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ABOUT THIS BOOK

 

 

Pastor Faust has scoured the entire Bible to answer a question seldom asked or faced.  Will there be a judgment of believers at the Bema Seat of Christ as Paul points out in 2 Cor. Five?  He has come to the conclusion there will be a judgment and some will be rewarded with millennial blessings.  Others will be rejected.  He has also scoured the works of many devout Bible scholars and found that they have come to the same conclusion and provided us with their names, works and actual quotations to substantiate their views. Many pastors will reject this book for they do not expect their ministries to be tried.  They will not recommend the book, for so long they have pampered their members into continuing lethargy and laxity in Christian living. A few will awake and get ready for the Bema Seat.”

 

 

- Professor George W. Dollar, Ph.D., author of A History of fundamentalism in America.

 

 

In this day and age I see many people who claim to be born again, washed in the blood, and serving Jesus spending a great deal of their time living the way they want to because, after all, they are ‘once saved always saved’ etc.  I know that in its simple form the Bible says born again, and you cannot be unborn, therefore I know the Bible teaches the security of the believer.  It just so happens that my Southern Baptist denomination believes in the security of the believer, and I am proud of them.

 

 

I know at this point many of my brothers and sisters will feel I have left the bus, but I agree with the teaching that Brother Faust has brought to the surface, after it was left in the dust.  His book brings together what has been in the history of the church for years.

 

 

If this teaching is wrong, it could possibly bring some minor blips of argument.  But if on the other hand it is right, and I believe it is, then those who will be under the Rod will wish that they had read this book more closely.

 

 

In short, I believe if this truth is taught, God’s people will wake up and start living like Jesus wants them to live.  I for one will do everything I can to apply this truth to my life, my ministry, and with anyone who will listen.  I am reminded when the people of old in Scripture were building great buildings, the Word pointed out that the Word of God had been lost in the dust.  Only after this truth comes forth will we see real Revival.

 

 

Praise God for a young man like Brother Faust, who has brought us back to the roots of the true teachings of the Bible, even if it runs against ‘church’ tradition.  Notice the little c, real ‘Church’ history is what this book is pointing out to each of us.  My conclusion after searching the Bible with this book in hand is, God will not spare the Rod, and to do so would be contrary to His Holy nature.

 

 

- Dr. Wiley S. Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California; Author, Disney Boycott by Southern Baptist Convention; Vice President, Pastoral Congressional Prayer Conference; “A” Team leader, Presidential Prayer Team.

 

 

Joey Faust has done a remarkable job of researching a crucial doctrine for the church-rewards and their loss. Too many believers have, unfortunately, never been taught that [eternal] salvation is by grace, but that rewards are earned.  In this well researched book Joey reminds us of this doctrine and the pastors and theologians who have challenged believers throughout the centuries with these truths.  The truths of the judgment seat of Christ are often ignored, but in these pages we face the reality of rewards for winner believers and the loss for those who fail to live the Christian life.”

 

 

Pastor Robert Dean, Jr., ThM. M.A., Dallas Theological Seminary

 

 

The Rod: Will God Spare it? is not a fresh challenge to contemporary liberal theology, but a historical and Biblical approach to doctrine that is too often ignored.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God has been torn from too many Bibles by Christians that refuse the truth.  Yet the day is fast approaching [when] Christians will come face to face with the terror of the Lord.  Today’s Christianity tries to teach that all Christians will receive great reward just for the obedience of the cross.  That reward belongs to the one that was obedient, the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we come to Christ but go no further, we will stand in judgment before Him at the judgment seat of Christ.  It clearly states that the white raiment given to the bride of Christ is the righteousness of the saints - not the righteousness of Christ.  Too many have been lured into complacency and even sleep by liberal theology and believe heresies that there is no coming judgment for the Christian.  Yet judgment has always begun at the house of God.  Pastor Faust has presented a viewpoint well researched historically and supported with Scripture to show there is a coming judgment for [all] Christians.  Each and every one that names the name of Christ would do well to take heed of what has been written in Pastor Faust’s book and make themselves ready.”

 

 

- John Melancon, ThM, Missionary to Cortez, Colorado

 

 

Time does not permit the amount of study that it would require to agree to all of the conclusions of the book The Rod.. Will God Spare it? by Pastor Joey Faust.  However this well written and meticulously researched book will no doubt become one of the most controversial works in this generation.  If it does nothing else but to elevate the near forgotten doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ to a worldly church that has ‘no fear of God before their eyes,’ then it no doubt will serve an important purpose.”

 

 

- Dr. Greg Dixon, Pastor Emeritus Indianapolis Baptist Temple

 

 

Joey Faust clearly lays out Biblical truths which are so vital for an overcoming Christian life but which are not being taught in churches today.  As a result, people wrongly believe that these truths have never been taught in the church.  Faust not only lets the Bible speak for itself, but through an incredible amount of research, he also substantiates that these truths have been held and taught throughout church history.  The research in this book is without equal and an invaluable tool for setting the record straight so that Christians will not be walking blindly into the judgment seat of Christ.”

 

 

Pastor Donald W. Gilmour III, ThM., Dallas Theological Seminary

 

 

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FOREWORD

 

 

Before we get into the meat of this study, it is interesting to note that Charles H. Spurgeon had kind things to say about Robert Govett, whom Joey Faust often quotes.  While not making any public defence of kingdom-accountability, he felt that Robert Govett’s teaching “will be more appreciated by future generations than by this frivolous age.”  It is hard to define the present age as being less frivolous than Victorian England but even in these days the Holy Spirit is moving among God’s people to have a serious re-think about some Bible warnings that have not been popular.

 

 

The Rod: Will God Spare it? was not written to win a popularity contest.  Absorbing the truths written will often cause a ripping away of old ideas which have become iron-clad interpretations of scripture.  It is my prayer that a serious study of this book will help many Christians to fully understand that rewards for some [regenerate believers] means loss of rewards for others, and the result will be more overcoming Christian lives in this needy century.

 

 

I trust there will be those who are spiritual enough to desire the truth, astute enough to grasp the truth and brave enough to proclaim the truth.  Teachers must be warned, however, that these truths require a great deal of foundational teaching to be done so that Christians will be able to understand what Pastor Faust is saying.

 

 

One early criticism I received was that accountability teaching uses the same Scriptures and tactics as do those who do not believe in eternal security.  For this reason, I am glad that throughout the book, and especially in the early chapters, the truth of justification [by faith] and eternal life based only on the merit of Jesus Christ is emphasized.

 

 

Another brother thought the teaching sounded like Roman Catholic Purgatory, but Pastor Faust has dealt with this problem thoroughly.

 

 

Almost every Christian has some idea of the fact that he will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive rewards. Few Christians realize that “wood, hay and stubble” Christians will not only lose a reward, they may lose the glorious inheritance of millennial reign with Christ.  Pastor Faust introduces much scripture concerning this, and the book abounds in quotes from outstanding men of God.  Many Fundamental Bible teachers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century taught this.

 

 

It will no doubt be that some will shudder when they think of how dreadful the punishment might be because they have been taught that all the warning passages of the New Testament apply only to unbelievers.  They have, for instance, thought that the ten talent servant and the five talent servant were both Christians, but the one talent servant must be an unbeliever because of his punishment.  The Judgment Seat of Christ is coupled with “the terror of the Lord” in Second Corinthians 5, even though Scofield has helped us to classify the Hebrews 6 partakers (Gr: associates) of the Holy Ghost as unbelievers because “their end is to be burned.

 

 

Few studies have been able to accept such a Biblically-mandated punishment and still maintain the essential doctrine of the security of the believer.  Pastor Faust presents a solution, which may not be popular or ear-tickling, but is thoroughly grounded in Bible truth.

 

 

21st century Christianity should be thankful that God has raised up a man to write of these things.  You may not be able to grasp or believe all that is written, immediately, but you are asked to act like true Bereans, and search the Scriptures to see if these things be so.

 

 

Having heard these truths, you will be accosted by them at the Bema Judgment Seat (Luke 12: 47).  May we all be true overcomers and partake of the pure joy that will come to us and to our Saviour when He says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

 

 

- Dr. Bill Jackson, Founder and Director of Christians Evangelizing Catholics

 

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER 1       Page 1

 

THE ACCOUNTABILITY AWAKENING      Page 1

 

Awake in the Dark       Page 6

 

CHAPTER 2       Page 11

 

THE FOUNDATION       Page 11

 

The Antinomian Controversy        Page 12

 

CHAPTER 3       Page 19

 

TWO HISTORIC ERRORS        Page 19

 

The Importance of Assurance in Practical Sanctification        Page 25

 

CHAPTER 4       Page 29

 

POSITIVE REWARDS        Page 29

 

Duty as the Sole Motivation?        Page 30

 

Loving Gratitude as the Sole Motivation?        Page 32

 

A False Humility        Page 34

 

CHAPTER 5       Page 39

 

NEGATIVE REWARDS IN THIS LIFE

 

CHAPTER 6        Page 45

 

NEGATIVE REWARDS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT        Page 45

 

The Proper View of God        Page 47

 

The Principle of Chastisement        Page 51

 

CHAPTER 7       Page 57

 

MILLENNIAL COUNTERFEITS        Page 57

 

The Premillennial Truth        Page 59

 

The Amillennial Error        Page 60

 

The Postmillennial Error        Page 61

 

How the Lights Went Out       Page 62

 

Revelation 20 Does Not Refer to the Intermediate State        Page 63

 

Revelation 20 Does Not Refer to the New Birth        Page 64

 

Is the Kingdom of God Present or Future?        Page 65

 

CHAPTER 8       Page 71

 

THE CHRISTIAN’S DANGER OF KINGDOM EXCLUSION ........Page 71

 

Proof That the Kingdom Can Be Missed       Page 78

 

To Not Inherit Necessarily Implies to Not Enter        Page 81

 

CHAPTER 9        Page 87

 

A PROTESTANT PURGATORY?        Page 87

 

CHAPTER 10       Page 95

 

WHERE DO THE UNFAITHFUL CHRISTIANS Go?        Page 95

 

When Out is Down       Page 98

 

CHAPTER 11       Page 103

 

THE UNDERWORLD        Page 103

 

The Controversial Word ‘Hell’       Page 107

 

Hades, Gehenna and Tartarus        Page 108

 

CHAPTER12        Page 115

 

THE TEMPORARY ABODES OF THE DEAD        Page 115

 

The Lowest Hell        Page 116

 

Death and Hell Are Literal Places        Page 118

 

CHAPTER 13        Page 121

 

DEATH AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT        Page 121

 

The Same Warning in Romans        Page 130

 

CHAPTER 14      Page 135

 

TEMPORARY SOUL DEATH        Page 135

 

CHAPTER 15        Page 143

 

HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH        Page 143

 

Erroneous Interpretations of Revelation 2:11        Page 148

 

Not a Loss of Eternal Salvation        Page 152

 

CHAPTER 16        Page 155

 

TRIAL BY FIRE        Page 155

 

Hurt by Falling In       Page 162

 

Some Early Christian Testimonies Concerning Trial by Fire        Page 164

 

CHAPTER17        Page 169

 

TWO STAGES AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT        Page 169

 

Two Stages of Judgment        Page 171

 

Fire from Outer Space       Page 180

 

Falling from Heaven       Page 181

 

CHAPTER 18        Page 185

 

THE PRIZE OF THE FIRST RESURRECTION        Page 185

 

The First Resurrection to Immortality        Page 190

 

CHAPTER 19       Page 197

 

SAFEGUARDING LITERAL INTERPRETATION       Page 197

 

CHAPTER 20        Page 207

 

MILLENNIAL INCARCERATION        207

 

A Warning to Peter About Millennial Prison        Page 208

 

CHAPTER 21       Page 211

 

BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE       Page 211

 

CHAPTER 22         Page 217

 

THE UNQUENCHABLE FIRE       Page 217

 

Jonah in Hell “Forever”        Page 223

 

CHAPTER 23       Page 225

 

THE REWARD OF ETERNAL LIFE        Page 225

 

Another Possibility       Page 230

 

CHAPTER 24       Page 233

 

BELIEVERS SHOULD BELIEVE       Page 233

 

CHAPTER 25       Page 239

 

OBJECTIONS AND QUESTIONS ANSWERED        Page 239

 

Is This a Dreadful, Terrible Doctrine?        Page 240

 

How Good Does the Christian Have to Be?       Page 242

 

Isn’t It Wrong to Fear God?       Page 244

 

What About the Promises That Believers Will Not Be Condemned?       Page 247

 

What About 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17?       Page 249

 

What About 1 Corinthians 15: 51-58?       Page 257

 

Is This Legalism?       Page 263

 

Doesn’t the Old Testament Teach That the Kingdom is Endless?        Page 263

 

Do the Warnings Apply Solely to Jews or Tribulation Saints?        Page 265

 

What About the Popular Christians That Never Believed This Doctrine?       Page 276

 

Doesn't the Bible Teach That Our “Works” (and Not Our “Sins”) Will Be Judged?       Page 279

 

Doesn’t the Bible Teach That Every Man Shall Have Praise of God?       Page  280

 

If Paul Was Not Sure of Millennial Entrance, How Can Anyone Be Sure?      Page 281

 

What About James Chapter 2?       Page 282

 

How Can Christ;s Body Be Punished at the Judgment Seat and During the Millennium?       Page 283

 

How Can the Holy Spirit That Indwells Believers Be Present in Hell During the Millennium?       Page 283

 

Did Not Jesus Pay for Our Sins at Calvary?        Page 283

 

How Can a Person with a New Nature Be Punished at the Judgment Seat?        Page 284

 

How Do We Know If We Have Confessed Our Sins Enough?        Page 285

 

Many of the Warnings Cited Do Not Directly Mention the Judgment Seat of Christ       Page 286

 

Is This a Jehovah’s Witness or Seventh Day Adventist Teaching?        Page 286

 

Are Not the Warning Passages in the Gospels Tribulation, Second Coming Passages?       Page 286

 

Shouldn’t We Follow the Majority?        Page 287

 

CHAPTER 26       Page 289

 

ACCOUNTABILITY TRUTH IN HISTORY (PART 1)        Page 289

 

Selective-Resurrection at the Forefront of Premillennialism        Page 292

 

Dispensational Premillennialism        Page 300

 

CHAPTER  27       Page 303

 

ACCOUNTABILITY TRUTH IN HISTORY (PART 2)        Page 303

 

A Sample of Premillennialists Who Believed in Kingdom Exclusion and/or Corporal Chastisement at the Judgment Seat of Christ:        Page 305

 

Watchman Nee (1903-1972):        Page 305

 

A. Edwin Wilson (1901-1986):       Page 306

 

Albert George Tilney (1891-1976):        Page 307

 

0swald Jeffrey Smith (1889-1986):        Page 308

 

Robert Thomas Ketcham (1889-1978):        Page 310

 

Charles G.A. Gibson-Smith (1882-1949):        Page 311

 

Daniel Paul Rader (1878-1938):        Page 312

 

William Frederick Roadhouse (1875-1951):        Page 313

 

George Henry Lang (1874-1958):        Page 315

 

Robert Edward Neighbour (1872-1945):        Page 316

 

Samuel Fennell Hurnard (1871-1949):        Page 320

 

David Morrieson Panton (1870-1955):        Page 320

 

William Powell Clark (1864-1953):       Page 324

 

Frank Victor Mildred       Page 325

 

Mary Ardine:       Page 325

 

Jesse Sayer:       Page 326

 

H. S. Gallimore:       Page 326

 

William Henry Griffith Thomas (1861-1924):       Page 326

 

Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861-1927):        Page 328

 

Charles Spelman Utting (1859-1951):       Page 328

 

Philip Mauro (1859-1952):       Page 329

 

Thomas Mitchell Chalmers (1858-1937):       Page 331

 

Stephen Speers Craig (1855-1936?):       Page 331

 

Lt. Col. George Frederick Poynder (1851-1942):       Page 333

 

Dr. Alfred Taylor Schofield (1846-929):       Page 334

 

Henry William Fry:       Page 336

 

Isaac Massey Haldeman (1845-933):       Page 337

 

Alexander Patterson (1844-1912):        Page 338

 

Siegfried Abraham Goebel (b. 1844):       Page 339

 

Lt. Col. Joseph Sladen (1841-1930):        Page 339

 

George Hawkins Pember (1837-1910):       Page 341

 

J Hudson Taylor (1832-1905):       Page 343

 

Elijah Richardson Craven (1824-1908):        Page 344

 

Joseph Augustus Seiss (1823-1904):        Page 345

 

James Robinson Graves (1820-1893):       Page 347

 

Johannes Van Oosterzee (1817-1882):.       Page 349

 

Robert Govett (1813-1901):       Page 350

 

Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888):        Page 354

 

Robert Cleaver Chapman (1803-1902):        Page 355

 

William Nathaniel Tilson Marsh:        Page 357

 

William Burgh (1800-1866):       Page 358

 

Theodosia A. Powerscourt (1800-1836):       Page 360

 

CHAPTER 28    Page 363

 

ACCOUNTABILITY TRUTH IN HISTORY (PART 3)       Page 363

 

Anthony Norris Groves (1795-1853):

 

Joshua William Brooks (1790-1882):        Page 366

 

Thomas Newton (1703-1784):       Page 367

 

Charles Daubuz (1670-1740):       Page 368

 

RobertFleming. Jr. (1660-1716):       Page 369

 

Thomas Burnett (1635-1715):       Page 370

 

Henry More (1614-1687):       Page 371

 

Johann H. Alsted (1568-1638):        Page 371

 

Joseph Mede (1586-1638):        Page 272

 

James Usher (1580-1656):        Page 375

 

William Twiss (1575-1649):       Page 376

 

John Piscator (1546-1625):       Page 377

 

Tertullian (160-240):       Page 377

 

Barnabus (A.D. 100):       Page 378

 

Polycarp (69-155):       Page 379

 

Testimonies Concerning the Early Martyrs:       Page 380

 

CHAPTER 29 ........Page 385

 

BELIEVERS MUST CONFESS        Page 385

 

APPENDIX A        Page 389

 

EVERLASTING, FOREVER AND ETERNAL        Page 389

 

Quotes from Christian Scholars        Page 389

 

Examples in Scripture       Page 392

 

Everlasting” and “Forever” According to English and Bible Dictionaries        Page 393

 

Eternal” According to English Dictionaries        Page 396

 

Eternal” According to Bible Dictionaries        Page 397

 

APPENDIX B       Page 401

 

REFUTING UNIVERSALISM        Page 401

 

GLOSSARY        Page 405

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY, GENERAL INDEX AND SCRIPTURE INDEX        Pages 415-441

ARE NOT INCLUDED

 

 

[This book can be purchased from:]

 

Schoettle Publishing Co., Inc.

U.S. A.

 

First Printing 2002

2007 Edition

 

 

 

 

 

[Page 1]

Chapter 1

 

 

The Accountability Awakening

 

 

“The native magnitude of this [kingdom‑accountability] truth must speedily redeem it from all obscurity ... This doctrine so potently contends against the selfishness and laxity of believers in this latter day, that no one who considers the matter can expect that its career will be otherwise than stormy ... those who have the single eye will perceive its amplitude of evidence, and embrace it, in spite of the solemn awe of God which it produces, and the depth of our own personal responsibility which it discloses.”*

 

* Robert Govett, Entrance Into The Kingdom (Norwich: Fletcher and Sons, 1867; reprint, Hayesville: Schoettle, 2001), second Preface.

 

- Robert Govett (1813-1902)

 

 

“... a host of living expositors of Scripture [are embracing kingdom-accountability truth], a host which is increasing all the time.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn (London: Thynne & Co. LTD., July 1947).

 

- William P. Clark (1864-1953)

 

 

We are glad to be counted amongst the rapidly growing number of writers who are doing pioneer work in teaching the Scriptural, searching message of a deeper Personal Responsibility ... Forever suppressed these truths will not [Page 2] be - The Holy Ghost is pressing them even now upon believers everywhere.”*

 

* W.F. Roadhouse, Seeing The Revelation (Toronto: The Overcomer Publishers, 1936),15-16.

 

- W.F. Roadhouse (1875-1951)

 

 

“[Christians are] slowly waking to the immense importance of responsibility truth.*  It is tragic how many evangelicals abhor responsibility truth. ... What will such evangelicals feel when they discover the truth at the Judgment Seat of Christ?”**

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn (September 1947).

** D.M. Panton, The Dawn (March 1949).

 

- D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

 

 

The writers of the above quotes were premillennial fundamentalists who were strong defenders of eternal security.  These men also preached that disobedient Christians (who do not repent before they die) will be briefly punished at the judgment seat and then excluded from Christ’s future one-thousand year kingdom.  This book will document that multitudes of other fundamental Christian leaders throughout history embraced the same teaching.  These men were glad to see the powerful, motivating fires of this accountability truth beginning to glow among the saints.  Yet, these fires were later largely extinguished; the consequences have been devastating.  This precious accountability truth must be restored!

 

 

Believers who lack the full truth concerning their promises and warnings are in constant danger of becoming spiritually anaemic.  The Bible teaches that Noah moved with fear when he heard the holy warning about the impending flood (Hebrews 11: 7).  Saints in this perilous age also need the Lord’s warnings to keep them running in holiness:

 

 

The denial of these solemn truths paralyses and destroys some of the most powerful stimulants God has supplied ... it empties of all horror the dread [Page 3] warnings to the backslider, and leaves him, if it does not put him, in a drugged

sleep; and it drives privilege over the precipice of responsibility. ...”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Judgment Seat Of Christ (London: Chas. J. Thynne & Jarvis; reprint, Hayesville, N.C: Schoettle, 1984), 77.

 

- D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

 

 

The Bible exhorts Christians to race for the prize of reigning with Jesus in His future kingdom:

 

 

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

 

 

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

 

 

26 I therefore so run...

 

 

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a CASTAWAY.

 

 

The context of this Bible passage is winning a crown at the judgment seat.  What does it mean to be a “castaway” at the future judgment seat?  Paul is certainly not worried about losing salvation in eternity. However, many advocates of the Biblical doctrine of eternal security do not interpret such warnings in their fullness.  Paul is striving to have a place in the future kingdom of God.  This millennial (i.e. 1000 year) kingdom is a prize for suffering against sin, the world and the Devil:

 

 

2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

 

 

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

 

2 Thessalonians 1: 5 ... that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

 

 

Matthew 6: 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God ...

 

[Page 4

Colossians 3: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

 

 

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

 

 

25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

 

 

Galatians 5: 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which 1 tell you before, as 1 have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

 

The above Scriptures reveal that the future millennial kingdom is a reward for faithfulness.  All Christians will spend eternity with God.  This is the inheritance that every child of God will enjoy.  Yet, the millennial reign is a double portion.  It is the inheritance that firstborn sons will receive (Deuteronomy 21: 15-17, Romans 8: 29; Hebrews 12: 23).  This privileged position is only granted to those who suffer with Christ against sin and the world (Romans 8: 17, Acts 14: 22; 2 Thessalonians 1: 5, etc.).

 

 

Christians who will not seek the prize of the kingdom will be held accountable for their negligence.  While their brethren are enjoying a double portion of glory, the disobedient Christians will receive for the wrong which they have done (Colossians 3: 25).  Unfortunately, many modem Christians increasingly disparage the whole idea of such accountability.  They have been seduced by the blind world of humanism through the influence of agnostics, liberals and psychologists that continually drink from the cesspool of unbelief.  Einstein once stated that he could not understand how there could possibly be a God who would reward or punish his subjects!*  John S. Spong (a liberal Episcopal Bishop) likewise presumptuously mocks the teaching that God the Father will judge His saints.  To Spong, the Biblical doctrine [Page 5] of God keeping records in order to reward or punish on a future judgment day is similar to “Santa Claus.”**

 

* Peter A. Bucky and Alien G. Weakland, The Private Albert Einstein (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1992), 85-87.

** John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), 14.

 

 

God is not influenced by such humanism.  In true love, He will certainly reward and punish His [redeemed] children according to their deserts:

 

 

Proverbs 13: 24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

 

 

Hebrews 12: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth...

