Paul's Passing Thoughts

Bible Prophesy is Directly Linked to Assurance of Salvation: Part One

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 4, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/One of the many Protestant myths that we hear often is that Bible prophesy, otherwise known as eschatology, is “secondary” truth. Yes, having a definitive understanding of its corpus which is about 25% of Scripture is optional.

Among the many disturbing insinuations in regard to this mentality is the idea that God prophesies about things that we can’t really understand. In other words, God is glorified by telling us things we can’t understand to prove some kind of point whatever that might be.

Not unlike many other Protestant mentalities, this particular one is warned against in Scriptures, and to the contrary promises blessings for those who study prophesy which assumes possible understanding.

One of the blessings of studying Bible prophecy and having a proper understanding of it is assurance of salvation. Much could be discussed on this wise, but the focus of this post will be the number of resurrections and judgments.

A Humble Faith is Confused and Uncertain?

There are many confused Protestants in the land because supposedly, being confused gives glory to God. One of myriad examples is a book written by Puritan wannabe Russ Kennedy of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio titled “Perplexity.” The primary thesis of the book is about how unanswered questions are a form of worship. But this is typical: the Bible states that God is not a god of confusion, but Protestant orthodoxy can always be counted on to set the Bible straight. My point here is that there are many Protestants that believe the Bible teaches about multiple resurrections and judgments, But that’s NOT Protestantism. Most Protestants do not know what a Protestant is…which of course in not commendable.

At any rate, confusion never walks with surety.

Justification by Faith: One Resurrection; One Judgment

What is Protestant orthodoxy on this matter? Answer: one resurrection and one judgment immediately following. And why does this matter? It matters because this view of eschatology is tied directly to the Protestant position on justification; or in other words, the essential doctrine of Protestantism known as justification by faith.

In that doctrine of salvation (soteriology), there is no assurance of salvation until your salvation is confirmed at the one final judgment at the end of the ages. In that one final judgment, God “separates the sheep from the goats.” This is the judgment of the nations and NOT the great white throne judgment, but articulating the differences is not the subject of this particular post; our subject is justification by faith and its necessary eschatology that supports its authentic soteriology.

Orthodoxy: Obedient Faith Not OSAS   

Most Protestants also believe that once saved always saved (OSAS) is Protestant orthodoxy, but this is something else you can add to the long (very long) list of things that Protestants think Protestants believe. Protestant orthodoxy holds to salvation as a process. It is the idea that the process has a beginning point, a progression, and a final confirmation. A good snapshot of this is how Protestant orthodoxy interprets Philippians 2:12,13.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

First, “obeyed” is the Protestant “obedient faith” or “obedience of faith.” What’s that? It is the idea that Christians only perform one act of obedience, living by faith…alone. How do you live by faith alone? It’s a good question because our culture defines faith as purely mental. Therefore, how do we “live” actively by faith alone? As homo sapiens, we not only sit around and think—we do things.

The answer is in… “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Here, orthodoxy interprets “salvation” as justification, or the saving of the soul by Divine decree. Therefore, salvation needs to be worked out through faith alone.

“The Imperative Command is Grounded in the Indicative Event”

Also, and this is a BIG also, our working out of our salvation by faith alone, or faith-alone work, should be motivated by the supposed fact that “Christians” remain under the condemnation of the law, and should live in constant fear of condemnation which motivates us to live by faith alone lest we fall into “works righteousness [justification].” Because justification is seen as a process, and its end acquired by faith alone, one must not “jump directly from the command to an act of obedience.” Instead, everything we do must be “grounded in the historical Christ event” via faith alone, or by faith-alone works. This is how orthodoxy categorizes works in the Christian life: works, or a “righteousness of our own,” jumps from the command to obedience which is not of faith while faith-alone works operates on all obedience being grounded in the cross event.

In our Heidelberg Disputation series, mainline Protestant evangelical Phil Johnson is cited in regard to orthodoxy’s very definition of faith: it is returning to the same historical Christ event that saved us over and over again. By doing this, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our Christian life (sanctification, or a process of increased setting apart for God’s purposes), and the justification process continues to move forward. This is important to note because said imputation continues to satisfy the law, and remember, our primary motivation is fear of condemnation from being under law.

So, to clarify, our primary faith-alone work is to continually return to the same gospel that saved us, otherwise known as “preaching the gospel to ourselves” in order to keep the law satisfied. A perfect law-keeping is imputed to us as we live by faith alone in “what Jesus has done, not anything we do.”

