The Difference Is In The Dispensations
How to make sense of the differences in the Bible
Salvation In The New Testament
Since in the book of Acts salvation became predominately Gentile, it
is only logical the following books of the Bible (Romans—Philemon) apply
doctrinally to the Gentile Church. Most of the three epistles of John also
apply to this age as well as much of the epistles of Peter. We know this
because the books are addressed to either New Testament churches (Rom.—2
Thes.), to individual ministers (1 Tim.—Tit.), or to other Christians.
The books Hebrews and James, however, are not written to
born again Christians but to Jews. Hebrews means Hebrews, not Gentiles,
and James is addressed to the "twelve tribes" (Jam. 1:1), not the
body of Christ. Remember, knowing who a book or epistle is written to is
imperative for sound Bible study.
Paul's epistle to the Romans is clearly a Gentile, church age book,
and because of its emphasis on doctrine, it is often called "the Constitution
of the Christian faith." The Holy Spirit caused this book to be placed
immediately after Acts even though it was written later than most of Paul's
other books because He wanted the Bible reader to be grounded in sound
Christian doctrine. In the first eight chapters, Paul explains how salvation
is by faith alone apart from any works (4:5) and then defines salvation's
exceedingly rich blessings with terms like justification, propitiation,
adoption, imputation, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification, etc.
These are all doctrines that apply to every Christian NOW, not to blessings
he will receive in the future. Romans should be studied by the believer
until he knows its rich doctrines by heart; only then can he begin to appreciate
what God has done for him.
How Many Gospels?
The rest of the epistles of Paul following Romans further explain New Testament
salvation and reveal other truths essential to Christian doctrine; every
Christian has a responsibility to study these also. The truths found in
these books make up what is called "my gospel" by Paul. This gospel
is the gospel of the grace of God with the added doctrines revealed only
to Paul. It is one of the four different gospels found in the Scriptures.
The author has heard prominent ministers proclaim with certainty, "There
is only one gospel from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, and it is the gospel
of Jesus Christ..." They imply with these words anyone who believes otherwise
is in error and not true to the Bible. But what does the Bible say? Anyone
who tries to study the Scriptures objectively will soon see it contains
more than one gospel. There is the "gospel of the kingdom" found
in Christ's ministry; the "gospel of the grace of God" valid during
this age; Paul's "my gospel," mentioned above; and the "everlasting
gospel." These gospels are all different and anyone who makes them
the same has to forcefully wrest the Scriptures to do it.
The "gospel of the kingdom" of Heaven (Matt. 4:23) Christ preached
was the good news that the kingdom promised to Abraham and David was nigh
and ready to be entered when the King was received. It had nothing to do
with the new birth or individual salvation, it dealt with a physical, visible,
literal kingdom. This gospel has been replaced with the "gospel of the
grace of God" for the time being but will again be preached to the
Jews during the Tribulation before Christ's return.
The "Gospel of the Grace of God" (1 Cor.15:1-4) is the familiar
gospel of today and speaks of the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection
of the Lord Jesus Christ. It declares how He suffered and died for man's
sins and rose from the dead to supply His salvation to all who will receive
Again, Paul's "my gospel" (2 Tim. 2:8) is simply this gospel
with added revelations concerning the Body of Christ, the Church, the
mysteries, etc. Even though Paul's gospel includes the Gospel of the
Grace of God, the two are not identical. The former includes the latter,
but one only needs to receive the latter to be saved.
The "everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:6) is a gospel that does not
even mention Christ. It is a message of repentance to Gentiles beginning
with the Tribulation and continuing on into eternity. It in no way resembles
the other gospels in content or doctrine, destroying the idea there is
only one. All the "everlasting gospel" says is man is to fear,
worship, and give glory to God because He is about to Judge somebody.
It says nothing about Christ's substitutionary death even though it is
called "everlasting." Interesting.
The Holy Spirit has shown us there is a difference between the gospels
in Galatians 1. In verse 8 Paul says, "though we or an angel from
heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto
you, let him be accursed." In Revelation 14:6, however, we find an
angel preaching another gospel and he is not accursed. The difference
is in the dispensations. The "everlasting gospel" is cursed
in this age and Paul's gospel will be out of place in the Tribulation.
Even the "gospel of the kingdom" is cursed in this age because it
does not match the gospel Paul preached.
With the book of Hebrews, the Bible begins to take on a Jewish twist again.
With the thirteen books preceding it dealing with the Body of Christ, the
Holy Spirit now begins to again address the Jews. As the title of the book
is Hebrews, why would anyone think it applied doctrinally to Gentile
Christians? Of course, there is much in the book a Christian can learn
and profit from, but if he tries to apply it all doctrinally to the Church
Age he will soon run into "contradictions." The writer of Hebrews is trying
to convince both lost and saved Hebrews that the new covenant established
by Christ's death is superior to the old covenant of the Law. The temptation
of saved Hebrews backsliding back into the bondage of the Law is very great,
and Paul wants to strengthen the hearers of this book in what Christ's
redemption has done for them.