 

 

Revelation 3: 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

 

 

This chapter is only an introduction to the accountability truth taught in the Bible.  Many objections are answered in detail in future chapters.  This truth runs deeper than many realize.  Our rebellious emotions will clamour against it.  To grow in understanding concerning this motivating truth, we must diligently thirst for everything that God has to teach us concerning it:

 

 

Proverbs 2: 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

 

 

5 THEN shalt thou understand THE FEAR OF THE LORD...

 

 

Many will not understand the deep truth concerning the fear of the Lord because they do not desire to know it! Instead of diligently seeking the sobering accountability truths abundantly revealed in Scripture, many Christians actually flee them.  In the 1920’s, Williarn Powell Clark (Resident Magistrate) identified one reason for this increasing rebellion among God’s children:

 

[Page 6]

The real reason underlying the refusal of some dear children of God to accept belief in the punishment of unfruitful believers ‑ not eternal, but during the Millennial reign of Christ ‑ is an inadequate sense of the Justice of God.  Acceptance of the belief in the temporary punishment of such Christians during the Millennial reign safeguards the eternal merits of Christ’s atonement on the cross, and at the same time, preserves the absolute Justice of God.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn (Dec. 15, 1925).

 

Awake in the Dark

 

 

As for the black time to be expected ... God grant we may be of the number of those that suffer, that ... we may be raised and reign with Christ at his coming.”*

 

* The Works Of The Pious And Profoundly-Learned Joseph Mede (London: Printed by Roger Norton, 1672), 765.

 

- William Twiss (1575-1649)

 

 

God shake us up.  When Revival comes we shall see this [kingdom-accountability] truth again!*

 

* W.F. Roadhouse, Seeing The Revelation (Toronto: The Overcomer Publishers, 1936), 231.

 

- W. F. Roadhouse (1875-1951)

 

 

Many Christians throughout history expected a revival of accountability truth in the last days.  The world is growing increasingly hostile toward Biblical Christianity.  Earlier writers knew that these accountability truths would be beneficial in helping a remnant of God’s seeking people to face the temptations that will surely increase as the days grow darker (2 Timothy 3: 13):

 

 

“...the millennial crown and the first resurrection are a REWARD - the reward of suffering for and with Christ; as I have just said, a special glory and special hope over and above the redemption hope and glory, designed to comfort and support believers under persecution: a need and use which I have little doubt the church will before long be called on collectively to experience. ...”*

 

 

 

- William Burgh (1800-1866)

 

* William Burgh, The Apocalypse Unfulfilled (Dublin: Richard M. Tims, 1833), 225.

 

[Page 7]

The throne for the overcomers!  Is it possible?  Are they to share the throne of the Son of God?  We can see now why, as we pass through the closing days of the age, there must be such terrible conflict, and why the prince of darkness will challenge every child of God who wants to ‘overcome’. ... What is in the balance, therefore, for every believer in the present warfare with Satan, which must intensify as the age closes, is the millennial crown and throne. ...*

 

* Jessie Penn-Lewis, The Overcomer (Oct. 1934).

 

- Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861-1927)

 

 

Only now is this royal [accountability] truth emerging, and general coming persecution is likely to prove its powerful forcing-bed, for believers will see the Coming Age more clearly when they have lost this.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn, vol. 11, (1934-35).

 

- D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

 

 

Now, I do believe, there never was a time that this doctrine (the connection between reigning and suffering) would bear less to be overlooked, or required more to be brought forward. ...”*

 

* Robert Daly, Letters And Papers Of The Late Viscountess Powerscourt (London: G. Morrish), 144.

 

- Theodosia Powerscourt (1800-1836)

 

 

“...The expectation of a Millennium may then be the belief to which they will fly for refuge against the violence of the storm which assails them; and which will serve as an anchor, sure and steadfast to buoy upon and confirm their souls.  Whatsoever tends to weaken their confidence in this belief so far weakens and impairs the passive resources of the Church in the days of the great apostasy when she will want every resource that she can command.”*

 

* Edward Greswell, “The Millennium And Eternal Life,” The Dawn (Sept. 1932).

 

 

- Edward Greswell (1797-1869)

 

 

The truth concerning the future kingdom as a reward according to works will certainly revive in the tribulation period (Matthew 24: 14).  However, as we continue to see an increase in stage-setting and preliminary signs in these last days before the tribulation period, it is reasonable to expect that this [Page 8] kingdom-accountability truth will also begin to be revived before the rapture.

 

 

The renowned Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) also (though indirectly) predicted a revival of kingdom-accountability truth in latter times.  Robert Govett (1813-1901) was one of the foremost defenders of this motivating, sobering truth in the days of Spurgeon.  In response to the Downgrade Controversy, Spurgeon signed a premillennial doctrinal statement with men who shared many of Govett’s accountability views (i.e. G.D. Hooper, Fuller Gooch).  Govett stood boldly for the precious truth of eternal security; yet he refused to water-down the Biblical warnings to disobedient Christians.  He publicly defended his views in books and periodical debates, causing quite a stir.  In regard to Govett’s writings, C.H. Spurgeon predicted:

 

 

We only express our heart when we say that we venerate and admire this author and preacher, whose works will be more appreciated by future generations than by this frivolous age.”*

 

* Charles Spurgeon, The Sword and the Trowel (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1883), 512.

 

 

On another occasion, he predicted:

 

 

The day will come when the idols of the hour will perish, and the writings of such a man as R. Govett will be prized as the much fine gold.”*

 

* Charles Spurgeon, The Sword and the Trowel (1881), 480.

 

 

Such a day has arrived!  The accountability truths that Govett stood for (and so many other premillennial fundamentalists such as Pember, Panton, Craig, Tilney, Nee, etc.) are presently being revived in varying degrees throughout fundamentalist and conservative evangelical circles.  The rotten fruit of rebellion (that fully manifested itself in the 1950’s and 60’s) has ironically [Page 9] triggered a refreshing counter-reaction among a remnant of God’s people!  We desperately need to get back to the full teaching concerning the judgment seat of Christ.

 

 

The words of Ernest Baker are a fitting conclusion to this introductory chapter.  Baker (b. 1869) is best known for his book, The Revivals of the Bible (1906).  It is called the most comprehensive book ever written on the revivals in the Bible.*  Baker was a Baptist pastor in Cape Town, South Africa.  He was the editor of The Midnight Cry and The South African Baptist.  He writes:

 

* See http://www.revival-library.org/catalogues/biblical/baker/

 

 

How does Revival come?  It comes in many ways.  But one way I want to especially emphasize: And that is, that it comes by Truth that is preached with freshness ... whenever any new truth comes to light, or is recovered ... it displaces no truth. ... What I want to get at is this: Is there any truth not yet grasped, but yet plainly taught in God’s Word, that, if fearlessly and plainly preached, would bring quickening to the children of God, and set them on fire with a new zeal?  I believe there is. ... The truth awaiting to be taught, and which will set God’s people on fire, is that the Prize of our High Calling is a Share in the Millennial Reign with the Lord Jesus. ... This new light broke on me some three and a half years ago.  I began to preach it with both lip and pen.  But I found that many very good people and good workers were not prepared to hear ... that [our Lord] would for a time exclude a believer from a share in the Millennial glory, was something that should never be said.  The opposition I encountered made me go quietly for a time.  But I have been digging and digging into the Word, and I now know where I am, and am praying that never again may I allow the testimony of the Word to be quenched in me.  This truth is possessing and kindling me, and the conviction is growing that if this is fearlessly taught it will prove the truth that will stir believers out of their ease and smugness. ... Those who came out of Egypt with Moses came out by faith. ...’But with many of them God was not well pleased’. … God sware that they should not enter into His rest.  They were excluded from Canaan ... this is the danger facing the unfaithful believer; exclusion from God’s rest, God’s Canaan, the Millennial earth, the reign of 1,000 years.”*

 

* Ernest Baker, “A Gripping Truth For Today,” The Dawn (April 1925).

 

[Page 10]

May the Holy Spirit grant the seeking reader greater understanding concerning the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 15) and the word of the kingdom (Matthew 13:19-20)!

 

 

*       *       *

[Page 11]

 

Chapter 2

 

 

The Foundation

 

 

The sinner’s legal position must be set right before his moral position can be touched. ... The judicial must precede the moral ... the question of pardon must be settled before we proceed to others ... first peace, then holiness; peace as the FOUNDATION of holiness, even in the case of the chief of sinners.”*

 

* Horatius Bonar, God’s Way Of Holiness (Chicago: The Moody Press), 34-35.

 

 - Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

 

 

Was not the holiness of the first Protestants eminent and shining? and yet they generally put assurance in the definition of their faith.*

 

* Robert Traill, the younger, A Vindication Of The Protestant Doctrine Of Justification (1692).

 

- Robert Traill (1642-1716)

 

 

“...the Lord revealeth only to them the righteousness of himself given freely to the soul; if men have revealed to them some work of righteousness in themselves, as love to the brethren and the like, and hereupon they come to be assured they are in a good estate: this is not the assurance of faith, for faith has CHRIST revealed for the object. ...”*

 

 

 

- John Wheelwright (1592-1679)

 

* John Wheelwright, “A Sermon Preached At Boston In New England ... 1636,”  The Historical Magazine (April 1867).

 

[Page 12]

To fully grasp the motivating truth of reward according to works, the underlying Gospel of salvation must be clearly understood.  Jesus Christ is the foundation.  All who receive Him through faith will be saved in eternity:

 

 

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 

 

1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

 

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

 

 

The old hymn says it well:

 

 

“...I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand.”

 

 

Any teaching that confuses the superstructure with the foundation is erroneous.  It is Legalism.  True Legalism is seeking to gain [eternal] salvation assurance from good deeds instead of from trusting fully in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross (John 19:30, 1 Corinthians 3:11).

 

 

The Antinomian Controversy

 

 

Legalists apply all the warnings in the Bible that are addressed to Christians to false Christians.  They are ironically Antinomians (in a bad sense of the term) in regard to the judgment seat of Christ (i.e. they do not believe in literal, temporary punishment of believers at the judgment seat).  Yet, they must then live their whole lives in fear of one day proving to be only one of these false professors.  The warnings to Christians concern sins that many Christians [wilfully] commit.  The Legalist must therefore attempt to define how long a Christian can commit such sins (contrary to [Page 13] the warnings).  Assurance is easily compromised in such a system.  It actually becomes logically impossible.  This dreadful yoke of the Legalists is derived from the fact that they interpret such warnings as referring to absolute eternal damnation.  Since true Christians cannot lose [initial] salvation (John 6: 39, 1 Corinthians 3: 15), most Legalists are logically forced by their system of interpretation to apply such warnings to false professors.  Yet, this error removes the crucial “helmet of salvation” (i.e. [eternal] salvation assurance) from the head of Christian soldiers (Ephesians 6: 17).

 

 

To better understand modem Legalism, let us travel to an earlier age and examine a controversy that once raged in New England.  In seventeenth century New England, words such as “Antinomian” (i.e. one that is against the law) and “Anabaptist” were used as insults; to be branded with such titles was enough to bring condemnation before the magistrates.  Persecuted Christians in those days refused both titles.  Those unjustly labelled Antinomians argued that they did not deny a place for good works.  Those called Anabaptists denied they were really “re-baptizing” anyone since they did not regard infant sprinkling as a true baptism.  These early Christians, leaving all for a new land and a new life free from persecution, often experienced fining, whipping and banishment in the New World.  In those days, banishment to the wilderness often meant death.

 

 

In 1638, John Wheelwright (a fiery, premillennial preacher who founded Exeter, New Hampshire) was banished to the wilderness for his strong preaching against Legalists in the early Boston colony.  He was the brother-in-law of Anne Hutchinson.  She was also, shortly thereafter, banished for contending for his views. Wheelwright was accused of Antinomianism for teaching that a person should look only to what Christ has done on the Cross for his assurance of [eternal] salvation and not to his works or fruit.  Yet, he also preached holiness:

 

[Page 14]

“...let us have a care that we do show ourselves holy in all manner of good conversation ... both in private and in public, and in all our carriages and conversations, let us have a care to endeavour to be holy as the Lord is ... let us have a care that we give not occasion to others to say we are libertines, or Antinomians. …”*

 

* Ibid.

 

Wheelwright taught that disobedience in the Christian life could result in a temporary loss of privilege and fellowship with the Lord:

 

 

“...Christ cannot be wholly taken away firom us, yet may be taken away in some degree, therefore let us have a care to keep the Lord Jesus Christ ... we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ.”*

 

* Ibid.

 

In spite of his strong preaching on holiness and accountability, Wheelwright was wrongly accused of encouraging lasciviousness by his free grace doctrine.

 

 

Nevertheless, in his persecution, Wheelwright was in good company!  Roger Williams (who boldly contended for freedom of conscience) was banished by these same Puritans two years earlier.  (Anne Hutchinson’s sister converted Williams to Baptist beliefs.)  John Clarke (1609-1676) associated himself with Wheelwright and the Hutchinsons upon his arrival in New England in 1637.*  A physician by trade, he was also a pre-millennialist and a great defender of religious liberty.  Many hold Clarke to be “the father of American Baptists.”  When Anne Hutchinson was banished, Clarke led her persecuted party into the wilderness in search of a home where liberty of conscience could be exercised.**  In 1639, they founded Newport, Rhode Island.  Clarke [Page 15] became the minister of its first Baptist church.  He was later arrested and fined for his beliefs in 1651 when visiting Massachusetts again.  His friend, Obediah Holmes, was whipped unmercifully with a whip of three cords.  In this bloody scourging, Holmes conducted himself so valiantly and meekly that some spectators ran up to congratulate him to the dismay of the authorities!  Holmes testified before his persecutor:

 

* John Clarke, “Ill-Newes From New England,” in Colonial Baptists, ed. Edwin S. Gaustad (New York: Arno Press, 1980), 23.

** Selma R. Williams, Divine Rebel (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981)187. See also, The New Schaff‑Herzog Encyclopedia, Vol.III (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1909), 127.

 

 

Sir, I acknowledge only free grace...”*

 

* John Clarke, “Ill-Newes From New England,” in Colonial Baptists, ed. Edwin S. Gaustad, 53.

 

It can be seen from this brief history alone that Legalism and religious persecution indeed often go hand in hand as the Bible teaches (Galatians 4: 29).

 

 

After John Clarke fled into the wilderness with the banished so-called “Antinomians,” he later warned the Puritans that they would have to stand before Christ and receive judgment from Him for daring to persecute their fellow servants.  Based on Clarke’s words, there is no way one could have justly accused him of true Antinomianism.  Like Wheelwright, he taught reward according to works:

 

 

In the third place is declared the exceeding great countenance, and rich reward which this Lord will bestow upon a faithful servant that hath thus improved his Talent, when he shall have received the Kingdom, and shall return the rich reward appears in these, Enter in the joy of thy Lord, or have authority (in my Kingdom) over ten cities ... I testify that no servant of Christ Jesus hath any liberty, much less authority, from his Lord, to smite his fellow-servant ... That no servant hath such authority from his Lord to smite his fellows, doth plainly appear in that Parable Matt. 18:34, where it is said, The Lord was so wroth that he will have that wicked servant delivered to the tormentors, that did take his fellow by the throat; and him that fell to smiting his fellows in his Lord’s absence, Matt. 24: 51, it is said, The Lord shall come upon, in a day when he looked not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware [Page 16] of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”*

 

* John Clarke, “Ill-Newes From New England,” in Colonial Baptists, ed. Edwin S. Gaustad, 95-97.

 

One rarely hears such strong preaching to Christians in modern pulpits!

 

 

Centuries before these Baptists and separatists were persecuted, the great apostle Paul was likewise unjustly accused and slandered by his enemies:

 

 

Romans 3:8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

 

 

Paul was accused of teaching Antinomianism.  In regard to the good news of salvation in eternity by grace, it appears that the old words quoted by Traill (1642-1716) are ever true:

 

 

“... the fire is kindled.  So that it is come to that, as Mr. Christopher Fowler said, ‘that he that will not be Antichristian must be called an Antinomian.’”*

 

* Robert Traill, the younger, A Vindication Of The Protestant Doctrine Of Justification (1692).

 

Paul met his accusers head-on without diminishing or perverting the freeness of eternal salvation.  He preached grace and accountability:

 

 

Romans 6: 1  What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

 

 

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.

 

 

In regard to these inspired words of the apostle Paul, Robert Govett (1813-1901) observes:

 

[Page 17]

The doctrine of justification, not by our own good works, but by the righteousness of another in full perfection made over to us in grace, at once suggests the objection, ‘But that opens the door to all sorts of sin!’  The objection was made in Paul’s day; it is made in ours.  That shows that, in the doctrine of faith, we have a true view of what Paul himself held and taught.”*

 

* Robert Govett, Govett On Romans (London: 1891; reprint, Miami Springs: Conley & Schoettle, 1981), 179-180.

 

Paul did not condone lawlessness.  He preached strongly against walking in sin after salvation:

 

 

Titus 3: 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable unto men.

 

 

However, instead of diminishing the freeness of salvation (and compromising assurance) in an attempt to discourage Christians from a life of disobedience, Paul preached the full truth concerning reward according to works:

 

 

Colossians 3: 23  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

 

 

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

 

 

25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

 

 

Although disobedient believers (who do not repent) can experience punishment and loss, the foundation of eternal salvation remains secure (1 Corinthians 3: 12-15):

 

 

How firm a FOUNDATION,

Ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith

In His excellent Word!

 

 

- Author Unknown

 

 

*       *       *

 

[ Page 18 blank: Page 19]

Chapter 3

 

 

Two Historic Errors

 

 

The two schools of thought [Calvinism and Arminianism], both composed of deeply spiritual saints, has run riot for many years.  Each school is antagonistic to the other; each claims to found its contentions on Scripture ... Frankly, we feel that both schools have failed to catch the Holy Spirit’s message…”*

 

* Neighbour, If They Shall Fall Away (Cleveland: Union Gospel Press, 1940’s; reprint, Miami Springs: Conley & Schoettle, 1984), Introduction

 

- R. E. Neighbour (1872‑1945)

 

 

It has surely been a lamentably successful wile of the enemy of truth to persuade Christians to hurl these classes of passages at one another from opposing camps, instead of them being seen as complementary and in full harmony with the facts concerning both God and man.”*

 

*The Dawn (August 1944), 677

 

 

- G.H. Lang (1874-1958)

 

 

The fact is that only when opposing Scriptures have been joined and balanced do we find the truth…”*

 

* The Dawn (August 1944), 677.

 

- D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

 

[Page 20]

 

Many wrongly interpret the many warnings to Christians in the Bible to teach that God’s true children can ultimately lose salvation in eternity.  This view has traditionally been referred to as Arminianism.  To counter this claim, many attempt to argue that the warnings are not really addressed to true Christians.  This is the doctrine usually taught by the Hyper-Calvinist or Reformed advocates.

 

 

Unfortunately, both views miss the mark.  The first view raises the entire foundation and makes [eternal] salvation dependent on works.  It obscures the salvation message for the lost and steals precious salvation assurance from multitudes of those already born again.  The second view is forced to likewise turn [this] salvation into a mere hope.  Under this system, salvation assurance is obtained ultimately only through endlessly attempting to somehow prove through works that one is saved.  According to this view, if a person is continuing in sin, he is not a real Christian.  Ironically, since there is no objective standard for what continuing in sin absolutely means (i.e. exactly how long), this often results in a certain degree of lawlessness, leaving professed Christians without accountability and without anything to really fear (Jude 1: 4)!  The truly humble will doubt they have enough fruit to qualify; the prideful will be inclined to rest self-assured (Luke 18: 12, Romans 10: 3).

 

 

Standing between these two extremes is found the sublime truth that is able to unify all the Scriptures addressed to Christians.  When rightly interpreted in the light of this truth, the warning passages to the saints are seen to be parental in nature.  God is simply warning His children about the bitter rod of discipline that they are in danger of receiving if they do not behave and do as He commands.  The fact that these warnings might appear to be extreme is no argument against their application to real Christians.  There is a considerable margin between actually losing salvation and not being punished at all.  Therefore, there is plenty [Page 21] of room to apply the warnings at face value without teaching a loss of eternal salvation.

 

 

There have been many Calvinists and Arminians who have momentarily caught glimpses of the truth in the middle of the two extremes.  Ironically, James Arminius himself (of whom conditional security is named) almost stumbled onto the truth.  He wrote:

 

 

 I here openly and ingenuously affirm, I never taught that a true believer can, either totally or finally fall away from the faith, and perish; yet I will not conceal, that there are passages of scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect; and those answers to them which I have been permitted to see, are not of such a kind as to approve themselves on all points to my understanding.  On the other hand, certain passages are produced for the contrary doctrine which are worthy of much consideration.”*

 

* The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1, 664-667 [book on-line]; available from Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin College, http://www.ccel.org; Internet.

 

 

The answer lies between the two errors.  The warnings are literal and real; yet, they do not threaten a loss of eternal salvation.  These warnings will be examined in detail in later chapters.

 

 

The Reality of the Carnal Christian

 

 

This truth of Christian accountability is the golden mean between prodigal lawlessness on one side, and a Romish hope of salvation through fruitbearing on the other.  It can only rest upon the holy foundation of salvation by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ:

 

 

1 Corinthians 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

 

 

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

 

[Page 22]

It can be seen from 1 Corinthians 3: 15 that if a Christian accomplishes nothing at all worthy of reward in his life (the highest degree of unfruitfulness that can possibly be imagined) he is still ultimately saved.  He will “suffer loss” for his irresponsible stewardship; but God will not take His lovingkindness from His child (Psalms 89: 30-33).  Salvation in eternity cannot be lost (John 6: 39-40).

 

 

It can also be seen from 1 Corinthians 3: 15 that it is an error to teach that there is no such thing as a carnal Christian.  The sad reality of carnal believers is also taught in 2 Timothy:

 

 

2 Timothy 2: 20  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

 

 

21  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

 

 

In general, there are two types of Christians.  There are many other Scriptures that demonstrate that true saints may walk in such a way as to be absolutely unworthy of reward in all that they do (Titus 3: 14, 1 Peter 4: 15, 1 John 2: 28, etc.).

 

 

If Hyper-Calvinists will not blame God for their own sins, then they must confess that they freely choose to rebel against Him at times.  If they can choose to rebel against Him, then they can choose to rebel against Him enough to merit the punishments of which the Bible warns!

 

 

Christians are to watch to make sure they do not fail of the gracious, sanctifying power of God in their lives. They are to strive to walk in all its fullness:

 

[Page 23]

Hebrews 12: 15  Looking diligently lest any man FAIL of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

 

 

16  Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

 

 

The Bible teaches that believers can receive the sanctifying grace of God (in regard to the Christian walk) “in vain” (Psalms 78: 41, 1 Corinthians 15: 10, 2 Corinthians 6: 1, 2 Timothy 2: 1).  If a Christian can resist sanctifying grace once, he can resist it twice.  A Christian may stay in a state of rebellion and refuse to repent to his own hurt.  To do so would not be wise or comfortable; and it certainly should not be the norm!  Yet, it is possible:

 

 

2 Corinthians 12:20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

 

 

21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

 

 

Who is Paul addressing (the “you”) in these verses?  The answer is given at the start of the same Epistle:

 

 

2 Corinthians 1: 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

 

 

2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

Paul is addressing true saints, the children of God; he considers it possible for real Christians to fall into great sins and not repent.  The same sad reality may be gleaned elsewhere in 1 Corinthians:

 

 

1 Corinthians 1: 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

 

[Page 24]

2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

 

 

3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

Again, these Corinthians are said to be children of God “our Father.”  They are “sanctified.”  This must refer to positional sanctification (i.e. the forgiveness of sins that makes one a Christian) since we learn later in the same Epistle that the Corinthians are not walking sanctified.  Instead, they are walking just like the lost:

 

 

1 Corinthians 3: 1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

 

 

2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

 

 

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

 

 

1 Corinthians 6: 7  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

 

 

8  Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

 

 

Many point to the fact that Paul teaches that the Christian is a “new creature.”  They interpret this to mean that no Christian can walk the way he or she did before salvation:

 

 

2 Corinthians 5: 17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

 

This verse refers to position and provision; it is not absolute in regard to practice.  It would be nice if all saints were like the holy Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1: 7, 9, 10). This should be the normal state of the Christian. However, unfortunately, this is not always the case (Revelation 3: 1-3, etc.).  Positionally, every Christian is washed and perfectly sanctified in Christ.  Provisionally, every Christian [if indwelt with the Holy Spirit (Acts 5: 32)] has the power of a new man available.  Jesus [Page 25] has purchased all the good works needed for the saint to “put on” as a child of God.  Jesus has not only paid for the adoption, He has paid for the fine clothes to wear in the household of God.  Christians have the indwelling Spirit convicting them of sin.  There is therefore no excuse for any Christian to live a defeated life!  This is the reason the warnings addressed to such Christians are so severe.

