all man made?” Did it truly come from God’s Book, or is someone’s personal ideas and the manipulation of it? Did they use slight of hand, or did they quote from the scripture Word for Word? Is this doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture substantiated in scripture, or is it a house built upon straw and earth that will fall when tried by the Word? Remember this, “when your foundation is the Word of God, then you know you’ve built on something solid.” When your foundation is the word of men, you don’t know what you’ve got, and when the winds blow (Rev 7:1-2) you will find yourself where you don’t want to be. And it very well may not be as inconsequential as much of the Church might think.
…He that hath ears to hear let him hear.
You cannot be deceived by Satan if you keep the word of God. And you know the difference because one is verifiable in scripture, and the other is based on assumption, subjection, traditions, slight of hand, subterfuge, and private interpretation. Try or test your teachers! Because the unfaithful ones all have one thing in common. They never reconcile or consider “all” of scripture, because they can’t! For God’s word doesn’t contradict God’s Word. So they will Ignore one verse, in favor of their pet verse. I.e., ask them about one verse, and instead of answering you about that verse, they’ll write back, “what about this other verse..” You see, they won’t reconcile the two verses because they don’t really want the truth. They want to be justified! There is one thing we can know for sure, and that is that any two verses that “seem” to contradict each other, must be reconciled in order for us to come to truth. They’re both true, so let no teacher use one to make the other null and void! That’s the first rule of sound Biblical Hermeneutics. You cannot use one verse to nullify another. If you’re going to follow one verse, and throw the other out the window, then it’s a sure recipe for being Seduced/Deceived by Satan.
Many have, and will fall in the hour of temptation that tries the world because they refuse to receive the Love of truth. But by the strength of our merciful God, some will keep the Word of God patiently, and these are who God will Keep from the time of temptation (Trial), and no one will take their crown. They will escape out of temptations, for God has given them eyes to see it, ears to hear it, the strength to bear up under it, and the wisdom to escape it..
The Great Tribulation period will come upon the world, as judgment and a trial of our faith. And when things seem their darkest, the Lord will return on the clouds of Glory. Immediately after this Tribulation! And He will gather together His Elect Children of God, from among the tares, (one taken, the other left) and all the world shall behold His Glory. And the wicked shall be judged. All on one day, the Last day, at the Last Trumpet, immediately after the Tribulation. If we follow scripture carefully, there can be no question but that “The Timing of the Rapture” is at the Last day. At the second advent of the lord Jesus Christ!
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith
unto the Churches;…”

-Revelation 2:7
Peace,
Copyright ©1993 Tony Warren
For other studies free for the Receiving, Visit our web Site
The Mountain Retreat! http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/
————————-*—————————
Feel free to duplicate, display or distribute this publication to anyone who would like a copy, as long as the above copyright notice remains intact and there are no changes made to the article. This publication can be distributed only in it’s original form, unedited, and without cost.

Canons of the Synod of Dort

Getting Past the TULIP

Michael S. Horton

“Like Christ’s redeeming work, then, faith is not merely offered but is actually conferred, by sheer grace and without any obligation to grant it.”

Just as Luther’s followers preferred to be called “evangelicals” but were labeled “Lutherans” by Rome, around 1558 Lutherans coined the term “Calvinist” for those who held Calvin’s view of the Supper over against both Zwingli and Luther. Despite self-chosen labels such as “evangelical” and “Reformed” (preferred because the aim was always to reform the catholic church rather than start a new one), “Calvinism” unfortunately stuck as a popular nickname.

No Central Dogma

Contrary to popular misconception, Calvin did not in fact differ from the average Augustinian theologian, either in the substance or the importance of his doctrine of predestination. As for the content of the teaching, Calvin’s view of predestination was the traditional Augustinian view, affirmed even by Thomas Aquinas. Luther’s mentor, Johann von Staupitz, wrote a treatise (On Eternal Predestination) defending all of the doctrines known later as the “five points.” As for centrality in Calvin’s preaching, one looks in vain for predestination in his Geneva Catechism. Just as Luther’s strong defense of predestination in The Bondage of the Will was provoked by Erasmus’s Freedom of the Will, Calvin’s lengthy discussions of the subject were responses to critics. As important as predestination was in the thinking of the Reformers, it was not a central dogma from which all other doctrines were developed. In fact, the Belgic Confession devotes one long sentence (in English translation at least) to election, while its only mention in the Heidelberg Catechism is under “the holy catholic church” as “a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith.”

