Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tribulation Salvation: By the Blood



Tribulation Salvation: who cares? Since the Church will be raptured out prior to the commencement of any part of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, some of the brethren consider the topic of Tribulation Salvation irrelevant. They question why anyone would expend any time and energy to discuss a topic that only applies after the Church is gone. On the surface, that philosophy sounds prudent, but unfortunately it is seriously flawed.

The answer is quite simple: much pen and ink has been used covering the topic of Tribulation Salvation. With all the information and misinformation, the current teachings will impact those remaining on earth after the Rapture—whether the teaching is right or wrong. Preachers and teachers have a grave responsibility to ensure that their teachings on this subject are right, not for our sakes, but for the sake of those influenced by our teachings after the Rapture. Incorrect teachings and perversions of the gospel will condemn those hearing our message after we are gone. So, it is unwise to dismiss this subject as irrelevant rantings, unless you deem souls in the future less important than souls today. The first point that must be recognized and understood concerns those who will and those who will not take the Mark of the Beast. 

I.             ONLY THE DECEIVED TAKE THE MARK

Bible nuggets of truth remain buried until harvested with the help of God. For instance, wrapped within the narrative of Christ’s return to earth at the Second Advent (Revelation 19:11) is an interesting facet concerning those that take the Mark of the Beast. This truth has been overlooked by the commentators and Bible pundits but offers insights into the specifics of who can and cannot take the Mark of the Beast and subsequently worship his image. Take notice of the group that is subject to the blasphemous idolatry.   

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

This single passage points out that no one is forced into taking the Mark. Those who take the Mark are deceived into receiving the Mark and deceived into worshipping the image of the Beast. Thus, those who take the Mark willingly do so and willingly worship the beast. More importantly, the passage explains why they take the Mark—they are deceived into doing so. This point cannot be overemphasized—only the DECEIVED are going to take the Mark and worship the Beast.

Likely, this is why Jesus repeatedly warned during his Olivet discourse concerning the heightened time of deception during Daniel’s Seventieth Week (the Tribulation period). Christ’s warning: Don’t be deceived; many (including false prophets) will deceive many. His repeated warnings against being deceived are not by accident or coincidental. 
  • Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
  • Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
  • Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

It is vitally important to take notice of these warnings since Jesus also said that there is a specific group during that time that CANNOT BE DECEIVED because of God’s supernatural protection and provision (addressed later). The point is that deception is the key to acceptance of the Mark. Those rendered impervious to deception are invulnerable to taking the Mark. Who are those impervious to deception? Those saved by the blood!

II.            SALVATION IS BY THE BLOOD

Interestingly, another point often overlooked by the pundits of scripture concerns what the Bible says about how someone gets saved during the Tribulation. Revelation says that the overcomers (the brethren—verse 10) are those who have trusted in the shed blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary. 

Revelation 12:11 And they [the brethren] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Salvation is by the blood! The blood! The blood! Salvation is all about what Jesus has done and not about what man can do. The soul’s salvation is not about what man can withstand through his own power and ability. It should not be surprising that trusting in Christ’s shed blood is sufficiently efficacious during the most dreadful time since man’s creation. Salvation is by the blood!

III.           BELIEVERS ARE CALLED FELLOWSERVANTS, BRETHREN AND SAINTS

Believers today have many designations such as Christians or brethren (or sisters) or the sons of God. In Revelation chapter 19, the believer during the Tribulation is specifically addressed as a “fellowservant” and one of the “brethren.”

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The brethren, like John, are those who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. They are said to have the testimony of Jesus! This simply means that the brethren are believers in Christ. These believers are also repeatedly referred to as “the saints” like here in Revelation chapter 13.

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

The saints are obviously believers since the Beast will not be waging war against unbelievers. The vital question (answered later) is how does someone become a “saint” during the Tribulation? A person TODAY becomes a saint by trusting in Jesus Christ and all believers are repeatedly addressed as saints (Romans 15:25-26; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Ephesians 4:12; Colossians 1:2). After the Rapture, Satan makes war with the saints which refers to the believers here at that time. Revelation also refers to the “patience and the faith of the saints.”

Revelation 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

Only the believers are called fellowservants, the brethren and the saints during the Tribulation. The Bible always distinguishes between the saved and the lost even if only in the context. For instance, the context defines the two groups: the saved remnant (Revelation 11:13; Revelation 12:17) and the lost remnant (Revelation 19:21). The passage from Revelation chapter 13 above also seemingly makes another point concerning the believers’ self-defense during the Tribulation.