 

 

The Importance of Assurance in Practical Sanctification

 

 

If a person does not have absolute assurance that he is saved, he cannot have absolute assurance that the Holy Spirit is positionally dwelling within him.  If he does not know for sure that he possesses the Holy Spirit, he cannot know for sure that he possesses the power to truly please God and fight sin as a Christian:

 

 

Romans 6: 11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

 

12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

 

 

Lost people are not “dead indeed unto sin.”  Positionally they are “dead in sin” (Ephesians 2: 1).  Therefore, absolute assurance of salvation is a prerequisite to Christian maturity.  A person cannot absolutely “reckon” himself to be “dead unto sin” (i.e. possessing the power to overcome it) if he is using his abstinence from sin as a proof he is “dead unto sin” in the first place!  Notice how Paul argues contrary to the illogical doublespeak of both the Hyper-Calvinist and Arminian systems:

 

 

1 Corinthians 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

 

 

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

 

[Page 26]

1 Corinthians 6: 15  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?  God forbid.

 

 

18 Flee fornication, Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

 

 

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

 

 

Paul does not argue backwards like many theologians.  He does not tell the Corinthian saints to look at their works to see if they are temples of the Holy Ghost.  He instead argues that since they are temples of the Holy Ghost, they had better not fornicate or defile their holy temples!  Unbelievers are not temples of the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 6: 14-16).  Contrary to the teaching of the apostle Paul, both the Hyper-Calvinist and Arminian doctrines leave believers with no absolute assurance the Holy Spirit indwells them positionally. How can they?  Without an absolute knowledge of where the line is for losing salvation or the point of disobedience that constitutes continuing in sin, there is no way to know for sure whether or not one is still or in reality a child of God.

 

 

Even if one presumptuously professed to know such standards, the Bible warns against arriving at absolute assurance based on fruitbearing (see Psalms 139: 23-24):

 

 

1 Corinthians 4: 4  For I know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

 

 

1 Corinthians 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

 

 

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

 

 

Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 is telling Christians not to be too confident that they are practically standing in God’s approval.  This has to do with sanctification in the Christian walk, not salvation [Page 27] in eternity.  Christians are to continually examine themselves to gain confidence that they are walking a life of manifested faith (1 John 3: 21, 2 Corinthians 13: 5).  This faith has to do with the judgment seat of Christ and the great doctrine of reward. Every Christian is therefore warned against absolute assurance in regard to reward.  However, it is assumed that every Christian possesses absolute assurance in regard to eternal salvation, since [that] salvation in eternity is not given through works but by grace through faith alone.

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 28 blank; Page 29]

Chapter 4

 

 

Positive Rewards

 

 

Now what an unreasonable conceit is it to think that where wages is promised for the encouragement of the labourer, the labourer should be bound to work without having any eye or respect to his wages?”*

 

* The Works Of The Pious And Profoundly-Learned Joseph Mede, 85.

 

- Joseph Mede (1586-1638)

 

 

“… the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward...”*

 

* Albert Einstein in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215; from Alice Cataprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000), 216.

 

-  Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 

 

Some little time ago I was turning over the pages of the New Testament, and looking up this subject of the Christian’s rewards, and I was perfectly amazed to see how many times the subject was mentioned.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn (Nov. 14, 1925).

 

- Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918)

 

[Page 30]

Once a person is saved and anchored in Jesus Christ with true assurance, it is time to learn about the important subject of rewards.  Holy works and sacrifices should have reward as one of the primary motives:

 

 

Ephesians 6: 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

 

 

The “knowing” in the above Scripture is a command, not a flippant suggestion.  Christians are to do service to God knowing that He rewards every holy sacrifice.  Christians are therefore to have a mind that hopes in confident expectation of God’s mercy and goodness in all their good deeds.

 

 

Duty as the Sole Motivation?

 

 

Some Christians claim that it is not proper to obey God for any other motive than the fact that it is our duty to do so.  It is indeed the duty of every believer to obey God:

 

 

Ecclesiastes 12: 13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

 

 

Serving God out of a sense of duty is compatible with seeking reward from God.  It is our duty to seek holy rewards from our Lord.  It was the agnostic philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) that taught that it is wrong to obey the dictates of conscience for any other motive than duty.  Pantheists such as Spinoza and Starhawk (i.e. New Age’s outspoken witch) likewise vilify the Biblical concept of reward.  Christians who reason in the same manner obviously think that it is somehow virtuous or dutiful to disobey God’s commandments concerning how to perform our duty!  What is the duty of every child of God?  Is it to serve God with no hope of reward as Kant teaches?  The Bible teaches that Kant and the pantheists are in error.  It is therefore [Page 31] the duty of every Christian to reject their view in regard to the matter:

 

 

Colossians 3: 23  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

 

 

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

 

 

No Christian is properly performing his duty while he is at the same time disobeying the inspired apostle in regard to it!  Christians are to serve God “knowing” that the Lord will more than repay any sacrifice.

 

 

As we seek rewards from the Lord, we are called to understand that we will be rewarded in the strictest sense, only out of God’s mercy and grace:

 

 

“... it is true, the merits and satisfaction of Christ are the foundation of our reward, namely, that alone which makes our works capable thereof, without which they were not: nevertheless it is true also that our works are the subject of reward; and the same merit of Christ makes differing works capable of a different reward.”*

 

* The Works Of The Pious And Profoundly-Learned Joseph Mede, 85.

 

- Joseph Mede (1586-1638)

 

 

Along this line, Hugh McNeile (1795-1879) has wisely stated:

 

 

You will observe, my brethren, that in every case the reward is proclaimed to be a gift, not a debt; a free grant, a gracious promise from God.  It is a fundamental principle of sound reason, no less than the authoritative declaration of holy Scripture, that no creature can have merit, properly so called: that no creature can make God his debtor, on the ground of retributive justice, for what has he, that he has not received? ... even when perfectly obedient, is he not still an unprofitable servant? ... But God can make Himself His own debtor, by uttering a promise.  He has spoken. ... And now, if God were not to reward works of faith, and love, and hope; it would be unrighteous in Him, not because they deserve, but because He hath promised; not because there is a [Page 32] title in them, because there is truth in Him. ... Faithful is He who promised, who also will do!...”*

 

* Rev. Hugh McNeile, Sermons On The Second Advent Of The Lord Jesus Christ (1842).

 

Christians that receive crowns to reign with Christ will acknowledge that the Lord is abundantly merciful.

 

 

Loving Gratitude as the Sole Motivation?

 

 

It is certainly the duty of every Christian to express loving gratitude to God and Christ (Luke 7: 47).  However, notice the following Bible verses:

 

 

Ephesians 5: 2  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.

 

 

5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

 

 

How can the motivation of loving gratitude be reconciled with the motivation of not losing inheritance in the future kingdom?  It is simple.  Jesus told His disciples, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14: 15).  And Christ commanded His disciples to seek rewards:

 

 

Matthew 6: 1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

 

 

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

 

 

33 But SEEK ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

 

This is why Paul could put hoping for the reward of the [millennial] kingdom in the same context as striving to please the Lord in love.  The rest of the New Testament echoes with this same teaching:

 

[Page 33]

Hebrews 11: 6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a REWARDER of them that diligently seek him.

 

 

Notice again that both motivations are seen knit together in the preceding verse.  It is impossible to please God without an eye on His rewards:

 

 

“... It may sound pious for someone to say: ‘I am not interested in rewards!  I serve God out of love and gratitude alone!’  But such a person is claiming to be more loftily motivated than even the apostle Paul himself, ... Those who disparage rewards as a powerful Christian motivation ought to read their N.T. again - this time, with their eyes open..”*

 

* Zane Hodges, “The Doctrine Of Rewards,” Part 2, quoted in The Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (Autumn 1991), “We Believe in Rewards,” 6,-8, 11.

 

- Zane Hodges

 

 

“ ... that over-refinement of an anxious but too systematic scrupulosity, which, in its spiritual zeal for free grace, would go far towards erasing from the Bible the oft-recurring word reward: And so would confine the believer to the impulses of gratitude, and deprive him of attractions of hope.*

 

 

 

- Hugh McNeile (1795-1879)

 

* Rev. Hugh McNeile, Sermons On The Second Advent Of The Lord Jesus Christ (1842).

 

 

Robert Govett (1813-1901) also understood the importance of reward in the believer’s life:

 

 

Some Christians are opposed to the doctrine of reward.  They think that we ought to be led to do good works solely on the principle of love to God.  In entertaining this opinion, many are no doubt quite unaware how much Scripture testifies on this subject, both in the Old Testament and the New.”*

 

* Robert Govett, ‘The Millennial Kingdom One Of Reward,’ Tracts On The Kingdom No.3,” Kingdom Studies (Schoettle).

 

 

The Word of God commands believers to seek godly rewards by which they are to show they love Him in obedience:

 

[Page 34]

2 John 1: 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

 

 

Christ rebuked the Pharisees because they laboured for worldly rewards in this life (e.g. such as being praised by men for serving God).  The Lord did not rebuke the fact that they laboured for rewards.  He rebuked the fact that they were labouring for rewards that were fleeting, corruptible and devilishly of this world.  They sought the wrong rewards.  Christ commanded His disciples to seek true, holy treasure in the next world (John 12: 25, Luke 20: 35).  To obey Christ is to love Him.  All those who truly love Him will be found seeking the rewards He has so graciously set before His saints:

 

 

We cannot serve the Lord, so as to please Him, without thought of His rewards (Heb. 11: 6).  All the rewards are love-gifts from the Lord Christ, and these will be valued most by those who love Him best.”*

 

* J.H. Lowe, “The Entrance Into The Kingdom Of God,” Prophecy Investigation Society Papers (London: Nov. 12, 1909), 39.

 

- J.H. Lowe

 

 

A False Humility

 

 

Many Christians also claim that seeking rewards is against the spirit of Christian humility.  They have not realized the simple fact that it is not true humility at all to disobey God!  Decades ago, an article in the Prophetic Digest stated:

 

 

To take such promises of reward and glory as are given to special labour and make them the portion of all believers, however unfaithful to the Lord, is to destroy the power of the promised recompense. ... Satan knows its practical power when fully realized, and has therefore struggled to blind the eyes of the children of God to this doctrine altogether; either mixing it up with salvation or filling the mind with mock humility that counts it presumption to strive for the offered crown.*

 

* The Prophetic Digest (Feb. 1952).

 

[Page 35]

Zane Hodges writes:

 

 

Selfishness ought not to be defined simply as the pursuit of our own self-interest.  Instead, it should be defined as the pursuit of our self-interest in our own way rather than in God’s way.”*

 

* Zane Hodges, “The Doctrine Of Rewards, Part 2,” quoted in The Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (Autumn 1991), “We Believe in Rewards,”, 6-8, 11.

 

 

The Lord gently reproved Peter’s false humility when he lost sight of reward according to works.  Jesus plainly revealed that God is honoured most when His saints humbly realize that they can give nothing to Him without receiving a hundredfold more in return:

 

 

Mark 10: 28  Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

 

 

29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

 

 

30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world [age] to come eternal life.

 

 

In this passage Jesus will not suffer any pride, self-pity or false humility in His disciples.  Ironically, the very doctrine of reward proves that Christians are “unprofitable” in themselves.  God will be glorified as the great Giver, even in the very sacrifices of His saints!

 

 

This misunderstanding concerning future rewards is similar to the same misunderstanding concerning pleasure itself.  Many do not realize that Christians are commanded to seek godly pleasure, especially in the world to come. C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was blessed by God to discover this truth in his own life:

 

 

If there lurks in most modem minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.  We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair.  There are different kinds of reward.”*

 

* C S. Lewis, The Weight Of Glory (1942), 1-2.

 

 

The sin of unholy selfishness is not seeking the godly pleasure of rewards in obedience to Christ; it is seeking the wrong things at the wrong time:

 

 

Yes! God who made us knows that the desire of distinction, of prizes and rewards, is one innate in man.  As stimulated by hopes of the present world ’tis an evil desire.  But as the spur of a faith that rests on God’s promise, ’tis good.  We cannot be too ambitious of the glory that comes from God.”*

 

* Robert Govett, Entrance Into The Millennial Kingdom, Four Letters To J T Molesworth (Norwich: Fletcher & Son, 18 83), 44.

 

- Robert Govett (1813-1901)

 

 

Finally, holy rewards will ultimately bring glory to the Lord Himself.

 

 

Revelation 4: 9-11  And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

 

 

10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

 

 

11 Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

 

[Page 37]

The Bible reveals that these Elders symbolize overcoming saints (Revelation 5: 8-10).*  Every Christian that is likewise crowned will bring glory and honour to the King Of Kings:

 

* These Elders and Beasts represent some Christians who will be translated alive before the tribulation period as “firstfruits” (Luke 21:36, Revelation 3: 10, etc.).  They will have to await the completion of the First Resurrection at the end of the tribulation age before they will reign on earth with Christ (Revelation 20: 4).

 

 

The more reward you get at the Judgment Seat, the more glory and honour you will bring to Him.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn (Oct. 1947).

 

- Frederick E. Marsh (1858-1919)

 

 

The more reward, the more praise and glory to His matchless name.”*

 

* G.P. Raud, The Prophetic News and Israel’s Watchman (London: March 1945), 64.

 

- Gans P. Raud (1882)

 

 

In light of this fact, should not every Christian be diligently seeking the Lord’s rewards?  How sad it is that many saints are in the dark concerning the whole subject of rewards:

 

 

With many disciples, the eyes are yet blinded to this mystery of rewards, which is an open mystery of the Word.”*

 

* Light on Prophecy ... The Proceedings and Addresses at the Philadelphia Prophetic Conference, May 28-30, 1918 (New York: The Christian Herald), 235.

 

- A.T. Pierson (1837-1911)

 

[Page 38]

 

 

Those who believe that from the evangelical position one cannot

properly speak of punishment in the judicial sense, but only

affectionate chastisements for the moral amendment of

the misled, can hardly measure aright the fearful

earnestness of declarations

[such as in Luke 12:47, etc.].”

 

 

- John P. Lange (1802-1884)

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 39]

Chapter 5

 

 

Negative Rewards in This Life

 

 

As it is possible there may be some lofty‑minded Christians who think the whole question of rewards for life and service is not worthy of their highest thoughts, and that the love of virtue itself and of God is the sole consideration that should be entertained, it may be necessary to point out that it is very dangerous round indeed to affect to despise what is so plainly taught in Scripture.”*

 

* A.T. Schofield, The Life That Pleases God (Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis), 112.

 

- A.T. Schofield (1846-1929)

 

 

* “... Mine thou art to guide and guard; mine to punish and reward…”

 

 

- John Burton, Holy Bible, Book Divine

 

 

The Blood of Jesus does more than simply provide the basis for salvation in eternity (Colossians 1: 14). There is power in the Blood to live holy (Hebrews 13: 20-21, Revelation 12: 11).  Every [Page 40] believer is called to receive this gracious power by acting on God’s promises in faith:

 

 

“...it is only through grace received and acted on, which can enable us to stand before the judgment seat at the commencement of the Millennial day without blame...”*

 

* Joseph Sladen, “The Letters To The Seven Churches,” Prophecy ‑Investigation Society Papers (April 12, 1912), 25.

 

- Joseph Sladen (1841‑1930)

 

 

The power that Jesus has purchased for every Christian to obtain rewards is a serious subject.  It is by no means a light matter.  God will punish every Christian who spurns this gracious, sanctifying power.  Notice that there is another, darker side of reward revealed in Scripture:

 

 

Hebrews 2: 1  Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

 

 

2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

 

 

3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

 

 

The “salvation” in Hebrews 2: 3 refers to [a future] salvation at the future judgment seat of Christ.  Paul (the writer of Hebrews) is already saved in eternity.  He is seeking the salvation the Lord has provided for His [obedient] people:

 

 

Salvation then refers to the gift of eternal life, and also to the coming Kingdom of glory ... It is clear ... that the heirs of God have an unconditional promise of eternal life, and an heritage in the City of God. but the joint heirs with Christ have a conditional promise of glory in the coming [millennial] Kingdom, if the conditions are fulfilled.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn, vol.VI, no.9 (Dec. 16, 1929), 567.

 

- Joseph Sladen

 

[Page 41]

No Christian can afford to neglect all that the Lord has provided to run the race and win the crown.  During the Old Testament age, disobedience was rewarded with a proper, just punishment.  The argument in Hebrews is that wilful sin in God’s people brings a greater temporal penalty under the New Testament since Christ is so much greater than Moses:

 

 

Hebrews 10: 28  He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

 

 

29  Of how much sorer PUNISHMENT, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

 

 

Many object and take offence at this word “punishment” in Hebrews 10: 29.  Their argument is that since Christ has already died for our sins there is no way true [regenerate] believers can ever be “punished” for sin in the Christian life.  This greatly confuses the distinction between salvation in eternity and the Christian’s daily walk as a child of God.  God loves His children; He therefore will not spare the rod when they are rebellious:

 

 

Proverbs 13: 24  He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

 

 

All must therefore admit that Christians may be “chastened.”  God’s holy love demands it.  Webster defines “chastise” as:

 

 

1. To correct by punishing; to punish; to inflict pain by stripes, or in some other manner, for the purpose of punishing an offender and recalling him to his duty.”*

 

* Noah Webster’s First Edition of An American Dictionary Of The English Language, 1828 (Foundation For American Christian Education, 1989).

 

 

He defines “punish” as:

 

[Page 42]

2. To chastise; as a father punishes his child for disobedience.”

 

 

The Bible therefore uses both words in regard to Christians:

 

 

Revelation 3: 19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

 

 

When the Corinthians had to discipline a member of their church by dis-fellowshipping [excommunicating] him, Paul later wrote to them to restore him in his repentance.  Paul uses the word “punishment” to describe the discipline he underwent:

 

 

2 Corinthians 2: 6  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

 

 

One purpose of the punishment of this man was to bring him to repentance.  The word “punishment” is therefore a proper English word to use when discussing the chastisement that a child of God may receive for his sins in the Christian life.

 

 

Actually, the Bible uses an even stronger word than “punish” to describe how God deals with His children:

 

 

Hebrews 12: 6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and SCOURGETH every son whom he receiveth.

 

 

To “scourge” means to whip or punish severely!  It must therefore be admitted that God often punishes disobedient Christians severely.  But how often is this truth preached in modem churches?  Christian leaders who maintain that Christians can never experience punitive judgments greatly confuse the issue.  It is true that Christians may never be punished with absolute, eternal judgment; Jesus has fully purchased eternal salvation for every believer.  However, Hebrews 12: 6 reveals that God’s dear children may indeed experience severe (though temporary), punitive consequences!

 

[Page 43]

The following Scriptures illustrate the truth of Hebrews 12: 6 as it elates to this life:

 

 

Acts 5: 1  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

 

 

2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

 

 

3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

 

 

5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

 

 

11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

 

 

Verse 11 reveals that the early Christians considered Ananias and Sapphira to be real believers.  This Christian couple was slain for lying [to the Holy Spirit], not for failing to believe the Gospel.

 

 

Notice some other Scriptures that prove Christians may be punished severely:

 

 

1 Corinthians 10: 1  Moreover, BRETHREN, I would not that YE should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

 

 

2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

 

 

3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

 

 

4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

 

 

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

 

 

6 Now these things were OUR examples, to the intent WE should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

 

 

8 Neither let US commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

 

 

9 Neither let US tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

 

 

10 Neither murmur YE, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

 

[Page 44]

The above passage teaches that privilege (either in the O.T. or the N.T. age) will not protect God’s disobedient people from being scourged by Him!  In chapter eleven, Paul continues to teach that believers may be severely punished, even with sickness and death:

 

 

1 Corinthians 11: 29  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

 

 

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

 

 

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

 

 

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

 

 

33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

 

 

The word “damnation” (1 Corinthians 11: 29) means condemnation or punishment. It is a strong word that brings healthy fear.  It does not always refer to condemnation in eternity.  These Christians were not partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an orderly manner.  They were not remembering the Lord’s broken Body and shed Blood.  Paul therefore warned them that the Lord had already made many saints sick, and some had even been physically slain (i.e. “sleep”).  This has nothing to do with losing salvation in eternity.  Nevertheless, it does establish the fact that Christians should fear God as a rewarder of both good and bad conduct.

 

 

In summary, disobedient Christians may certainly be punished severely in this life.  Even this basic fact is often denied today as Christians increasingly replace the Bible with the psychological theories of man.  There was a time when practically every Christian teacher embraced this much accountability truth.  But we now live in the perilous times the Bible predicted.  Many will no longer endure sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4: 3).

 

 

*       *       *

[Page 45]

 

Chapter 6

 

 

Negative Rewards at the Judgment Seat

 

 

Proverbs 26: 10  The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

 

 

This Bema (translated judgment seat’) is to dispense not only happy rewardings but also the opposite.”*

 

* W.F. Roadhouse, Believer’s Sharing - Or Forfeiting Christ’s Glorious Reign! (Toronto: Overcomer Publishers), 3.

 

- W.F. Roadhouse (1875-1951)

 

 

I was there but one night, and stressed the solemn side of the judgment seat of Christ, saying the very things that dear brethren in this land so often resent.”*

 

* G.H. Lang, The Rights Of The Holy Spirit In The House Of God (1938), 11.

 

- G.H. Lang (1874-1958)

 

 

Many believers (especially in this age) do not realize that the future judgment seat of Christ will also administer severe [Page 46] chastisement for unholy conduct.  Most agree that carnal Christians will be ashamed before the Lord as they stand before Him:

 

 

1 John 2: 28  And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

 

 

These Christians will be ashamed for having neglected to bring forth fruit unto God.  The Lord has provided abundant promises and warnings to provoke His children to holiness.  D.M. Panton (1870-1955) warned about the danger of disregarding this motivating body of truth:

 

 

Three facts are of importance: - that Sadoc, the founder of the Sadducees, started his career of unbelief by denying the doctrine of reward: also, that this principle took full effect even upon our Lord – ‘who for the joy that was set before Him endured’ (Heb. 12: 2): moreover, that no wise disciple can afford or neglect so great a mass of Scripture, or to throw away so mighty an incentive to holiness. Our discovery of this truth at the Judgment Seat will be too late.*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Judgment Seat Of Christ (Schoettle), 7.

 

 

The judgment seat of Christ will not be for the purpose of judging whether or not the Christian is saved in eternity.  Salvation in eternity cannot be lost.  The judgment seat will be for revealing and rewarding the kind of Christian life the believer has lived.

 

 

The Bible places the timing of the judgment seat in the future when Jesus returns and the bodies of Christians are resurrected or translated to meet Him in the air.*  Indeed, both positive and negative rewards will then be administered:

 

* Faithful Christians living at the time of the pre-trib rapture will escape the earth (Luke 21: 36, Rev. 3: 10, 22:18, Heb. 9: 28, 2 Thess. 2: 7), and will automatically be found worthy of Kingdom reign (Revelation 5: 8-10).

 

[Page 47]

1 Peter 5: 4  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

 

 

2 Timothy 4: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

 

 

Matthew 25: 19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

 

 

Romans 14: 10  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall ALL stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

 

 

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

 

 

The Proper View of God

 

 

Too often, many Christians neglect to see the solemn side of God.  This is no doubt one reason that many hold such a shallow, deficient view of the judgment seat of Christ.  The merciful, comfortable side of God is often presented in modem pulpits.  Yet, seldom is the Bible’s teaching concerning God’s great holiness, justice and terror adequately presented to believers:

 

 

Isaiah 8:13  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself., and let him be your fear, and let him he your dread.

 

 

Tertullian (160-240) once reproved some false teachers in his day for holding to a shallow view of God:

 

“...a better god has been discovered, one who is neither offended nor angry nor inflicts punishment, who has no fire warming up in hell, and no outer darkness wherein there is shuddering and gnashing of teeth: he is merely kind ... And in fact the Marcionites make it their boast that they do not at all fear their god: for, they say, a bad god needs to be feared, but a good one loved.  Fool: you call him lord, but deny he is to be feared, though this is a term suggesting authority, and with it fear.  Yet how shall you love, unless you fear not to love?  Evidently he is not even your father, to whom would be due [Page 48] both love for affection’s sake, and fear for the sake of authority: nor is he your lawful lord, for you to love for human kindness’ sake and fear for the sake of discipline. ... So then, you who decline to fear your god because he is good, what keeps you from bubbling over into all manner of vice ... ?  Why absent yourself from those popular pleasures, the excitement of the race-course, the savagery of the wild beast show, the lechery of the stage?  Why also during persecution do you not at once offer your incense, and so gain your life by denial?”*

 

* Ernest Evans, Tertullian Adversus Marcionem, (Oxford University Press, 1972),1:27.