The thought that Hebrews was written to both lost and saved people should
not be strange to the reader, Paul addressed parts of other letters to
lost people also (1 Cor. 15:4, etc.). The emphasis of Hebrews appears to
apply to Hebrews in the Tribulation when Israel is again the main object
of God's dealings. This is why the believers who believe a Christian can
lose his salvation appeal to Hebrews as their "proof." There are passages
in the book that do indicate someone can fall from salvation, but as we
will see, they do not refer to a regenerated Christian.
Hebrews 3:6 and 14 is the first place the "Endurers" stop, but look
at the whole passage. Verse 6 says "whose house are we IF we hold fast...unto
the end." The "if" is the word pointed to by these people, "What
"if" you don't hold out to the end" they say. First of all, do you
find any reference to a blood washed, regenerated, Holy Spirit sealed Christian
in the passage? Also, what is "the end" in both verses referring
to? What makes you think it is the end of a person's life after reading
Matthew 24:13-14? The "end" is the end of a period of time just
like in Matthew 24:14. The "rest" in Heb. chapter 2 shows this to
be true by illustrating how the Israelites in the wilderness had to endure
in faith to the end of their wanderings before they could enter into God's
rest—Canaan land (vs. 7-19). The "we" throughout the passage refers
not to Christians but to Hebrews; "...whose house are we (Hebrews)
if we (Hebrews) hold fast unto the end" (vs. 6); "for we
(Hebrews) are made partakers of Christ if we (Hebrews) hold...unto
the end" (vs. 14). See how keeping in mind who a book is written to
clears things up? There is no reference to a born again Christian anywhere
in the passage, neither is there any mention of anyone going to hell. The
passage applies doctrinally to Hebrews in the Tribulation period enduring
to the end of it in faith so they can enter into the promised land (Millennium)
and partake of Christ. Don't allow those who refuse to rightly divide the
Scriptures misapply them and talk you out of your security in Christ. Hebrews
deals with Hebrews.
The next controversial passage is in chapter 6, and here the "Security-deniers"
have a field day. The passage "For it is impossible...if they fall away
to renew them again unto repentance..." (vs. 4-6) is often quoted by
the "Arminians," but they have bitten of more than they can chew. The passage
clearly says it is "impossible" to renew again those who fall away,
but all the Endurers claim one can be saved again after he falls away.
These verses also give fits to many Baptists, who correctly believe a Christian
cannot lose his salvation, but cannot understand the verses as they stand.
They come up with all kinds of "interpretations" to force the verses to
conform to their doctrine. Some Fundamentalists insist the passage is "hypothetical,"
but the text doesn't even hint this. Others claim it refers to people like
the spies at Kadesh-Barnea (Num. 13-14) who were not saved but on the threshold
of salvation. However, verse 4 says those who can fall tasted of the "heavenly
gift" and partook of the "Holy Ghost." To "taste" something
means to have it, just like Christ tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9).
This one passage has those on both sides of the eternal security issue
squirming to appear "scholarly" and save face.
Obviously, someone in Hebrews 6:1-4 is in danger of losing his salvation,
but again, it is not a born again Christian. Did you notice in verses 1-2
where the writer refers to the principles of the doctrines of Christ (repentance,
faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal
judgment), that he does not mention ONE doctrine unique to salvation
in the Church Age? Regeneration, the new nature, the Body of Christ,
the sealing of the Holy Spirit, justification, imputation, etc., are
not mentioned. How can one explain this? Simple, the writer is not referring
to a regenerated Christian. He is again referring to Hebrews in another
It is very likely Hebrews (at least the first 12 chapters) was written
early in the book of Acts (probably before chapter 12; certainly before
chapter 15) when no one knew much at all about a new birth or that a new,
non Hebrew, dispensation was made possible at the cross. This explains
a lot. The writer didn't mention Church Age doctrines because he didn't
know of such things. He may have not even yet known Gentiles could be saved.
Therefore, anybody who uses Hebrews to teach Gentile Church Age doctrine
is ignorant of God's dispensational arrangments. At the time it was written,
Hebrews applied to Jews who believed Christ was the Messiah before the
Church Age doctrines were fully known and established in Acts 15. However,
now, Hebrews speaks directly to Hebrews who will be alive during the Tribulation
after the Church is gone. Remember, the Bible speaks to people of all ages;
it is not limited to Fundamentalists in the Church Age.