IV.           SELF-DEFENSE MAY BE PROHIBITED

 It is not preppers or the most experienced survivalists that stand the best chance of enduring during the Tribulation. In fact, Revelation seems to teach a type of passive martyrdom. Addressing the saints, the Bible says that he that “killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.” The patience and the faith of the saints seems to indicate that armed resistance or any type of a believer’s militia might be prohibited. Again, believers during this period are blessed to die “the death” while God supernaturally intervenes in unimaginable ways to offer resilience.  The point is that self-defense could be prohibited.  

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Interestingly, Revelation also mentions that the saints that “die in the Lord” are blessed so the question must be asked and answered how a person gets “in the Lord.” Today, a person must make a conscious decision to believe “in the Lord” (Acts 9:42) and the Bible says that he is part of the brethren “in the Lord” (Philippians 1:14) and fellowservants “in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7). It seems obvious that an individual in the Tribulation will need to make a conscious decision to become a saint. 

V.            KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS: FOR TESTIMONY’S SAKE

It is frequently quite counterproductive to approach the Bible with rigid preconceived notions, especially concerning issues yet unsettled amongst most believers. In such cases, one’s mindset rather than the Bible becomes the determining factor in what is “truth.” A good example of this concerns the Bible’s reference to those that “keep the commandments of God.” Some view this phrase as referencing the need to keep God’s commandments during the Tribulation in order to assure salvation, but the truth is much simpler than that. The phrase concerning keeping the commandments of God is found in the New Testament thirteen times—half of which occur in the book of First John.

The Bible offers several unambiguous reasons for keeping God’s commandments and NONE involves getting saved or remaining saved. Briefly, those who keep the commandments of God exhibit the testimony that they are the fellowservants, the brethren and the saints. A brief explanation is in order since this issue is so hotly contested among believers on both sides of the spiritual chasm. 

·         Keep the Commandments of God: For assurance of salvation

How does a person know that he knows Jesus Christ? By doing what Christ says to do.

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

According to this passage, keeping the commandments saves no one, but offers a clear assurance that one knows God. This is why disobedient Christians often struggle with a true assurance of salvation. Those who most doubt their salvation are those who do not do what God says to do.

·         Keep the Commandments of God: To get prayers answered

A person does not keep the commandments to be saved but does so in order to get his prayers answered.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Verse 23 defines “his commandment”—believe on Christ and love one another. Verse 24 says that the Spirit of God given to believers testifies that Christ dwells within them (Romans 8:16). The Spirit bears witness so long as one does not grieve or quench the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

·         Keep the Commandments of God: To know that you are the children of God

Verse one defines how a person is born of God: NOT by keeping the commandments, but by believing that Jesus is the Christ. The verse continues by stating that all those who love God also love their fellow believers.

1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Verse two states that believers can know that they love other believers when they choose to love God and keep the commandments of God. Those who do not love their fellow brethren do not love God. Verse three defines the love of God as keeping His commandments. The disobedient simply do not love God and do not sufficiently love others. Verse three concludes by stating that the commandments are NOT grievous, but they certainly would be grievous if keeping the commandments was a reference to the 613 Old Testament commandments. Keeping the commandments would certainly be grievous if a failure to fulfill all of God’s commandments brought a loss of salvation. Simply put, keeping the commandments attests to one’s relationship with God; it is not the means by which that relationship is attained.

Simply put, salvation is all about Jesus! The tribulation saints (the brethren and the elect) have trusted Jesus Christ and at no point will their salvation be dependent upon themselves (but there is more proof to follow). The brethren in the Tribulation are the believers in Jesus Christ; this is also referred to as the “faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).

·         Keep the Commandments of God: To display that you love God

The whole point of keeping the commandments concerns an outward display (testimony) that someone loves God.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Nowhere does the Bible say that keeping the commandments earns someone a place in Heaven. Simple truth: if you love God, you keep the sayings (commandments) of God. Doing what God says to do testifies to one’s love toward the God he knows.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

The contrast concerns those who see the manifestation of God which the world cannot see. The manifestation of God only happens for those who love God.