 

 

Modem Christians too often use the unconditional promises of grace to neutralize the many warnings against walking in sin.  This confuses eternal salvation with temporal reward and responsibility.  This confusion blossomed in the 1960’s.  The words of Frederick A. Tatford (b. 1901) are a good example of this error that has become so ingrained in the new Evangelicalism of the present:

 

 

Just over a century ago, in Entrance into the Kingdom, Robert Govett propounded the theory that the future blessing of Christians was not unconditional, but was dependent upon their vigilance and fidelity ... The relationship of the believer to Christ is based from the beginning to the end on grace ... By the work of Christ, as Pentecost points out in Things to Come, the sinner is justified, made acceptable to God, placed in Christ positionally to be received by God as though he were the Son Himself.  The individual who has this perfect standing of Christ can never be less than completely acceptable to God.”*

 

* Frederick A. Tatford, God’s Program of the Ages (Kregel Publications, 1967).

 

 

In regard to “future blessing,” Govett (and multitudes of other Christians) rightly divided between eternity and the judgment seat of Christ/millennial reign.  Absolute eternal life is guaranteed as a free gift.  Nevertheless, there are many future blessings that are not free to Christians.  Tatford (like so many others today) failed to distinguish between how God accepts a lost sinner by [Page 49] grace through faith alone (i.e. positional righteousness) and how He accepts His own children through faith and works at the future judgment seat (i.e. practical righteousness).  Notice how Tatford’s teaching contradicts the following Bible passage:

 

 

2 Corinthians 5: 9  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we MAY be ACCEPTED of him.

 

 

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he bath done, whether it be good or BAD.

 

 

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

 

 

If Bible words mean anything, then there was some sense in which Paul laboured to be accepted.  Notice the phrase “the terror of the Lord.”  Paul knew it.  Yet, it appears that modern Christendom’s view of God is severely deficient.  The Bible’s numerous warnings to the saints are therefore denied at all costs.

 

 

On this passage in 2 Corinthians 5, Samuel L. Hoyt writes:

 

 

The question this verse raises is how one ‘receives back’ what Paul calls ‘bad.’  The things a believer receives back for his good works are obviously  rewards, but how can one receive back for sinful works without some sort of punishment involved?  The answer rests in the fact that unworthy, sinful deeds merit no reward ... Reward will be granted only for righteous deeds.”*

 

* Samuel L. Hoyt, Bibliotheca Sacra (April-June 1980), 128.

 

 

Hoyt has failed to realize that the Bible teaches that “rewards” are often given in the form of punishments! Reward can be either positive or NEGATIVE:

 

 

Romans 11: 22  Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

 

 

Hebrews 10:30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord.  And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

 

[Page 50]

Matthew 16: 24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

 

 

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall REWARD every man according to his works.

 

 

When defining the word “reward,” Noah Webster comments on Matthew 16: 27:

 

 

In the latter passage, reward signifies to render both good and evil.”*

 

* Noah Webster’s First Edition Of An American Dictionary Of The English Language, 1828 (Foundation For American Christian Education, 1989).

 

 

Christians that deny these negative rewards at the judgment seat are denying more than just the holy terror of God (2 Corinthians 5: 11); they are also denying some things about the mercy of God.  If there is no danger or possible loss to believers at the judgment seat, then there is no reason to hope in future mercy for practical sin committed after salvation (Matthew 6: 12).  One doubts the king of Nineveh would have repented in sackcloth had he understood the Divine threat to be only a loss of a jewel or two on his pretty crown (Jonah 3: 7-10)! The believer in Christ is told to hope and pray for mercy from his Heavenly King because there is much that he can lose if he does not find it on the day of the judgment seat of Christ (James 2:13, Psalms 147:11):

 

 

James 5: 9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

 

 

10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

 

 

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure.  Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

 

 

Many gladly embrace James 5: 11 and make it the only view of God a real Christian ever needs to be concerned about.  However, the same James that wrote verse 11 also wrote verse 9.  Christians [Page 51] should see God in His revealed fullness.  Some Christians will meet the Lord at the judgment seat as an avenger of evil:

 

 

1 Thessalonians 4: 6  That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned YOU and testified.

 

 

To whom does the Lord grant mercy at the judgment seat of Christ?  Surely it is not to Christians that deny that they have any real need for future mercy.  The Lord grants mercy and forgiveness to those Christians who believe His warnings:

 

 

Luke 1: 50  And his mercy is on them that FEAR him from generation to generation.

 

 

In light of so many warnings, can a Christian be said to fear the Lord who doubts there is any danger or possibility of true punishment at the future judgment seat?  If there is something to fear after we are saved, then it makes sense to flee to God’s throne as fast as possible and obtain mercy before the judgment day arrives:

 

 

Hebrews 4: 1  Let us therefore fear...

 

 

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

 

1 John 1: 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

 

The Principle of Chastisement

 

 

Many modem Christian teachers understand the principle of chastisement as it relates to this life.  Yet, in spite of multitudes of plain Scriptures, many are unwilling to allow this principle to extend onward to the future judgment seat.  But on what Scriptural basis is the motivating principle of chastisement regulated to this life alone?  The New Testament abounds with warnings [Page 52] that carnal Christians will receive chastisement when they stand before their Lord. Notice just a few of these warnings in Paul’s inspired writings alone (Romans 2: 6-11; 6: 16; 8: 1, 6, 11, 13; 11: 20, 21; 14: 12; 1 Corinthians 3: 15-18; 6: 9, 10, 13; 9: 27; 11: 32; 15: 2; 16: 22; 2 Corinthians. 5: 9-11; Galatians 5:  21; 6: 7, 8, Ephesians 5: 5-7; Colossians 3: 25; 1 Thessalonians 4: 6; 2 Timothy 2: 12; 4: 14; Hebrews 2: 3; 3:14;  4: 1; 6: 3-8; 10: 26-31, 39; 12: 14, 25, 29).  These passages do not teach a loss of salvation in eternity.  Yet, they do teach temporary chastisement at the judgment seat.  These Scriptures are usually ignored or ducked by every twist and turn imaginable.  Nevertheless, they form a united testimony that cannot be denied by any honest seeker of God’s truth.  It is impossible to escape the testimony of them all.  And these are only a sample of the warnings to true believers in the New Testament.

 

 

But where are the Scriptures that teach that carnal Christians will not be chastised at the future judgment seat? They cannot be found.  There is only heated emotion and tradition.  Notice the words of the great fundamental Baptist leader Robert T. Ketcham (1889-1978) concerning this absence of Scripture:

 

 

The general attitudes concerning the matters discussed in this chapter are: First: There will be rewards for faithfulness in various lines of Christian living.  Second. The believer does sin, and, as a consequence, receives chastisement, but it is confined to this life only.  Third. Some believers will have no reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but because chastisement ends with this life, there will be none there.  The difference between this common conception and the view set forth in this chapter is simply this: The principle of chastisement remains the same; the difference is in the extent to which it is carried.  One halts the process at the Judgment Seat of Christ; the other allows its continuance for those who did not submit to its benefactions here.  I have searched in vain for a single Scripture to prove the discontinuance of this principle at the Lord’s return.  On the other hand a great mass of Scripture ... seems to indicate the awful and soul-searching truth that there is such a thing as corrective discipline when we see Him face to [Page 53] face.  We have been surprised to discover that many teachers have had a conviction that this was the teaching of Scripture...”*

 

* Robert T. Ketcham, Sermons by Ketcham, Vol. 2: Why Was Christ a Carpenter? And Other Sermons (Des Plaines, III.: Regular Baptist Press, 1966), 144-147; as quoted in Carl G. Johson, The Account Which We Must Give (Schaumburg: Regular Baptist Press, 1990), 46-47.

 

 

The final chapters of this book will reveal that Ketcham was not exaggerating when he said “many teachers” extended chastisement to the future judgment seat.  Ketcham testifies that he could not find one Scripture that teaches the discontinuance of the principle of chastisement at the judgment seat (after death).  Robert Govett (1813-1901), years earlier, likewise challenged his Christian readers with the same argumentation:

 

 

Most then will take up the ground - ‘Chastisement, but only in this life.’  Your proofs, friend?  The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin: 1 John 1: 7.  Ours is no half-Saviour.’  But you admit, that in spite of Jesus’ atonement, the chastisements of God descend on the offending believer in this life.  It is no bar then to their falling on him in the next age.  What Scriptures are there which assert, that chastisements shall not befall an offending disciple when our Lord appears?  No such passages are forthcoming.  Proofs to the contrary are many and plain.  Take those from a single Gospel: Matt.5: 22-30; 7: 21-27; 10: 32, 33, 39; 16: 25; 18: 7-9, 21-35; 24: 45-51; 25: 1-30 ... The reasons why chastisement must end with this life, will be very hard to find, very hard to establish.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Judgment Seat of Christ (Schoettle), 78-79.

 

 

Many object to words such as “punishment” in regard to the future judgment seat.  They maintain that believers will never experience punitive judgments.  The problem is simply that these teachers have not made a distinction between the eternal punishment of unbelievers and the temporary punishment of God’s people (whether experienced in this life or at the future judgment seat).  Nevertheless, in spite of semantics, one thing is for certain: whatever one wishes to call the judgment of some erring believers in this life (1 Corinthians 11: 30-31, etc.), Scripture plainly [Page 54] teaches that the same type of severe chastisements (and worse) may also be experienced at the future judgment seat!  The future judgment seat will indeed be a throne of judgment.

 

 

The majority of objections to corrective chastisement (i.e. negative reward) at the judgment seat lie in the realm of emotion, not Scripture.  The flesh of man (saved and lost) is naturally against the truth of future accountability.  This is why Paul continually exhorts believers not to be deceived in regard to the danger of future chastisement and loss of the millennium (1 Corinthians 3: 17-18; 6: 9):

 

 

Galatians 6: 7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

 

 

Ephesians 5: 6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

 

 

7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

 

 

There are great blessings that come from understanding this truth.  Not only does it give the Christian the additional motivation that is often needed to resist the lusts of the world, but it also guards the assurance of the believer.  If there is no temporary punishment at the judgment seat, then multitudes of Bible warnings addressed to saints must then be viewed as threatening a loss of eternal salvation.  Yet, this would contradict other clear passages that teach eternal security (1 Corinthians 3:15; John 4:14; 6: 35, 39, etc.).

 

 

At this point in the book, the reader should understand that salvation in eternity is by grace through faith alone. It cannot be lost and every believer should be sure of it.  Furthermore, Christians should seek holy rewards and strive to avoid negative “rewards” (i.e. temporary punishment).  This temporary punishment can extend to the judgment seat of Christ (1 Timothy 5: 24).  The particular nature of this temporary punishment at the judgment seat [Page 55] has not yet been explained.  In the next few chapters, we will examine some important facts and warnings concerning the future millennial kingdom.  After this, we will return to the subject of the judgment seat and explore in some detail what “the terror of the Lord” means in regard to the disobedient Christian.

 

 

 [Page 56]

 

You that are Christians, and believe in the security of the believer, it

will do you a great deal of good if you will read a little bit more

about the Judgment Scat of Christ and the rewards of Christians,

and the awful sorrow to the heart of God on the part of the man

who is saved who gets out of His will.”

 

 

- Paul Rader (1878-1938)

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

 

 

[Page 57]

Chapter 7

 

 

Millennial Counterfeits

 

 

All hopes built on this present world are destined to be quenched and disappointed ... heathenism, so far from being ready to expire, is reproducing itself on Christian soil, under Christian names, even in professedly Christian pulpits and in the spirit and temper of professedly Christian nations. ... No: the millennium is not yet. That is to be a time of holiness; but these are the days of evil.”*

 

*Joseph A. Seiss, Some Occasional Discourses (Philadelphia: Smith, English & Co., 1874), 112-113.

 

- Joseph Seiss (1823-1904)

 

 

To understand temporary chastisement at the judgment seat of Christ for disobedient Christians, it is necessary to understand the millennial kingdom of God.  There is much misunderstanding in popular Christendom concerning this future kingdom.

 

 

Many interpret the future millennium figuratively.  Such spiritualizing has a strong tendency to turn the believer’s hopes and affections from the next world [or age] where they belong, to this evil age.

 

[Page 58]

Christians are called to turn their affections from this world to wait for the future kingdom when Jesus Christ will literally reign on this earth.  When the Devil successfully entices professing Christians to live for this world, the doctrine of Christ’s future kingdom-reward is ignored or polluted:

 

 

I never yet met with a Popish Doctor that held the Millennium. ... It never pleased, but always gave offence to the church of Rome; because it did not suit that scheme of Christianity which they have drawn ... the Millennium being properly a reward and triumph for those that come out of persecution, (i.e. the martyrs,) such as have lived always in pomp and prosperity can pretend to no share in it, or be benefited by it.  This has made the church of Rome have always an ill eye upon this doctrine, because it seemed to have an ill eye upon her; and as she grew in splendour and greatness, she eclipsed and obscured it more and more: so that it would have been lost out of the world, as an obsolete error, if it had not been revived by some at the Reformation. …”*

 

* D.T. Taylor, The Voice Of The Church (H.L. Hastings, 1855),119.

 

- Thomas Burnett (1635-1715)

 

 

The future millennium is the key to understanding the doctrine of reward according to works that has confused so many throughout history:

 

 

The interposition of the Millenary scheme, with its peculiar economy of retribution, is necessary to reconcile the doctrine of scripture, that we are justified and saved by faith, and by faith alone, with the promise of scripture, nevertheless, of a reward proportioned to works. ...”*

 

* Edward Greswell, “The Millennium And Eternal Life,” The Dawn, (Sept. 1932).

 

- Edward Greswell (1797-1869)

 

 

Therefore, when the millennium is spiritualized (or confused with the “church” or the eternal age) the crucial distinctions between the free gift of salvation and the prize according to works are blurred.

 

[Page 59]

The Premillennial Truth

 

 

According to pre-millennialism (i.e. the correct interpretation of Bible prophecy), the future millennial kingdom arrives only when Jesus Christ returns (Revelation 19).  He will renew this present earth and reign with His faithful, resurrected saints who will then be as glorious “as the angels” (Mark 12: 24-25).

 

 

Before the future, renewed state of the earth is brought forth by Christ’s literal coming, things will continue to grow from bad to worse.  Things will grow increasingly sour until the Antichrist (the “Beast”) takes over and unleashes his reign of terror.  Yet, Jesus Christ will defeat him at His second coming and will usher in the glorious age of the millennial kingdom.

 

 

After the millennial reign of Christ on earth with His glorified saints, there will be the Great White Throne (Revelation 20: 11) where there will be a general resurrection and judgment.  After this judgment the glorified age of eternity will begin.  This is the general framework of Biblical pre-millennialism.

 

 

Premillennialists maintain that the 1000-year reign in Revelation 20: 4 is literal.  We certainly believe that it is a spiritual reign (i.e. it is holy and pure); yet it is not a figurative reign.  In interpreting the 1000-year reign, pre-millennialists obey the golden rule of Biblical interpretation:

 

 

“... If the literal sense of a passage gives simple common sense, seek no other sense.  Take each word in its original, common, simple sense, unless plain facts from the context demand another sense.’  Neglect of this law leads to uncertainty, confusion, and arbitrariness.  But if this law be observed and rightly applied God’s Word unfolds itself as a harmonious and connected whole.”*

 

* Erich Sauer, From Eternity To Eternity (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans), 167.

 

- Erich Sauer (1898-1959)

 

[Page 60]

This rule is derived from observing how the Bible interprets its own prophecies (Jeremiah 29: 10; 2 Chronicles 36: 21-22, etc.).  Others have wisely answered some objections that are often made to this important rule of interpretation:

 

 

The Literalist (so called) is not one who denies that figurative language, that symbols, are used in prophecy, nor does he deny that great spiritual truths are set forth therein; his position is, simply, that the prophecies are to be normally interpreted (i.e. according to the received laws of language) as any other utterances are interpreted - that which is manifestly literal being regarded as literal, and that which is manifestly figurative being so regarded. ... The terms properly expressive of the schools are normal and mystical.”*

 

* E.R. Craven, Lange’s Apocalypse (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 98.

 

- E.R. Craven (1824-1908)

 

 

When, too, it is said that the Bible is thus to be interpreted like any other book, governed by the laws which alone can protect us against a wrong imposition of meaning, reference is solely made to its grammatical construction, and not, as Liberals and others employ this idea in behalf of unbelief, that it is merely a human production.”*

 

* George N.H. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1957), 48.

 

- George N.H. Peters (1825-1909)

 

 

The Amillennial Error

 

 

Amillennialism (being the official Roman Catholic teaching for centuries) refers to the belief that there will never be a literal, earthly, thousand-year reign of Christ in the future.  It actually means “no millennium.” Amillennialists spiritualize most of Revelation 20, which teaches the great hope of the “First Resurrection.” They therefore believe that Christians are in the millennium presently.  Since there has now been more than 1000 years since the time of Christ, it therefore follows that this cannot be a literal millennium.

 

[Page 61]

To the a-millennialist, there is only this present age (which gets most of the attention in such a view), followed by eternity. Most a-millennialists place Christians in Heaven after this present age, thereby totally deleting Christ’s literal reign on this earth with His saints.  Yet, Jesus Christ must literally sit upon the throne of David (which is on earth in Jerusalem), not only during the Millennium, but also throughout eternity (Luke 1: 32-33).*  Therefore, a-millennialism is a great error.

 

 

[* Has the author made a mistake here?  We must not fail to compare this present galaxy and earth with “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21: 1) - after Messiah’s Kingdom-Age has ended, Hades emptied of all the souls of the dead, and God’s Great White Throne Judgment has decreed the eternal place of those judged at this time.]

 

 

The Postmillennial Error

 

 

Post-millennialism is similar to a-millennialism in many ways.  It teaches that there will be a golden age of Christian triumph on this earth.  This golden age continues without Jesus physically present until He comes to bring in the eternal state and the final judgment.  It therefore places Christ’s literal second coming after the millennium.  It is no wonder, then, that this millennium of the post-millennialist is also spiritualized into a long, indefinite time, usually much longer than a thousand years.

 

 

Some premillennial writers in the 1950’s expressed the soberness that came upon many Christians in those days by predicting the soon, total death of postmillennialism.  However, ear-tickling, positive views such as postmillennialism are not easy to kill:

 

 

Refuted a thousand times since Bengel’s day, it dies hard, the world loves it so! ... Let us dismiss, forever, this ‘Idol of the Theatre,’ this human invention of a Church Millennium, 1000 years before Christ comes! it is a false conception.”*

 

* Nathaniel West, The Thousand Years (Fincastle, Virginia: Scripture Truth Book Co.), 282-285.

 

- Nathaniel West (1826-1906)

 

 

These prophetic systems usually offer a present, outward kingdom with no coming deception or reign of a personal, literal Antichrist before the millennium.  Amidst the wars, earthquakes, [Page 62] Christian persecution and other frightful signs, such popular, soothing dreams will always have mass appeal.

 

 

How the Lights Went Out

 

 

The majority of Christians in the first few centuries believed in the premillennial coming of Christ:

 

 

The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millenarianism.”*

 

* Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, 614.

 

- Philip Schaff

 

 

They believed the world would go through seven prophetic days of 1000 years each.  They believed the Antichrist would be slain by Christ at the end of the sixth millennium.   They looked for this coming of Christ to bring in the great Seventh-Day Sabbath of the world’s history (Isaiah 11: 10; Hebrews 4: 1, 4-5).  Soon, however, this hope was replaced in the mainstream with a nonliteral interpretation of the 1000 years.  The future prophecies were mostly spiritualized and made to refer to the present age.  The foundation for the Roman Catholic Church and the infamous Dark Ages was laid.  The London Quarterly Journal of Prophecy describes how the precious premillennial truth of earlier ages was later lost in the mainstream:

 

 

We find that, to carry out the worship of the ‘Mother of the Gods,’ it became necessary to expel the orthodox from the church.  Hence, we find Jerome, Damascus, Basil, and all their friar associates, now teaching a merely spiritual heaven of eternal idleness, precisely similar to that of the mysteries of Eleusis ... The orthodox opposed.  They declared their hope that the Lord would return and reign.  Damascus decided that the reign of the saints had begun already.  He now formerly declared the Millenarians heretical.  He expelled them from the church.  His courts everywhere decided against them.  None were left, save those that worshipped the Virgin Queen, and desired not that Christ would return in the flesh.  Buddhism and the Babylonian worship took the [Page 63] place of Christianity, and the old Chaldean Creed became the established religion of the people.*

 

* London’s Quarterly Journal Of Prophecy, vol. IV, 332; as quoted in Rev. David Bosworth, The Millennium and Related Events (Chicago: Revell, 1889).

 

 

Revelation 20 Does Not Refer to the Intermediate State

 

 

Let us examine some of these erroneous views concerning the millennium.  Some teach that the 1000-year reign in Revelation chapter 20 refers to a reign of disembodied saints in Heaven (i.e. between death and the resurrection).  Postmillennialist Loraine Boettner (1901-1990) defends this figurative view:

 

 

The Millennium of verses 4-6, during which time the souls of ‘them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God’ are living and reigning with Christ, relates to the intermediate state, and for each individual soul it covers that period between death and the resurrection.”*

 

*Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (The Presbyterian And Reformed Publishing Co., 1964), 65-66.

 

 

Boettner denies a literal resurrection into a literal kingdom in Revelation 20: 4-5.  Premillennialists on the other hand would interpret the passage to teach that the soulslived again in bodily resurrection out of the intermediate state.  They are resurrected into glorified [and immortal] bodies to reign on earth with Christ during the literal thousand years:

 

 

Revelation 20: 4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.  This is the first resurrection.

 

 

And they lived” certainly means they are no longer in [the place or] the state of disembodied death.  They are resurrected [out] from the dead, never [Page 64] to die again.  Evidence that this is true is found in the fact that the Lord at the beginning of the Book of Revelation speaks of His own literal resurrection from death in the same manner:

 

 

Revelation 1:18  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

 

 

Revelation 20 Does Not Refer to the New Birth

 

 

Another postmillennialist, David Chilton (1952-1997), spiritualizes Revelation 20 in another manner:

 

 

The Bible is clear: we have been resurrected to eternal life and rule with Christ now, in this age.  The First Resurrection is taking place now.  And this means, of necessity, that the Millennium is taking place now as well ... we should see that the ‘1,000 years’ of Revelation 20 represent a vast, undefined period of time.”*

 

* David Chilton, Paradise Restored (Ft. Worth: Dominion Press, 1987), 197, 199.

 

 

According to Chilton, Satan has already been bound at Christ’s first coming.  This is certainly an incredible idea!  In 1948, a-millennialist George L. Murray (b. 1896) was honest enough to confess:

 

 

There are many people who find it difficult to believe that Satan is bound today when there is such widespread evidence of his influence ... There are nations being deceived by Satan, living in superstition and antagonistic to the Gospel, even passing legislation to prohibit its propagation.  One wonders if this does not suggest the possibility that Satan is now being loosed for a little while to go out deceiving the nations which are in the four corners of the earth.”*

 

* George L Murray, Millennial Studies (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1948),177,180-181.

 

 

If the state of things suggested such gloom to Murray in 1948, causing him, as an opponent of pre-millennialism, to doubt the [Page 65] binding of Satan, what should the state of things in the decades that followed suggest about such a fable?  Aids, sodomy, abortion, Satanism, drugs, earthquakes, hurricanes, suicide, rape, murder, New-Age religion, school shootings and terrorist attacks should therefore make a pre-millennialist out of any reasonable, honest Christian.  Things are not getting any better (2 Timothy 3: 13).

 

 

If the “First Resurrection” of Revelation 20 actually pictures the new birth, then such would force the persecution of the saints (the manner in which they died) to be likewise figurative:

 

 

Revelation 20: 4 ... I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus ... and they lived ...

 

 

Yet, this would make the death, not martyrdom for Jesus, but dying in sin!  This would be absurd.  The death is literal martyrdom.  But if the death is literal, then so is the resurrection.

 

 

Allegorical interpretations of Revelation 20 are riddled with many unsolvable problems.  Perhaps this is one reason why C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) once grew quite irritated at hearing a figurative interpretation of Revelation 20 in his day:

 

 

I once had the misfortune to listen to an excellent friend of mine who was preaching upon this text, and I must confess, I did not attend with very great patience to his exposition.  He said it meant blessed and holy is he who has been born again, who has been regenerated, and so has had a resurrection from dead works by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”*

 

* Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons, vol. 7 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), 364.