If there is any doubt that Hebrews applies doctrinally in the Tribulation
look at verse 11. There we find the characteristic "the end" again—the
end of the Tribulation. When one realizes this the passage easily falls
into place. The "those" in vs. 4 are saved people in the Tribulation
sense, not the Church Age sense. If the saved person falls away in the
Tribulation (takes the mark of the Beast, for instance), he forfeits his
salvation and cannot get it back (Rev. 14:9-12)! Furthermore, if the Church
goes through the Tribulation as many today claim, then a Christian must
in some way be able to lose his salvation or else the Scriptures contradict!
Thank God Christ's bride will not suffer this wrath (1 Thess. 1:10).
This passage in Hebrews fits perfectly with the other passages we have
looked at concerning salvation after the Church Age (Matt. 5-7, 24-25;
Heb. 3). The Hebrews that will be saved then will be decreed saved like
those in the Old Testament. Each individual is in danger of losing his
salvation if he doesn't do the right works or fails to endure to the end
(vs. 11). If (remember "if" in Hebrews chapter 3?) he endures and
does make it, he will become a partaker of Christ (3:14). The "powers
of the world to come" (Mill.) will be the signs and wonders performed
by the "two witnesses" and others during the Tribulation (Rev. 11). All
the passages coincide. The writer of Hebrews says in 6:9 he is persuaded
of better things of those who he wrote to at the time (around 35-40 A.D.),
but the reason he says this is because of their works (vs. 10-11)! Works
play an important part in the Tribulation, and we will deal more with salvation
during that time shortly.
The third passage in Hebrews the Arminians and others use to prove a
Christian can fall out of Christ and go to hell is in chapter 10. This
passage gets heavy use by the "Endurers" because of the way it is worded,
"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received knowledge of the truth
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a fearful looking for of
judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries."
The Endurers point to this passage and glibly say, "See there? If a Christian
sins willfully after he is saved he can lose his salvation and go to Hell!"
Really? Are there any Born again Christians found anywhere in the passage?
Is there any hint of a Spirit sealed believer being plucked out of Christ,
unborn again, forsaken by Christ and God, severed from the Body of Christ,
etc., and cast into the Lake of Fire? Nonsense. You couldn't find a
regenerated Christian in the passage with a microscope. True, someone in
the passage can lose his salvation, but, again, it is not anyone in the
Body of Christ.
Though the Arminians wrest this passage to teach their saved-today,
lost-tomorrow theology, the Fundamentalists fare little better. They either
won't allow the person who sins to be a true believer but only one who
had "knowledge" of the truth, or they "Greekify" the verses and
force them to conform to Church Age doctrine. Concerning their first argument,
verse 7 says the fallen man was "sanctified" by the blood of Christ.
This speaks of more than just a head knowledge of Christ, the man was sanctified
by Him. This is knowledge in the sense of experience.
Concerning the "Going to the original Greek" method of dealing with
this passage, many will contend a Christian will not willfully sin habitually
and appeal to the tense of some Greek word to "prove" it. But the passage
says nothing about one habitually continuing in sin; it plainly says if
one sins "wilfully"! One sin can be enough. (When the English
Bible God has used for nearly 400 years (AV 1611) won't support these "scholars,"
they immediately run to the "Greek" to change it and usually distort the
text so much they themselves can't make sense of it after they change it!)
Even though the text says nothing about someone sinning habitually,
to say a Christian cannot willfully sin habitually is absurd; millions
do it all the time. To say different is to deny a Christian his free
will and pretend his old, Adamic nature is powerless. Every Christian
is just as capable of sinning as a lost man because he still has the old
nature of a dead, lost man in him! This fallen nature is not eradicated
at conversion. True, every believer also has the new, righteous nature
of Christ in him, but the old is still there to tug and pull for its own
way. Because of his new nature, no Christian HAS TO sin at anytime, but
he is always capable of sin until death or the rapture.
In general, Christians as a whole usually don't sin openly as much as
lost people, however, sometimes they do, and some in an backslidden state
will habitually sin more (visibly) than some lost people. Though every
lost person is dead in sin and can only sin, the rebellious believer may
do things a "moral" lost person deems immoral and would never do! Every
believer should realize, however, open sin is just the outward manifestation
of sin that has already occurred in the heart. A person's heart can harbor
and entertain sin whether the sin is outwardly seen or not. Who can forget
the words of Christ in Matthew chapter 5 where he brands the lustful person
an adulterer and also 1 John 3:15 where the Holy Spirit calls the
hater a murderer? Sins don't have to be outward to be sin; the secret
sins of envy, jealously, pride, selfishness, greed, lust, hate, resentment,
contempt, self-pity, self-will, worry, not content, etc., are sins
all Christians entertain willingly to some degree and many habitually!
All one has to do is talk to a few to find this out. Nevertheless, even
with these wicked and vile sins, no Christian can lose his salvation. The
difference is in the dispensations.