The Preeminence of the Law in Protestant Soteriology  

Let’s tally all of this up in regard to the subject: Protestant orthodoxy makes law preeminent in salvation, and there is only one judgment that deals with the law; the great white throne judgment at the end of the ages. Orthodoxy rejects any judgment that excludes the condemnation of the law. Their gospel calls for a judgment that confirms those who “live by the gospel” well enough to be covered by Christ’s fulfillment of the law through His perfect law-keeping.

Judgments for rewards apart from the law and its condemnation are rejected by orthodoxy. The reward for living by faith-alone well enough is salvation. Because we are saved by faith alone, we must begin by faith alone, live by faith alone, and will be judged according to how well we did that. When we stand AT the judgment, if God only sees the works of Christ and not anything we did, we will “stand IN the judgment.”

Though Christ is said to have preeminence among Protestants, that’s only because Christ paid the penalty of sin under the law, and supposedly fulfilled its demands in our stead. The law is what really has preeminence in Protestant orthodoxy.

And this is why only one judgment is accepted; because all other judgments are for reward APART from the law’s condemnation.

What Saves a Protestant at the Judgment?

In the rest of Philippians 2:12,13 we read, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” If you have been following our Heidelberg Disputation series, you know that authentic Protestantism interprets this through Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Luther believed that man was created with a passive will. Like water, it is only active when it is acted upon from outside of itself. Water doesn’t move unless gravity pushes it—it doesn’t change temperature unless the environment acts upon it from the outside. Likewise, the Christian does not work, he/she only has the will to act if acted upon from the outside. God is the only one who has an active will, and He created man with a passive will.

Luther framed this in context of death. According to Luther, death is not a nonexistent state, but merely a passive state. The dead exist, but they are in bondage to passivity unless acted upon. Luther also believed that this is illustrative of the Christian life. Christians are still dead in trespasses and sin, and only perform good works when acted upon from the outside by God. This is in fact central to the Protestant ideology that drives its soteriology.

Conclusion  

Assurance of salvation cannot be a reality in authentic Protestantism because surety removes the condemnation of the law regardless of anything we do. The goal is not the obedience of love, but the so-called obedience of faith that satisfies the “righteous demands of the law.” If we live by faith alone, the obedience of Christ will be imputed to us. This belief is what saves the Christian at the final judgement.

In part two, we will examine what Philippians 2:12,13 is really stating, and its relationship to eschatology. Moreover, we will examine why Christians can have doubtless assurance of salvation accordingly.

paul

Taking Back the Bible from Christian Academia: Confident Study of the Scriptures, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 4, 2015

Originally published October 1, 2013

Let us now look at some basic principles for learning. Although the Bible is full of mysteries, allegory, and parables (but mostly objective truth), these are all for the purpose of teaching you something. God is not a God of confusion. Those mysteries belong to us:

1Corinthians 3:19 – For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

And….

Luke 10:21 – In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Again, this was turnabout. Instead of the elitists controlling the wisdom, God was delivering it directly to the people and keeping it from the “wise” which is most often used by the Bible authors pejoratively.

The primary problem at Corinth was dependence on world philosophy. And frankly, that’s exactly what’s wrong with the church today. Commentary on the Bible is immeasurable. Again, the industry that interprets our Bibles for us is a multi-billion dollar business. This isn’t how the biblical teachers taught. The citations of outside sources to make specific points to be applied to life are completely non-existent in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t borrow any wisdom from the world at all. In a few places, it’s used for examples of bad behavior and false teachings, but the Bible is its own source for any positive truth or revelation. Christ and the apostles only cited other Biblical authors.  All books of the Old Testament are cited except Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Christ quoted from twenty-four Old Testament books.

So, know that the Bible is written to you, know that you can understand it, know that you are responsible to properly understand it and teach it to others (MATT 5:19 ff.), and interpret the Bible with the Bible. The Bible has 42 authors; their writings should be your commentaries. That’s 42 commentaries which is plenty of commentary for any library. The biblical writers make their points via other Bible authors exclusively. To be honest with you, I got rid of all my Bible commentaries. The only one I have left is MacArthur’s Bible commentary and I only kept it because of its extensive cross-referencing. I put little stock in MacArthur’s opinions as he is no longer trustworthy and has become a follower of men. But again, I find his extensive cross-referencing useful.