 

 

Is the Kingdom of God Present or Future?

 

 

Scripture reveals that prophetic subjects are not limited to only one application.  Secondary, figurative applications of the [Page 66] prophecies can exist alongside the primary, literal applications.  For example, Malachi predicts a future, literal coming of Elijah (Malachi 4: 5).  Jesus affirms the literal interpretation of this prophecy:

 

 

Matthew 17: 10  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

 

 

11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

 

 

Mark 9: 11  And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

 

 

12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

 

 

13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

 

 

Luke 1:13  But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

 

 

17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

 

 

Nonliteral, specialized fulfilments do not over-rule the basic, literal fulfilments of the Scriptures.  Christ said Elijah “shall first come” in Matthew 17:11.   John the Baptist was already dead when Christ said those words (Matthew 14: 10).  When John was alive he denied he was Elijah (John 1: 21).  Therefore, before Christ comes again, the literal Elijah must have a restoration ministry in Israel (Revelation 11: 3-6; James 5: 17).  Justin Martyr recognized this dual truth concerning Elijah (Dialogue, Chapter XLIX).  In connecting this to the prophecies concerning the kingdom of God, it therefore follows that we must never erase the literal, future kingdom on the basis of any supposed spiritual kingdom in the present:

 

[Page 67]

But it would be precipitate [rash] if from the fact that the New Testament speaks of a spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament kingdom prophecies the conclusion were drawn that this is the complete fulfiliment and no other further fulfilment is to be expected. ... According to the Scripture both the literal and symbolic spiritual explanations are justified in principle.”*

 

* Erich Sauer, From Eternity To Eternity (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans), 166-167.

 

- Erich Sauer (1898-1959)

 

 

Along this line, Robert Govett (1813-1901) interpreted the Bible to hold two different facets of the kingdom:

 

 

“... there are two states of the kingdom: (1) The Kingdom in Mystery; and (2) The Kingdom in Manifestation. ... But Christians usually seize upon the exceptional passages, which treat of the kingdom in mystery, and make them the key to interpret the others, to the production of great confusion on the subject.  The interpreting concerning the kingdom of grace what God has spoken of the kingdom of glory, introduces great darkness into the clear teachings of our Saviour.”*

 

* Robert Govett, Kingdom Of God Future (Conley & Schoettle, 1985), 2-3, 11.

 

 

George N.H. Peters (1825-1909) provides us with another interpretation.  He maintains in his Theocratic Kingdom that the few verses describing a present kingdom are in reality the future, literal kingdom stated in present tense.  Since all Christians have been equipped by Christ’s Blood to inherit this coming kingdom, the Bible speaks of saints having already obtained it in a potential and provisional sense.  Notice how the Bible sometimes uses such language:

 

 

Genesis 17: 4  As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

 

 

5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

 

[Page 68]

Romans 4: 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

 

 

Numbers 33: 53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.

 

 

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

 

 

Whether conditional or unconditional, God’s promises often call things in the future “as though they were” in the present (Genesis 20: 3).  Notice the similar language in the following Scriptures:

 

 

Colossians 1: 13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

 

 

Revelation 1: 6  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

According to Peters, there is no reason to refer these verses to a present, spiritual kingdom.  They simply refer to what is potentially and provisionally true for every saint.

 

 

It should also be mentioned that the Bible sometimes speaks of the future, literal kingdom as being allegorically present in word form.  In other words, it is present only through the eye of faith.  It is present in promissory, seed form in everyone that has heard it preached:

 

 

Matthew 13: 19  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.  This is he which received seed by the way side.

 

 

Perhaps this is why Jesus could say that the kingdom of God was “within” the stubborn Pharisees.  They had certainly heard the tidings concerning the kingdom; yet most of them had rejected [Page 69] the news concerning how to obtain it.  The ground was hard.  Christ therefore often spoke to them mystically because of their hardened hearts:

 

 

Luke 17: 20  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

 

 

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

 

 

Matthew 13: 13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

 

 

The future kingdom of God is now present in an allegorical sense in word form.  This is why anyone who obediently believes the truth concerning it can figuratively be said to be presently entering it:

 

 

Matthew 11: 12  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

 

 

Luke 16:16  The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

 

 

Notice Christ said the kingdom of Godis preached.”  It is in this figurative sense alone that those who respond to the preaching of the future kingdom presently enter” it.  Likewise, in this same allegorical sense, all who are taking the steps to announce and fulfil the requirements for kingdom entrance in their current conduct are revealing this literal, future kingdom to others in the present (Luke 8: 1; Romans 14: 17).  The same type of language is used in regard to the unrighteous (Genesis 20: 3).  He that goes to the strange woman’s house is said to be presently walking into death and Hell (Proverbs 7: 27).

 

 

In conclusion, whatever spiritual or present kingdoms may be found in Scripture, there is no ground at all for ignoring or [Page 70] misapplying the many Scriptures that speak of a literal 1000-year kingdom to come.  This future kingdom is the reward for faithful service set before every Christian. '

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 71]

Chapter 8

 

 

The Christian’s Danger of Kingdom Exclusion

 

 

For forty years I have glossed over every passage which refers to exclusion, and have refused to apply it to the Christian man.  But, on the face of them, these passages do apply to Christians everywhere.  They are in Epistles written to Christians. ... I feel that when an Apostle says, ‘Be not deceived,’ there may be great danger that some will be deceived, in applying Scriptures to other people and carefully shielding the application from ourselves ... does it not issue a solemn warning to every Christian man, that the practice of a certain course of conduct which the Apostle Paul reluctantly deals with, will exclude from the Millennial reign of Christ?”*

 

* Dr. A.T. Schofield, “The Entrance Into The Kingdom Of God,” Prophecy Investigation Society Papers (Nov. 12th, 1909), 31.

 

 

- Dr. A.T. Schofield (1846-1929)

 

 

Why will not Christians listen to an argument on this point wholly drawn from Scripture?  Because they do not like it.  They wish to assume ... that every believer will without fail enter the millennial bliss.  In this I behold the commencing fulfilment of 2 Tim. 4: 3, 4.”*

 

* Robert Govett, Entrance Into The Millennial Kingdom, Four Letters To J. T. Molesworth (Norwich, Fletcher & Son, 1883), 1.

 

 

- Robert Govett (1813 -1901)

 

[Page 72]

At the judgment seat of Christ, unfaithful Christians will lose entrance into the millennial kingdom and will be banished for 1000 years.  They will then be resurrected at the Great White Throne after the millennium:

 

 

Revelation 20: 12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God...

 

 

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

 

The lost (who never believed the Gospel) will not be found written in the Book of Life.  Yet, many Christians (who had missed the millennial kingdom) will be found written in the Book of Life.  They will spend eternity with God.  Unfaithful Christians do not lose salvation in eternity; they only lose entrance into the millennial kingdom.

 

 

The Bible teaches that the millennial reign is only given to the faithful saints who suffer with Christ:

 

 

2 Thessalonians 1:5 ... that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

 

 

2 Timothy 2:12  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

 

 

Romans 8:17 ... and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 

 

Revelation 3: 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

 

 

We suffer for Jesus through resisting the flesh and the Devil and despising the persecutions of the world.  The millennial kingdom is therefore a reward.

 

[Page 73]

Colosslans 3: 23  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

 

 

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

 

 

25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

 

 

1 Peter 3:9  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

 

 

Galatians 5: 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

 

Matthew 6: 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God...

 

 

To walk in the flesh is to refuse to suffer for Christ. The Bible teaches that Christians who will not resist temptation, and will not repent, will not inherit the kingdom. They will not receive the reward.  They will instead be banished or excluded until after the millennium.

 

 

The majority of pre-millennialists today believe that Christians can forfeit a high position in the coming kingdom through disobedience or slothful service.  The Bible indeed teaches this doctrine.  Yet, this only applies to Christians who are breaking the “least” of the commandments.  The Christians who will be accounted worthy to enter the kingdom will be given higher or lower positions of authority based upon the degree of attention they have given to the details commanded in the Bible.  Those that avoid or disdain what they believe to be only minor commandments in the New Testament (and therefore teach others to avoid them) will suffer a diminishing of their glory, even though they make it into the kingdom to reign:

 

 

Matthew 5: 19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the [Page 74] kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

Notice that the subject is the “least” of the commandments.  However, the very next verse assures the disciples that they may break “great” commandments and may actually fail to enter the coming kingdom:

 

 

Matthew 5: 20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case ENTER into the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

Many rightly apply verse 19 to believing disciples, yet they apply verse 20 to unbelievers!  This is to break a fundamental rule of Biblical interpretation.  The context must be noted:

 

 

Matthew 5: 1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

 

 

2 And he opened his mouth, and taught THEM, saying, …

 

 

The “you” throughout Christ’s discourse in Matthew [chs.] 5-7 are the disciples.  They are “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5: 13) and “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).  Whoever is warned in verse 19 is also warned in verse 20, unless one can prove the contrary from the context.

 

 

It is practical righteousness that Christ is calling for throughout Matthew 5-7.  In Matthew 5: 20, He tells believers that they must be holier than the scribes and Pharisees if they will enter the kingdom.  In other words, they must obey God from pure motives instead of only serving God outwardly in order to impress men.

 

 

The people that Christ is addressing in the Sermon on the Mount already believe upon Him.  If any lost professors have slipped in behind the disciples, Christ does not address them in command, promise or warning.

 

[Page 75]

Many attempt to deny that the warnings of the Sermon on the Mount apply to New Testament Christians.  Paul therefore gives a sharp warning about ignoring the words of Christ:

 

 

1 Timothy 6: 3  If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

 

 

4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

 

 

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

 

 

Some teach that the Gospel of Matthew is a Jewish book, and that this means Christ’s promises and warnings cannot apply doctrinally to all Christians.  But Christ Himself commissioned His disciples to teach saved Gentiles His commandments:

 

 

Matthew 28: 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

 

 

20 Teaching them to observe ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

 

Notice, He says that all nations are to observe all the things He commanded His disciples.  It is implied that this was to go on unto the “end of the world.”  It therefore follows that the promises and warnings of the Sermon on the Mount apply to New Testament Christians today.  We have no right to disregard a promise or warning unless we are given clear authority to do so elsewhere in the New Testament.  But Paul never disannuls the Lord’s warnings to believers.  Instead, he affirms them.

 

 

What is the evidence for taking the Gospel of Matthew as being written to only Jewish believers?  Matthew (like Mark and John) interprets for his readers Hebrew words (Matthew 1: 23).  In Matthew 28: 15, he speaks of the Jews as “the Jews,” and he refers to Jewish synagogues as “their synagogues” (Matthew 4: 23, 9: 35).

 

[Page 76]

His Gospel is for all believers, Jew and Gentile, in all ages.  Jesus Christ commanded his disciples (including Matthew!) to teach His words to all nations (Matthew 28: 19-20) and added that He would be with them “unto the end of the world.”  Many of the old defenders of dispensationalism stoutly rejected the hyper-dispensational, Bullingerite idea that the warnings and promises of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew are to be applied only to Jewish disciples (i.e. Robert Govett, J.R. Graves, G.N.H. Peters, G.H. Pember, H.W. Fry, etc.). Such men were premillennial and pre-tribulational, and they believed in the future restoration of literal Israel.

 

 

It is argued that Matthew presents Jesus as the son of David and that this proves that His promises and warnings have no direct, doctrinal application to Christians today. However, the apostle Paul also presents Jesus Christ as the son of David, and calls this fact a central part of his own gospel:

 

 

2 Timothy 2: 8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

 

 

Are we to reject any application of Paul’s inspired warnings to present-day Christians and instead apply them to a future age?

 

 

Paul’s [The] Epistle to the Hebrews teaches that God has spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1: 1-2).  This was written later in Paul’s ministry when the sign gifts were mentioned in past tense (Hebrews 2: 4).  Certainly then, Paul believed the warnings and promises in the Sermon on the Mount apply to all Christians, Jew or Gentile.  It is God’s Son that spoke the words of the Sermon on the Mount.  There has certainly been later revelation of the Holy Ghost.  It is true that some of Christ’s commands were meant only for His first century disciples.  Christ commanded the twelve not to preach to Gentiles (Matthew 10: 5-11).  But later, He changed this command and gave a new commission [Page 77] (Matthew 28: 19).  We must apply every command, warning and promise of Christ to all Christians, in all ages, unless it would be absurd or unbiblical to do so.  There is absolutely no reason to teach that Christ’s warnings in the Sermon on the Mount, etc., are not to be applied to modern Christians.  They are repeated in general to saints throughout all of the New Testament.  Jesus warns true believers about missing the future millennial kingdom (Matthew 5: 20; 7: 21; 13: 41; 18: 3, 23, 35; 19: 23-25, 22: 2, 13; 25: 1, 11-13; Mark 9: 38, 47; 10: 15, 23; Luke 9: 62; 13: 23-28, 14: 15, 24; 18: 17, 24; 19: 12, 26).  So does the apostle Paul (Acts 14: 22; 1 Corinthians 6: 9, Galatians 5: 21, Ephesians 5: 5; 1 Thessalonians 2: 12; 2 Thessalonians 1: 5; Hebrews 3:14, 19; 4: 1, 11; 12: 28)!

 

 

Some apply the Sermon on the Mount as a means of gaining salvation in endless eternity.  However, the Sermon is specifically addressed to those already saved through faith in Jesus; they are already children of their Father (Matthew 5: 16, 45, 48).

 

 

Some believe that Christ’s words are a future constitution in the 1000-year kingdom.  This is also an absurd error.  Christ speaks to those who are soon to be persecuted.  Such teaching would certainly have no place in the kingdom where Christ will rule the world with a rod of iron (Matthew 5: 5, 10, 12, 20: 6: 10, 19).  Jesus speaks of the kingdom as future, not present (Matthew 5: 19-20; 6: 10, 33, 7: 21).

 

 

There are many warnings in the Gospels to New Testament Christians.  They speak of the future judgment seat of Christ.  Christian teachers that deny this truth are usually more than ready to apply all the nice promises in the Gospels to themselves.  This was the methodology of Rome for centuries.  Catholics took the blessings promised to Israel, yet ignored the warnings.  The harsh warnings to believers in the Gospels cannot be denied by such hyper-dispensational twisting.  Christ also harshly warns the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation, providing further [Page 78] evidence that His warnings in the Gospels are also meant for New Testament Christians in every age (Revelation 2: 11; 3: 5, 10, 16).

 

 

Proof That the Kingdom Can Be Missed

 

 

There are many passages in the Bible that plainly teach that disobedient Christians are in danger of missing the millennial kingdom:

 

 

Matthew 7: 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

 

 

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

 

 

Christ is here addressing His disciples who already believe upon Him (John 3: 16).  The strait gate is entrance into the millennium.

 

 

Matthew 7: 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

 

 

Believers who walk in disobedience are in danger of missing the kingdom.

 

 

Matthew 18: 1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

 

 

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

 

 

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

This passage is addressed to disciples.  They are warned about missing the kingdom altogether.  The word “converted” is simply a reference to a practical change in the Christian’s walk.  It means these disciples must quit competing with each other in pride.  Many saints in modem churches have the same problems.

 

[Page 79]

Matthew 19: 23  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

 

 

Here the kingdom of God is shown to be the same as the kingdom of Heaven.  The kingdom of Heaven is the kingdom that the God of Heaven sets up on earth when Christ comes again to reign.  Heaven is often used as a reference to God since it is the place of His throne (Psalms 11: 4; Matthew 5: 34):

 

 

Mark 11: 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

 

 

Luke 15: 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, 1 have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

 

 

In the same manner, thousands of newspaper articles could be cited which use “Washington” or “the White House” as synonymous for government leaders.

 

 

In Matthew 19: 23, Christ is teaching that riches will hinder obedience since they tempt one to compromise to keep them:

 

 

1 Timothy 6: 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

 

 

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

 

 

Notice some other passages of Scripture that teach that all Christians will not enter the kingdom:

 

 

Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

 

 

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

 

[Page 80]

Notice that entrance into the “Joy of thy Lord” (i.e. in the millennial kingdom) will be based upon faithfulness at Christ’s second coming.

 

 

Luke 13: 23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?  And he said unto them,

 

 

24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, 1 say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

 

 

25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

 

 

28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

 

 

Whoever Christ is addressing is commanded to work for kingdom entrance. One does not “strive” (labour strenuously) for salvation in eternity.  This passage teaches how saved disciples can enter into the coming kingdom by abstaining from practical iniquity.

 

 

Acts 14: 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

 

 

22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

 

 

The above exhortation to Christians is to “continue in the faith” in order to enter the coming kingdom.  To continue in the faith is to often put oneself in great danger.  Even in an age when persecution is limited, one must nevertheless often endure great losses in money or esteem in order to confess Christ and stand for His whole truth.

 

 

2 Thessalonians 1: 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

 

[Page 81]

5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

 

 

These Christians are said to suffer for “the kingdom,” not just for a high position within it.  No pre-millennialist should fail to see in these Scriptures that kingdom entrance is conditional.  The only way around the implications of the passage is to attempt to argue (as Roman Catholics [and Protestant A-millennialists]) that the kingdom of God is not the millennium.

 

 

Hebrews 3: 1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

 

 

8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

 

 

10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

 

 

11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.

 

 

12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

 

 

18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

 

 

19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 

 

These words are addressed to Hebrew Christians, just as 1 Corinthians is addressed to Gentile Christians. These Christians are exhorted to not depart from God.  The “rest” is the “world to come” (Hebrews 2: 5).  It is the millennial age, the glorious 7th day Sabbath.

 

 

To Not Inherit Necessarily Implies to Not Enter

 

 

The following Scriptures are plainly warnings to true, New Tes­tament Christians. They warn that entrance into the millennial kingdom may be forfeited. To lose the kingdom as an inheritance is to lose entrance into it:

 

 

1 Corinthians 6: 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

 

[Page 82]

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

 

 

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

 

 

Galatians 5: 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which 1 tell you before, as 1 have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

 

Ephesians 5: 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

 

 

5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

 

 

6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

 

 

7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

 

 

In regard to the above words in Ephesians 5: 5, David Bosworth (1814-1899) has written:

 

 

I see no way to avoid, or get around this plain testimony, except by making a distinction between inheriting and inhabiting (i.e., in the sense of possessing, or enjoying).  That there is a difference in the meaning of the words, I do not pretend to deny; but as used in this place, there seems to be only a distinction of terms, and not meaning.”*

 

* David Bosworth, The Millennium And Related Events (Chicago: Revell, 1889).

 

 

Nevertheless, many others fancy that the word “inherit” in reference to the kingdom of God in such Scriptures as Galatians 5: 21, etc., allows entrance to all Christians at Christ’s coming.  This way, the only danger for rebellion would be the loss of ownership and authority in the kingdom (i.e. “inheritance”).  Such teaching, tones down the warnings scattered throughout Paul’s Epistles, in regard to not missing the kingdom.  The danger for unfaithful believers is seen to be only a loss of crowns. However, [Page 83] Scripture teaches that all Christians who enter the kingdom from this dispensation are glorified kings.  To lose the crown is to lose kingdom entrance (Revelation 5: 10, 20: 4-6; 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27).  All Christians, who enter the kingdom, enter crowned.  Faithful Christians will primarily reign over natural nations who will then populate the earth:

 

 

There is no hint in Scripture of resurrected believers being subjects in the Millennial Kingdom; the subjects of that Kingdom are the nations of the earth. ... For believers it is a matter of reigning or exclusion...”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Dawn (Nov. 1947).

 

- W.P. Clark

 

 

Likewise, Watchman Nee states:

 

 

Once a Western missionary told me, ‘If I cannot have the crown, at least I can have the kingdom.’ ...What is a crown?  It is not merely a hat beaten with gold and studded with diamonds. ... What is a crown?  A crown represents position in the kingdom.  It also represents glory in the kingdom. ... When one loses the crown, he loses the thing that the crown represents.  We have to see that the crown is the symbol of the kingdom. ... The crown is a reward for the overcomers, and the throne is also a reward for the overcomers. ... There is no such thing as losing the crown but still having the kingdom.  Similarly, one cannot lose the throne but still have the kingdom.”*

 

* Watchman Nee, The Gospel Of God, vol. 3 (California: Living Stream Ministry, 1990), 401.

 

 

Fundamental Baptist writer, William F. Roadhouse writes:

 

 

No reward, no crown - no crown, no reigning! ... There will be no crownless regents in Christ’s coming Kingdom! ... Saved-but-crownless will never see us through into coming kingdom joys.”*

 

* W.F. Roadhouse, Believers Sharing Or Forfeiting Christ’s Glorious Reign! (Toronto), 25, 27.

 

 

The rebellious, Old Testament Jews mentioned in Hebrews 3 and 1 Corinthians 10 did not enter the Promised Land at all.  They [Page 84] were not allowed to enter and become subjects.  They were not allowed to enter and simply forfeit the right of owning property.  They were excluded.  These chapters are written to New Testament Christians as a warning in regard to the future millennial kingdom:

 

 

Hebrews 2: 5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

 

 

Hebrews 4: 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

 

 

The future “rest” that believers are promised through faith and patience (Hebrews 6: 12) is the same as the “world to come.”  It is the future millennial kingdom:

 

 

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

 

 

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

 

 

7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

 

 

8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

 

 

9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

 

 

10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

 

 

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

 

 

Can any imagine that Paul’s intention is anything other than to warn of the same judgments falling on Christians in this age?  No disobedience will be tolerated in the millennial kingdom when Christ rules.  He will judge the nations with a rod of iron.  However, no one from this present age will enter the kingdom to begin with, without practical holiness.  The unrighteous and the [Page 85] unholy, even among Christians, will be excluded at the second coming of Christ:

 

 

Hebrews 12: 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

 

 

To not inherit the land is to be denied the privilege of possessing it by entrance.  This can be seen by comparing Numbers 13 & 14 and Deuteronomy 4: 19-26 with 1 Corinthians 10: 4-12 and Hebrews 3 & 4.  The same relationship between the two words is also revealed elsewhere:

 

 

Matthew 19: 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

 

 

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

Mark 10: 17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal [age-lasting] life?

 

 

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

 

 

To not “inherit” a kingdom is to not enter into it and inhabit it.  To be denied the right to go up and possess the land is to perish off the land and miss the blessing.  Those that attempt to water down the kingdom warnings of the apostle Paul miss a crucial point.  In 1 Corinthians 6: 9, 10 and Galatians 5: 21 it does not say “does not have any inheritance in the kingdom of God.”  It says very specifically, that for disobedience, the Christian will not inherit “THEkingdom of God:

 

 

1 Corinthians 6: 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit THE kingdom of God.

 

[Page 86]

It is true that some entered in among the Israelites who did not possess an inheritance in the land.  However, these correspond to the mortal nations that will live during the millennium, not to Christians who are commanded in this age to go up and possess the land by “overcoming” (Matthew 11: 12; 2 Timothy 2: 12, etc.).

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

Chapter 9

 

 

A Protestant Purgatory?

 

 

“... I might show how others have been led rashly to make the coming of the Lord and its attendant judgments, a kind of purgatory for the purification of unfaithful believers ... Thus, Bishop Hall, rehearsing the Millenarian tenets of his day, enumerates among them the following: ‘Christ shall examine, blame, and shame the saints who are alive at his coming, if they be found to have walked loosely…’ … Nor was the Bishop mistaken as to the views of his opponents...”*

 

* Samuel Waldegrave, New Testament Millenarianism (1854).

 

- Samuel Waldegrave (1817-1869)

 

 

Others fall back upon the old heresy of a purgatory of some kind ... Exclusion from the Millennial Kingdom, we are told by some, will be the penalty imposed on Christians who lapse into immoral practices ... To acknowledge as a Christian anyone who is living in open sin is to be false to the Lord.”*

 

* Sir Robert Anderson, Forgotten Truth (1914), 131, 148.

 

- Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918)

 

 

“... Dillow constructs a sort of Protestant Purgatory for the ‘unrepentant who are saved.’”*

 

* David Reagan, “Eternal Security-Do Believer’s Have IT” (The Lamplighter, July-August 2000).

 

- David Reagan

 

[Page 88]

Notice the words used in the above objections.  What do words such as “a kind of,” “of some kind” and “a sort of” actually imply?  They reveal that the opponents of accountability truth understand that there is certainly a difference between this truth and the heresy of Rome!