Now, since this passage doesn't doctrinally refer to Christians in the
Church Age, where does it apply? Again, in the Tribulation period. This
is clear from the Old Testament quotations found in verse 30 (Deut. 32:30-36)
referring to the song of Moses sang after the exodus and in the Tribulation
(Rev. 15:3). You didn't check the cross-references did you? Blindly following
to interpretation of your favorite "scholar" and failing to personally
compare Scripture with Scripture will lead to a "private interpretation"
more times than not. Also, the mention of "his people" in a book
called Hebrews should indicate to the most jaded eyes that the passage
applies distinctly to Hebrews. The passage is clearly Jewish and can only
deal with Jews in the Tribulation. Since there is no new birth in the Tribulation
to regenerate and seal believers, a person then can be on the right
path, taste of the heavenly gift, believe in Christ, be sanctified by the
Christ's blood, have good works, etc., in essence be saved as much
as anyone then can be and then "sin willfully" and loose all he
had. Whether he denies Christ and His blood atonement, takes the mark of
the Beast, or fails to continue in the required works (Matt. 25), he has
fallen from his salvation. During this period people likely will
be initially saved by faith alone, but each must continue in the right
works and keep the commandments of God to stay saved. If one sins willfully
in an area that can cost him his salvation, he has had it.
Verse 31 says "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the
living God," and it will be for the Hebrews who fall away in the Tribulation,
but it is not fearful for a Christian. Every Christian is IN God's hand
permanently, and no one can take him out (John 10)! Furthermore, every
born again believer is a part of Christ's Body, and thus also a part of
or connected to His hand! What speaks of terror and judgment to a rebellious
Hebrew in the Tribulation speaks of peace and security to a believer in
Christ. Again, the difference is in the dispensations.
The book of Hebrews loses much of its difficulty when one rightly divides
it and does not force the distinctly Jewish passages to apply to a period
where they do not belong. As we mentioned forcing these passages to doctrinally
apply in the Church Age will either lead one to believe a Christian can
lose his salvation or cause him to wrest them by his "private interpretation"
to make them line up with his doctrine. Either way the Scriptures are misused.
The "Endurers" are at least honest in trying to take the verses
at face value, they just apply them to the wrong people. The Fundamentalists,
however, refuse to take them as they stand, showing their infidelity, and
change their obvious meaning by appealing to "the Greek" and "scholarship."
The verses as they stand simply give them fits. Nevertheless, for one reason
or another many of them will cling to their shallow and inconsistent "historical
positions" rather than yield to the plain words of the Scriptures. Unfortunately,
the ethics of many Fundamentalists in their treatment of the Scriptures
is often inferior to their Arminian counterparts.
Like Hebrews, the book of James is another epistle that is not addressed
to Gentile believers in the Church Age. James 1:1 says, "to the
twelve tribes scattered abroad" clearly stating this book is also written
to Hebrews. As with the other Jewish passages, there is much one can learn
in James, but he must remember doctrinally it is Jewish. This explains
why in chapter 2 works are connected with saving faith. The last 13 verses
of chapter 2 have been used by people for centuries to "prove" works are
required before one can become a true Christian, and many genuine Christians
also use the same passage to prove one must work to remain a Christian.
What is interesting is the verses seem to support them, "though a man
say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?" (vs. 14);
"that faith without works is dead" (vs. 20); "ye see then how
that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (vs. 24);
etc. But do these verses apply to Christians in the Church Age? Surely
you know the answer by now. They doctrinally apply to Hebrews with full
application during the Tribulation.
Needless to say, there is no contradiction between the theology of James
and Paul even though it may appear so to those who refuse to study. Paul
says no less than five times that works are in no way connected with a
person receiving salvation (Rom. 3:20, 4:5; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit.
3:5; etc.) and James says in his book they are. The difference, again,
is in the dispensations. See, again, how important it is to understand
who wrote a book, who it is written to, and who it applies to when studying
the Bible? Without constantly keeping these essentials in mind sound doctrine
will bypass you. If Hebrews and James do fully apply to believers in the
Church Age then the Bible would contradict! But the Holy Spirit has removed
all contradiction and much exegetical difficulty by showing us these books
apply to Jews and for the most part in another dispensation. Like Hebrews,
James was likely written early in the book of Acts before the Church Age
doctrines were fully revealed and understood. It may have been written
by the original apostle James before he was murdered in Acts 12. This would
easily explain its Jewish message from an historical standpoint.
in the Tribulation
When the rapture occurs and Christ takes His Church into Heaven with Him,
things will never be the same on earth again. When all those in Christ
are raised up to meet their Savior in the air, a whole dispensational system
will go up with them. Eternal salvation as we know it today (by grace through
faith apart from works) will no longer be valid because the Holy Spirit
will no longer regenerate and seal those who become saved after the "trump"
(1 Thes. 4:16). Believers in the future will not have a new nature, be
placed in Christ, or have Christ permanently indwelling them. Simply put,
the means of salvation as we know it today will no longer exist.