·         Keep the Commandments of God: To testify of one’s relationship

Revelation points out those who are going to be persecuted by Satan. The persecuted (the remnant of the woman—Israel) have the testimony that they “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”  Their testimony is that they do what God tells them to do. No one is keeping the commandments to earn salvation.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The testimony of the saints during the Tribulation is clear: they keep the commandments of God. Nothing in the context indicates that anyone keeps God’s commandments for salvation. This point is reiterated two chapters later in Revelation.

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

The Tribulation saints live by “the faith of Jesus” Christ (Galatians 2:20).  The saints are not Jews that have rejected Jesus Christ, but spiritual brethren. They are saved by putting faith in the blood shed on the cross of Calvary.

The preaching during the Church Age concerning what will happen after the Rapture will either promote or hinder the truth; it will either help those here in Daniel’s Seventieth Week or condemn them with a false teaching. If we preach salvation by faith and works and salvation is not by faith and works, our teachings become instruments of deception. Surely, our teaching will outlast us and if we get it wrong, it may be one of the tools of deception. Again, two chapters later the believers are referred to as saints. 

Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Surely, someone must make a conscious decision to become a saint. The saints and prophets will be persecuted and killed by those who take the Mark and worship the image of the Beast.

VI.           THE BELIEVERS ARE CALLED BRETHREN (AND ALSO SAINTS)

During the first half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, while Michael remains upon the earth, he serves as Israel’s protector. At the midpoint (Revelation chapter 12), God summons Michael to Heaven in order to cast Satan to earth (Revelation 12:7-9). With Michael in Heaven, he is no longer on the earth to protect Israel. When Satan is cast down to earth, he goes into the Temple of God and desecrates it (2 Thessalonians 2:4) and Israel is told to flee at the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15-18).

Interestingly, the saints that were slain for the word of God and the testimony (of Jesus) during the Tribulation are seen in Heaven. They want to know when God’s vengeance will be poured out upon their executioners. 

Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

These Tribulation saints are told to wait until their fellowservants and brethren are also killed and then God will take out His vengeance upon the unbelievers on earth. He does not tell these murdered saints to wait until the Rapture (it has already happened years earlier); the Lord says wait until their fellow-brethren (the other believers) are killed. The brethren are waiting for Jesus Christ to come back to gather together the elect or waiting until their brethren on earth are caught and killed. 

VII.         CAN A TRIBULATION BELIEVER TAKE THE MARK?

During the Church Age, there is nothing that a believer can do to lose his salvation—making him eternally secure once he calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13). Are the Tribulation saints afforded any assurances of salvation? Yes, of course! Fortunately for the Tribulation saint, his soul’s salvation is dependent upon God and his relationship to Him, not upon his ability to withstand temptation or withstand the mass deception.

One of the defining characteristics of those who can take the Mark is the fact that they were deceived into doing so (Point I). The deceived are the ones who receive the Mark of the Beast and they take the Mark because he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast” (Revelation 19:20). This is a plain, simple and important feature!

Yet, the saints/the brethren/the fellowservants cannot be deceived and thus cannot take the Mark. It is important to note that Matthew only refers to the believers as the “elect.” Unlike the book of Revelation, Matthew does not call the believers saints, brethren or fellowservants. Matthew calls believing Jews the elect (and the elect become the elect at salvation when elected). Here are a few times Matthew refers to the believers. God shortens the days for the elect’s sake and upon His return, He gathers together His elect. 

Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Before Christ returns to earth with His armies, He will send His angels before Him to gather together the elect—these are the saints, the brethren, the fellowservants of Revelation. They are the elect of Matthew. Those not gathered by the angels (the non-elect, unbelievers) are destroyed at His Second Coming.

The elect are supernaturally protected by God. Fortunately, because of this supernatural protection, the elect cannot be deceived. The supernatural protection is not protecting them from death but only the opportunity for Satan to deceive them. This means that God will not allow them to be deceived and only the deceived take the Mark of the Beast. 

Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The signs and wonders during Daniel’s Seventieth Week are so convincing that IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, these miracles would “deceive the very elect,” indicating that it is IMPOSSIBLE to deceive believers. Again, the elect are identified as the “saints” in Revelation with whom the Beast makes war (Revelation 13:7).

Those who reject the truth will refuse to call on the name of the Lord to be saved (delivered). Those who call on the name of the Lord will then be supernaturally protected from deception because no mere human in his own strength without God’s supernatural intervention is capable of withstanding the deception. The elect/the saints/the brethren/the fellowservants cannot take the Mark. Those who trust Christ are protected and cannot be deceived. Deception brings damnation and God protects the elect from being deceived. 