As far as interpretation by the commentaries of other Bible authors, you can find online resources that list Old Testament quotes in the New Testament. When a New Testament writer cites an Old Testament text, you can then read those passages in order to gain understanding in regard to the point that the New Testament writer was making.

Remember these basic principles as well: application to life (obedience) leads to more understanding, and remember that God communicates in a straightforward manner and doesn’t want confusion, but rather edification (1COR 14). God’s goal is edification. His people die for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Also pay close attention to what’s being stated. The Holy Spirit is not like us who often write things with a goal for volume rather than substance. Remember those literature assignments in school that had to be 3000 words? That’s not how the Holy Spirit writes. Every word of God is for life (Matt 4:4), and ALL Scripture is profitable for equipping (2TIM 3:16,17). Be patient as learning wisdom for life from the Scriptures is a lifelong endeavor. Do not be too concerned with what you don’t understand for now, it will come with time and diligent study. Seeds of future understanding are being planted in your mind and God’s word will not return void.

Therefore, when you read or study your Bible, look for the plain sense of the text. If you decide to study a particular book or epistle, read through it a couple of times thoughtfully and make note of what it is plainly stating. Then make note of other Scriptures cited by the author and read those as well; they are commentaries on what you are reading. Paul cites the Old Testament about 41 times in the book of Romans. Those passages should be read as commentaries and for further clarification.

Before we move on let me note that one of the most powerful tools for understanding is daily Bible reading. An overall flavor of biblical content is extremely important and probably efficacious for discernment. If you don’t do anything else, partake in daily Bible reading.

Parabiblical information is an aid. However, Susan and I have gleaned things from the book of Romans that we have never been taught before and are life transforming; this happened without any research in regard to historical background or customs of that time in Rome. Our study of Romans has included little information apart from the book itself. But if you do use parabiblical aids this is key: as far as historical background, customs, or philosophies that might be alluded to in the particular text that you are studying, use secular sources that don’t have theological axes to grind. This assures that the source isn’t seeing something in the history that they want to see.

For topical study, do not, I repeat, do not buy a Christian book on the subject. More than likely it will be eisegetical rather than exegetical. Get a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and look up the key words and read all of the verses for yourself in context. I would also recommend Naves Topical Bible which will list Scriptures that address the subject you want to study. Buying a Christian book on the subject gets back to others thinking for us. How telling that this ministry continues to hear complaints that Sunday schools and Bible studies are usually conducted from recently published books that are the present-day Reformed rage.

Now let’s look at the all-important issue of translations. The Old Testament is pretty straight forward as it was overseen by the Jews. The New Testament has been attended to with far less anti-eisegesis. Nevertheless the multitudes of different translations and TYPES of translations offer an awesome resource for us. If there is any commentary worth more than the Bible authors (and there is not), it is the translations. New Testament translations offer the opinions of hundreds of Greek scholars. Some translations are literal word by best English word translations (literal translations; ie., the KJV). Other translations, known as paraphrases, attempt to show the ideas or intent behind the Greek words. You can look at all of the varying opinions, and determine which ones fit the context and what other Bible texts teach about the same issue or subject.

Then there are the expanded translations by Greek scholars. These are very interesting. These expand Bible sentences to reflect the Greek moods and tenses in the best and most accurate English words. An example of this would be Kenneth S. Wuest’s expanded translation of the New Testament.

Now let’s discuss the manuscripts that these translations come from. The original writings are gone; eg., the actual letter that the Romans held in their hands or the early copies thereof. Translations are taken from manuscripts which are composed of ancient fragments. These fragments may be actual copies of the original and also based on ancient commentaries that rehearse Bible verses such as the writings of the early church fathers. Most English translations come from either the Received Text or the Critical Text. These are manuscripts based on differing sources of fragments and other ancient texts. And there is a difference. The Critical Text has 2,886 fewer words than the Received Text, and calls into question the validity of 41 verses found in it. In other words, some translations exclude words and in some cases entire verses that are in dispute. Sources that document these differences can be found, once again, ONLINE!

Another problem with the New Testament as far as English translations are concerned is that most of our English translations came from the Reformers. In fact, Chapters and verses were first used in the Geneva Bible which was a Calvinist study Bible. It’s the Bible that arrived in America on the Mayflower, and in the true spirit of the Reformation, it was the law in Scotland that every household of means was required to purchase one. Progressive Justification was the doctrine/gospel of the Reformation, and bias towards that doctrine permeates the English translations, particularly in regard to tenses. Clearly, in the aforementioned manuscript texts mentioned, there is a difference in many verses between salvation as past and present continuous.