The difference in the dispensations will make it impossible for a believer
to be born again, placed into Christ's Body, or keep eternal life by faith
alone. Salvation will be very similar to the way it was in the Old
In light of this, consider how thankful and grateful we who are saved
today should be. Many of the blessings God bestows upon the Church today
are blessings He bestows upon no other group at any other time. How gracious
and generous God is to us. It seems He picked the Church to show all creation
just how kind gracious, and loving He can be. He not only took our sins
and died for them in our place, He by the NEW BIRTH placed every believer
into His family and gave each His own eternal life and very nature!
He did not do this for Abraham, Moses, or David. It is all by grace, pure
grace. How much more we should love, praise, and serve Him.
When the rapture occurs the number of people making up the Body of Christ
will be complete and fixed. No one then or now can possibly fall out of
the body, and no one in the future can enter it. When the voice of the
archangel is heard, the door to the Church will be forever sealed.
Contrary to the theology of many of today's prophetic preachers, nowhere
in the Bible does it say that the Tribulation will begin immediately after
the rapture. It very well may, but it doesn't have to. Nevertheless, whether
immediately or months or years later, the Tribulation will began with the
Antichrist signing a seven year covenant with Israel. As we mentioned earlier
after the rapture Israel again becomes the main object of God's dealings
with man and salvation will again have a Jewish ring to it.
The Tribulation will be a very difficult time for one to try and live
for God. Christ declared in Matthew 24 this period will contain terror,
horror, and death on a scale the world has not yet seen. One
reading of the book of Revelation with all the catastrophes, judgments,
and sorrows found in it should awaken any believing reader to the shear
horror many will endure during this period. As we have repeatedly said,
during this seven year period faith alone will not be enough to permanently
secure ones eternal salvation. Faith will likely be the means of the believer
initially being saved, but his faith must motivate the proper works for
him to keep his salvation, and he must be faithful in keeping them to "endure
to the end." Remember how James said, "Faith without works is dead,"
and one shows his faith by working? In the Tribulation one must show his
faith and work to overcome evil and clinging to good or else he won't make
it through saved (Rev. 3:5). There are around 200 verses in the New Testament
that indicate someone can lose his salvation—they must fit somewhere—and
the Tribulation is the place. Remember Matthew chapters 24 and 25, and
Hebrews chapters 3, 6, and 10? The Tribulation is where they all doctrinally
apply: the "time of Jacob's trouble" (not the Church's trouble).
Again, someone in the Bible can lose his salvation, but it is not a born
During the Tribulation salvation will be identical to salvation under
the law as far as what happens to and inside a believer is concerned. Since
there is no longer a new birth available, nothing will happen inside the
believer to secure his salvation. Though he won't be saved on credit as
those in the Old Testament were (because Christ's atonement has since been
made), he will still be saved on a trial basis like they were. Believing
on Christ will just be the first step in his process of salvation,
for along with believing he must "keep the commandments of God"
(Rev. 12:17, 14:12, 22:14, CHECK THESE!). Since this is, again, a Jewish
dispensation, the commandments must be the Ten Commandments and other commandments
given under the law. Gentiles will likely not be obligated to keep the
distinctly Jewish commandments, but they must keep the moral commandments
as much as they know them even if their conscience is their only guide.
The quickest way for anyone in the Tribulation to forfeit his salvation
is to take the mark of the Beast. Anyone who takes that mark is
doomed without any hope of future salvation (14:9-11). One in the Tribulation
may be saved by faith, keep the testimony of Jesus (12:17), and
have adequate works to retain his salvation, but the moment he gives
in to temptation and receives that mark, he is dead lost. "Any"
means any in Revelation 14:9. A person could believe like the Phillipian
jailer, be baptized like the Ethiopian eunuch, and follow the Law like
John the Baptist and loose it all by taking the mark. This alone
proves salvation then will be little like it is today.
Even with this faith and works setup great multitudes will refuse to
take the mark, and, as a result, most of them will be killed (13:15, 20:4).
Motivated be jealously and pride, the Beast will slaughter believers wholesale
(13:7) with no restraint, but even this will not hinder yet others from
"the faith of Jesus." Also, during this time there will be 144,000
Jewish "missionaries" sealed and protected by God preaching the gospel
of the kingdom (not the gospel of the grace of God) and two witnesses (most
likely Moses and Elijah) performing signs and wonders and declaring the
truth to the world. It will be a drastically different situation than it
is today. Then it will more often than not cost one a great deal to be
saved, likely even his life! Nevertheless, many will "love not their
lives unto death" and refuse to blaspheme God by taking the mark. Like
James said, they will show their faith by their works (Jam. 2:18).