VIII.        HOW ARE THE SAVED SAVED?

This subject has been hotly contested, but fortunately God has not left the Bible-believer without answers. Second Thessalonians chronology starts with the Rapture in verse 1, the midpoint of the seven years in verse 4 (the Abomination of Desolation), and the Second Coming in verse 8. As this chapter starts with the Rapture, it mentions the one event that precedes it (the apostasy of believers) and then the narrative covers the entire seven years. The events recorded in verses 10 through 12 have nothing to do with the Church Age or rejection of the gospel today (although many of us have either mis-taught this or been mis-taught).

The one who comes after the working of Satan (the Beast) will come with all deceivableness of unrighteousness and deceive them that perish. Why do they perish? Because they received not the love of the truth (during Daniel’s Seventieth Week) THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED!  Just let the Bible say what it says without forcing it to fit within a manmade dogma no matter how widespread the teaching.  

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The damned (those who perish) are identified as those who refused to believe the truth. They are deceived because they refused to be saved which is their ONLY protection from deception. These unbelievers refused the truth resulting in them refusing to call on the only one that could save them—Jesus Christ. The signs and wonders of the false Christ and false prophets are used to deceive but take note of the group that CANNOT be deceived (Matthew 24:24) and will not take the Mark or be damned from taking the Mark.

How does an individual become one of the saints? Those present during Daniel’s Seventieth Week hear the gospel and must accept the truth to be saved. Truth rejectors NEVER get saved. The most important question of all … does the Bible definitively point out how someone gets saved? Yes, in Acts chapter 2. This chapter records Peter’s preaching with the context revealing that he is referencing the events of the Tribulation period—Israel’s last days, prophecy, visions, dreams, wonders, signs, etc, culminating in his mentioning the sun being turned dark and the moon into blood.

Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

The context of this description matches the events surrounding the sixth seal when the moon is turned into blood (Revelation 6:12). This all takes place before the Day of the Lord when Christ comes back. Peter concludes his comments concerning this time with these words when taken literally reveal God’s plan of salvation for the Tribulation:  

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

How does someone get saved during Daniel’s Seventieth Week and delivered from the deception to come? He calls upon the name of the Lord and from that point forward, he has God’s promise of supernatural protection from deception. According to Matthew chapter 24, the believer cannot be deceived. The saints cannot take the Mark of the Beast because they cannot be deceived. When the saints are caught the “patience of the saints” will be their guide. Those delivered up to be judged by this world’s system are instructed not even to think about what they are going to say. They are to trust in the Lord. 

  • Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is saved.
  • Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is a saint.
  • Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is one of the brethren.
  • Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is a fellowservant.

The Devil persecutes the saints because their testimony is that they have trusted in the Lord and they are obedient followers of Him (they keep the commandments). Salvation in the Tribulation is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! It is the blood. The Tribulation saint is saved by the blood, protected by the blood and delivered by the blood. Anything that detracts from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is part of the deception. 

IX.           WHAT INSTRUCTIONS ARE GIVEN TO A SAVED PERSON IF CAPTURED?

Matthew chapter 24 records Christ’s Olivet Discourse as does Mark chapter 13. God not only supernaturally protects the saved from being deceived but He also protects all those captured by Satan’s minions. Some Bible teachers have pontificated that no one can withstand the temptation of watching loved ones decapitated—that is unless God shows Himself more powerful than the hordes of Hell.

Mark 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Those who call on the name of the Lord are saved (delivered) but this likely indicates much more than a mere physical salvation since believers can still be delivered up to those trying to compel them to take the Mark. Fortunately for the saved, if they lose their lives, these saints are still saved and are likely among the ranks of those martyred for the faith of Jesus (Revelation 20:4).

Every preacher should desire for part of his enduring legacy to be that he loved the truth enough to admit when he has taught something wrong. His legacy should be that he loved souls enough to fix any teaching where he has erred even if he will be dead or gone before anyone knows the true ramifications of his teachings. That is what I want! Is that your desired legacy or is it more important whether you align yourself with your favorite teacher? It matters what the Bible teaches, not whether you agree with some other man. I have grown weary of being asked whether my teachings align with this man or that. Sheer carnality! I want to align with God and His book. We should allow the Bible to correct our errors and the fear of man has always been one of Satan’s greatest tools. Here is one more problem text from Mark chapter 13. 

Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Those who ENDURE UNTO THE END are physically saved to enter the millennium with natural bodies. Enduring to the end simply means that they made it to the end of the seven years without taking the Mark and without being caught and killed. When Christ sends His angels before Him to gather the elect (Matthew 24:31), it is this enduring group (along with some of the nations) delivered at Christ’s return to go into the millennium.

X.            CONCLUSION

The Tribulation saint is promised a supernatural salvation, as well as supernatural protection from damnation. Although some teach that a person is saved by faith and works in the Tribulation (which is what I was taught), there is no indication that a man’s works are salvific. If people are taught that their works are an element in salvation and this turns out to be wrong, trusting in one’s faith PLUS WORKS will condemn the individual for trusting in a false gospel and a false hope (Revelation 14:6).

However, IF during the Tribulation people are saved by faith PLUS WORKS as some proclaim, then condemnation would come to those in the Tribulation who call on the name of the Lord and trust solely in Christ’s shed blood for salvation (Acts 2:21; Revelation 12:11). However, the point of this writing is to show that this hypothesis is false and dangerous because it is unbiblical. Unfortunately, one error leads to another. There are some preachers today who are teaching that the great deception during the Tribulation will be that preachers will be teaching that a person is saved by grace through faith without works during the Tribulation. As all error, one erroneous teaching frequently leads to some of the most egregious of errors.

Salvation has always been and always will be by trusting in God’s revealed truth. Salvation is by grace because no one deserves salvation. Salvation is by grace because no one can earn salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith otherwise an individual could boast for the part he plays in his soul’s redemption. Salvation of the soul is always the unmerited favor of God. Praise God He opened my eyes to this truth and I have repented of having taught this wrong.

Once a person in the Tribulation calls on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21), he becomes a part of the elect (Mark 13:27), the brethren (Revelation 6:11), and the saints (Revelation 13:7). Through God’s grace and supernatural protection, the Tribulation saint cannot be deceived, thus he cannot take the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 14:11). Additionally, if the believer is caught by the authorities, he has no worries because God will put the very words he needs into his mouth (Mark 13:11). God receives all the glory and He has this whole thing figured out. I only wish I could say I always taught this truth this way. I did not and I was wrong! God help me to be a loud enough voice to undo the effects of having taught this wrong.

Those present during the Tribulation need to have their eyes upon Jesus because nothing else suffices; nothing else saves!  Salvation today is by the blood; salvation in the Tribulation is by the blood; nothing else saves! Interestingly, those who speak against the words of the captured Tribulation saint will in effect be blaspheming the Holy Ghost and these lost people will not be forgiven for that. 

Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

God has a purpose for everything, even the capture of those who have trusted in Him during Daniel’s Seventieth Week. The Holy Ghost will give these believers the words to say; their captors trying to compel them to take the Mark will think they are speaking against the individual, but their words will be actually blaspheming God, the Holy Ghost (who is speaking through these saints). God has a purpose for everything, and everything has a purpose. God gets the glory no matter what happens but certainly not if man plays a part in the salvation of his soul. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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(OFFER REPEAT) Pre-order NOW: 
One Book Rightly Divided: The Prophetic Edition

This highly acclaimed book has been out of print for four years and been in revision/update for almost three of those years. We believe this update will be the most life changing book we will ever publish. Those wanting to purchase the pre-release copies of One Book Rightly Divided can now order online.

We have been working relentlessly on the book to get it finished. All the previous charts have been completely reworked and this hardback will be expanded from 276-pages to over 400-pages 650-pages 750-pages (same larger dimension book too with 160 updated charts and tables). All pre-orders will be:

  •  Sequentially numbered
  •  Personally autographed
  • “Double Shipping offset” with free materials so add everything you want to your order (to ship together). This means that if your shipping is $12.00, we will add $24.00+ worth of extra materials to your order. Note: We will honor “SINGLE Shipping Offset” for international CASE orders, but unfortunately cannot make the same offer for international single book orders but may be able to combine with other orders in the same country. That’s better than Amazon! 
If you would like to donate to help get this book to the printer (about $1,650) and printing and initial advertising costs of about $9,200, that would be greatly appreciated. With your help we will be able to send out free copies to those unfamiliar with dispensational teaching. Lord willing, this is the most important book we will ever write and will most likely be the final edition of this book.  