 

 

The Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is certainly heresy.  However, in their zeal to escape a so-called Protestant or Baptist Purgatory at all costs, many professing Christian leaders are running into the pit of Catholic salvation assurance (which is no true “assurance” at all, since [eternal salvation in] it is based on works or fruit).

 

 

Joseph Dillow (author of The Reign of the Servant Kings) believes (like Charles Stanley, Zane Hodges, Tony Evans, etc.) that disobedient Christians will experience a type of outer darkness that is within the millennial kingdom.  They do not teach total exclusion from the millennial kingdom.  These evangelicals are part of a refreshing, motivating revival of accountability truth.  Their warnings (although softer than the Bible actually teaches) are often maligned as some type of “Protestant Purgatory” by those that do not believe a Christian can sin badly enough to merit such punishments.  Certainly, this same objection will be made in regard to the harsher warnings found in this book.

 

 

There are many verses that Catholics have used to attempt to justify their Purgatory.  Yet, there is no such place mentioned in the Bible.  Friends and relatives cannot pay or pray a Christian’s way out of future chastisement.  Also, unlike the Catholic myth, future chastisement of unfaithful believers is not for the purpose of earning final, positional [eternal] salvation.  It is discipline from a just and faithful Father who loves His children enough to chastise those who hurt themselves and others, contrary to the rules of His holy household.

 

[Page 89]

Rome teaches that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper both have redemptive value in the long process of salvation through works.  Bible believing Christians throughout history have rejected Rome’s perversion of these ordinances yet kept the ordinances themselves in obedience to the Bible.  However, when it came to temporary chastisement on the day of judgment, many Christians decided to throw out the teaching altogether!  Yet, there is more Scriptural evidence for the doctrine of temporary chastisement at the judgment seat of Christ than there is for the holy ordinances of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper added together.

 

 

Rewards and chastisements abound in this life for practical obedience or disobedience (1 Corinthians 11, Hebrews 12).  What many have missed is simply that there are multitudes of Scriptures that teach that such rewards and chastisements can be extended on the same basis over into the next world, during the coming millennial kingdom (2 Corinthians 5: 9- 11, Galatians 5: 21).  If harsh discipline for [regenerate] believers in this life does not take away from the Cross of Calvary, then neither does the doctrine of discipline for some believers during the coming age of reward.  It is when the Catholics teach that such discipline merits positional salvation in eternity that such a concept becomes a devilish error.

 

 

In regard to the history of Purgatory, Jacques Le Goff writes:

 

 

Until the end of the twelfth century the noun purgatorium did not exist: the Purgatory had not yet been born.  It is a remarkable fact that the first appearance of the word purgatorium, expressing a newly acquired awareness of Purgatory as a place and thus the birth of Purgatory per se, has been neglected by historians...”*

 

* Jacques Le Goff, The Birth Of Purgatory (University Of Chicago Press, 1986), 3.

 

[Page 90]

The Roman Catholic dogma of Purgatory was officially ratified at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-45) and reaffirmed at the Council of Trent (1545-63).  The concept was developed in the sixth century.  Augustine (354-436) helped lay the foundation.  Jerome (and many other early, professing Christians) taught that some Christians would be temporarily punished in fire, yet saved at last.  Augustine, on the other hand, resisted this idea, and taught that any man that committed gross sins would burn eternally.  Gregory the Great (540-604) would build upon Augustine’s framework by teaching that there would be temporary punishment in fire for “light” or venial sins, while all other sins would bring eternal damnation.  Sufferings, whether for Christ (as a martyr) or for venial sins (in this life or in the intermediate state), were given redemptive value.  The Biblical truths of millennial exclusion and millennial chastisement were perverted into Rome’s monstrous Purgatory. Rome therefore compromised the grace of God as it relates to eternal salvation.

 

 

The testimonies of the following accountability teachers will reveal the folly in branding chastisement (during the age of the millennial kingdom) as “Purgatory.”  It is an emotional straw man:

 

 

Most will take up the ground – ‘Chastisement, but only in this life.’  Your proofs, friend? ... you admit, that in spite of Jesus’ atonement, the chastisements of God descend on the offending believer in this life, It is no bar then to their falling on him in the next age.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Judgment Seat Of Christ (Schoettle), 78-79.

 

 

- Robert Govett (1813-1901)

 

 

The kingdom, as it is the period of reward to the righteous, so is it, to those of a contrary conduct, the time of exclusion and penalty. ... The offences between brother and brother are not infinite, and so neither shall the duration of the sentence be for ever.  The last farthing will be paid off: the time of imprisonment expire. ‘The age to come’ is to be the time of forgiveness of some things, as well as the present age: Matt. 12: 32. ‘But this is purgatory!’  Is it [Page 91] Scripture? Do not, Christian brother, seek to set aside a truth because it is unpleasant, by raising a storm of prejudice.  If this be not spoken to disciples, prove it!  Put it down by force of Scripture!  Hew it in pieces with that two edged sword!  But if it be the word of Christ, bow to it! ’Tis not, in its chief features, like the Romish doctrine of purgatory.  1. Purgatory is supposed by Romanists to begin at death, to end at Christ’s appearing.  The sentence here begins only with the Saviour’s judgment seat.  2. The parties detained in purgatory, it is asserted, may be delivered by prayers, masses, indulgences, etc.  This last is the especial feature, which has rendered the Romish doctrine so justly odious.  It has no place here.  But the one question is, What saith the Scripture? - To that I bend; do you also beloved!*

 

* Robert Govett, The Sermon On The Mount (London: Thynne & Co. LTD, 1934; reprint, Miami Springs: Conley & Schoettle, 1984), 77-78.

 

- Robert Govett

 

 

The Roman doctrine of Purgatory would have been impossible had the Church always held and taught the full Scripture truth of a believer’s purging.  Only twice has the Roman doctrine been officially defined.  ‘If such as be truly penitent die in God’s favour before they have satisfied for their sins of commission and omission by worthy fruits of penance’ - i.e., assisted their own atonement – ‘their souls are purged after death with purgatorial punishments’ (Council of Ferrara); ‘and the souls delivered there are assisted by the suffrages [prayers and devotions] of the Faithful, and especially by the most acceptable sacrifice of the Mass.’ (Council of Trent). ... Prayer for the dead is unknown in the Scriptures.  This cuts away the root of all abominations (indulgences, etc.) that have grown around the Roman doctrine. ... But the vital error lies in confusing discipline with [eternal] salvation. ... There are no atoning sufferings but the sufferings of Calvary: works with a view to salvation are sinful and deadly ... only a saved soul can be purged by chastisement.  No amount or degree of suffering can improve into life a soul dead in trespasses and sins, any more than dead wood can be made to grow fruit by pruning ... ‘Some of the oldest Roman divines taught that all the remains of sin in God’s children are quite abolished by final grace at the very instant of their dissolution; so that the stain of the least sin is not left behind to be carried into the other world.’ (Archbishop Usher’s Answer to a Jesuit, p. 165).  This ancient Roman doctrine is as unscriptural as the later Roman doctrine of Purgatory.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, Purgatory (Farnborough, Hants.. The Vanguard Reprints, #93).

 

- D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

 

 

All denunciation of this truth as ‘purgatory’ condemns the Lord Jesus at least as sharply as it criticizes His commentator.  Roman error on the point is lodged [Page 92] in making a believer’s punishment hereafter a means to his fundamental salvation, an integral part of the Atonement.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, Purgatory (Farnborough, Hants.. The Vanguard Reprints, #93).

 

- D.M. Panton

 

 

I hear the orthodox exclaim, ‘Purgatory! Purgatory!’  ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he should live.’  But invective is not argument, and the mandate of conventionality cannot silence the voice of God in the breast of any man to whom truth and righteousness are dearer than the plaudits of the crowd.”*

 

* Stephen S. Craig, The Dualism Of Eternal Life (Rochester: 1916), 138.

 

- Stephen S. Craig (1916)

 

 

It will be objected that this prospect of punishment after death for some who are ultimately to be saved savours of the Roman doctrine of purgatory.  Stalwart Protestants will rush to the battle with the heaviest armaments they can command.  But let the searcher for truth alone be calm .... Every instructed Christian believes in purgatory in principle.  The fire purges the gold that it may be fit for the king’s table.  Heb. 12: 12; 1 Pet. 1: 6, 7, indeed the whole Bible teaches this, nor is it questioned as to the ways of God our Father with His children in this life.  It is therefore simply a question of whether God by His Word does or does not extend the application of this process to life after death.  No new principle as to His ways is introduced.  And who shall complain, or even wonder, should He thus vindicate His justice before men and angels?  It is not fully exhibited in this life, even in the case of His children.  The godly do not get a full reward of virtue, nor the carnal believer the due reward of his deeds.  The former rightly look beyond death for their recompense; it is but consistent that the latter should then receive theirs. ... This differs radically from the Romish doctrine of purgatory, for that dogma makes the suffering after death for such as go to purgatory necessary to their purifi­cation and final salvation....Thus 'according to the Romanists the departed have to make an atonement themselves, in the purgatorial state, for the sins they have committed when in this life.’ (Walter Hook, in Dr. W.F. Hook’s Church Dictionary, 629). ... It is worth deep and full inquiry whether it be not the case that the whole system of Roman theology, and each dogma separately, has some element of truth at its heart, truth perverted and corrupted, but there. ... If this is so, it is to be expected that in even their doctrine of purgatory there is an element of truth.  In the fierceness of Reformation controversy it too largely happened that almost everything Roman was rejected in toto, instead of discrimination being employed to rescue the wheat from the chaff.  The chief exception was the retention of the fatal doctrine of regeneration by baptism.  Here more discrimination ought to have been used to reject the error while yet retaining New Testament teaching and practice. But it would have been a mistake to have rejected [Page 93] baptism as completely and summarily as purgatory was rejected, for both have a basis of truth overlaid by deadly error.”*

 

* G.H. Lang, The Epistle To The Hebrews (Conley & Schoettle, 1985), 185-187.

 

- G.H. Lang (1874-1958)

 

 

“...Catholics tell people that a man will not be saved until he has been completely purged in purgatory.  This is an absolute overturning of the teaching of the Bible. ... Discipline and chastisement are not for salvation but for sanctification.  The matter of our salvation is settled long before God disciplines us, but there are still things in us that do not match Him. ... Therefore, there is discipline in this age and there is discipline in the coming kingdom.  Once a person is clear about this truth, he will see the heresy in Roman Catholicism.  The Roman Catholic Church takes a few verses and utilizes them for her own purpose.”*

 

* Watchman Nee, The Gospel Of God, vol. 3 (California: Living Stream Ministry, 1990), 460-461.

 

 

- Watchman Nee (1903-1972)

 

 

One more point should be noted in reference to this objection.  Many of the most vocal opponents of millennial chastisement are also Futurists in regard to their interpretation of the Book of Revelation. (Futurists believe that chapters 4 through 22 are yet to be fulfilled).  This prophetic view is indeed correct.  Nevertheless, Dean Henry Alford (1810-1871) once accused the Futurist interpretation of being a Jesuit heresy since Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) also taught it.  This same claim is still often made today.

 

 

Futurists would reply that Rome simply used the ancient truth to her own ends (i.e. to draw present attention away from herself).  They would argue that one should not throw out the baby with the bath water in regard to the future tribulation period.  Nevertheless, many Christians do this very thing in regard to the future millennium.  They will not realize that the Devil is using Rome’s perversion of Christian accountability to draw attention away [Page 94] from a truth that is able to do so much good in the lives of believers.

 

 

While Futurism is often linked to Romanism, pre-millennialism itself is often linked to ancient Judaism.  This was the common objection made against it in history.  Therefore, premillennial Futurists should think twice before attempting to use the “guilt by association” argument against the doctrine of millennial exclusion.  The same type of emotional objections could easily be used against almost every part of our eschatological system.

 

 

One can be sure that any doctrine of future discipline will not be received well by the majority of the people of God.  In fact, one remembers the shallow objections made against Jeremiah when he preached of discipline to come for God’s people (Jeremiah 7: 4; 28: 9-17).  Even so, such are the ways of wishful thinking.  The teaching of temporary punishment for rebellious Christians has never been wrong.  The Catholics simply made it contribute to positional salvation in eternity, which the Bible states is not through suffering, nor works, but through faith alone in the Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

Chapter 10

 

 

Where Do the Unfaithful Christians Go?

 

 

The Scripture view of the certain consequences of our actions in the day of justice near at hand, is one of God’s motives to holiness; - a very strong one, - repeated in various forms in the Epistles to the Churches.  But it condemns so many; it frightens so many who believe they are wrong in some things, or suspect that they are, that they dare not face it - they will not receive it.  Where the heart is warped, it is not difficult to persuade one’s self, that a falsehood which flatters us is better than a truth which condemns.”*

 

* Robert Govett, Sowing and Reaping (Norwich: Fletcher And Son), 22-23.

 

- Robert Govett (1813-1901)

 

 

Matthew 25: 30  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

 

There are many who place a strong emphasis on the judgment seat who believe that carnal Christians must spend a portion or all of the millennial age in outer darkness.  This view is growing in popularity as the vast proliferation of carnality is provoking many Christian leaders to re-examine the warning passages addressed to the saints.

 

[Page 96]

For example, George W. Dollar, the fundamental Baptist writer who has become well known for his works on the history of fundamentalism, has stated:

 

 

He’s going to send all of the wicked, lazy, unprofitable Christians ... to outer darkness for one thousand years and there shall be gnashing of teeth.”*

 

* George W. Dollar, “Reward” (tape recorded sermon at Faith Baptist Church), as quoted in Samuel L. Hoyl, Bibliotheca Sacra (April-June 1980), 218.

 

 

Some modem Christians hold that this “outer darkness” is a temporary prison in the heart of the earth where carnal Christians will spend the millennium (like so many of the older fundamentalists).  This is the view of this book.

 

 

Others teach that “outer darkness” is only a realm above ground within the kingdom.  Those that teach this view are divided.  Some teach that there is also a further possibility of being cast down into the underworld depending on the degree of sin; but they would distinguish this underworld from “outer darkness.”  Others believe that “outer darknesswithin the kingdom (i.e. above ground) is the worst thing that can happen to an unfaithful believer.  They would not see any judgment upon unfaithful Christians in the underworld.  In the latter view, most of the warnings are often interpreted to be figurative and they thereby lose much of their intended force.

 

 

Tony Evans holds that “outer darkness” is a judgment upon an unfaithful believer inside the kingdom (not below it).  In an article in the Tim Lahaye Prophecy Study Bible, he writes:

 

 

Every Christian will be rewarded based on his words, deeds, and faithfulness ... those Christians who are unfaithful (Matt.25: 28-30) will have their rewards taken from them and given to those who were faithful, and they will be cast into ‘outer darkness,the place where there shall be ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  The ‘outer darkness’ described in this passage ... is likely a lesser status in God’s kingdom.”*

 

* Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible (AMG Publishers, 2000), 1234.

 

 

Charles Stanley is another popular preacher that has written upon the subject of accountability.  Stanley writes:

 

 

Jesus concluded his parable [Mt. 25: 30] and added that the slave was cast out into the outer darkness ... Some believers will be entrusted with certain privileges; others will not. Some will reign with Christ; others will not ... It may seem strange that in a book on eternal security I would devote so much space to the judgment and rewards of believers.  But I believe that this area of doctrine is the key to reconciling God’s justice with the free gift of salvation. Anyone who takes Jesus’ kingdom teaching seriously knows that believers do not get away with sin...”*

 

* Charles Stanley, Eternal Security (Oliver Nelson). 124-125, 128.

 

 

It is refreshing to see such popular writers applying Christian warning passages to true believers.  Yet, for these warnings to fully accomplish their intended purpose among the saints, they must e taught and preached in their full force.  Jesus has not simply spoken in parabolic form to warn His disciples.  He has told them literally, on multiple occasions, what unfaithful Christians will experience at the judgment seat and where they will spend the millennium.  He openly warns them of the danger of going to [and staying in] the underworld during the millennium.  The next chapter will examine the underworld in detail, and document the fact that while Christ’s warnings to His own are not warnings about being tormented in the Lake of Fire for all eternity (i.e. losing [eternal] salvation), they are, nevertheless, far more dreadful than many are willing to admit.

 

 

Many older fundamentalists were not shy about interpreting the warnings in their fullness.  Multitudes openly taught that carnal Christians would be banished to the underworld until the end of the millennium.  The final chapter of this book documents this [Page 98] fact in detail.  Although there is an increasing number of Christians that are willing to take these warnings in full force (without denying eternal security), it is admittedly the least popular view concerning the warning passages.  It is certainly not difficult to understand why this is the case when we consider what the Bible teaches about the state of the majority of churches in the last days (2 Timothy 4: 2-5).

 

 

It is inconsistent to argue that Christ’s parabolic warnings are addressed to true disciples and then refuse to admit the same when He warns the same disciples literally!  If the warnings to believers (whether in parabolic form or not) are not literal, what happens to the warnings to the lost?  Many Universalists believe that the “Lake of Fire” in Revelation 20 (where unbelievers will spend eternity) is only “the wonderful, happy fire of God’s love.”  It therefore follows that we must be careful in regard to what type of interpretive precedents we set.

 

 

In Matthew 25: 30, the subject is an unprofitable servant.  On other occasions, Jesus taught that such servants would actually miss the kingdom entirely and would be banished to the underworld.  There is therefore no reason not to conclude that “outer darkness” in Matthew 25: 30 means the dark regions of the underworld, exactly as it does in all the other warnings.

 

 

When Out is Down

 

 

Literal warnings (whether to believers or unbelievers) are often imbedded in the framework of symbolic parables.  The ultimate warnings taught in parabolic figures such as “stripes,” “fire,” “burning,” “casting out,” “darkness,” etc. should always be taken literally.  This is how Jesus interprets His own parables (Matthew 13: 40-42).

 

 

Notice the following verse:

 

[Page 99]

2 Peter 2: 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of DARKNESS, to be reserved unto judgment;

 

 

There is nothing figurative about 2 Peter 2: 4.  The underworld is dark.  Therefore, the warning to true disciples about being cast out into “outer darkness” is a warning about being cast into this temporary prison in the heart of the earth.

 

 

Notice a similar warning to unbelieving Jews:

 

 

Matthew 8: 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into OUTER DARKNESS: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

 

Compare this to the warning Christ gave His own disciples:

 

 

Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into OUTER DARKNESS: there shall he weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

 

No one doubts that the warning to lost Jews refers to the darkness of the underworld during the age of the millennium.  Yet, why do so many believers doubt this fact when disciples are likewise warned?  The main reason is that they do not believe a Christian can ever miss out on millennial entrance.  Perhaps it is too shocking a thought for “modern” emotions!  Notice that believers are warned about going to the same place as unbelievers during the millennium:

 

 

Luke 12: 45  But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

 

 

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion WITH the unbelievers.

 

[Page 100]

Matthew 24: 50  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

 

 

51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion WITH the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

 

Why do many rightly apply Matthew 25: 30 to real Christians but refuse to apply Matthew 24: 51 in the same manner?  Unbelievers and hypocrites go into “outer darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Disobedient believers will temporarily visit the same place if they do not repent in time:

 

 

Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

 

Outer darkness in the heart of the earth is where the hypocrites and unbelievers will be until the Great White Throne when everyone is raised for final judgment.  At that point, all who are not found written in the Book of Life (the [unregenerate] unbelievers) will be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity (Revelation 20: 15).  All Christians will then be together throughout eternity.

 

 

Many might point out the fact that out is not under.  But is this necessarily true?  It is important to see that each parable of Jesus describes a literal judgment.  It is true that the disobedient servant is to be cast “outside” of the “joy of the Lord.”  Nevertheless, the “joy” of the Lord is His whole reign in the coming kingdom.  Fellowship with Him in this glorious reign is a prize indeed.  To be cast out of the joy of the kingdom during the millennial age is to go to the prison in the heart of the earth.  The Bible is consistent in its terminology. Notice how it speaks of another judgment elsewhere as both “out” and “down” at the same time:

 

 

Revelation 12: 7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

 

 

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

 

[Page 101]

9 And the great dragon was cast OUT, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast OUT into the earth, and his angels were cast OUT with him.

 

 

10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast DOWN, which accused them before our God day and night.

 

 

12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come DOWN unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

 

 

In the above Scriptures, “out” of heaven is said to be “down” to the earth.  When the kingdom likewise comes to the earth, “out” of its territory will be “down” into the darkness of the underworld.  If out of Heaven’s territory is down to the earth, out of the earth’s territory will be down in the underworld.

 

 

The main proof that “outer darkness” refers to the underworld (in Matthew 22: 13 and 25: 30) lies in the fact that Jesus literally warns true disciples (such as the apostle John) of going there (Mark 9: 38, 41, 43). These literal warnings to Christians will be examined in future chapters.  These literal warnings explain the parabolic warnings.  If the literal warnings do not apply to true Christians, then neither do the parabolic warnings.  But if this is true, then one might as well conclude that the warnings to the lost do not apply to them either.  Although Jesus taught that the warnings in His parables are to be taken literally.  (Matthew 13: 40-42), there is a tendency to embrace parabolic warnings (since they are easier to manipulate), while rejecting the literal ones:

 

 

Ezekiel 20: 48  And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.

 

 

49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?

 

 

Secondly, there is no evidence for holding to two different types of “outer darkness”  “Outer darkness” is the dark realm in the [Page 102] heart of the earth.  This underworld will be examined in the next chapter.

 

 

*       *       *

[Page 103]

 

Chapter 11

 

 

The Underworld

 

 

The Jews placed Hell in the centre of the earth, and believed it to be situated under waters and mountains.”*

 

* Temple H. Croker, The Complete Dictionary (1764).

 

- The Complete Dictionary (1764)

 

 

Hell: Although now almost universally applied to the state and place of eternal punishment, the word was originally used in the same sense as hades, meaning the underworld. ...”*

 

* A Standard Dictionary Of The English Language (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1895).

 

- A Standard Dictionary Of The English Language

 

 

The underworld is sometimes called Hell in the Bible.  Hell” is an older English word found in the A. V. and other early English versions.  It once referred to a place a tailor threw his scraps or a printer his broken type.  A “hell” is therefore any type of garbage-dump or scrap-yard.  It is therefore a proper word to use to refer [Page 104] to the place the Lord will cast all that are unworthy of His kingdom (Matthew 5: 28, Luke 9: 62, etc.).

 

 

The early Bible translators knew how to properly use the word hell.  Although it is certainly a place of fiery torment, the A. V. teaches that Hell is not the final place of endless torment:

 

 

Revelation 20: 13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and HELL delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

 

 

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

 

Notice that all the dead come out of Hell and the lost then go into the Lake of Fire.  G.H. Lang (1874-1958) writes:

 

 

When the A.V. was made, ‘hell’ meant what the Greek Hades means, a vast covered region out of ken of our bodily senses, reached after death. Today, 'hell' has come to mean the place of final judgment, the ‘lake of fire,’ which misleads the present reader of the A V.*

 

* G.H. Lang, The Parabolic Teaching of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1956), 267.

 

 

It should be noted that the A. V. reveals that Hell is not the final destination of the lost and therefore will not be found misleading anyone who takes the time to study it closely (2 Timothy 2: 15).

 

 

The Imperial Bible-Dictionary agrees with Lang’s definition of the word hell:

 

 

Originally, indeed our hell corresponded more exactly to ‘hades,’ being derived from the Saxon helan, to cover, and signifying merely the covered or invisible place ... its earlier meaning has been lost sight of.”*

 

* The Imperial Bible-Dictionary (London: Blackie & Son, 1887).

 

[Page 105]

Hell” is derived from words meaning to conceal or cover.  This can be seen in words such as helmet (i.e. a covering for the head).  It is also associated with under (i.e. as in the underworld).  A person’s heel is the under-part and therefore concealed on the bottom.  However, the Bible does not teach that the final Lake of Fire is concealed or under anything.  It is therefore never called hell in the Bible.  Hell is said to be down deep in the heart of the earth, under the foot of man.  It is concealed and covered and its dark dungeon will hide the light from any soul sent to its depths.  Notice how this definition of the word hell (a covered, concealed pit under the earth) is brought out in the A. V.’s English:

 

 

Job 11: 8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

 

 

Proverbs 9: 18  But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

 

 

Isaiah 14:15  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

 

 

Amos 9: 2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

 

 

Matthew 11: 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

 

 

2 Peter 2: 4  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

 

 

The various Hebrew and Greek words translated "hell" in the above verses all refer to the same place.