In a nutshell salvation in the Tribulation will be obtained and secured
by having faith in Jesus as Savior and Messiah, keeping the commandments
and doing what one knows to be right, and avoiding the mark of the beast
at all costs. Failure to do these things and endure faithfully to the
end can cost a person everything he has gained. Many today teach
Church Age believers will go through the Tribulation. If so according to
Revelation 14 they can lose their salvation by taking the mark.
As we have said, the typical Fundamentalist method of dealing with Tribulation
salvation is to pretend it is identical to salvation today. But unfortunately,
many Baptists and Fundamentalists are much more loyal to their pet "historic
positions" than to the Bible. They utterly refuse to take the verses as
they stand. They will not hesitate to twist, distort, wrest, spiritualize,
and "Greekify" these plain verses to make them conform to their
doctrine. The author says this being a Baptist and Fundamentalist himself,
however, his allegiance is to the Scriptures alone and not some "historic
Baptist position." He has found from reading Fundamentalist material that
some Baptist doctrines are just as much heresy as those of Mormons and
Jehovah's Witnesses. The only real difference between the heretical Baptist
doctrines and those of the cults is the lies of the cults are lethal to
the soul while the "positions" of the Fundamentalists are lethal to dispensational
You may be thinking, "You say most Baptists are wrong on Tribulation
salvation, but I am not convinced." Good, neither this book nor any other
like it should settle doctrinal matters in the mind of any believer. Only
one book is to do this and every Christian's duty is to search it out and
determine what it says. If you want to know the truth get in the BOOK!
Never mind the commentators when they refuse to believe it. God expects
every believer to search the Scriptures and study them out personally
for himself and learn Bible doctrine first hand (Acts 17:11). Preachers,
sermons, commentators and teachers all have their place, but they are no
substitute for personal study of the Scriptures.
After the mass death and destruction of the Tribulation and second coming
of Christ, there will be relatively few people left on the earth. There
will be a certain number of Jews from each tribe left to inherit the land
promised to Abraham, and also a number of Gentiles who didn't take the
mark to dwell in other areas, but compared to today the earth's population
will be much reduced. In many respects man will have a fresh start. As
mentioned in chapter 1, The Millennium will be the fulfillment of the Kingdom
of Heaven Christ preached to the Jews at the beginning of His ministry
In the "sermon on the mount" Christ declared the principles and doctrines
of this kingdom to the Jews and all they had to do to receive it was repent
as a nation and receive Jesus as their Messiah and King. Of course they
did not do this and in the end they even killed their Messiah, but the
offer of the kingdom was nonetheless valid. After murdering their promised
King, the offer of the kingdom was postponed until Israel repents and is
willing to receive the one they slew. God was merciful towards them and
gave them more opportunities to repent in the book of Acts, but Israel
again vehemently refused. We now know they won't get right until Revelation
chapter 20. It is the same kingdom described in Matthew chapters 5-7 only
postponed for at least 2000 years.
The Sermon on the Mount tells us a great deal about the doctrines that
will be valid during the Millennium, and one reading should convince any
unbiased reader that they are based on WORKS. Faith and belief in God are
not even mentioned. In the kingdom one can be tried by a judicial council
for calling his brother "Raca" and be cast into Hell for calling
him a "fool" (5:22)! He can be judged as a adulterer for only lusting
after someone (5:28) and be judged as a murderer for entertaining hate.
Then it will be profitable for a person to cut off parts of his body if
it will keep him from doing wrong works (5:29-30)! Cutting off his hand
may keep him out of Hell! Is that not what the verses say? See how "obscure,"
"unclear," and "difficult" verses clear up when they are rightly divided
and kept in their proper context?
A lost person today could cut off every member of his body and it wouldn't
keep him out of Hell one second, but in the Millennium it may keep him
out for eternity. Today one must be born again, but not so in the Millennium.
The problem most Christians have with passages like Matthew 5:29-30 is
not that they can't understand them, it is that they can't BELIEVE them.
They readily receive clear and easy verses like John 3:16, but verses like
this are hard for them to swallow. The problem is not in "interpretation"
but in believing. Actually, very little of the Bible needs to be interpreted;
it only needs to be believed.
During the Millennium Christ will be personally reigning over the entire
earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:9). He will rule
with a "rod of iron" enforcing His law of righteousness upon all
and judging those who rebel (Matthew 5:22). Since Christ will be physically
on earth, no one then needs to have faith that He exists or wonder if He
can do what He has promised. All those who make it through the Tribulation
will see Him for who He really is, "God manifest in the flesh."