In regard to these discrepancies, it is up to us to study in order to show ourselves approved. God doesn’t do it all for us. He superintended the transmission of the Bible while allowing freewill. And by the way, the Bible documents its own transmission (There are books that document the historical transmission of the Bible as well). Did you know that? In my own daily Bible reading I see references to this in many different ways, which brings me to another learning tip and the significance of daily Bible reading: that would be the BIBLE NOTEBOOK. This is some form of the Bible in a notebook with tabulated sections. Sections can be divided into subjects of interest, and as you see references in your daily Bible reading, you compile those references in the appropriate section. One can also use the same process to document Reformed aberrations that favor the false gospel of progressive justification which is perpetual resalvation and perseverance by faith alone in sanctification. These discrepancies are going to be found primarily in the ESV, but are also prevalent in many other translations.

This brings me to yet another tip regarding Bible Study software: you can jettison the catalogue process by using Bible study software that will do comprehensive word searches in all translations. Let’s say that transmission of the Bible is your interest. You can search key words like, “word,” “book,” “write,” etc., and then read those verses in context.

(As an aside, a basic observation in the category of transmission that can be made is that words can be written down by many different means on many different materials and are difficult to control unlike electronic data).

Lastly, because of the internet, you can also research lesser known translations such as the Aramaic/Hebrew New Testament. The argument here is that Greek was a vehicle, but not the vernacular of the people who wrote the New Testament. In other words, the Greek may not properly transmit the Hebrew mindset and what they meant by certain phrases etc. This brings us to the importance of systematic theology.

All of these considerations must work together with the fact that the Scriptures are written systematically. There is a method; doctrines, covenants, etc. make this clear. Obviously, it is more than fair to say that the tabernacle was a systematic theology. Creation was done systematically. Ever heard of the “Solar System”? We see a system in the book of Revelation: seals, trumpets, woes, methods, documents, timelines, and specific places. God is a God of order. This is the importance of systematic theology and its elements: justification; sanctification; imputation; Christology; Pneumatology; anthropology; hamartiology; soteriology; ecclesiology; angelology; eschatology; etc. The fact that systematic theology is not taught in the churches is scandalous and indicative of Protestant control mania.

There are many considerations and schools that make a complete picture of truth. A word in a translation that in some way contradicts sound soteriology must be suspect and investigated. I recommend Cambron’s Bible Doctrines: Beliefs That Matter and Barackman’s first edition of Practical Christian Theology. Avoid the other three additions as he gravitated toward radical aspects of Reformed theology after the first addition. Obviously, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a systematic theology and has been greatly expanded upon for contemporary use by Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims On the Way. This systematic theology will determine the interpretive outcomes of a whole generation of pastors.

The next point is eschatology as part of this vast biblical system. The study of last things is critical to showing how the Bible all fits together, especially in regard to soteriology. Old Testament and New Testament eschatology fits together for the making of one picture showing how covenants fit together with God’s plan of salvation. A lack of emphasis on eschatology has had a catastrophic effect on the church. To minimize eschatology is to deprive God’s people of hope, and a wealth of spiritual information. For one, consider that J. Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy catalogues 737 prophecies that are either fulfilled or reiterated in the other texts by different authors writing hundreds of years apart. As we have observed here at The Potters House, eschatology also fits the plan of salvation in regard to judgments and resurrections as one would expect to be the case. Eschatology is vital for a proper understanding of the Scriptures. In regard to pastors who deemphasize eschatology, mark them and flee from them.

In regard to the question of the best Bible study software, you can consider software that has the elements we have discussed in this study. However, I would recommend Olive Tree online software, and it is very inexpensive. It has the most important feature, a word search engine. It will do a comprehensive English word search, but it will also do a Greek word search. This enables you to see how a Greek word is used in other passages—this is very telling in regard to the original intent behind the word. Also, if you do an English word search for a certain word in both the New Testament and Old Testament, you can see what the Hebrew counterpart is to the Greek and vice versa. You can get many different translations, and if you hover over any word with your mouse, the Greek or Hebrew word will appear with its definition. If a definition is not available, it’s an English filler for the purpose of flow and readability.