Be forewarned: This is NOT the same book with the same title. Instead of the inherent problems associated with having a single reviewer in the first edition—a Diotrephes at best—we have 68 reviewers on our list (snapshot below) across the entire spectrum of Bible Believers. Many of these men are truly in the likes of Gaius and Demetrius (3 John 9, 12, 1). Those who have read the working copy have given invaluable input for change and exhortation for pressing forward on this groundbreaking work.


Others have tried to interfere with the publication fearing that I have compromised my belief in the infallibility of scripture! As they say in Canada … “No worries.” My prayer is that God kills me if I am guilty of such an egregious sin of dragging the Lord’s name and His word through the mud. I wish to die before compromising my belief in the complete inerrancy of scripture and God’s desire for each of us to know the truth. I will not compromise, nor will I allow those wanting me to “toe the line” to harass or intimidate the work that God has given to us.


Thank you in advance,
Doug Stauffer & Andrew Ray
1 Corinthians 15:10

Send Donations to: 
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Antioch Baptist Publications
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Monday, July 30, 2018

Kingdom of Heaven vs. Kingdom of God

Excerpt from the Introduction to One Book Rightly Divided: Prophetic Edition

The Kingdom of Heaven Versus 
the Kingdom of God

Doug Stauffer
Andrew Ray


Sometimes long held dogmatic assertions, although erroneous, are the most problematic to overcome. The teaching concerning the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God has baffled dedicated students of the Bible for decades. Here are two of the most widely held definitions.

A.   
Definition for the Kingdom of Heaven: the earthy, physical, visible, Jewish, Messianic kingdom promised to Israel both in the past and future. This kingdom will be consummated upon the earth on the Day of the Lord.

The book of Daniel among many others foretold of this kingdom.

Daniel 2:44
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

B.    
Definition for the Kingdom of God: the spiritual and moral kingdom that cannot be seen because this kingdom is within believers. The spiritual elements are righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The books of Luke and Romans define this kingdom.

Luke 17:20
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
  

Those who recognize the differences between these two kingdoms teach that God took the physical kingdom (Kingdom of Heaven) from the Jews and offered a spiritual kingdom (Kingdom of God) to the Gentiles that is entered by a spiritual rebirth. This is certainly all true! Yet, there is a problem with the dogmatic assertion that the Kingdom of God is a purely spiritual kingdom and only within all believers.

The following seven proof texts teach that people receive the Kingdom of God and go into it, see it, sit down in it, drink and eat in it, and inherit it—hardly something limited to a spiritual kingdom.

1.      People will Receive the Kingdom of God and Enter Therein

Luke 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

2.      People will Go into the Kingdom of God

Matthew 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
3.      People will See the Kingdom of God

Luke 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

4.      People will Sit Down in the Kingdom of God

Luke 13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

5.      People will Drink of the Fruit of the Vine in the Kingdom of God

Mark 14:25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

6.      People will Eat Bread and the Passover in the Kingdom of God

Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

7.      People will Inherit the Kingdom of God

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God
.

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

The next passage reveals why so many Bible teachers teach that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are identical. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus equated the two as equal when He spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and then said “again I say unto you” as He repeated the same truth concerning the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.


The controversy surrounding this teaching and the vitriol spewed toward those who take differing positions are indicative of the problem with all Bible teaching—including dispensational teachings. If truths were easily grasped by all, there would be no controversy; and we would all probably build one tower of babel, thinking that our understanding of truth was something pleasing to God. Yet, maybe it is the Lord that finds it necessary to scatter us so that no individual has a corner on the truth or gets placed upon the pedestal. 

The Kingdom of Heaven versus Kingdom of God is one of the controversies that we hope we can help the body of Christ grasp by offering some semblance of reasonableness in this book. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

God's Spokesmen--Old Testament


 Chapter 5—One Book Rightly Divided: Prophetic Edition


God’s Spokesmen—OT

Bible students devoted to the truth believe God to be the Author of the entirety of scripture—all sixty-six books. Yet, God did not select a postal carrier to send His word from Heaven to earth. He instead revealed His word to various spokesmen to facilitate the delivery of scripture. Simply put, God spoke to men; these men spoke the words, but it was ultimately God speaking to the end recipients.  

Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

The Bible reiterates this truth when it declares that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).[1] Yet, while God’s word emphatically points heavenward toward the true Author of divine scripture, the world unfortunately declares the Bible man-made. As Haggai testified, every spokesman was simply “the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message.  