Therefore in the Millennium faith will not be the deciding factor in a
person receiving salvation, obedience will be the key. Furthermore, preaching
the "gospel" and witnessing to the "lost" will be nonexistent. In
fact, Zechariah 13:2 says anyone who does preach or prophesy will be killed!
Also, there will be no place for evangelism because everyone (at least
all Jews) will know the Lord (Heb. 8:11).
The Jews who enter in from the Tribulation will be saved, but they can
lose their salvation if they fail to work or perform evil works. The "sheep"
(Gentiles, Matt. 25) who enter in will also be saved, but they can lose
their salvation the same way, too. Another group will be those born during
the Millennium and they will have to be saved once they are old enough
to understand. Faith may have a part with their initial salvation, but,
nevertheless, from then on they must work to keep it. This is where the
"beatitudes" come in. There is no mention of faith in the Beatitudes; they
deal solely with works. It is a work to be "poor in spirit" when
man by nature is not. Likewise it is work to "mourn," be "meek,"
to "hunger and thirst after righteousness," be "merciful,"
be "pure in heart," and a "peacemaker." The obvious domination
of this passage by works is the reason it is used by Modernists and Liberals
to teach salvation by works today. They understand what the verses say,
they just apply them to the wrong people. "Today's heresy is tomorrow's
truth," and, again, the difference is in the dispensations.
Like those saved in the Old Testament and the Tribulation period, no
one in the Millennium will be born again, part of the body of Christ, partakers
of the divine nature, sealed by the Holy Spirit, etc. Individuals will
have only their old Adamic nature and will be saved by faith and works
on a trial basis with works now being the major component. With the lack
of works or the wrong works one could quickly find himself in Hell. Also,
during the kingdom there will be a temple (Eze. 40-48) in Jerusalem and
animal sacrifices will again be offered pointing back to the cross. All
people from every nation will be required to come to Jerusalem and worship
Christ and keep the feast of tabernacles (Zech. 14:16). Does this sound
like the "Church Age"?
Another group of people in the Millennium will be the "Bride of Christ"
who went up in the rapture at least seven years earlier. As mentioned in
chapter 1, all believers who make up the Body of Christ will have a glorified,
resurrection body like Christ's and be literally dead unto sin; that is,
unable to sin. They will then have only the righteous nature of Christ.
Apparently, born again Christians will be Christ's ministers or ambassadors,
doing His bidding throughout the Kingdom (Rev. 20:4). This is also the
period referred to in 1 Corinthians 6:2 where Christians are said to judge
Angels. Furthermore, there is good indication that some Old Testament saints
will be resurrected to enjoy the Millennium. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
are said to be in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 8:11) as well as David (Eze.
34:23-24) and Job (Job 19:25-27). Many more, if not all, Old Testament
believers may be raised up to partake of the promised kingdom. Those that
are will be dead to sin just like those saved in the Church Age, but they
will not be part of the Body of Christ.
The Satanic revolt at the end of the Millennium will likely be peopled
by those who were born during the Millennium (the "children of the kingdom"
Matt. 8:12?) since they never experienced the Tribulation or the consequences
of sin unrestrained. Satan will surely capitalize on their pride and ignorance
to fuel his last diabolical charge against God—then God will consume them
all (Rev. 20).
New Heavens And New Earth
After the Millennium, renovation of the earth by fire, and the White Throne
Judgment, God will establish a New Heavens, a new Earth,
and a New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2). Clearly the New Heaven is for
the saved Gentiles, the New Earth for the Jews, and the New
Jerusalem for the Body of Christ (21:9). The three distinct groups
of people mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:32 are apparently established as
groups for eternity with separate places of abode. The New Jerusalem like
the old Jerusalem will be the dwelling place of God and house His throne
forever. This city is the Christians Heaven, actually the "third Heaven,"
and when it descends to earth Christ in all His glory will come with it
and dwell in the midst of His bride for all eternity. The city will radiate
with the glory of God (vs. 11) and have no need of the sun. Also, it will
contain no temple because God Himself will be present, finally dwelling
among His redeemed creation as He desires.
The concept of the Tabernacle in the wilderness revealed to Moses 3500
years ago gave man the first indication of the desire of God to dwell in
the midst of His people. It is amazing to think that the infinite God of
Heaven would chose to dwell in a tent in a wilderness just so He could
be near His people! How much He desired their company, but they
didn't desire His. Likewise, how much must God love born again Christians
that He is willing to dwell inside each individual's body just so He
can have true fellowship with him. Yet, sadly, most seldom take advantage
of His presence and usually live like He is not even there! Anyway, in
the 4500 years following the revealing of His desires to Moses, God devised
a redemption plan and placed those who believed in and accepted His redemption
in a position in which He could dwell in and among them for eternity. No
one can enter this city except their name be found written in the "book
of life" (21:27) or are found worthy to partake of the "tree of
As for the Jew, the earth will belong to the Jew. The meek were promised
the earth in the "Sermon on the Mount," and this is fulfilled with the
New Earth. The Jews who don't revolt against Christ in the Millennium and
make it through the White Throne Judgment appear to inherit the whole
earth. Likewise the Gentiles appear to get the heavens with all
the stars and planets. When dealing with things in or near eternity
we admit certain matters are hard to pin down. There are many details about
this "period" which are not yet revealed and hard to be certain about.