And don’t forget Google. Google is an extremely powerful search engine. It is also virtual world knowledge connected to virtual mind. What do I mean by that? If you want to recall something you read in the Bible several years ago but you don’t remember where it is in the Bible or even the exact wording, all you have to do is Google the fragment or the idea and a link to an article about it will appear. A wealth of information regarding any subject can be called up in seconds. And thoughts such as, “I wonder if the Bible talks about that?” can be answered in seconds. Merely Google the thought and a vast amount of information will appear. I am convinced that the final form of the final kingdom that will rule the Earth in the last days has feet of iron mixed with clay because of the Information Age. Tyranny is only effective to the degree that it can control information. This is why our founding fathers were pro education and information. This is why they proliferated information of all kinds with aggressive intentionality.

The dumbing down of America is no accident—it is the road to tyranny. The dumbing down of the Protestant church is no accident—it has always been predicated on tyranny and always will be unless Christians take back our Bible.

paul

End Time Prophecy that Doesn’t Match Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 22, 2013

ppt-jpeg4Popular Sophists of our day like John MacArthur Jr. hold to eschatology (the study of end times) that doesn’t match their soteriology (study of salvation/gospel). Dispensationalists (those who believe God uses different plans in different ages) believe in multiple judgments and resurrections. MacArthur identifies with that camp.

Calvinism fuses salvation (justification) and the Christian life (sanctification) together. Justification is finished for us IF we live our Christian life the same way we were saved (“already, but not yet,” just another Reformed mantra that comforts). So, the goal of the Christian life is to live out sanctification in a justification way (“We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day”). The means of justification are finished, but we must continue to have the perfect righteousness of Christ applied to our Christian life in order to be found righteous at the final judgment. Therefore, Calvin et al believed in one final judgment and one resurrection. That is consistent with their sanctification by faith alone to maintain justification soteriology. Everyone who ever lived shows up at a one final judgment and the sheep are separated from the goats. The sheep are those who successfully lived out their Christian life by faith alone.

This is why most Calvinists are amillennial (no 1000-year reign of Christ on earth from David’s throne in Jerusalem). A millennial construct contradicts one judgment and one resurrection because you have to do something with the mortals who live during that time and the rebellion that occurs at the end.

Multiple judgments and resurrections are consistent with the separation of justification and sanctification including a future for national Israel. The fusion of justification and sanctification is consistent with one judgment and one resurrection.

MacArthur has an eschatology that contradicts his soteriology because he was converted to Calvinism later in his ministry and kept the contradicting eschatology. Many Calvinists that don’t understand Calvin’s soteriology hold to Calvin’s eschatology.  They think eschatology is a “secondary issue.”

It is assumed that God’s plan for the end times doesn’t fit with His salvific plan.

There is more than one resurrection because Christians are not under law. They cannot stand in a judgment where law is the measure because it has no jurisdiction over them. Calvin believed the law still has jurisdiction over the Christian and Christ’s perfect obedience has to continually fulfill it through the agency of faith alone. Hence, there is justification, “subjective justification” (sanctification, wink, wink), and “final justification.” This is why Calvinists like MacArthur state that “justification and sanctification are distinct, but never separate.” In other words, a different kind of justification finishes definitive justification.

The other camp says “no.” Justification is completely finished, and sanctification is something entirely different. Therefore, we will not stand at any judgment that has anything at all to do with justification, we will rather stand in a judgment for rewards. Multiple resurrections and judgments facilitate a separation of justification and sanctification as well as a future for national Israel.

Eschatology is NOT a “secondary” issue. It is the gospel.

paul

TRUE CROSS CHART 2

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Christ’s Bride is the City of Love, Not the Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 4, 2013

ppt-jpeg4“The church is part of God’s plan to bring history to that event, but it is hardly the Bride. Such a notion is merely Gentile visions of grandeur.”

The apostle Paul endeavored to explain in many different ways that the law is not a standard for the righteousness that justifies us. The law informs our sanctification, but it has never been a standard for justification. God didn’t add more law to human history to better define righteousness, He had no problem declaring people righteous hundreds of years before Mt. Sinai (GAL 3:17). The problem with law, especially as a covenant, is that it has terms. That’s a problem. It invites man to review the terms presented by God, and then to agree or disagree. The most important covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the covenant that all of the other covenants contribute to towards a final goal, was based on promise and one entered into that covenant by believing God in regard to those promises. Trust in God is the issue. Noteworthy is the fact that God asked Israel to enter into a covenant with Him at Mt. Sinai before they had any idea what was going to be in the covenant. He did state the goal of the covenant: to make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation set apart for His glory before the nations (EX 19).