As we have seen in this issue, even what we know as the “five points of Calvinism” emerged as a response to internal challenges. Jacob Arminius (1560-1609) and his followers mounted a campaign against the Reformed consensus. The Arminian Articles of Remonstrance affirmed total depravity, but rejected unconditional election and particular redemption. The articles also made regeneration dependent on human decision and affirmed the possibility of losing salvation.

In response, the Reformed Church called the Synod of Dort (1618-19). Not only a national synod, it included representatives from the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and other Reformed bodies in Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and elsewhere. (Even the Patriarch of Constantinople, Cyril Lucaris, made the Canons of Dort part of the Orthodox Church’s confession, although he was assassinated and Orthodoxy subsequently condemned Calvinism.)

The result was a clear statement of Reformed unity on the doctrines of sin and grace, known as the Canons of the Synod of Dort—or the Five Articles against the Remonstrants. Each canon states the Reformed view positively and then repudiates the corresponding Arminian error. The Canons of Dort are part of the Reformed confession, and its substance was incorporated into the Westminster Confession and Catechisms in the mid-seventeenth century.

“TULIP”

The clever “TULIP” acronym (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance of the saints) seems to have first appeared early in the twentieth century in the United States, and its aptness can be challenged. Since the Reformed view teaches that Christ actually saved all for whom he died (rather than merely making salvation possible), “limited atonement” is not the best term. Furthermore, the Canons of Dort labor the point that our will is not coerced or forced, so “irresistible grace” is not as good as the traditional terms such as “effectual calling” and “regeneration.” But it’s hard to find a good flower for a more accurate acronym.

It’s always better to read a confession than to reduce it to a clever device. One finds in the Canons of Dort an abundant appeal to specific scriptural passages—not merely proof-texting, but demonstrating how dependent the argument itself is upon the passages selected. These five points do not summarize the whole teaching of Reformed theology, but they certainly are essential to its faith and practice.

Summarizing Dort
First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

All share in Adam’s guilt and corruption, and God would be just to leave all to perish in their sins. Nevertheless, God sent his Son to save all who believe and sends messengers with his gospel. That many do believe is credited solely to God’s grace in Christ and by his Spirit, through the gospel, in granting faith. Unbelievers have only themselves to blame. God decreed to grant faith from all eternity and in time actively softens the hearts of his elect and inclines them to trust in Christ, “while He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy.”

Election is unconditional, based only on God’s free mercy, not on anything in or foreseen in sinners. (Indeed, what would he have foreseen apart from his gift?) To this end, the Father “appointed [Christ] the Mediator and Head of the elect and the foundation of salvation,” and in due course calls, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies them. The elect are chosen out of the same mass of condemned sinners as the rest, out of sheer grace. So election and reprobation are free, but not arbitrary; those whom God chooses in his Son are as deserving of condemnation. This doctrine is not to encourage our “inquisitively prying into the secret and deep things of God,” much less a careless or carnal security, but to assure us of the certain foundation of God’s promise in the gospel. This truth should be explored by Scripture alone, “without vainly attempting to investigate the secret ways of the Most High (Acts 20:27; Rom. 11:33, 34; 12:3; Heb 6:17, 18).”

While the Triune God actively saves the elect, “others are passed by in the eternal decree,” left to their own misery. In this reprobation, God is simply acting as the just Judge who could have left all sinners to their own destruction. Weak believers should by no means struggle over whether they are reprobate but should receive the means of grace, “since a merciful God has promised that he will not quench the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed.” In Article 17 we read that since Scripture teaches “that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they together with the parents are comprehended, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14).”