 

 

The definition for the word hell given by William Smith’s, A Dictionary Of The Bible (1863) is even more revealing.  It states:

 

 

Passing over the derivations suggested by older writers, it is now generally agreed that the word comes from the root ... [meaning] ‘to make hollow’ [Page 106] (Comp. Germ. Holle, ‘hell,’ with hohle, ‘a hollow'), and therefore means the vast hollow subterranean resting-place which is the common receptacle of the dead. ...”*

 

* William Smith, A Dictionary Of The Bible (Boston: Little, Brown, And Co., 1863).

 

 

It is therefore proper to refer to the centre of the earth as “Hell.”  On the other hand, this definition does not seem to correspond with the idea of a “lake.”  The Lake of Fire is not a subterranean, hollow place under the feet of men.  The real subterranean, hollow place (i.e. Hell) is cast into the Lake of Fire.  The A. V. translators were correct in keeping Hell distinct from the Lake of Fire.  Hell is not the final destination of the lost.  The Devil himself comes out of the pit of Hell (Isaiah 14: 15; Revelation 20: 1) after the millennium only to be thrown into the final Lake of Fire.

 

 

Some commentators on the basis of Revelation 20: 13-14 would hold that the Lake of Fire is the final Hell” and that the pit in the heart of the earth is another, temporary Hell.”  This is true only in a loose sense, based on the definition of “Hell” in popular speech.  Many preachers, for the sake of communicating to the public, have adapted the theological definition of such words to the general understanding of the masses based on tradition.  Over time, “Hell” has become engrained in popular Christian speech as a synonym for the Lake of Fire.  The same thing happened to the word baptize in the A. V.  Even many of the better dictionaries and lexicons erroneously define the word baptize as “to sprinkle” based on its common usage in Christendom.

 

 

Technically, the A. V. makes a distinction between Hell and the Lake of Fire.  Only the Lake of Fire endures eternally as a distinct place (though Hell’s flames appear to merge with the Lake of Fire in Revelation 20: 14). The warnings concerning Hell all refer [Page 107] to a premillennial (or millennial) judgment.  Hell is contrasted in the same context with entering the millennial kingdom of God.

 

 

The Controversial Word “Hell

 

 

Although it is shocking, the word hell is a perfect English word to describe the dark dungeon of the underworld where unbelievers and carnal Christians will spend the millennium:

 

 

Luke 12: 45  But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

 

 

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for hini, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion WITH the unbelievers.

 

 

People that study their English Bible know that “hell” is complex.  In the A. V. the word hell is already used for the place Jesus went after death, before He resurrected (Psalms 16: 10, Acts 2: 27).  Jesus did not suffer in Hell.  He paid for our sins in His body on the Cross.  He then went to the Paradise side of Hell (that existed below at that time) until He was resurrected.  The word hell has been historically retained in Christian creeds and confessions to describe the whole realm in the heart of the earth, which at one time included Paradise. There is therefore no reason to change the word as the proper name for the whole underworld.

 

 

Ephesians 4: 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the LOWER PARTS of the earth?

 

 

Revelation 5: 3  And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither UNDER THE EARTH, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

 

 

Disobedient Christians will be cast out of the millennial kingdom and will temporarily go into the underworld where they will experience negative consequences based on their degree of sin [Page 108] (Luke 12: 47-48).  This prison is sometimes called hell in the English Bible. This book retains the word exactly as it is used in the A.V.

 

 

Hades, Gehenna and Tartarus

 

 

Sheol (i.e. Old Testament Hebrew) and Hades (i.e. Greek) are different names for the same place (compare Psalms 16: 10 and Acts 2: 27).  Gehenna and Tartarus are also different names found in Greek copies of the Bible for that one place called “Hell” in English.

 

 

Some believe that Hades is simply a holding tank for the spirits of the dead.  They believe that Gehenna is the place of final, endless judgment in fire.  Yet, there is also fire in Hades!  What then is the evidence that they are distinct places?  Notice that the Rich Man is said to go to Hades in the Greek copies:

 

 

Luke 16: 23  And in hell [i.e. hades] he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

 

 

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Laza­rus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

 

 

Hades is shown in Luke 16 to be a place of fiery torment just as Gehenna is said to be:

 

 

Matthew 5: 22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell (i.e. gehenna) fire.

 

 

In Greek copies, Jesus uses Hades as a warning against sin (Matthew 11: 23, Luke 10: 14-15).  There is no Biblical reason to view Hades and Gehenna as distinct realms.

 

[Page 109]

Tartarus is shown in Greek to be down in the heart of the earth where Hades is said to be:

 

 

2 Peter 2: 4  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (i.e. tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

 

 

Matthew 11: 23  And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell (i.e. hades): for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

 

 

Tartarus and Hades both refer to the same pit in the center of the earth called Hell:

 

 

Hades is a place in the world not regularly finished; a subterraneous region, wherein the light of this world does not shine; from which circumstance, that in this region the light does not shine, it cannot be but there must be in it perpetual darkness....”*

 

* The Works Of Flavius Josephus, Translated by William Whiston (Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Co.), 901.

 

- Flavius Josephus (37-100)

 

 

William T. Shedd (1820-1894) calls attention to the fact that in classical Greek, Tartarus and Hades were often used interchangeably:

 

 

It is noteworthy, that the place in which they suffer is denominated Hades, by both Homer and Plato showing that in the classical use, Hades is sometimes the equivalent of Tartarus. ...”*

 

* Williarn T. Shedd, The Doctrine Of Endless Punishment (Oregon: Ages Software, The Master Christian Library, 1997), 32.

 

 

Clement (born in the second century) implies that Tartarus is also the same as Gehenna:

 

 

Did not Plato know of the rivers of fire and the depth of the earth, and Tartarns, called by the Barbarians Gehenna, naming, as he does prophetically, [Page 110] Cocytus, and Acheron, and Pyriphlegethon, and introducing such corrective tortures for discipline?”*

 

* Clement (Oregon: Ages Software, The Master Christian Library, 1997), 935.

 

 

Many scholars have noted that “Gehenna” is derived from the Hebrew “Valley of Hinnom.”  This was a garbage dump south of Jerusalem.  Our English word “hell” was originally used in the same manner. Nevertheless, regardless of how the words gehenna or hell may have originated in common language, theologically, they do not simply refer to a literal garbage dump:

 

 

Matthew 10: 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (i.e. gehenna).

 

 

A non-material soul will not be destroyed in a physical garbage dump or in a place a printer throws his broken type.  Gehenna is a place where a body and soul may be destroyed.  It is therefore in the centre of the earth where the souls of the damned are cast.  The literal “Valley of Hinnom” may indeed be an opening where Gehenna (i.e. Hell) bubbles up to the surface of the earth at Christ’s second coming.  In the millennium its mouth may perhaps meet the Lake of Fire on the surface of the earth.  The stream of fire flowing from the Lake of Fire before the Throne of God might engulf the mouth or opening of Hell:

 

 

Jeremiah 7: 31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

 

 

Isaiah 30:33  For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

 

 

Isaiah 14: 9  Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

 

[Page 111]

Isaiah 5: 14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

 

 

It is interesting that many rabbinical writings from the first two centuries maintained a similar idea.  They taught that Gehenna was down in the heart of the earth and that it did in fact connect with the surface of the earth in the Valley of Hinnom.  In discussing these early Jewish writings, Jacques Le Goff states:

 

 

*... [Gehenna] connects with the earth through a small hole, through which the fire of Gehenna passes to heat the surface of the earth.  Some writers place this hole near Jerusalem, in the valley of Hinnom. ...”*

 

* Jacques Le Goff, The Birth Of Purgatory (Chicago: The University Of Chicago Press, 1984), 39.

 

 

Le Goff quotes a rabbinical treatise on the courts (Sanhedrin) from the early period between A.D. 70 and A.D. 135:

 

 

The sinners in Israel, guilty in their body, and the sinners of the nations of the world, guilty in their body, go down to Gehenna to be punished. ...”*

 

* Jacques Le Goff, 40.

 

 

These testimonies are interesting since they reveal the traditional belief that Gehenna is down in the heart of the earth where Hades and Tartarus are also said to be.  The A. V. certainly agrees by calling them all “Hell” (i.e. hollow, under, covered).

 

 

Harper’s Bible Dictionary also states that the Hebrews agreed with this idea:

 

 

In Hebrew eschatology Gehenna was the region under, but more extensive than, the earth. …”*

 

* Harper’s Bible Dictionary (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961).

 

Early Christian testimonies likewise reveal the same truth.  Tertullian (born in the second century) in his Apology writes:

 

[Page 112]

And if we threaten Gehenna, which is a reservoir of secret fire under the earth for purposes of punishment, we have in the same way derision heaped on us.”*

 

* Tertullian, Apol. 47, “Part First” (Oregon: Ages Software, The Master Christian Library, 1997), 96.

 

 

That Gehenna and Hades are the same place in the heart of the earth may also be seen from the fact that the lost Pharisees are warned of Gehenna in the Greek copies.  However, at the end of the millennium, the dead (which surely include these same Pharisees from the time of Christ) will actually come out of Hades:

 

 

Matthew 23: 15  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell (i.e. gehenna) than yourselves.

 

 

33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell (i.e. gehenna)?

 

 

Revelation 20: 13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (i.e. hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

 

 

Hades and Gehenna are therefore the same place.

 

 

To escape this conclusion, perhaps some will reply that the Gehenna warnings to the Pharisees in passages such as Matthew 23 are postmillennial and must therefore refer to the final Lake of Fire (Revelation 20: 15). Yet, this cannot be true since the warnings regarding Gehenna are directly contrasted with life in the millennial kingdom (Matthew 5: 20, 22; 18: 3, 9; Mark 9: 47).  It should be remembered that the next “kingdom” to come is the millennium (Matthew 6: 10; Revelation 20: 6, 7; 1 Corinthians 15: 23-26).  Although Jesus often spoke of endless condemnation on the “last dayafter the millennium (e.g. John 3:16, 18; 6: 40,;12: 48), none of His actual warnings using the word Hell speak of a postmillennial judgment.

 

[Page 113]

Notice some of the following references to the future millennial kingdom in the context of various Gehenna warnings:

 

 

Matthew 18: 3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell (i.e. gehenna) fire.

 

 

Mark 9: 47  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell (i.e. gehenna) fire:

 

 

It should be remembered that the dead are also said to spend the future millennium in Hades.  The dead come up out of Hades after the millennial kingdom:

 

 

Revelation 20: 13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (i.e. hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

 

 

14 And death and hell (i.e. hades) were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.

 

 

Hades is therefore the same as Gehenna.  The A. V translators were correct in translating Hades, Gehenna and Tartarus by the single word “Hell.”  They all refer to that one place in the centre of the earth where the unfaithful dead (i.e. carnal believers and unbelievers) will spend the millennial kingdom of God.  After the millennium, the banished Christians will be restored to endless bliss and the unbelievers will perish forever in the Lake of Fire (i.e. a separate place from Gehenna or Hades).

 

[Page 114]

“...how many true believers are failing to grasp the import of

these most solemn passages and the teaching generally

of the Master and His disciples regarding these

kingdom truths. ...?”

 

 

- Lt-Colonel G. F. Poynder (1851-1942)

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 115]

Chapter 12

 

 

The Temporary Abodes of the Dead

 

 

Who can take pleasure in the thought of people being eternally lost?  If you want to see folk damned, there is something wrong with you!  Universalism is thus a comfortable doctrine in a way that alternatives are not.  But wishful thinking, based on a craving for comfort and a reluctance to believe that some of God’s truth might be tragic, is no sure index of reality.”*

 

* Robert A. Peterson, Hell On Trial (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian And Reformed, 1995), 15.

 

- J. I. Packer

 

 

Typical orthodox believers, like the framers of the Westminster Standards and their lineal descendants, have no hesitation in consigning all but a small percentage of the human race to a literally eternal hell, and yet will be horrified at the thought that they, dyed with sins of which many sinners have never been guilty of, should find their ABODE in hell even for one thousand years.  Will it not do them good to take at least a taste of their own medicine?”*

 

* Stephen S. Craig, The Dualism Of Eternal Life (Rochester: 1916), 146.

 

- Stephen S. Craig (1916)

 

[Page 116]

The Bible teaches that Christians can be banished for 1000 years (during the kingdom age) in the underworld. Many Christians reject this truth for the same reason that most in the world reject the doctrine of endless torment for unbelievers.  It seems that there is as much “wishful thinking, based on a craving for comfort” among Christians in regard to their own possible, future chastisements as lost people have for eternal punishment.

 

 

To escape the truth of millennial banishment of unfaithful Christians, many argue that the warnings to the disciples in the Gospels are warnings about absolute, eternal condemnation out of which there will be no escape.  This chapter will continue to explore the underworld and the various abodes of the dead and then begin to answer this common objection.

 

 

The Lowest Hell

 

 

Because the word hell means a concealed, lower, hollow place, it is also sometimes used in the Bible for the grave (i.e. a hole or tomb in the earth).  English dictionaries list “the grave” as the first or second definition of the word (see Webster’s 1828, etc.).  Notice the following Scriptures:

 

 

Deuteronomy 32: 22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall bum unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

 

 

Psalms 86: 13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

 

 

These verses teach that there is another Hell that is lower than the deep grave or pit.  They are therefore ultimately referring to the Hell that is deep in the centre of the earth, way below the grave itself.  The grave or tomb (below the surface of the earth) is a deep “hell”; yet there is a Hell that is beneath it.  The “lowest hell” actually means the “lowest grave” (i.e. the deepest pit):

 

[Page 117]

Psalms 88: 5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

 

 

6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

 

 

Yet, the deepest grave that could be dug would be Hell itself.

 

 

Job 11: 8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

 

 

Amos 9: 2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

 

 

The “lowest hell” is therefore Hell itself.  The so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” that teach that “hell” means the grave, do not realize that there is a “hell” down deep below the earthly graves!  In this Hell, a soul can be destroyed.  The earthly grave cannot kill a soul, which is shown to be distinct from the body:

 

 

Matthew 10: 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

 

The context will help in determining which Hell is meant in a Bible passage. For example, we might assume that “hell” in the following Scripture means simply the grave:

 

 

Ezekiel 32:26 There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.

 

 

27 And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their beads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

 

 

Nevertheless, usually “hell” in Scripture refers to that “lowest hell” beneath the grave, which is a place of severe punishment:

 

 

Matthew 5: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

 

[Page 118]

Matthew 18: 9 And if thine eye offend thee; pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

 

 

Mark 9: 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off. it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

 

 

Luke 16: 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

 

 

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for 1 am tormented in this flame.

 

 

There is no fire in the grave.  Therefore, throughout this book Hell will be used to refer to the lowest Hell, which is a dark prison of fire.  This is its most common meaning in the Bible.

 

 

Death and Hell Are Literal Places

 

 

The “death” and “hell” of Revelation 20: 14 are not names for angels or states of mind:

 

 

Revelation 20: 14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

 

 

The context of the passage reveals that these are literal places.  The rule is to interpret a passage literally unless the context demands it to be interpreted figuratively.  Revelation 20: 13 reveals that the “dead” will come out from these places in resurrection.  If “death” and “hell” are not literal places, then it would follow that the resurrection from them is not literal.  The final judgment itself would then also appear to be symbolic.

 

[Page 119]

If “death” and “hell” in Revelation 20:13 are only personifications or states of existence, then the final place mentioned must likewise be the same (Revelation 20: 15).  If the other places are not literal places of the dead, then on what logical basis would one argue for the reality of that final place called the Lake of Fire?  If the last is a literal place with literal punishment, then the others must likewise be literal places:

 

 

Revelation 20: 14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.

 

 

Where are these two places called “hell” and “death?”  Hell is in the heart of the earth where the Rich Man’s soul went in Luke 16: 23.  Death” is simply the earthly grave, which held the Rich Man’s body in the upper chambers of the earth (Luke 16: 22). Joseph Mede (1586-1638) comments upon Revelation 20:14:

 

 

“...but the former Death of bodies in the grave, and the state of separate souls in Hades was no more.*

 

* Joseph Mede, The Works Of The Pious And Profoundly-Learned Joseph Mede, 605.

 

 

Similarly, Clarence Larkin (1850-1924) writes:

 

 

By ‘Death’ we are to understand the ‘Grave’ ... by ‘Hell,’ the Compartment of the ‘Underworld’...”*

 

* Clarence Larkin, The Book of Revelation, (Glenside, Pa: Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, 1919), 193.

 

 

Indeed, the Bible sometimes refers to the earthly grave as “death”:

 

 

Psalms 6: 5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

 

 

Isaiah 38:18  For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.

 

[Page 120]

Therefore, after the millennial kingdom is ended, there will be only three possible places (besides the Lake of Fire) where a dead body may be found.  Some will be in Hell; others will be in the various waters and earthly graves:

 

 

Revelation 20: 13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

 

 

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

 

 

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

 

The “earth” as an organized system will already be in a state of disorder at this time (Revelation 20: 11).  No longer an organized unit, it will then become without form and void.  With the earth disorganized, the various waters will then be gathered together into one body called simply the “Sea” (Genesis 1: 10).  The land will be in one mass called “death.”  Finally, this leaves “hell,” which was previously down in, the centre of the whole, organized system.  Therefore, there will be three graves for dead bodies to be resurrected from at the Great White Throne: the waters (Exodus 15:4), the land (1 Samuel 31: 13), and Hell (Matthew 10: 28).  At this time, unbelievers will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever.  Christians that were banished to the underworld during the millennium will be raised and united with the family of God in bliss (Revelation 20: 15, John 6: 39).

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 121]

Chapter 13

 

 

Death at the Judgment Seat

 

 

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

 

 

What death is here threatened? [in Rom.8: 13] Evidently not the death which seizes all men, holy or wicked alike.  That takes effect through Adam’s transgression, and cannot be warded off by any holiness in life.  Nor can it be the common death which visits alike the two classes of the regenerate, - (1) carnal Christians, and (2) spiritual ones.  For the verse assures us, that the fleshly will be overcome by death, while the spiritual receive the life promised.  It is a death which takes effect after the raising of the mortal body.  Both the life and the death are recompenses, after present life is ended, and as the result of conduct now. ... They must take place, then, at Christ’s appearing. ... The death to be inflicted on offending believers is not eternal.  It would overthrow the Scriptural doctrine of the perseverance of God’s elect. …”*

 

* Robert Govett, Govett On Romans (Conley & Schoettle), 302, 307.

 

- Robert Govett (1813-1901)

 

 

We have seen that the future millennial kingdom is a prize that is set before the Lord’s servants (Colossians 3: 24; Hebrews 6: 12; [Page 122] Galatians 5: 21; Philippians 3: 14).  This prize can be forfeited.  All Christians will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.  Those that are judged to be unworthy of entrance into the glorious millennial kingdom will receive temporary chastisement.  This chastisement will begin at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 9-11). It will continue throughout the millennium in the underworld.  The extent of the chastening during the millennial reign will be determined by the extent of disobedience and how much light the believer possessed, etc. (Luke 12: 47-48).  Before continuing to examine the Scriptures that speak of chastisement during the millennial reign, let us return again to the judgment seat of Christ where it all begins.

 

 

The Bible is not written to scratch itching ears (2 Timothy 4: 3).  It is a holy, inspired revelation of reality!  We ignore this reality to our own peril.  This chapter will continue to open up the Biblical truths that many Christians in this modem age have never heard before.  These holy truths are shocking.  They are meant to be. Future chapters will introduce more Scriptural support for the truths presented in this chapter, answer objections, and also provide numerous quotes from influential Christian leaders who have believed these same truths.

 

 

 

If believers may be severely punished in this life before the day of reckoning even takes place, then it surely removes any emotional objections to punishment in regard to the future judgment day!  Today is not the day of absolute recompense for Christians:

 

 

1 Timothy 5: 24  Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

 

 

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

 

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

 

[Page 123]

15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

 

 

This is the day of our Lord’s patience.  However, everything will be equalized at the future judgment seat.  Any severe discipline from God experienced in this life is simply a warning of what is to come at the judgment seat if there is no self-judgment beforehand.

 

 

But what is the extent of this negative punishment at the future judgment seat of Christ?  The Bible teaches that some Christians will experience temporary death after death.  Would Paul go to the trouble of warning believers that they may be slain in this life with physical sickness and death and then warn them in stronger terms about a future judgment seat where no such punishments will occur?  Notice again Paul’s warnings about this future day of judgment before the throne of God:

 

 

2 Corinthians 5: 9  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

 

 

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 

 

11 Knowing therefore the TERROR of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

 

 

Paul includes himself in the statement.  He warns the Corinthians of the future judgment seat.  What could the phrase “the terror of the Lord” mean if it does not have anything to do with some type of death?  There have been many Christian leaders that have properly applied this warning to Christians; yet all too often, there has been a tendency in some teachers to water down the word terror or attempt to thrust it into obscurity:

 

[Page 124]

“...to face Christ at that time will be a terror to those who have failed to do His bidding after they were saved.  I say ‘terror'’ - that is exactly what Paul wrote of that time by inspiration of God ... I once thought that verse was speaking of the terror with which lost men will face Christ, but it is not so ... In Heaven [Hades (Heb. 9: 27)*] it will be terrible to face Christ who saved you and keeps you, in your shame over your wasted life! ... I am not speaking of punishment now, but of tears, of shame and sadness.”**

 

[* That is, after death, but before resurrection, (Luke 20: 35; Phil. 3: 11, etc.)]

** John R. Rice, Tears in Heaven (Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1941), 13-16, as quoted in Carl G. Johnson, The Account Which We Must Give (Schaumburg: Regular Baptist Press, 1990), 43.

 

- John R. Rice (1895-1980)

 

 

In seeking to register with the people the seriousness of the inevitable confrontation with Christ at the bema, Paul immediately added this, ‘Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men’ (2 Cor.5: 11).  Again, we will attempt no explanation, for neither did the apostle.*

 

* S. Franklin Logsdon, Profiles of Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964), 26, 28-29, as quoted in Carl G. Johnson, The Account Which We Must Give (Schaumburg: Regular Baptist Press, 1990), 44.

 

- S. Franklin Logsdon (1907-1987)

 

 

Christian leaders that apply such warnings to believers should be commended.  Yet, many (such as the late Dr. Rice) fall short of correctly elucidating the warnings with other Scriptures.  The Bible abounds with additional information on this subject.

 

 

Paul uses the word terror to describe the power of the government to inflict death by the sword (Romans 13: 3-4).  Certainly, the Corinthians knew what Paul meant by the “terror of the Lord”; he had warned them about it several times in his first Epistle to them.  Some of them had experienced sickness and death as a warning of future judgment (1 Corinthians 11: 30).  Paul states that the “terror of the Lord” is something that has been revealed; it is something we “know” as we study the Scriptures.  The Old Testament certainly abounds with examples of the Lord’s “terror”:

 

[Page 125]

Deuteronomy 32: 25  The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.

 

 

What does “terror” speak of?  It is always linked with death and torment (Job 6: 4; Ezekiel 21: 12).  It is wrong to lean to our own understanding when so many Scriptures define terror for us.  To water down the warning in 2 Corinthians 5: 11 with sophistry greatly offends against Scripture and common sense.  Nevertheless, this is how the majority of God’s people have always responded to His warnings:

 

 

Ezekiel 20:48  And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.

 

 

49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?

 

 

Terror,” as it is revealed in the Bible, brings to mind images of severe, literal punishment.  The Lord assures His disciples that such punishment may be experienced at the future judgment seat when He returns:

 

 

Luke 12: 41  Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

 

 

42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

 

 

43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

 

 

44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

 

 

45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

 

 

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

 

 

47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

 

 

48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be [Page 125] much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

 

 

This warning is addressed to Peter, Peter was one of the Lord’s “servants.”  Peter was also one of the apostles who made up the “foundation” of the early church (Ephesians 2: 20; 4: 11).  The Bible refers to true believers as the Lord’s “servants” (Matthew 25:14, 19; Mark 13: 34; John 18: 36; Acts 4: 29; Revelation 1: 1).  Paul’s Epistles likewise use the term for Christians (Colossians 4: 1; Ephesians 6: 6; Philippians 1: 1, etc.).  It is unreasonable to conclude that the Lord will literally punish His unfaithful “servants” who were saved before the Cross, but will not punish unfaithful servants after the Cross.  If there is any difference, the teaching of the Bible is that light brings more responsibility, and therefore greater condemnation (Hebrews 12: 25, etc.)!