Paul used many human examples to solidify the idea that law and justification are mutually exclusive. He describes the law as a marriage covenant (ROM 7), a will (HEB 9), an offspring (GAL3), a slave woman (GAL 4), and among other examples, a city:

Galatians 4:21 – Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

The Bride is the ultimate goal of the Abrahamic covenant. Human history apexes at the Lambs wedding feast. The church is part of God’s plan to bring history to that event, but it is hardly the Bride. Such a notion is merely Gentile visions of grandeur.

Abraham sought a city built by God (HEB 11:10l), and Peter stated that we are not ultimately looking for the rapture, but a new heaven and new earth were righteousness dwells (2PET 3:13). Peter stated that is “according to the promise.” The promise is the Abrahamic covenant which is based on promise and not law. The righteousness that will dwell in the new heavens and new earth is God Himself—He will then have what he wanted at Mt. Sinai as depicted by the tabernacle in the wilderness, an abode with man on earth in peace and love. God will reconcile with mankind and then vacate heaven and make an abode with him. Emmanuel, “God with us.” The tabernacle represented the ultimate goal and the means.

Hence, in Revelation, many of the judgments come from that very tabernacle via the angels who are the enforcers of that covenant (GAL 3:19):

Revelation 8:3 – And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

And,

Revelation 11:15 – Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. 18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Shortly before Christ comes to subdue the earth:

Revelation  19:9 – And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

And finally,

Revelation 21:3 – And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Then the Bride is introduced. This is contrary to the earthly Jerusalem that represents Hagar and slavery, this is the church’s “mother” representing Sarah, but it is Christ’s Bride:

Revelation 21:9 – Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

The only thing that we have now that will continue in that city is love:

1Corinthians 13:8 – Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

That is why faith working through love (GAL 5:6) is so important in the here and now, and the law informs us of that work, but it has never had fellowship with justification. In the same way that those who are under the law violate all of it by one infraction (JMS 2:10), those under grace fulfill the whole law by one act of love (ROM 2:8-10, ROM 13:8-10).

These considerations are serious issues. There are no “non-essential issues.” We will either add to God’s word or take away from it. Love and error do not walk together.

paul

Addendum: 

The church is the friend of the Bridegroom: John 3:28-30, Matthew 9:14,15.

We are also children of Sarah who is depicted as the heavenly Jerusalem: 1Peter 3:6, Galatians 4:26.

Jerusalem citizens represent the saved while those outside Jerusalem represent the lost: Revelation 22:14,15.

We are friends of the Bridegroom, children of Sarah, and citizens of Jerusalem, but we are not the Bride.

The Potter’s House 5/19/2013: The Gospel Truth About Israel (Part 2); “All Israel Will be Saved”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 21, 2013

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JUDGEMENTS (2)

The Potter’s House 5/19/2013: The Gospel Truth About Israel (Part 1); “All Israel Will be Saved”

“The idea that all of national Israel will be saved is absolutely huge in understanding prophecy and its connection to the gospel.”  

We are now very near to the end of our study on justification. Please pray for me as we will continue in the book of Romans and take a sharp right turn into the arena of Christian living. The apostle Paul is going to teach us how to obtain a powerful life to the glory of our Father. That starts in Romans 12.

The first eleven chapters in Romans are about justification. The gospel of first importance. How we are reconciled to God. How we tell others to be reconciled to God. And how those that we are trying to reconcile think. What man’s greatest need is, and what makes him tick. But there is another gospel as well: the good news of kingdom living. The perfect law of liberty that sets us free.

Paul finishes his treatise on justification with a major element thereof: the issue of national Israel. As we have seen, national Israel was elected by God, and there is a remnant within Israel that is also elected. We have seen clearly that God had a specific purpose in election—to completely eradicate man from any participation in his eternal security. If we were not born again with a heart enslaved to the desires of the Holy Spirit we would have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to live according to the law in our Christian life….for justification. And look, all of the Bible must be interpreting with this prism: [Bible verse]….for justification; or,[Bible verse]….for sanctification. The Bible is divided into those two subjects.  Beware of any man who applies justification verses to sanctification issues. Mark that man and flee from him. The law has NOTHING to say to us….for justification. It has plenty to say to us….for sanctification.
And know this, know this shocking revelation (ROM 11:25): If Paul’s prayer in Romans 10:1 is not answered in the affirmative, no one, but no one is saved:

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

Listen, Romans 10-11 is a sermon manuscript in and of itself. It’s self-explanatory. Paul opens with that prayer in verse one, and closes with the following statement preceding his doxology in Romans 11:

26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins” (ISA 59: 20, 21).