Haggai 1:13 Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.

It is always important to give God the preeminence when considering His word while remembering that this fact does not exclude man’s responsibility and accountability. God committed His message to His messenger and then closely personalized that message to His messenger

Consider these few phrases as examples of this truth: “the law of Moses” in the Old Testament (Joshua 8:31) or “my gospel” (Romans 2:16) in Paul’s epistles. Further confirming this line of reasoning was Paul’s ownership of that which God had committed to him.

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

Not only was the message inseparably associated to its spokesman, but the message was also custom-made for the particular audience God deemed to be its primary intended recipients. Each of God’s spokesmen had a message for a specific audience living in a particular time. Unfortunately, this presents two very real dangers for the misguided Bible student:

1. Following any spokesman appointed to a previous time period or people group
2. Ignoring any spokesman intended for the student’s generation, people, or time period

In order to further develop this thought, consider the spokesmen as they relate to the various sections found within scripture. They are presented in the following order based upon the basic divisions given in the previous chapter.

  • The Pentateuch (Section A)
  • History (Section B)
  • Poetry (Section C)
  • Prophecy (Old Testament) (Section D)
  • The Gospels (Section E)
  • The Acts of the Apostles (Section F)
  • The Epistles (Section G)
  •  Prophecy (New Testament) (Section H)

It is important to consider two additional thoughts as we explore some of the details linked to the spokesmen associated with each of these scripture segments:

1.  Most sections have multiple spokesmen, and
2.  Those sections containing several contemporaneous spokesmen generally have one spokesman serving as the primary spokesman at any given time. 

Section A—The Pentateuch (Genesis Through Deuteronomy)
As previously discussed, the section titled The Pentateuch covers nearly 2,500 years. Obviously, such a lengthy time frame means that this period contained several different spokesmen. Some of the primary spokesmen include Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc. Each of these men received a particular God-given message and, as God’s spokesman, presented his message to his respective audience(s). In a later chapter, we will discuss the further divisions found within this section which, include the Ages of Innocence, Conscience, Government, and Patriarchs.



Those living during this time had to listen to God’s chosen spokesmen to ensure knowing God’s will for their lives. Those who refused to heed their spokesman’s message neglected the message to their own peril. The choice was and is very simply: ignore the spokesman (like Korah rejected the words of MosesNumbers 16:1-3) or follow your spokesman (like Joshua and Caleb hearkened to the words of Moses and faithfully strove to enter the land of promiseNumbers 32:11-12)!

When an individual follows God’s spokesman, he displays genuine faith in God and in God’s word. The specifics of that faith (or content of that faith) have obviously changed throughout history, but God always REQUIRES faith stating a transdispensational truth that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him without it.

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

Moses’ ministry serves as an excellent demonstration of the validity of these claims. Forty years after fleeing Egypt, Moses returned with a message from God for the children of Israel. God required Moses’ audience to accept His word as delivered by Moses. The Bible offers several examples of God’s word and the people’s obedience. For example, by faith, Israel put the blood on the doorposts and walked safely out of Egypt. Those who refused to trust God (through their spokesman Moses) helplessly watched their firstborn die.

Hebrews 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

Shortly thereafter, the people’s faith in Moses’ message carried them safely across the Red Sea.

Hebrews 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

In the wilderness, God used His spokesman to deliver the Law. Those who despised that Law died “without mercy.

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

No doubt that at least in content, Moses was the primary spokesman during this period.



 Unquestionably, wholly following the message given by Moses was the will of God for those living during Moses’ ministry. Those who followed the word of Moses demonstrated their faith though their obedience to the word of God. Their faith in Moses’ word would be borne out through their outward obedience.

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Every sincere Bible student recognizes many distinctions between the message of God through Moses to the Jews and God’s message given to the New Testament Church. This is easy to prove by simply considering a few matters. Certainly, no New Testament believer would give any credence to someone claiming deliverance through blood placed upon doorposts. 

Likewise, no Christian would be willing to walk out into the Red Sea expecting anything less than a good soaking. For this reason, among many others, it is inconceivable how anyone could claim to be a nondispensationalist in doctrine and practice and simultaneously claim to believe the whole Bible. All those who believe the Bible are obedient to God by rightly dividing it.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Section B—History (Joshua Through Esther)
The next section (History) and the one following it (ProphetsOld Testament) overlap each other by approximately 300 years. As for content, the previous section, The Pentateuch, dealt with the giving and receiving of God’s truths and rules for living. However, Joshua (and the books that follow) reflects more of an action book indicative of a historical account. (Interestingly, one can readily see that the transition began with the book of Deuteronomy, which is very much a recounting of Israel’s history in the wilderness.) Like the previous section, which spanned several centuries, this period covers an extended period of approximately 1,000 years. Some of the most prominent spokesmen include men like Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, etc.