Dort rejects the view that Scripture is silent or unclear on the question, much less that God’s electing grace is conditioned on our obedience or even faith, which itself is a gift. “For by this injurious error the pleasure of God and the merits of Christ are made of none effect, and men are drawn away by useless questions from the truth of gracious justification.” Also rejected is the Roman Catholic and Arminian belief that it is presumptuous to claim assurance of being elect, since all who trust in Christ are assured of their election.

Second Head of Doctrine: The Death of Christ and the Redemption of Men Thereby

The focus of this Head is on the efficacy of Christ’s work, which not only makes redemption possible but actually accomplishes it. According to these articles, God’s justice requires satisfaction. “Since, therefore, we are unable to make that satisfaction in our own persons, or to deliver ourselves from the wrath of God, He has been pleased of His infinite mercy to give His only begotten Son for our Surety, who was made sin, and became a curse for us and in our stead, that He might make satisfaction to divine justice on our behalf.” As God and human in one person, Christ alone is sufficient for all. His death “is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.” (This echoes a traditional medieval slogan: Christ’s death was “sufficient for the world, efficient for the elect alone.”) “Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Sufficient for all, the gospel is not just proclaimed to the elect (as if we knew who they were), but “to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously, and without distinction.”

Just as the Father chose many (not all) to be saved and calls these to his Son by his Spirit, justifying, renewing, and keeping them to the end, Scripture also declares that the purpose of Christ’s death was to save his people entrusted to him before the foundation of the world. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church, therefore, since it is anchored in election and its “foundation was laid in the blood of Christ.”

Consequently, the synod rejected the errors of those who teach that the Father sent the Son on no certain mission, but merely to make salvation possible for all, and “that it was not the purpose of the death of Christ that He should confirm the new covenant of grace through His blood, but only that He should acquire for the Father the mere right to establish with man such a covenant as he might please, whether of grace or of works.” This targeted especially the Arminian “moral government” theory, taught by Hugo Grotius, according to which Christ’s death was merely the basis on which God could offer salvation on easier terms than full satisfaction of his justice. Also rejected is the view “that Christ by His satisfaction merited neither salvation itself for anyone, nor faith,” but “only the authority…to deal again with man and to prescribe new conditions, as He might desire, obedience to which, however, depended on the free will of man.” This is merely to “bring again out of hell the Pelagian error.” To drive in the last nail against this Arminian (and Socinian) position, the synod repudiated those who deny that Christ actually merited justification and all saving blessings by his perfect obedience to the whole law, and who instead teach that “God, having revoked the demand of perfect obedience,” now “regards faith itself and the obedience of faith, although imperfect, as the perfect obedience of the law, and does esteem it worthy of the reward of eternal life through grace.” Also rejected is the view that Christ’s death only saves by our act of “appropriating it,” rather than by its own efficacy.

Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine: The Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof

Treating original sin and regeneration in the same chapter, the articles affirm that human beings were created good and that man fell “by his own free will,” corrupting his excellent gifts. We became like Adam not by imitation, but by inheriting his guilt and corruption. Conceived in sin, dead and helpless, we cannot regenerate ourselves or even dispose ourselves to reformation. There are still remnants of a natural knowledge of God and civic morality, but this never rises to true faith and righteousness.

[God’s law] reveals the greatness of sin, and more and more convinces man thereof, yet, as it neither points out a remedy nor imparts strength to extricate [us] from this misery, but, being weak through the flesh, leaves the transgressor under the curse, man cannot by this law obtain saving grace. What, therefore, neither the light of nature nor the law could do, that God performs by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the word or ministry of reconciliation; which is the glad tidings concerning the Messiah, by means whereof it has pleased God to save such as believe, as well under the Old as under the New Testament.

In converting sinners to Christ, God “not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them,” but also effectually regenerates his elect through that Word. Hence, regeneration is a spiritual resurrection from death. The will is not merely influenced by the Spirit and the pleadings of the gospel, but is liberated to unfailingly embrace Christ.