In what way? In what way will Israel be saved? As we will see, there is yet another purpose in God’s election. Paul shortly revisits justification fundamentals in regard to national Israel’s rebellion which is, as we will see, used by God in His second great purpose of election. Paul’s sermon here is really about the two great purposes of God’s election.

And note: “ALL” Israel will be saved. Stop right there. Please do not believe the lie that eschatology cannot be understood definitively. Please do not believe that it is “secondary,” “nonessential” truth. We have bought into that because of the confusion surrounding the subject of Israel. If there is a time that ALL of national Israel will be saved, and obviously that is the case, this is a key interpretive element in understanding eschatology. AND justification. AND the gospel. 25% of the Bible being about eschatology is not an aside—it’s not a preface—it’s gospel.

The idea that all of national Israel will be save is absolutely huge in understanding prophecy and its connection to the gospel. First, let’s go back in time and establish that this was God’s original purpose for Israel:

Exodus 19:3 – while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

God’s original covenant with Israel was contingent on His promise alone, or “the promise.” When God made this covenant with the father of our faith, God put Abram into a deep sleep and consummated the promise himself:

Genesis 15:1 – After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

7 And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

And the plan always included the Gentiles being grafted in (blessed) “through” God’s covenant with Israel:

Genesis 12:1 – Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 17:1 – When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

Genesis 22:15 – And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

In regard to the Mt. Sinai covenant, national Israel did break it for the most part except for the remnant chosen by God. But God used that rebellion, prophesied in the original covenant, to bless the Gentiles while adding another covenant to the original covenant:

Jeremiah 31:31 – “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

35 Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord of hosts is his name: 36 “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” 37 Thus says the Lord: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.”

38 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

The New Covenant was never made between God and the Gentiles—it was made with Israel. Nor is the covenant fully consummated. We presently enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant by Jewish proxy. What God said He was going to accomplish in the New Covenant is clearly not fulfilled. Many need to simply get over it: the saving of national Israel is yet future. But when? And what relationship does that have to justification?

Obviously, those who want to make weak distinctions between justification and sanctification (resulting in passive sanctification) do not want to separate the two in prophetic interpretations. Popular in our day and indicative of Protestant tradition is the idea of one resurrection and one judgment. More than one resurrection and judgment opens up the door to distinctions between justification and sanctification as well as Jewish uniqueness. The latter is has always been the scourge of worldly sentiment dressed in religious garb. Moreover, the idea of one final judgment to determine who is truly justified and who isn’t is somewhat disconcerting to anyone who understands justification. The idea that our justification is a settled issue is far more desirable, and I contend, biblical. Notice the excerpt below from a video interview conducted with John Piper:

PIPER JUSTIFICATION

Notice “last day” is singular and we are only then going to be counted righteousness. Such an assertion gives us pause in light of Romans 8:

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (PS 44:22).

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Election calls for us to be counted righteous before the earth was even created. It is a settled issue presently. During the 2009 Resolved Conference, Pastor Steve Lawson preached on the Great White Throne Judgment. Throughout the message, it was unclear where he stands on whether or not believers will stand in the same judgment with unbelievers to determine final justification. But throughout the message he seemed to insinuate that believers would not be present. I thought this odd knowing that he is an avowed Calvinist. That is, until he connected Matthew 25:31-46 with the final judgment. That is a judgment where the sheep are separated from the goats among all the nations gathered before Him. Is that the scene at the Great White Throne Judgment? And obviously, if it is, this is where our final justification would be confirmed.