The spokesmen in this section delivered God’s message through the initial triumphs in Canaan, the ensuing years of complacency, the days of apostasy, the toilsome years of captivity, and the glorious days as God’s children returned to their once forsaken land.

Unlike the previous section with Moses (Pentateuch), this portion (History) did not have one predominate spokesman. When Moses died, God called Joshua to pick up his mantle. Joshua had been present at Sinai when Moses received the commandments and supported Moses’ efforts to enter the land of promise despite the opposition from the ten faithless spies (Numbers 13:30-33). He loved and served Moses faithfully; yet, his task was to lead people into Canaan.  

Joshua’s message did not contradict the message of Moses but rather built upon it (Joshua 11:15). Any man who truly accepted Moses as God’s spokesman would likewise accept Joshua as God’s ordained replacement. With the mantel shifting, so did the responsibility to follow the new God-called spokesman. No one could safely reject Joshua’s message in deference to remaining strictly a follower of Moses. Those who rejected Joshua, even if to remain a follower of Moses, did so to their own peril.

Joshua 1:16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. 17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. 18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

If Joshua’s message varied from that of Moses, it was not a message contradictory but a different message for a different audience in different circumstances for a different time period. Another unique aspect to this section is the fact that there were times when God left the people without a true spokesman. The Book of Judges records these instances when God did not provide a particular spokesman. The tragic consequences of such circumstances were also repeatedly described: without a spokesman, the people did their own thing.

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

During these periods described in Judges (Judges 17:6; Judges 18:1; Judges 19:1; Judges 21:25), Israel had Moses (in written form) but no visible national leader to follow. Each time the children of Israel turned away from the Lord, God delivered them into the hands of their enemies. Sadly, the children of Israel always seemed to follow the same pattern following their rejection of the Lord. Their rebellion would bring persecution. This persecution would cause them to cry unto the Lord for deliverance. God would then raise up a deliverer known as a judge (Judges 3:9; Judges 3:15).

Clearly, when God did not appoint a spokesman, man remained in a state of utter confusion. Darkness reigned! In such cases, people generally did whatever they deemed to be right in their own eyes. The same unfortunate outcomes show themselves prevalent each time people ignorantly refused to follow their appointed spokesman.
Section C—Poetry (Job Through Song of Solomon)
As previously stated, this section is grouped more for the type of its content than for any chronology. Yet, this poetry section of scripture, like the others, had defined spokesmen. These spokesmen included Job, David, and Solomon, along with lesser known figures like Elihu and Asaph. All were greatly used of God.


Section D—Prophecy (Old Testament) (Isaiah Through Malachi)
This period of time yielded the final spokesmen of the Old Testament period. More importantly, it was the work of these men to prepare the way for the first and second coming of Christ. The content of their messages was often twofold:

  • Israel’s pending judgment and
  • Israel’s restoration.

Every book in this section bore the name of its spokesman with the exception of Lamentations, which contained the lamentations of the weeping prophet Jeremiah. Like the previous sections, this portion of scripture provided several different spokesmen. Although they each had their distinct audience and purpose, their ministries often intertwined and certainly built upon each other. Chronologically, this section is best divided as:

  • pre-captivity prophets (e.g., Amos, Hosea, Joel, Isaiah)
  • captivity prophets (e.g., Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel)
  • post-captivity prophets (e.g., Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)




The “400 years of silence” refers to the time between the last of the Old Testament prophets and the arrival of Jesus in the New Testament. The phrase refers to the lack of new biblical revelation to the Jews (also called the intertestimental period). Yet, God remained active in world history causing major political and military events to occur, especially as He had predicted in the book of Daniel. During this time, the nation of Greece came to power and was conquered by Rome, fulfilling prophecy. This period should not be equated with the absence of God from any direct communication with people but as simply a period of no new transmission of the sacred scripture.




[1] For more in-depth information on the distinctions between revelation, inspiration, and men being moved by the Holy Ghost, see “The Fingerprint of God” by Andrew B. Ray.