Like Christ’s redeeming work, then, faith is not merely offered but is actually conferred, by sheer grace and without any obligation to grant it. Nevertheless, this “grace of regeneration does not treat men as senseless stocks and blocks, nor take away their will and its properties, or do violence thereto; but it spiritually quickens, heals, corrects, and at the same time sweetly and powerfully bends it, that where carnal rebellion and resistance formerly prevailed, a ready and sincere spiritual obedience begins to reign; in which the true and spiritual restoration and freedom of our will consist.”

The Rejection of Errors points out that we are born dead in sin, not merely weak or sick. Also rejected is the idea that we can ascend from the use of common (natural) virtues—free will and inward graces to saving grace—and that God’s regenerating grace is merely “a gentle advising” or wooing that depends on our free choice, and not a spiritual resurrection. Finally, the synod rejected the belief “that grace and free will are partial causes which together work the beginning of conversion”—which is commonly identified as “synergism.”

Fifth Head of Doctrine: Perseverance of the Saints

All of the elect, redeemed by the Son and called to Christ by the Spirit, are kept to the end, even though “the daily sins of infirmity and blemishes cleave even to the best works of the saints.” This causes us not to despair but “to flee for refuge to Christ crucified” and from that safe place to mortification of our sins and vivification in Christ. No one could persevere in grace “if left to their own strength,” but salvation depends on God’s faithfulness from beginning to end. Even “enormous sins,” such as those exhibited by David and Peter, cannot overturn God’s electing, redeeming, and regenerating work in Christ—although they disturb the conscience and our sense of God’s favor. God never lets us go “so far as to lose the grace of adoption and forfeit the state of justification, or to commit the sin unto death or against the Holy Spirit.”

The foundation of this confidence is the Trinity, “since [the Father’s] counsel cannot be changed nor His promise fail; neither can the call according to His purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession, and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.”

Believers are assured of this salvation not by any private experience, but by the promise of the gospel to which the Spirit testifies inwardly. They indeed “struggle with various carnal doubts,” and temptations beat away at “this full assurance of faith and certainty of persevering. But God, who is the Father of all consolation, does not suffer them to be tempted above what they are able.” This certainty, grounded in God’s promise, above and beyond our experience, doesn’t lead to pride or carnal security but is “an incentive to the serious and constant practice of gratitude and good works.” The means by which God strengthens our confidence in Christ are the preaching of the gospel and the sacraments.

Rejected first is the error that this perseverance is “a condition of the new covenant,” dependent on our free will and obedience rather than “a fruit of election, or a gift of God gained by the death of Christ.” Also denied is the belief that God gives sufficient grace to persevere if only we cooperate with his grace, or that any of those regenerated and justified can lose their salvation or commit the unpardonable sin. The synod also rejected the view that the temporary “faith” of those who fall away (like the seed that falls on rocky soil) is the same as that true faith God gives to his elect. Finally, the canons reject the idea that anyone for whom Christ intercedes can be lost.

In its conclusion Dort faces squarely perennial caricatures. These doctrines of grace do not lead to license or to a view of an arbitrary deity. Dort denies “that in the same manner in which the election is the foundation and cause of faith and good works, reprobation is the cause of unbelief and impiety.” In fact, this “the Reformed Churches not only do not acknowledge, but even detest with their whole soul.”

The statement concludes with a caution to remain within the bounds of Scripture on these matters and a final prayer:

May Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, seated at the Father’s right hand, gives gifts to men, sanctify us in the truth; bring to the truth those who err; shut the mouths of the calumniators of sound doctrine, and endue the faithful ministers of his Word with the Spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all their discourses may tend to the glory of God, and the edification of those who hear them. Amen.

Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven LifeChristless ChristianityPeople and PlacePutting Amazing Back Into GraceThe Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: “Choosing Grace” Jan./Feb. 2012 Vol. 21 No. 1 Page number(s): 62-67

You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. We do not allow reposting an article in its entirety on the Internet. We request that you link to this article from your website. Any exceptions to the above must be explicitly approved by Modern Reformation ( webmaster@modernreformation.org).

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: This article originally appeared in the [insert current issue date] edition of Modern Reformation and is reprinted with permission. For more information about Modern Reformation, visit www.modernreformation.org or call (800) 890-7556. All rights reserved.