Furthermore, in this particular judgment, not all of Israel is saved. This is the judgment that follows the return of Christ visibly with myriads of angels. The scene is extremely apocalyptic:

Luke 21:25 – “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Matthew 24:27 – For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

However, at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, and preceding the Great White Throne Judgment, there is no visible return of Christ. When the armies of all the other nations surround Israel, God merely rains fire down from heaven and consumes them:

Revelation 20:1 – Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Furthermore, prior to the Great White Throne Judgment, Satan is bound for 1000 years. This is certainly not the case prior to the Millennial Kingdom. During the tribulation period, Satan is free to wreak havoc on the earth. More than likely, the judgment Steve Lawson referred to is known as the judgment of the nations at the end of the tribulation period. Those who will be commended by Christ at that judgment are commended for helping people with needs that will not be present during the Millennial Kingdom:

Matthew 25:31 – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Until the day Satan is released, a mass of Scriptures describe the Millennial Kingdom as paradise on earth. Also note REV 20:4—there is also a judgment in which those slain for their faith during the tribulation period stand. These are multiple judgment thrones, and probably the same ones Christ referred to in a discussion with His disciples:

Matthew 19:27 – Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Christ’s “glorious throne” is the same one He refers to regarding the judgment of the nations. Apparently, at the end of the tribulation period, Christ will judge the nations and the apostles will judge the elect of Israel in regard to rewards and how they will rein with Christ for the next 1000 years. I think the Judgment Christ speaks of in Matthew 7:21-23 refers to the judgment of the nations during that time. In both cases, “lawlessness (anomia)” and false wonders/miracles are a major theme. In both cases, entering into the kingdom of heaven is a theme, but there is no such theme at the White Throne Judgment because it is a judgment connected in totality to the “second death.”  Besides, what follows would be an entering into the new heavens and new earth—not the kingdom of heaven on earth. This is a given because all who are not at this judgment have received their invitation to the wedding supper of the lamb (REV 19:9) which takes place when the Bride arrives from heaven (REV 21:9-14).

Moreover, during the Millennial Kingdom, all of the inhabitants of national Israel will be saved:

Revelation 20:7 – And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

I believe Paul’s reference to ALL of national Israel being saved is encompassed in the 20th chapter of Revelation. That begins when God sends His angels to enforce the Mt. Sinai covenant during the tribulation period. The angels put the covenant in place at Mt. Sinai (GAL 3:19). That’s why there are direct references to that covenant in Revelation. For example:

Revelation 6:9 – When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” [Alter of incense].

Revelation 8:3 – And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings,[a] flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

Revelation 11: 19 – Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

The final judgment to consider is the bema judgment (1COR 3:10-15, 2COR 5:10). This is a judgment for rewards and probably occurs shortly after the rapture since the twenty- four elders in REV 4:10 already have their crowns. This is also distinct from the White Throne Judgment because everyone at that judgment has died. That’s not the case with the rapture (1THES 4:13-5:4, 2THES 2:1-12, 1COR 15: 51-53, LK 14:12-14). The main distinction between the judgment of the nations and the rapture is that one is imminent while tribulation events are marked by time periods. So, from the signing of the treaty between Israel and the Antichrist (God strictly forbade the signing of covenants with other nations for protection at Mt. Sinai) to the visible apocalyptic return of Christ will be exactly seven years. It is not an imminent return, and unlike the rapture is not a meeting with Christ in the air.

At any rate, the idea that eschatology is too deep and mysterious to be definitively understood is just more Protestant boloney. It doesn’t make sense that a subject comprising 25% of the Bible has no objective outcome as if it’s God’s goal to keep us confounded. The following chart illustrates what we have discussed thus far:

Judgements 2 (2)

I contend that the issue here is the relationship of eschatology to the gospel. One resurrection and one judgment argues for progressive justification. “Final justification,”  while giving a node to once saved always saved actually calls for an ambiguous final judgment where the elect’s justification is “manifested” and confirmed. If God knows we are justified, and we know we are justified (1JN 5:13) why is such a confirmation hearing necessary? Many in Reformed circles, if not most, posit the idea that the prize we seek in the Christian race is salvation itself. We must keep ourselves “qualified” by faith alone in sanctification in order to not be “disqualified” from the race. Some even suggest “mutable justification” as opposed to immutable justification. A wink and a node is given to once saved always saved with “already not yet.”

How we are saved effects how things end. All of Israel will be saved because the New Covenant is dependent on what God does, and not anything Israel has done or will do. Likewise, the security of our own salvation does not depend on anything we do in sanctification. Seeing the biblically defined power of God in our lives certainly bolsters our assurance, but the work of justification is finished. We are all like that thief on the cross; all he could do was believe and ask for mercy, and with that Christ declared that he would be in paradise that same day. Likewise, in Romans 8:30, we are declared glorified already; it is finished, it is as good as done.

Potter H. 1

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