For one, there is no verse that mentions the Jews or Gentiles getting a
new body, so it is possible there will still have their "repaired" natural
bodies at least until they eat of the "tree of life." In natural
bodies the Jews can reproduce and fill the earth, and likewise the Gentiles
can populate outer space. They may even be able to reproduce after they
eat of the "tree of life" but the condition of their offspring is
uncertain. Whether their offspring would be born with eternal life or have
to eat of the tree themselves is unknown. One thing for certain, however,
is that to obtain eternal life then one is not to "believe" in anything
or have "faith" in anybody. He is to only keep the commandments of God
so he may eat of the "tree of life."
Those saved in the Tribulation and Millennium will likely have to eat
of this tree also to get eternal life since the new birth was unavailable
to them. With the privilege of eating from this tree based entirely upon
works there is always the possibility of failure, and those who fail must
be cast out (21:27). Nevertheless, none of this will affect the Bride of
Christ in any way. They are permanently secure and each individual received
eternal life the instant he received Christ. No Christian will ever need
to eat of the "tree of life" to get or keep eternal life, but those
saved in other dispensations and not in Christ must eat of the tree to
get it. See the difference? You, if you are saved, did not get eternal
life from any tree, you got it from a PERSON, Jesus Christ, the Author
of life. But after the rapture no one will be a part of Christ as a Christian
is, thus he must have eternal life imparted another way. Check the verses!
What do they say? The difference is in the dispensations.
Of the three groups of people in eternity only one is fixed in
number (the Church), and the others will have the job of increasing the
kingdom (Isa. 9:6-7). The Jews will expand and cover the earth, and maybe
beyond, and the Gentiles will begin on earth but then multiply and cover
the universe. Ever wonder why the stars and planets are in the heavens?
There is good indication they were put there for more than just man to
look at. It appears God will populate them with men who love Him and desire
to serve Him. Both Jews and Gentiles that are found worthy will have to
come into New Jerusalem to the life giving trees that border the river
and eat of them to get the blessing of eternal life. God has come full
circle. Time began with man and a tree, and it ends with man and a tree;
but in the meanwhile God showed man what kind of gracious, merciful,
loving God He is. Without man's fall and God's redemption, no one would
A Final Word
We are well aware that the position we take concerning salvation in the
dispensations is controversial, and we may even be branded as a heretic
because of it, but our duty to the Scriptures remains. We contend that
the Scriptures must be taken as they stand and not twisted to support any
popular "historic position." Of course we could use the typical Baptist
method of handling verses like Matthew chapters 5-7; 24:13-15; chapter
25; Hebrews 3:6, 13-14; 6:1-6; 10:26-31; 12:14-15; James chapter 2, 5:1-5,
11-20; 2 Peter 2:21-22, 3:17; Revelation 3:5, 12:17, 13:7, 14:9-12, 22:14;
etc. (not to mention all the Old Testament verses!), and insist theses
verses don't really mean what they say and must be "interpreted" or "explained"
to understand them, but we will no longer do that. By Christ's strength
our allegiance is to God and His book (AV 1611), and when any doctrine,
teaching, or position runs contrary to what God has revealed
in His book, God help us to recognize it and abandon it. We believe the
Bible is to be taken literally wherever possible (else one could "interpret"
the Scriptures to say whatever he wanted), and when the above verses are
taken literally, all is clear, somebody can lose their salvation.
But, again, it is NOT a born again Christian.
Some may think this whole matter is irrelevant since everyone who is
saved today is saved by faith alone and is secure in Christ, but they are
misguided. Christ said man lives "by every word that proccedeth out
of the mouth of God" so every word in the Bible is relevant, important,
and alive. Though Christians are not under the Law of Moses and
will not have to endure to the end like those in the Tribulation, the knowledge
that some will endure those things helps believers today better understand
what God is doing. Bible believers have a great advantage over believers
who fail to treat the Bible literally. They have an excellent picture of
the past, present, and future from God's perspective as He
has revealed it. God very much wants His people to know where they came
from, the state they are in now, and where they are going, else He
wouldn't have given this revelation. And though God's revelation admitingly
has some sometimes perplexing differences found among it pages, one is
usually able to make sense of them when he realizes that most often, the
difference is in the dispensations.
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