 

 

Many attempt to escape accountability by teaching that the unfaithful servant is only a professor, and not a possessor.  In other words, they teach that the unfaithful servant does not picture a disobedient [regenerate] believer.  Yet, the very context reveals that the faithful servant is a true believer.  The words “that servant” in Luke 12: 45 reveal that the same, faithful servant in verses 42-44 can be “beaten” and even “cut in sunder” (i.e. in two) if he chooses to walk in disobedience.  G.H. Lang (1874-1958) writes:

 

 

This emphatic pronoun (Luke 12: 45) must have some antecedent, and none is to be found save ‘the faithful and wise steward’ (12: 42).  Truth is not to be reached by settling for ourselves in advance what the Lord may or may not do to His own servants, and then sweeping aside the words which do not agree with that prior decision.”*

 

* D.M. Panton, The Judgment Seat Of Christ (Schoettle), 74.

 

 

The context of Luke 12: 41-48 is the coming of the Lord when the judgment seat will take place.  Paul states that this will be a time of terror for many.  The Lord certainly reveals that there will be real punishment.  To water-down this warning into figurative [Page 127] never-never land would be to establish a dangerous, interpretive precedent.  Any passages that describe the judgment of the lost would also be subjected to the same obscure symbolism.  When people water-down passages addressed to the lost it is called modernism or liberal Christianity.  Where does this leave “fundamental” Christians that do the same thing with their own warnings?

 

 

Some argue that this warning must be figurative since not even lost people will be cut in sunder.  But Jesus has already taught us how to interpret His parables.  According to the foundational key of interpretation that He reveals, the judgments in His parables (whether addressed to believers or unbelievers) are literal (Matthew 13: 41-42).

 

 

But how will disobedient believers be cut in sunder?  Is this possible?  If it is not impossible with death in this life, it certainly will not be impossible at the future judgment seat!  Judas burst “asunder” (Matthew 24: 51) when he fell:

 

 

Acts 1: 18  Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

 

 

The word asunder can mean apart; it can therefore refer to being cut open (i.e. apart) by the lashes of a whip. For example, in regard to the scourging of Jesus, Adam Clarke (1760-1832) writes:

 

 

This is allowed to have been a very severe punishment of itself among the Romans, the flesh being generally cut by the whips used for this purpose: so the poet - ... ‘To be cut by the horrible whip.’ - Flor. Sat. 1. 3.119. And sometimes, it seems, they were whipped to death.  See the same poet, Sat. 1. 2. 41 ... See also Horat. Epod. Od. lv. v. 11.*

 

* Adarn Clarke, Commentary, VoL 1 - Matthew To The Acts (New York: Abingdon - Cokesbury Press), 271-272.

 

[Page 128]

Other Scriptures plainly teach that carnal Christians are in danger of such a death.  In the days of Christ, owners had the power of life and death over their slaves.  A master could legally hew a slave in pieces with a sword, like Samuel slew Agag (1 Samuel 15: 33).  In ancient times, some people were even “sawn asunder” (Hebrews 11: 37).  Can a Christian ever experience such a death at the judgment seat?  Why not take the warning for what it plainly says?  Do we not expect unbelievers to take their warnings for what they plainly teach?

 

 

The Epistle to the Hebrews reveals that the soul and spirit can be divided in judgment:

 

 

Hebrews 4: 12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the DIVIDING ASUNDER of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 

 

13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in HIS sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of HIM with whom we have to do.

 

 

This appears to be a warning about standing before Jesus at the future judgment seat.  The previous verse makes this apparent (Hebrews 4: 11).  The next chapter of this book will reveal that the Bible warns true Christians of a temporary soul death if we walk in sin without repentance.

 

 

The Lord will slay the wicked with the rod of His mouth and the breath of His lips (Psalms 18: 8; Isaiah 30: 33):

 

 

Isaiah 11: 4 ... and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

 

 

Carnal Christians will receive this same type of judgment, although temporary.  They will be cut asunder by the fire that proceeds out of the Lord’s mouth, which goes forth before His throne:

 

[Page 129]

Hebrews 12: 28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

 

 

29 For our God is a consuming fire.

 

 

Many, perhaps in an effort to escape the stinging warnings of the Gospels, have limited the warnings in Matthew 24 and 25 to only Israel.  On this subject, George W. Dollar writes:

 

 

Dispensationalists following Scofield have restricted Matthew 24 and 25 to Israel ... This interpretation has found a large following, but there are still many (including the writer) who apply it to the Church.”*

 

* George W. Dollar, A History of Fundamentalism In America (Sarasota: 1983), 56.

 

 

Multitudes of early dispensationalists applied the warnings in Matthew 24 and 25 to all Christians (J.R. Graves, J.A. Seiss, G.N.H. Peters, Robert Govett, etc.).  Christ gave these warnings to Peter, James, John and Andrew.  The best interpretation is therefore to conclude that the general warnings apply to all [regenerate] believers (i.e. Jew or Gentile) regardless of the age they are living in (i.e. before the tribulation or in the midst of it).  Jesus commanded His Jewish disciples to take His words that they had received from Him and teach them to the Gentiles (Matthew 28: 19, 20; 1 Timothy 6: 3, 4).  These words include His warnings.  Therefore, we learn from Luke 12 and Matthew 24 how the Lord will deal with all His “servants,” whether they are disciples before the Cross, disciples after the Cross, or believing Jews or Gentiles in the tribulation period.  Paul warns the Corinthians about the danger of experiencing “terror” at the judgment seat.  The Gospels simply give some extra details directly from our Lord concerning this terror.  Even if it could be proven that disciples such as Peter, James and John are to be seen as representatives of “Israel” (and [Page 130] not the foundation of the church), Paul warns the Gentiles not to boast against the branches!:

 

 

Romans 11: 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

 

 

But this is exactly what many teachers do today.  If the Lord warns His servants in the Gospels (or in the Book of Revelation), they say the warnings belong to Israel before the Cross (or either Israel in the tribulation period).  They think that this exempts NT Gentile believers from the same dangers.  Many give “Israel” all the negative warnings in the Gospels, yet they gladly take all the promises!  But light brings greater responsibility. If unfaithful Jewish believers will be slain at the Lord’s appearing, so will unfaithful Gentile believers who were saved under Paul’s ministry.

 

 

The Same Warning in Romans

 

 

It is important to realize that the warnings concerning death at the judgment seat for some believers are not at all limited to the Gospels.  Notice some other Scriptures that warn [regenerate] believers of future death:

 

 

Romans 6: 16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

 

 

Romans 8:12  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

 

 

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

 

 

These Scriptures are not teaching salvation in eternity through works.  The life and death in Romans 8:13 have to do with the judgment seat of Christ.  Believers must walk in the [Holy] Spirit’s [Page 131] power or they will “die.”  Robert Govett (1813-1901), over a century ago, wrote on this passage:

 

 

What death is this?  Not the present death, which is experienced by multitudes of saints; but a future one, to be received at Christ’s appearing.”*

 

* Robert Govett, Sowing and Reaping (Norwich: Fletcher And Son), 17.

 

 

This can be seen from the context of Romans chapter 8:

 

 

Romans 8: 1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

 

This first verse of the chapter implies that there will be some condemnation for believers who walk after the flesh.  Paul continues to describe this condemnation, and reveals that it has to do with the future resurrection:

 

 

Romans 8: 11  But IF the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

 

 

13 For IF ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but IF ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

 

 

The “ye” refers to the saved Romans (Romans 1: 6-8).  To “live” is to be raised to immortality in glory at the coming of Christ.  The “death” of verse 13 will therefore also be experienced [in the underworld] at the judgment seat of Christ.  This is the context.  Some Christians will stand before the Lord in glory; others will stand before Him in shame and nakedness (1 John 2: 28).  They will pay a price for appearing at the judgment seat in such a condition.

 

 

The Holy Spirit certainly “dwells” in all [obedient] Christians regardless of our conduct (1 Corinthians 6:19).*  However, Paul is referring to another type of fellowship with the Spirit.  He is referring to the Spirit “dwelling” in the believer’s works, in harmony, without [Page 132] being grieved (Ephesians 4: 30).  There is a sense in which the Spirit of Christ only “dwells” in believers who are walking with Him in obedient fellowship:

 

[* See Acts 5: 32.  **See G. H. Lang’s ‘The Personal Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit.]

 

 

1 John 3: 24  And he that keepeth his commandments DWELLETH in him, and HE IN HIM.  And hereby we know that [He] he abideth IN US, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

 

 

All Christians do not keep the Lord’s commandments.  There is therefore a sense in which carnal Christians do not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling fully within them.  They are not “filled” with the Spirit in their conduct (Ephesians 5: 18).  If they are not FILLED with the Spirit, then it follows that, at least in one sense, the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within them.  They are not walking experientially with Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God longs to dwell in the very works and words of every Christian, not just in the heart or body.  Jesus taught His disciples the same truth that Paul is discussing in Romans 8:

 

 

John 15: 4 Abide in me, and I IN YOU.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 

 

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

 

 

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

 

 

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

 

 

Again, Jesus only abides in the believer (in one sense) as the believer obeys His commands!  Romans, chapter 8 is therefore teaching that some believers are not [indwelt or] filled with the Spirit in regard to their works.  They will therefore (if they do not repent) experience a literal death at the judgment seat for their negligence.  They will not shine in glory.  They will be temporarily slain:

 

 

Romans 8: 6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

 

[Page 133]

9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 

 

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies* by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

 

[* See Rom. 8: 23-25.]

 

Many modern Christians are “carnally minded” (1 Corinthians 3: 1).  They will not belong to Christ at [the time of the ‘First Resurrection’ at] His coming (Hebrews 3: 6).  This does not refer to positional salvation in eternity; it refers to the future millennial age of reward.  Some Christians will experience literal and temporary death at the judgment seat for walking “after the flesh.”  They will not be “children of the resurrection” (Luke 20: 36).  Only Christians that walk after the Spirit are firstborn sons who will inherit the millennial age, never to die again.  Carnal Christians will return to death and will have to wait until after the millennium to live again in eternity.  This is the context and teaching of Romans 6-8.

 

 

In conclusion, the Gospels and Paul’s Epistles teach that the Lord’s unfaithful servants will temporarily perish at the judgment seat of Christ.  They will be slain by the consuming fire of the Lord’s breath.  They will not be permitted to enjoy the glorious millennial kingdom.  Yet, death at the judgment seat is not annihilation, nor is it a lack of consciousness.  Every unfaithful Christian will mourn the loss of the millennial kingdom and will have to wait 1000 years to be reunited with the faithful saints in bliss and glory.

 

[Page 134]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 135]

Chapter 14

 

 

Temporary Soul Death

 

 

“... Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy...?’

It is folly to say that such words as these refer to the wicked, at the Great White Throne judgment...”*

 

* R.E. Neighbour, If They Shall Fall Away (Schoettle), 132.

 

 

- R.E. Neighbour (1872‑1945)

 

 

It is now time to examine more closely the temporary death that many Christians will experience at the judgment seat.  It includes not only the death of the body, but also the death of the soul:

 

 

Hebrews 10: 29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

 

 

To understand this verse, we must understand to whom the Epistle to the Hebrews is addressed.  It is certainly not addressed to lost people:

 

[Page 136]

Hebrews 13: 10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

 

 

18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

 

 

20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

 

 

23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, 1 will see you.

 

 

24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints.  They of Italy salute you.

 

 

25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

 

 

Paul is not asking lost Hebrews or tribulation Jews to pray for him.  He is not asking lost Jews to salute the saints.  This Epistle is written to saved Hebrews in the first century.  Notice the context of chapter 10, where again, it is seen that true saints are addressed:

 

 

Hebrews 10:19  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

 

 

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

 

 

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

 

 

Notice the next verse of this same chapter:

 

 

Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

 

 

Ourselves” surely includes the apostle and other true saints.  The context has not changed.  It will remain the same throughout the remaining verses of Hebrews 10.  These early Hebrew Christians are warned to not forsake the assembly.  The “day approaching* can be nothing other than the day of the judgment seat of Christ that takes place at His second coming.  Therefore, the warning in Hebrews 10 applies to all Christians throughout the whole age [Page 137] leading up to the second coming of Christ.  The great fundamental Baptist leader, R.E. Neighbour (1872-1945) writes:

 

[* It may also refer to the Kingdom “Age” and the “First Resurrection” (2 Pet. 3: 8, 9. cf. Luke 20: 35 with Rev. 20: 4, 5.).]

 

 

With the Lord’s coming in view it is difficult to make the words of this blessed book refer exclusively to Christian Hebrews of the first century.”*

 

* R.E. Neighbour, If They Shall Fall Away (Schoettle), 131.

 

 

Hebrews 10: 25 reveals when the punishment described in the verses that follow will take place.  Chastisement in this life is not in view.  The context is the future day of reckoning that is approaching:

 

 

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

 

 

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and FIERY indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

 

 

We” includes the apostle.  He has certainly “received the knowledge of the truth” in sincerity.  Therefore, so have the Hebrews he is addressing.  To play games with the word we and say it doesn’t actually mean the apostle, is to again, establish an interpretive precedent that would disrupt the continuity of the entire New Testament.  What would it then mean for the rest of the “we’s” in the New Testament (e.g. Romans 6: 4, 8: 28; Ephesians 1: 7)?  What does the “we” mean four verses later in Hebrews 10?  It is found in the same context:

 

 

Hebrews 10: 30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

 

 

Does the inspired apostle “know Him?”  No one doubts that he does.  There are “we’s” all throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews that no one doubts.  Why?  Because the do not speak of something the flesh of man does not desire to hear.

 

[Page 138]

These Hebrew Christians have already been taught about the mercy that is available in the Christian life in regard to their practical, wilful sins:

 

 

Hebrews 4: 16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

 

Hebrews 10: 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

 

The apostle John teaches the same truth in his first Epistle:

 

 

1 John 1: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 

 

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

 

Every Christian wilfully sins after salvation.  Yet, fortunately, the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches that Christians can come to the throne of their High Priest and get forgiveness and cleansing.  This is not referring to salvation in eternity.  It is referring to the forgiveness that can keep one from experiencing severe, temporary punishments.  If a Christian sins, he is in trouble.  If he does not repent and get mercy from his Heavenly Father, he is in danger of “judgment” and “fiery indignation” at the judgment seat on that “approaching” day.

 

 

One central point of Hebrews is that Christians should not gamble or postpone getting mercy:

 

 

Hebrews 3: 7  Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice. ...

 

 

Hebrews 12: 17  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

 

[Page 139]

The “place of repentance is today, on this earth.  The time for Christians to confess their sins and seek mercy is not the future day of the judgment seat of Christ.

 

 

The phrase “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” in Hebrews 10: 26 reveals that Christ’s Blood does more than make one a Christian.  It also brings power (Hebrews 13: 20-21), as well as mercy in regard to our daily Christian walk (1 John 2: 1-2).  The teaching of Hebrews 10: 26-27 is that Christians cannot presume upon their High Priest and get away with it.  It is not teaching that Christians lose salvation in eternity when they wilfully sin.  Yet, it is teaching that they lose a place of grace in regard to the practical Christian walk.  Saints should not wilfully sin, confess and receive mercy, and then think that they can sin some more without the danger of severe consequences.  True, we can always come boldly before the throne again as long as the “day” of judgment has not yet arrived.  Nevertheless, carnal Christians run a great risk!  Sin has a way of hardening the heart into stubbornness.  Through wilful sins, carnal Christians can harden themselves and lose the desire to repent and seek mercy:

 

 

Hebrews 3: 13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

 

 

Furthermore, who can be certain that God will not grow weary of being presumed upon and decide to take his life immediately?

 

 

Hebrews 3: 15  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

 

 

16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

 

 

17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

 

 

When a Christian sins he must then renew his daily fellowship with God through repentance.  If he will not, he needs to hear the [Page 140] stern warning that there is punishment for such disobedience awaiting him at the future judgment seat:

 

 

Hebrews 10: 26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

 

 

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

 

 

28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

 

 

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and bath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

 

 

When a Christian sins he tramples under foot the power of the Blood of his High Priest.  He grieves the Spirit. When he then refuses to repent and get restored to fellowship with the Lord, he tramples under foot the practical mercy of the Blood of his High Priest.  If he continues in this condition, what will happen to him at the judgment seat of Christ?  Words such as “fiery indignation” and “devour” plainly describe some type of death!

 

 

The argument in Hebrews 10 is that under the Old Testament there was physical death for sin:

 

 

Numbers 15: 32  And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.

 

 

33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.

 

 

34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.

 

 

35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

 

 

This was harsh.  Yet, Christ is greater and has done more for His people than Moses did for the Jews in the Old Testament. The New Testament law of Christ is greater and holier.  If physical death was the penalty for wilful sin under Moses, what shall be [Page 141] the penalty for sin (if mercy is not received beforehand) under Christ?  It will be a worse death than physical death.  It will include that, but go beyond it.

 

 

Jesus taught that only God could kill the soul, and that His disciples should therefore fear Him more than man (Matthew 10: 28).  Therefore, Hebrews 10 is warning Christians that if they sin wilfully and do not seek mercy before the judgment seat arrives, they are in danger of a severe rod of punishment.  Under Moses it was physical death.  Under Christ it is the temporary death of the body and the soul!  This is why the Bible teaches Christians to strive to have their souls saved at the judgment seat (Hebrews 10: 39; 1 Peter 1: 9; James 1: 21, etc.).  The Christian’s soul is already saved in eternity.  Yet, there is also a saving of the soul in relation to the future age of reward.  Disobedient Christians are in danger of losing their souls temporarily at the judgment seat (Matthew 10: 28, 29; 16: 24-26).

 

 

Immediately, the argument will be that such a doctrine appears to deny the grace of God in regard to His people.  Let us therefore hear the conclusion of the passage in Hebrews 10:

 

 

Hebrews 10: 30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge HIS PEOPLE.

 

 

This may indeed go against everything one has been taught.  Certainly, that is another reason that accountability truths such as these are rejected so quickly by many.

 

 

Others lean to their own understanding and attempt to argue that such punishment would go against their understanding of the love of God.  They never reason that this present life is not the day of judgment and recompense.  They never consider that in this day of grace and mercy God sometimes kills Christians for sins. If this is not opposed to His love in this age of patience [Page 142] (2 Peter 3: 9, 15), then certainly temporary soul death will not be opposed to His love in the future day of reward according to works:

 

 

Matthew 16: 24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

 

 

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

 

 

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own SOUL? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

 

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward EVERY MAN according to his works.

 

 

Revelation 22:12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give EVERY MAN according as his work shall be.

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 143]

Chapter 15

 

 

Hurt of the Second Death

 

 

Surely, if they leave the world fully justified, but incompletely sanctified, it follows that they will be hurt of the Second Death, though only temporarily. ...”*

 

* George H. Pember, The Great Prophecies Of The Centuries Concerning The Church (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1887; reprint, Miami Springs: Conley & Schoettle, 1984), 114-115.

 

- G.E. Pember (1837-1910)

 

 

The “much sorer punishment” than physical death (mentioned in Hebrews 10) is called the “second death” in the Book of Revelation.  The Lord’s breath lights a fire before His throne.  This fire from the Lord’s mouth is a rod.  It will try believers and it will slay all that have lived in disobedience and sloth without repentance.  The Lake of Fire is where this soul death will begin to occur; therefore, the Lake of Fire is called the “second death”:

 

[Page 144]

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.

 

 

Unbelievers will be thrown into this Lake of Fire after the Millennium.  They will experience the “second death” throughout eternity.  Yet, Christians are warned about the danger of being temporarily “hurt” by the fire before God’s throne:

 

 

Revelation 2: 11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be HURT of the second death.

 

 

After being slain by the Lord’s fiery breath at the judgment seat, unfaithful Christians will then be banished to the underworld for 1000 years.  Notice that the above warning is to the “churches.”  This means true Christians.  If it does not, there would be no way to ever discern who is addressed in a given Bible passage. Various verses could be applied to true saints at each person’s fancy or whim.  John explains that by “churches” the Holy Spirit means true Christians:

 

 

Revelation 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

 

 

5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

 

 

6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

9 I John, who also am YOUR BROTHER, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

 

John says he is the “brother” of the people in each of these seven congregations to whom the Book of Revelation is addressed (Revelation 1: 9).  If there are false professors among them, they are ignored.  The Lord warns these true Christians about the “second death” in Revelation 2: 11.

 

[Page 145]

Notice that the sword of the Lord’s mouth is also His punishing rod, which He will wield at the second coming:

 

 

Isaiah 11: 4  But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

 

 

This “rod” is a sword of “fire”:

 

 

Isaiah 30: 27  Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:

 

 

28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.

 

 

Daniel shows this same fiery stream slaying the Beast at the second coming of Christ:

 

 

Daniel 7: 9  I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

 

 

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

 

 

11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

 

 

In Daniel 7: 10-11, the “fiery flame” that engulfs the Beast is said to come forth from “before” the Lord.  This flowing, fiery lava comes forth from before the throne, and appears to gather there into a giant “lake.”  This same event is seen in Revelation 19; yet there, the fiery “stream” is revealed as a “lake” of fire.  The Lake of Fire is therefore directly before the Lord’s throne:

 

 

Revelation 19: 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

 

[Page 146]

The Book of Revelation reveals much about the Lord’s throne.  Notice that it indeed shows a “sea” to be directly before it:

 

 

Revelation 4: 6  And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal...

 

 

The “sea of glass” is said to be “before the throne” in the same place as the “fiery stream” that will later destroy the Beast in Daniel 7.  Therefore, the future Lake of Fire appears to be the same thing as the “sea of glass.” Indeed, the “sea of glass” is said to later become a sea of fire:

 

 

Revelation 15: 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire...

 

 

But why is this large body of fire called both a “lake” and a “sea?”  It is because both words simply mean in strict English a large “basin” or “repository”:

 

 

Sea: “...a large inland body of water; a large lake ... In a decision delivered at the October term, 1893, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Great Lakes were seas, in the legal sense of the term. ...”*

 

*A Standard Dictionary Of The English Language (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1895).

 

- Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of the English Language

 

 

The Bible also uses the two words interchangeably in other places (Mark 5: 13; Luke 8: 33).

 

 

The “sea of glass mingled with fire” is the Lake of Fire since both are positioned directly before the Lord’s throne (Daniel 7: 9; Revelation 4: 6). Robert Govett (1813-1901) in his commentary on the Book of Revelation agrees:

 

 

The sea [of glass] becomes the lake of fire.*

 

*  Robert Govett, Govett On Revelation, Vol. 1 (London: 1861; reprint, Miami Springs: Conley & Schoettle, 1981), 39

 

[Page 147]

Perhaps this is the reason for the slight difference in terms.  The “lake of fire” is the “sea of glass” at a later date.

 

 

Out of the Lord’s mouth comes the inspiration of the Scriptures, which will judge mankind, saved and unsaved.  However, as has been noted, the breath out of His mouth also lights a literal fire that will punish the rebellious.  This very breath ignites the Lake of Fire.  Perhaps “Tophet” is a reference to this in the future, when the Lake of Fire connects with the earth during the millennium as revealed in Daniel 7 and Revelation 19:

 

 

Isaiah 30: 33  For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

 

 

Notice the following two warnings to Christians.  Based on the previous Scriptures already given, it can be seen that both of these passages contain the same “fiery” threat:

 

 

Revelation 2: 12  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

 

 

16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

 

 

17 He that bath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches ...

 

 

Revelation 2: 11  He that bath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;  He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

 

 

It is the Lord’s breath (i.e. the “sword” from His very mouth) that lights the Lake of Fire, which is the “second death”:

 

 

Hebrews 12: 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

 

 

9 For our God is a consuming fire.

 

[Page 148]

At the judgment seat, the fiery sword of the Lord’s mouth will judge Christians that have lived unfaithfully and have not repented in this life.  This is the “second death” that bums before His throne (before which every believer must one day appear).  It is there that these [disobedient and unrepentant] believers will be temporarily slain.  It is called the second death because it occurs after the raising of the body from the effects of the first death (Revelation 20: 5).  Unbelievers will experience it eternally after the millennium.  Unfaithful believers who do not repent in time will temporarily experience it before the millennium.

 

 

Erroneous Interpretations of Revelation 2: 11

 

 

The conditional promise in Revelation 2: 11, concerning the “second death,” certainly contains a warning.  If the Christian does not “overcome” he will be “hurt of the second death.”  It is like every other promise given in the same context to these “seven churches”: