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A Salvation Primer



The idea for this article has actually been gnawing at me for a long time, but I finally got the clear sense that it was time to go ahead and pull the trigger on this one. As the title suggests, we're going to be talking about salvation. And as the title also suggests, it is intended to be a primer of sorts, or a short, informative introduction to some particular subject.

Straight up: There's really not a lot that's "new" in this article. As I have done in the past on occasion, I wrote this primarily to have a full answer at the ready to respond to people's questions about a particular topic—in this case, the nature of salvation, especially as it applies to different periods of time. I have touched on many of these issues in various articles over the years, but I just felt led to bring it all together into one package.

To that end, we will discuss the following:

1. Pre-Church salvation

2. Church Age salvation

3. Post-Church salvation

One thing that helped get me stoked to finally sit down and write this was a few of the responses I got to my most recent article "The Parables of Matthew 25," in which I discuss the fact that Gentile Tribulation survivors will be required to have maintained a faithful witness in order to be granted entrance into the Millennial Kingdom after the Second Coming. Apparently the idea that salvation won't quite be the same during the Tribulation as it is during the Church Age is a disturbingly alien concept that doesn't sit well with some, and I had a couple of folks who hit me with vague passages of Scripture taken out of context in fuzzy, futile efforts to refute what I had written.

Now, that last bit doesn't bother me—it comes with the territory. I am generally content to let others hold the opinions they do. But it drove home the point that there really are some things about the nature of salvation that some believers—although they're as saved as saved can be—don't fully understand, partly because some of this doesn't apply to the Church and partly because some of this is  seldom  never taught in a lot of churches today.

So with that said, it's back to the beginning.

1. Pre-Church salvation

In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve one simple command:

 DON'T EAT THAT FRUIT! 

Any questions? Black and white, clear and simple. "That fruit," of course, being the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And you know the story: Satan used a serpent to speak to Eve, got her all discombobulated about what God had actually said, fed her the lie about how "you shall be as gods" (or "you shall be like God," depending on the translation) and tempted her to eat the fruit. Which she did, and she promptly offered Adam a slice.

When God confronted Adam and Eve about their sin, they did what we all tend to do: They made excuses. Adam blamed God ("the woman You gave to be with me") as well as Eve ("she gave me from the tree"), and Eve blamed the serpent ("the serpent deceived me"). First, God proceeded to place a curse on the literal snake (i.e. snakes do crawl on their bellies in the dust).

Science confirms the Bible—again: Scientists have discovered that some snake species (namely pythons and boa constrictors) possess tiny vestigial legs, a finding that has been attacked by other scientists—and the reason is simple: They feel compelled to attack anything that lends support to the biblical account. But those other scientists can howl away, because it has also been discovered that snakes still possess the genetic potential in their DNA to grow limbs—a genetic mechanism that was "broken" somehow in the distant past. Oh wait...don't tell me, let me guess: It's a clear evolutionary advantage for a terrestrial species to have no arms or legs. Right?

Then God turned His attention to Satan in the form of the serpent and announced what is known as the protoevangelium—the "first gospel."

15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head [many translations read "crush"—this is a fatal wound], and you shall bruise his heel [the Crucifixion, a wound that turned out to be not so fatal a couple of days later].

(Genesis 3:15 AKJV / emphasis &
[comments] added)

There is arguably more packed into this one verse than almost any other single verse in Scripture, but I just want to point out three important items:

1. The "seed of the woman" is Jesus, God's Son and our Savior. Every person born since Adam and Eve is the seed of Adam (from whom we inherit a sin nature through our fathers). Jesus was the lone exception. Skeptics can attack Isaiah 7:14 (Behold, a virgin shall conceive...) till they're blue in the face, but they're wasting their time. Genesis 3:15 speaks with absolute clarity to the virgin birth of Christ: A woman alone set the stage for the curse, and this tells us that through a woman alone would come the One who would remove it.

2. Just as the seed of the woman is a person (Christ), so is the seed of the serpent a person (the Antichrist). The final battle in this conflict will be between the Son of God and the son of perdition, and it will end in Christ's consummate victory over the Antichrist when He returns to establish the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 19:20). Satan gets his at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:7–10).

3. Note that God is effectively telling us that He will send a Savior into the world through a virgin birth to remove the curse of sin and death and to undo the damage inflicted on us and our world by Satan. In other words:

He's promising to send us a Redeemer.

The point is this:

The verse [Gen. 3:15] introduces two elements previously unknown in the Garden of Eden, elements that are the basis of Christianity—the curse on mankind because of Adam's sin [we are cursed with a sin nature due to Adam's sin, but Adam's sin came about as a result of Eve's sin] and God's provision for a Savior from sin who would take the curse upon Himself.

[...]

The protoevangelium shows us that God always had the plan of salvation in mind, and informed us of His plan as soon as sin entered the world
[not when Jesus showed up two thousand years ago (see remarks below)].

(emphasis & [comments] added)
—GotQuestions.org [Source]

Where did they get that idea? I do a full gainer of a facepalm when I hear clueless skeptics attack the gospel by claiming that Christianity is nothing but a pack of reworked ideas borrowed from ancient religions from different parts of the world, many of which contain surprisingly similar stories about a God-man coming to earth to heroically set things in order, right wrongs, etc. Nope, sorry. The idea that God would send a Redeemer to the world to save men from their sinful condition goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, and later was taken all over the world by different people groups—especially after the dispersion of people from Babel (Gen. 11). So, the idea that the basic elements of Christianity show up in many ancient religious beliefs all over the world actually does far more to confirm the truth of the biblical account, rather than call it into question. Duh...(*smack*).

Now, note with care what Adam and Eve did after they ate the fruit:

7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

(Genesis 3:7 AKJV / emphasis added)

They (a) suddenly realized they were naked, and (b) sewed fig leaves together to fashion garments to cover their nakedness. When God finally tracked them down in the Garden, He wasted no time in confronting them over their now radically changed condition:

11And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you that you should not eat?

(Genesis 3:11 AKJV)

Of course, it's obvious that God knew exactly what they had done. And after placing a curse on the serpent and then on Adam and Eve as well as the earth itself, God prepared a temporary remedy for them:

21To Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

(Genesis 3:21 AKJV / emphasis added)

He clothed them with the skins of animals. And this is crucial:

Adam and Eve had covered their nakedness with garments made by sewing fig leaves together—the work of their own hands. God taught them that the work of their own hands was not sufficient to cover their nakedness, and proceeded to clothe them in the skins of animals.

Now, let's put on our thinking caps: What did God have to do in order to clothe them in the skins of animals? That's easy: He had to slaughter a couple of animals. He had to shed the innocent blood of animals to get those skins to make those garments to cover their nakedness—their unrighteous spiritual condition. In other words:

Covering their sin required the

shedding of innocent blood.

Not removing it, covering it (it only prefigured the act that would remove it). Hey, skins or no skins, Adam and Eve still got kicked out of the Garden.

Now, did God teach Adam and Eve that it was necessary to continue this practice of shedding the innocent blood of animals to cover their sin? Well, their son Abel did it...where do you think he learned that from? And God commended him for it. But their son Cain failed to do it, instead offering the LORD the work of his hands—and God chastised him for making the same mistake his parents made (Gen. 4:1–7). So yes, clearly God did teach Adam and Eve to continue sacrificing animals—and they clearly taught their children to do the same.

My point is that we have to understand that right off the bat, as soon as Adam and Eve headed for the exit of the Garden of Eden, two fundamental principles had been set in place in regard to man's sinful condition:

1. God promised to send a Redeemer someday to undo the damage Satan had done and save them from their sinful condition.

2. God expected them to believe His promise of a Redeemer, and offer animal sacrifices as an act of worship that demonstrated that belief.

Many Christians naively assume that it was the Jews who started the idea of sacrificing animals to cover their sin, but that's not true. It came right out of the Garden of Eden, and continued on from there. For example, Noah had "clean" animals available in order to offer sacrifices after exiting the ark when the flood waters receded (roughly nine centuries before the Jews received the Law of Moses according to some Old Testament timelines):

20And Noah built an altar to the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

(Genesis 8:20 AKJV / emphasis added)

The point is that the basics of how people were saved in Old Testament days had been established:

They were required to have faith in God and believe His promise of a coming Redeemer, and offer animal sacrifices to worship Him and demonstrate their faith in that promise.

It's also worth noting that faith in God and the sacrifices that demonstrated it had to go hand in hand—one without the other was a non-starter. In fact, God makes it crystal clear that He hates sacrifices made in the absence of a life characterized by justice, mercy, humility, and a broken and contrite spirit before Him (Hos. 6:6; Amos 5:22–23; Ps. 51:16–17; Mic. 6:6–8; Isa. 29:13).

Notes on the Holy Spirit: It is important to be aware of the nature of the ministry of the Holy Spirit during this entire pre-Church period. There is nothing in the entire Old Testament about the Holy Spirit sealing and indwelling believers at the moment they came to believe in faith in God's promise of a coming Redeemer or when they began to offer animal sacrifices to demonstrate that belief. Neither is there a single word about the Holy Spirit having His temple on earth in the hearts of believers during this time.

Now, we do see the Holy Spirit "circumcising" the hearts of people (Deut. 30:6), and "coming on" people in order to empower them to do certain things at certain times. For example: Joshua (Num. 27:18); David (1Sam. 16:12–13); and Saul (1Sam. 10:10). But this "coming on" people was selective and often temporary, and could be withdrawn. We see this clearly as David agonizes over his sin with Bathsheba:

11Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your holy spirit from me.

(Psalm 51:11 AKJV)

But the chief difference is that Old Testament believers were not sealed and permanantly indwelt with the presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment they believed as are Church Age believers, as we shall see in the next section.

But what about this promise of a coming Redeemer? Is that all mankind had, just God's original statement given in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve? Is that it? You'd think God would elaborate a bit more at some point on something as important as this Redeemer business.

And indeed He did.

The Old Testament contains quite the trail of clues in regard to this coming Redeemer, containing at the very least 300 prophecies concerning Him (some Bible commentators put this at nearly twice that number)—each of which was fulfilled to the letter in the genealogy, birth, life, ministry, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention a handful of the prophecies that made it possible for people in Old Testament days to not only follow the trail of the coming Redeemer and ID Him when He showed up, but even be aware of the approximate time He would show up:

1. He would be a descendant of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 22:18).

2. He would be a descendant of Abraham's son Isaac (Gen. 17:19; 21:12).

3. He would be a descendant of Isaac's son Jacob (Num. 24:17).

4. He would be a descendant of Jacob's son Judah (Gen. 49:10).

5. He would be a descendant of King David (2Sam. 7:12–16).

6. He would be born of a virgin (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14).

7. He would be born in the town of Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2).

8. Although born in Bethlehem, He would come out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1).

9. He would make the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, the dead live, and preach the Good News to the poor (Isa. 26:19; 35:5–6; 61:1).

10. He would be killed somewhere around AD 30–33 (Dan. 9:24–27).

Please understand that Daniel 9:24–27, properly interpreted, indicates when that Redeemer would be "cut off" or killed with a surprising degree of accuracy (some purport to have pinned it down to the exact day). But any way you look at it, this allows us to deduce the general time frame in which He would be born—the late first century BC or the early first century AD.

Which He was, around 6–3 BC, give or take.

As far as animal sacrifices are concerned, one thing the Law of Moses did was codify in excruciating detail the types of sacrifices that were required for specific situations and the proper procedures for carrying them out. What the Law of Moses didn't do was pull the idea of sacrificing animals to demonstrate one's faith in God's promise of a Redeemer out of the clear, blue sky.

Sadly, over the centuries the Jews succeeded in reducing the Law of Moses to a burdensome morass of petty rules and regulations that, if slavishly followed, would make one righteous in God's eyes. They stripped God's Word clean of any of the love, mercy, and grace that God wanted to demonstrate to man through His Son the Redeemer. So when Jesus came and pointedly revealed what petty, hardhearted legalists the Jewish religious leaders had become, they hated Him, rejected Him, and ultimately had Him arrested, falsely tried, and executed by their Roman masters like a loathsome criminal.

Of course, the grave couldn't hold Him. After Christ completed His perfect work of atonement through His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, what had been promised since the Garden of Eden, prophesied through God's servants the prophets, and painted in types and shadows throughout the Old Testament had became thundering reality.

And it was a whole new ballgame.

2. Church Age salvation

Aah...back on home turf.

During the Church Age, which started on Shavuot or the day of Pentecost 50 days after the Resurrection, the moment a person hears the message of the gospel, responds to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, humbles their heart before God and asks Him for the forgiveness of sin that Christ purchased for them with His perfect sacrifice on the cross (not necessarily all at the same time), God forgives every sin they have ever committed or ever will commit, and imputes His Son's perfect righteousness to them. From that moment on, He no longer sees them as sinners, but as being as righteous as His perfect Son because they are now part of His Son's body—they are in Christ. They are sealed with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for the rest of their earthly lives, and the Holy Spirit works to convict them of sin and gradually conform them to the image of Christ over the course of their lifetimes.

And I'm not trying to make it sound complicated or anything (you could argue that it comes down to two simple words: I BELIEVE). I'm just trying to paint a clear, thorough picture of what we're talking about.

Actually, I could end this section right here—that's the long and the short of Church Age salvation in a nutshell. But there are a couple of aspects of it that I want to flesh out a bit.

Of course, central to Church Age salvation is the message of the gospel:

Just as had been prophesied in His Word, God finally sent the Redeemer into the world in the form of His perfect sinless Son, who gave His life as a ransom for many. Jesus redeemed us by taking the penalty for sin we were due by shedding His blood on a cross at Calvary and satisfying His Father's perfect justice on our behalf. In so doing, He  made it possible for those who believe in faith to be forgiven of sin, have His perfect righteousness imputed to them by faith, and be eternally reconciled to a holy, just, loving God.

For the last two thousand years, every person who has heard and believed this message in faith and asked for the forgiveness Christ offers has been saved. Born again. Born of the Spirit. Spiritually regenerated. Redeemed by the Redeemer Himself. And every single one of them will spend eternity in a place He has prepared for us that is beyond anything we can currently imagine.

But one of the key points about salvation during the Church Age is this:

What I just described is all that

God requires of us: belief in faith.

We are not required to sacrifice any animals to demonstrate our faith and belief in God's promises. We're not required to meticulously obey a mountain of petty rules and regulations to be considered righteous in God's eyes, as per the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus' day. It's Believe. The. Gospel.

In other words, once we are saved, we remain that way. Why? Because we are a new creation in Christ (2Cor. 5:17). Salvation during the Church Age is not something we must work to maintain or can lose through negligence. Church Age salvation is eternally possessed the moment we receive it in faith, and this doctrine is commonly referred to as "eternal security." This fundamental truth is often expressed by the phrase "Once saved, always saved" (OSAS), or...

You are forever saved,

or you were never saved.

The scriptural support for the eternal security of the Church Age believer is nothing short of overwhelming. Here's a taste:

28And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

(John 10:28–29 / emphasis added)

Neither the Father nor the Son has butterfingers.

39This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. 40This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

(John 6:39–40 / emphasis added)

He's not going to lose any of us, and will raise us all up on the last day.

25Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.

(Hebrews 7:25 / emphasis added)

"To the uttermost"—I don't think we can be any more saved than that.

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

(2 Corinthians 5:17 AKJV / emphasis added)

After we are saved, we are literally a new species: Homo redempti.

13In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.

(Ephesians 1:13–14 AKJV / emphasis added)

We are sealed. And show me a place in Scripture where we can get unsealed.

And that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. But you know how some people are: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Over the centuries, many well-intentioned people have struggled mightily with this idea, and have trawled God's Word for ways to worm their way around it and argue that you can indeed lose your salvation if your walk with the Lord doesn't measure up to some nebulously defined standard. So you'd better toe the line, pal, or you may find yourself spending eternity in the lake of fire with You Know Who.

I have touched on eternal security here and there over the years, but I devoted an entire article to the subject entitled "Cold Feet" about six years ago. I won't rehash it here, but one thing I discuss in that article is several common ways the anti-OSAS ship runs aground:

1. Misinterpreting verses that speak of rewards as speaking of salvation.

2. Misinterpreting verses that refer to unbelievers as referring to believers.

3. Misinterpreting verses that are directed at other groups of believers (i.e. Tribulation saints, etc.) as being directed at the Church.

Again with the iceberg.

One of the major lines of attack on the doctrine of eternal security of Church Age believers centers around the idea of works. In reality, this is little more than our sin nature creeping in through the crack under the door, whispering in our ears things such as...

You get what you pay for...

There's no free lunch...

No pain, no gain...

And so on. The idea that we need works to merit/maintain/manifest our salvation just seems so right to our flesh, which goes a long way in explaining why it has been regurgitated in countless forms through every man-made religion in the history of mankind (with a lotta help from You Know Who). This is a topic I address in an article entitled "The Great One-Trick Pony."

One passage of Scripture that has become the go-to verse for anti-OSAS marauders is a well-worn passage from the pen of James:

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

(James 2:26 AKJV / emphasis added)

"Got that, hoss? Faith without works is dead! So I guess that drives a stake through the heart of your little 'eternal suh-kur-ity' idea, huh?"

Oh yeah, drives a stake right through it—it sure does...but only for people who fail to understand what James is saying. The logic underpinning what James is trying to communicate to us goes something like this:

Genuine, saving faith—which results in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit—will always manifest itself in at least some Spirit-led works (albeit more in some than in others). Thus the complete absence of Spirit-led works indicates the complete absence of genuine, saving faith.

In other words:

Spirit-led works are not what saves you—

they are the evidence that you are saved.

I want to emphasize the idea of "Spirit-led" works here, because this key distinction all too frequently slips through the cracks. We're not talking about generic "good deeds" that may be perfectly good things in and of themselves, but may be done through strictly human motivation to boost the self-esteem and elevate the ego of the doer.

We're talking about things you do at the prompting of and in obedience to the Holy Spirit, who seeks to glorify and draw men to Christ. Note that some works-related verses don't always make this distinction jump out at you, but the distinction is there nonetheless. We're talking about allowing the Holy Spirit to put you into action anytime, anyplace, and for reasons that may not be obvious to you in order to play your small role in advancing the Holy Spirit's ministry. After all, Church Age believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit on earth, so that's a natural part of our role as born-again believers.

Before we move on, I want to let the Word deliver the smackdown to the salvation-by-works argument, because Scripture could scarcely make it any clearer that we are saved by faith alone and not works. It really is that simple. That means when people come along and think they have a verse that says something to the contrary, they need to look a little deeper because I guarantee you they're missing something somewhere. Here's a taste:

28They said therefore to him, "What must we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

(John 6:28–29 / emphasis added)

The "work" of God is that we believe in faith in His Son.

4But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, 5not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7that being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

(Titus 3:4–7 / emphasis added)

He saved us according to His mercy, not according to our works.

8for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, that no one would boast.

(Ephesians 2:8–9 / emphasis added)

If our works could save us, we'd have something to brag about. But we don't.

5But to him who doesn't work, but believes in him [i.e. belief in faith is not a work] who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

(Romans 4:5 / emphasis &
[comments] added)

Same deal: It's all about faith, not works.

"Woo hoo, I got ya dead to rights this time, Bible Dude! You forgot all about the poor schmuck that shows up at the bema and has all his works burned up and has to walk away empty-handed, saved "as through fire"! HA! So much for your theory that every true believer has at least some good works to show for themselves...this schmuck had zilch!"

Ah, yes...the sad story I like to call "The Schmuck at the Bema":

14If any man's work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. 15If any man's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.

(1 Corinthians 3:14–15)

"He himself will be saved, but as through fire." So it appears Paul is referring to this schmuck who has all his earthly works burned up like so much wood, hay, and stubble, but is still saved and enters heaven with zero rewards.

This is the bema, or the judgment seat of Christ that all Church Age believers will stand at shortly after the Rapture (and before returning with Christ at the Second Coming) to be rewarded for the Spirit-led works in their earthly lives that warrant them.

However, I am convinced, based on Scripture, that Paul does not literally mean that some believers will leave the bema empty-handed. Paul, as he often does, is using hyperbole to get his point across that we are saved because of our faith in Christ and absolutely nothing else, and that our works report card can't touch that with a nine-kazillion-foot pole. I won't rehash it here, but if you're interested in running through the details of my argument, take a look at the following section of my article entitled "Go for the Gold."

And that pretty well covers Church Age salvation. So, the Church Age ends at the Rapture, which is right about where we are now. And that means the world is almost ready to be introduced to...

3. Post-Church salvation

As I indicated earlier, this seems to be the one some people have a hard time dealing with—but Scripture is pretty clear.

At the Rapture, the Church—the temple of the Holy Spirit on earth—will be removed, and as a result Paul's prophetic words to the believers in Thessalonica will be fulfilled:

7For the mystery of lawlessness already works. Only there is one who restrains [this can be no one but the Holy Spirit] now [i.e. during the Church Age], until he is taken out of the way [at the Rapture]. 8Then the lawless one [the Antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the manifestation of his coming;

(2 Thessalonians 2:7–8 / emphasis &
[comments] added)

Notice that this one passage alone tells us that there must be something fundamentally different about the nature of salvation following the end of the Church Age at the Rapture. During the Church Age, we have the Holy Spirit sealed in us and dwelling within us, making us His temple on earth. While His temple is on earth, the Holy Spirit acts to restrain evil—but that comes to an abrupt end at the Rapture, when both the Restrainer and His Container are taken out of the way and He ceases this restraining ministry. But that tells us something important:

That means after the Rapture, salvation is different. You can kiss that sealing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit business goodbye—that's finished. That's how the Church is "blessed" (John 20:29), and we're gone.

After His (and our) departure, it's not long before the Antichrist is allowed to come to the fore and be revealed as such, which I am inclined to believe officially occurs at the midpoint of the Tribulation at His coming-out party at the abomination of desolation.

In other words, I don't see the Antichrist's "revelation" occurring immediately after the Rapture—I think there is a brief window of time when he rises to his position of global prominence before he is officially revealed for who and what he truly is at the abomination of desolation. (For more, see the following section of an article I wrote 10 years ago entitled "Yes He Can!")

The Word gives us several unmistakable clues that believers during the Tribulation will not enjoy the same blessing of eternal security that the Church does, and will be responsible for maintaining a faithful witness, rather than letting their spiritual lights go out, so to speak. Here are a couple:

12Because iniquity will be multiplied [because evil is no longer being restrained because the Restrainer has been taken out of the way], the love of many will grow cold. 13But he who endures to the end will be saved.

(Matthew 24:12–13 / emphasis &
[comments] added)

Jesus is talking about the Tribulation period preceding His return at the Second Coming, and He is referring to people who have come to faith in Him during that period. He says they will have to "endure to the end to be saved"—in other words, they will have to maintain a faithful witness to maintain their spiritual condition. And it won't be easy, either. In fact, legions will be martyred for their faith (these are the folks showing up in heaven in Rev. 7:9–17).

Another place where this theme of "enduring to the end to be saved" is touched on is right after the sixth bowl judgment is released, and things are getting gnarly as the world approaches the climax of the Tribulation:

15Behold, I come like a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his clothes, so that he doesn't walk naked, and they see his shame.

(Revelation 16:15 / emphasis added)

Clothes are a reference to one's spiritual condition, and keeping them on and not being found naked here means to maintain one's spiritual relationship with God through obedience and maintaining a faithful witness. And the thrust of the verse is clearly that during the Tribulation, some will and some won't.

Finally, as I discuss in depth in my last article, the Parable of the 10 Virgins and the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 both serve to characterize the nature of the Sheep and Goat Judgment, where Gentile survivors of the Tribulation who got a sufficient taste of God's grace and mercy to at least enable them to refuse the mark of the beast and survive the Great Tribulation stand before Christ, but only those who maintained a faithful witness to the end (the sheep) are granted entrance to the kingdom. The others (the goats) ran and hid when the going got tough, and are denied entrance.

The bottom line is this: During the Tribulation, salvation will take its most harrowing form. One might also say its most tenuous. Legions of people will respond to the gospel, largely through the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists God seals early in the Tribulation to take the gospel to the post-Rapture world. And many of those who come to faith in Christ will be martyred. But others among them, who manage to avoid being beheaded, will have to maintain a faithful witness under great duress all the way through the bowl judgments and the final conflict at Armageddon to the bitter end in order to gain entrance into the kingdom.

Put...the stones...down: Just to be clear, I have not forgotten that God knew before the foundation of the world who would be saved and who would not. That is 100 percent true according to Scripture. So understand that when I seem to convey that a Tribulation survivor's salvation isn't a "done deal" until that person passes muster at the Sheep and Goat Judgment, I'm speaking from our point of view—not God's. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa. 55:9), and all events for all time are spread out before Him like a panorama. I'm not talking about an omniscient God's sovereign knowledge—I'm talking about how it appears to our little three-dimensional pea-brains here on earth.

This is no doubt one reason why after the third angel flies around the earth in Revelation 14:9–12, proclaiming that everyone who takes the mark of the beast will suffer the wrath of God, we have this:

13I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their works follow with them."

(Revelation 14:13 / emphasis added)

This is just before the outpouring of the bowl judgments, the final and most devastating round of judgments of the Tribulation. In verse 13, God makes no secret of the fact that it's going to be so bad that those who "die in the Lord" from that point on will actually be blessed. In other words:

The final round of God's judgment on a world that has shaken its fist in His face will be so devastating that for those in the Lord, it will be a blessing to die and not have to suffer through it.

Sealed...but not blessed?? This is yet another reason why I am convinced that I am correct in my position that the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are martyred before the bowl judgments ever begin. Many highly respected commentators see the seal the 144,000 receive in Revelation 7:3 as making it possible for them to survive all the way to the end of the Tribulation—but this must be read into Scripture, because nowhere does it say that. But if that's the case, then according to the above verse the 144,000 are not blessed. In other words, why would God force them to endure the unspeakable horrors of the bowl judgments when their task is already complete, rather than blessing them by allowing them to escape all that by being martyred like their prototype Paul? It makes absolutely no sense to me—but more importantly it makes absolutely no sense in light of Revelation 14:13.

If only people could see the terrifying hole they are digging for themselves when they casually pooh-pooh the gospel and blow off the decision to trust Christ for their salvation now, during the Age of Grace when it's easy. It breaks my heart to see people get so distracted by the fleshly foolishness that the world spews out that they give no thought to a holy God who loves them and sacrificed the life of His beloved Son to save them.

Yes, He loves us, and that's why He

wants to save us...enough to sacrifice

the life of His perfect Son to do so.

And saving us is what salvation is all about—regardless of the parameters associated with any given era.

Summary:

Pre-Church salvation required faith in God's promise of a coming Redeemer, faith demonstrated by the shedding of the innocent blood of animals, and later by obedience to the Law of Moses and all the stipulated animal sacrifices that effectively covered their sin until the promised Redeemer arrived.

Church Age salvation requires only belief in faith in Christ's perfect work of atonement for the forgiveness of sin, and nothing else. The resultant sealing by and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, however, produces a changed life from which Spirit-led works are able to flow naturally. The Bible makes it clear that our salvation is not contingent on such works—they simply give evidence of it.

Post-Church salvation will also require belief in faith in Christ's perfect work of atonement for the forgiveness of sin, but these people will not enjoy the blessing of eternal security as did members of the Church. Unlike Church Age believers, these people will have to demonstrate a faithful witness to maintain their salvation under great persecution. Some will and will enter the kingdom, and some won't and will be denied entrance.

*     *     *     *     *

Whither the kingdom? I made a conscious decision to stop with the Second Coming and the launching of the Millennial Kingdom in this article, and refrain from discussing the nature of salvation during the kingdom.

Of course, salvation in any era is always based on belief in faith in Christ's atoning work for the forgiveness of sin (looking forward or looking back to the cross). I will admit that I am inclined to believe that salvation during the kingdom will be somewhat similar to salvation during the Tribulation in the sense that believers will still be expected to maintain a faithful witness (talk about "blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe"...they will see the Messiah ruling the world with a rod of iron from Jerusalem with their own eyes). Of course, believers during the Millennial Kingdom will obviously not face anything remotely resembling the persecution of Daniel's 70th Week.

I believe things will also resemble the Old Testament in certain ways, however, because there will be a temple and there will be animal
sacrifices, but not for the express purpose of atoning for the personal moral guilt of sin. Christ took care of that forever on the cross at Calvary.

Overall, I believe we're simply not told enough detail in Scripture about the precise nature of how things will work during the Millennial Kingdom to easily formulate a scripturally sound soteriological analysis, and so any such analysis would presumably require a modest amount of speculation. As you can see, I have a few opinions of my own (just like everybody else). But I'm not writing this just to offer up my personal opinions for your consideration. I want this to be based on the Word.

*     *     *     *     *

The backdrop

I've touched on this before, but one thing I want to emphasize before I wrap this up is that each one of these three periods of time we've discussed has a backdrop that lends support to the nature of salvation in that period.

During Old Testament days, God often expressed His power and presence to the world, especially His people Israel. He dramatically delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt through a series of 10 miracles, each of which He had Moses announce to Pharaoh before they occurred. He parted the Red Sea so they could cross on dry ground. His presence was clearly evident as He guided them through the wilderness for 40 years before entering the Promised Land.

And let's just cut to the chase: There was the greatest expression of God's power and presence of all time in the form of His Son, whose miracles confirmed His identity as the promised Redeemer and who rose from the grave on the third day as He promised and as was prophesied in the Word.

It's like I keep saying: With the revelation of God's power and presence comes responsibility, and with the absence of the appropriate response comes judgment. That's why God expected the Jews to maintain their faith and trust in Him and obey the Law of Moses to demonstrate that faith in Him and His promises. He had repeatedly revealed Himself to them in mighty, miraculous ways, and as a result He expected the appropriate response from them in terms of faith and trust. And the Old Testament makes one thing abundantly clear:

When He got it, He blessed them.

When He didn't, He judged them.

And if that causes you any heartburn, repeat after me:

He. Is. The. Creator.

Deal with it. This culminated two thousand years ago in Israel's rejection and crucifixion of His Son, the Redeemer He had promised from the very beginning—and as a result, His judgment fell. And it fell hard.

But with the advent of the Redeemer, the Church was conceived and grafted into His covenant with His people Israel. With Phase 1 (Old Testament days) complete, in Phase 2 (the Church Age) you might say the Father and the Son essentially took a step back and allowed the Holy Spirit to come to earth and establish His temple in the hearts of believers. For nearly the entire duration of the Church Age, God has not manifested His power and presence to the world in any overt or tangible manner, and so the responsibility that came with witnessing previous manifestations of His power and presence were waived, in a sense. In its place came the sealing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the associated blessing of eternal security for Church Age believers.

After the Church is removed at the Rapture and Phase 2 is complete, however, Phase 3 is a whole new deal. Now, stop and think: People during the Tribulation will be those who witnessed the Rapture—God's greatest supernatural intervention in the affairs of man since His Son walked the earth two thousand years ago. Then they will witness what they openly acknowledge is God's mighty hand moving in judgment (Rev. 6:16–17).

Not exactly small potatoes.

Also, keep in mind that many of those who come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation will be people who casually blew off the message of the gospel their entire lives, in spite of having that message so readily available that they had to make a conscious effort to turn from it. Good News?? They will be those who have allowed the pleasures and the pressures of the world to completely distract them from the Greatest News in the history of the universe, and thoughtlessly lived their lives blindly accepting whatever load of satanic schlock the world dished out to them.

Unlike "those who have not seen, and yet have believed," these people will only be shaken from their spiritual stupor by overt displays of God's power and presence. They're gonna see w-a-y more than they bargained for.

As a result, a holy, just, loving God is justified in requiring more from these people in securing their salvation and a place in His kingdom. With the Holy Spirit relocating His base of operations back to heaven after the Rapture, that sealing and indwelling business will be a thing of the past. God will make them understand the foolishness of their choices prior to being plunged into the judgments of the Tribulation, and countless legions of such people will respond to the gospel message and at the end of the Tribulation will be saved and will enter the kingdom, glory to His name!

I think it is important for us to have a clear understanding of the particulars of salvation, both in our own era of the Church Age as well as before and after the Church Age. That's because I am convinced that when we do, we can't help but cultivate a deeper appreciation of God's nature, and here's a tip:

He's not Santa and He's not the Grinch.

He is a supremely loving, infinitely holy, and perfectly just Creator God—the Righteous Judge and a loving Heavenly Father, and the differing parameters of salvation in these three different eras amply reflect that fact. And even more importantly for us now as Church Age believers, it helps us gain a deeper appreciation of the unsearchable riches and blessings we have in Christ!

And that, in turn, can only cause us to cultivate a deeper and more profound love for our Lord and Savior, who shed His blood on a cross at Calvary so that we could be saved, have His perfect righteousness imputed to us through faith, and be eternally reconciled to the Father.

And, at least in our case...

Remain that way until we hear the sound of a trumpet.



From Greg Lauer @ A Little Strength (2023/#5)
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52 comments:

  1. A beautiful outline of salvation. We are so blessed right now, and I pray that many will believe before the clock runs out on the Church Age.

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  2. When you look at the overall picture you start to realize what a blessing the Grace Age salvation is in our time...

    And for our time, I grow so weary of the "You ain't cutting the mustard" criticism of some so-called believers. The "You ain't saved unless you do this that or the other thing..."

    It is true that there is only ONE PATH to the father, and God is very clear in His word about that path.

    Faith is in the heart, and expressed by the mouth, and it is ONLY Faith that saves.

    God is clear on what saves a man, and that is simply faith that His Son is Jesus the Christ and was raised from the dead.

    There are NO works a man can do, that can either save a man or maintain a man's salvation. The works spoken of in (Ephesians 2:10) are not our works, but rather His works in our lives by our compliance of walking in them. These works have nothing to do with salvation, as salvation is already eternally secure at that point. You are justified in Christ by faith. And He is committed to saving you, even despite yourself.

    Lifelong sanctification is a different story, and this is what all believers will be judged on at the BEMA. Paul is very clear on this in (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

    Anyone standing here at the BEMA is saved and redeemed by necessity, to even be able to stand there before the Son of Man at the BEMA, since Christ is the Foundation (our salvation).

    Paul explains it in (Romans 14:4) simply: "Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."

    They don't stand there on their own merit or power. And it also makes a statement about anyone judging their fellow servant's salvation. ;)

    One may suffer loss at the BEMA, but they themselves are saved (already) and already have eternal life.

    So the question is "What are these works spoken of here?" The wood, hay, and stubble vs the gold, silver, and precious gems?

    The difference is simply, works done in our will vs works He does in His will through us.

    The loss at the BEMA is the loss of opportunities in life to bring people to Christ, to plant a saving seed in the life of another, to water that seed with the word, and encouragement and fellowship.

    The worst tragedy is that of "what could have been?". And frankly, here is a sober thought...

    All of us are going to suffer this loss to one extent or another, all will have been through great trial of one kind or another and have stumbled to some degree. None of us stand here on our own, we all will stand here because if Him.

    There will be no pointing fingers here, everyone will be contemplating their own failures in their lives, and also Christ's successes in those very same lives.

    This is ME, and you, and everyone else here.

    So don't rush to judge, but be patient in enduring trial, correct if needed but lovingly, and by example of the word, not our opinions. Be encouraging, be uplifting, as most of us already have our full share of rejection, hatred, aggression, betrayal, and are despitefully used by others. Are you as a believer, going to add to their misery?

    God's commands to use are to love Him and worship Him, to love one another as He has loved us, to do unto others as you would have done to yourself. From this comes the desire to not break what are described in the 10 commandments that so many insist is our work list. No, His command is to love, to patiently endure, to keep His word for He is the Living Word, and in so doing, not denying His name, and we confess our Faith in this way by example, and the world knows us by our Love. ❤️

    ๐Ÿšซ ๐Ÿ‡

    ·····|\︵/|··
    ··╱ษท ษท╲··
    ··╲\▼/╱··

    Foxman on the Wall

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    1. John 6:39-40

      And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day.

      For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
      ___

      Romans 10:9-10

      ...if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

      For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.
      ___

      Ephesians 2:8-10

      For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

      For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.
      ___

      1 Corinthians 3:10-15

      By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds.

      For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

      If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light.

      It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work.

      If what he has built survives, he will receive a reward.

      If it is burned up, he will suffer loss.

      He himself will be saved, but only as if through the flames.

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    2. Hi Jack

      What is BEMA?

      I googled it but still not sure how and why it is used.

      Aside from that I did notice 1 Corinthians 3:3-4. Paul trying to stop the division
      that was starting in that Church. Then I googled “How many denominations are there in Christianity” which amazed me and I wondered why there were so many divisions in the Body of Christ.

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    3. The Bible talks about the Judgment Seat of Christ (also referred to as the BEMA seat in reference to reward judgments likened to the Olympic races of Paul's time) in three places:

      Romans 14:10-12;
      1 Corinthians 3:10--4:5;
      and
      2 Corinthians 5:1-10.

      Only church-age saints will appear at that judgment, as shown in 2 Corinthians 5:10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."

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  3. Amen and thank you for an excellent summary.

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  4. This is an important article worth sending to a lot of people. There's been a lot of debate on this in various places as of late.

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  5. This is an excellent article. I just wanted to ask about people who get saved at the very end of their lives and don’t have time for good works. Would they not be an example of believers who will leave the bema empty-handed?
    Thief on the cross?

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  6. Mr. Greg L. , any Christian writer who can begin an amazing message with the word "discombobulated", and end with "satanic schlock" - with breath takingly revealing direct honesty and truth between, has my complete admiration and attention. CONGRATULATIONS, Sir for this desperately needed, very timely. and beautifully presented " Salvation Primer ". We all are Blessed by your Words. Thank You.

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    1. Here, here, Sally! Agreed๐Ÿ˜Š

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    2. I see you ferreted out my favorite sentence. Imagine me blushing and saying...

      "Aww, shux, ma'am...t'weren't nuthin'."

      Delete
  7. Blessings, Family.

    Thank you, Greg for another enlightening article. I do think God did manifest His awesome power during the Church Age by His reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

    If one truly understands Dispensations, it’s much easier to understand the Gospel as preached to the Jews and then Paul’s Gospel to the Gentiles. Even Peter came around, eventually.

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    1. Paul says it's the same Gospel :)

      1 Corinthians 15:11

      Whether, then, it was I or THEY (the other apostles), this is ** what WE preach**, and this is what you believed.

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    2. Paul called it “my Gospel” in 2 Timothy 2:8 and Romans 2:16.

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    3. You made my point, thanks:)

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  8. This topic probably is the most batted back and forth among Christians ever.

    And the other one "Can't no the day or hour".

    Iam not convinced "once saved always save". I know all the formulas and scripture passages and so does everyone else.
    "for by grace are you saved through faith" and its the "through faith" part that gets neglected, I think in definition.

    The Church has and will always be hung up on telling you what you can and cannot do, or else "your going to Hell" sound familiar. Just say a couple "hail mary's,an "our father" and a act of contrition and you'll be just fine.

    The Church has and will always be hung up on telling you what you can and cannot do, or else "your going to Hell" sound familiar. Just say a couple "hail mary's,an "our father" and a act of contrition and you'll be just fine.

    The church of the Laodiceans get the biggest warning with being luke warm.

    They are counseled to buy of Jesus gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

    The invitation is here to all “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

    And this is the why, the "once saved always save" doesn’t work.

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

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

      Who overcomes the world? Believers in Christ, through faith, yes.

      1 john 5:4-5
      For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

      But speaking of faith ... even that has an eternal theme.

      Hebrews 12:2
      looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ...
      or the founder & perfecter, if one prefers.

      ---

      What great, actual, true rest (in Him) we're able to have, as promised, when we know that even our faith - that makes us overcomers - is being perfected by Jesus and not ourselves (thankfully!).

      Best in Christ!

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    2. And... :)

      Philippians 1:5-6

      "...because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

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  9. Gregg, with respect,

    :)

    Not going to go into OSAS or no OSAS with you or anyone else here, not the place for it really I think... Also been done many times here and elsewhere. :)

    I do want to address the use of "the Church of the Laodiceans" as a proof against OSAS though. That's the first time I have come across that.

    I'd like to point out some subtleties in Revelation 3 concerning that church in question. I will use KJV also, so as not to muddy the waters with a side argument about translations.

    When you read the 7 letters of Rev 2 & 3, you notice the first 6 start with

    "And to the angel (messenger) of the church (IN ____) write..."

    But with Laodicea it reads,

    "And to the angel (messenger) of the church (OF THE Laodiceans) write..."

    So what is the message here?

    Christ is in the first 6 churches and His message is to a Church (Location) with the use of "IN", yet in Laodicea, His message is to the people themselves, and they want nothing to do with Him, and He is outside their door even knocking to come in.

    The origins of the name (and the nature) of Laodice/Laodicea consists of two elements.

    The first element is the noun ฮปฮฑฮฟฯ‚ (laos), meaning (common) people:
    The noun ฮปฮฑฮฟฯ‚ (laos) means people — it mostly implies the common masses at large.

    The second part of the name Laodicea comes from the potent noun ฮดฮนฮบฮท (dike), meaning justice:
    The noun ฮดฮนฮบฮท (dike) means justice in a formal, judicial sense, and fairness in a common sense.

    What you see from this, is the nature of this church being a Democracy of people ruling this church by worldly means and standards.

    Can you really say they are even Christians yet, if they do not even acknowledge their savior?

    This condition of this church also reminds me of today's multiple disgraces of "Social Justice" and "Prosperity Gospel" etc. It's a perfect fit for the days of "Human Reason and Works orientation". There is no FAITH here at all, but they rely upon their own wisdom and counsel.

    Christ is on the wrong side of the door for this "church". This church is an assembly of like minded men, not of the faithful.

    And for this reason I find it lacking as a proof against OSAS.

    ;)

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    1. There is also an interesting dynamic between the Church of Philadelphia and that of Laodicea going on in terms of a transition.

      I lean to the multiple prophecy aspects of these two chapters (Rev 2 & 3), as not only existing churches of the time when written, but as Church Age "prehistory" at the time of writing.

      I believe myself, that Philadelphia and Laodicea exist together towards the end of the Church Age segment of Philadelphia, and that it expresses the soon transition from Church Age to Tribulation period, by reason of the comments by Christ in context about the "door" in each letter.

      In that context then it makes much more sense about what is expected of each.

      Philadelphia, commended for it's "Patient Endurance", it's "Keeping of His Word" (for He IS the Word), and in such "Not denying His name". This is the essence of Faith in Christ, and their reward is literally to be removed from the earth and gathered to Him (Rev 3:10).

      Laodicea, cautioned and warned to come to Faith in Christ, and not in themselves, and gain the spiritual sight, the clothing of grace, and reward of that Faith. They aren't even clothed in Christ yet by the context. This isn't Christ's church at all. And His warning is stark! He is about to vomit them out of His mouth!

      If Christ says "He will never leave or forsake us" as believers, how could He then vomit a believer out of His mouth and forsake them?

      No, these aren't part of the Body of Christ yet, but they have a chance if they heed the warning. I think that chance is in the Tribulation period myself.

      ;)

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    2. Wow, JackN, that's a great look at this argument. I don't think I've considered the Laodiceans as quite intently as you have written here, but this makes excellent sense. Thanks for sharing!

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    3. I agree with Sherrill, JackN. Fascinating insights, and does make sense.

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    4. The traditional thinking that Revelation 2 and 3 are about the Church Age exclusively strikes me as incomplete. If the tribulation saints refer to their own assemblies as churches, Rev 2 and 3 could easily have future fulfillment.

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    5. The Greek word translated as "church" in the bible is (ekklรฉsia - Strong's G1577).

      In it's simplest form of definition it means an assembly, and by context an assembly of people. It is most often used for a religious congregation, but the religious context is not required.

      We have a tendency to think of "church", as emphatically a group of believers in Christ, but it can be used in a general sense, which is why I think Laodicea is considered a church even if they do not regard Christ Jesus.

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    6. JackN

      Theological interpretation of any part of scripture to suite your own interpretation is dangerous enough. But when it comes to The Book of Revelation that can come all sorts of consequences.


      Scripture at face value will interpret its self for whatever it says.

      There is a lot to overcome is this life and if your goal is eternal life, then you just preserver to the end.
      But either way this life will end and another one will begin.

      He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

      To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

      He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

      To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

      And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.

      He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

      Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

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

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    7. Aaron quoted this above about overcoming the world, so I'll repeat what he posted.

      Faith in Christ, because then we are clothed in Christ, who has already overcome the world on our behalf.
      ___

      Who overcomes the world? Believers in Christ, through faith, yes.

      1 john 5:4-5
      For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

      Delete
    8. Again, JackN, an excellent point. We don't overcome by our own effort, but through Christ who lives in us.

      And what a relief that is.

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    9. You and others are not understanding the "through FAITH part".
      Faith is not an intellectual thought, its an action word, works of Faith as James puts it.

      So,What is faith? It is an act, based upon belief, sustained by confidence in that you have enough confidence in you can sustain the action. Which gives that upward connection. It seats you with Christ in heavenly places. The most important result of faith is that you are instantly connected with eternity. God’s life starts flowing in you. That is the primary benefit of the faithing act.

      Paul said it to the Galatians. Receive you the spirit, by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? It was a rhetorical question, it was the hearing of Faith.Effort won’t get it. As in the Old Testament, it was simple, plunge your hands into the water. In the New Testament, start Faithing!

      Substitute the word Faith with the word, Trust.

      So from that is safe to ask, what, and who are you trusting in, for what and why?

      Does that sound ok, so far?

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    10. JackN - thanks, agree with what you wrote. You said:

      "I believe myself, that Philadelphia and Laodicea exist together towards the end of the Church Age..."

      I recently wrote studies on the messages to the churches and agree but would go one step further on this. In it's prophetic view of church history, I believe the last FOUR churches all exist simultaneously at the end of the church age, and some on into, the Tribulation. It seems that three our of the last four are largely "unsaved" Churches.

      Thyatira - follows the false prophetess Jezebel (symbolic of false religion) and is warned of 'Great Tribulation' if they don't repent. This to me is largely symbolic of the Roman Catholic Church (Rev 2:22)
      Sardis - though it has a 'name' that it is something, is said to be 'dead' (Rev 3:1) and apart from a few people who walk with Jesus, they won't even know when Jesus returns (Rev 3:3). This is symbolic of 'dead' protestant churches that had a good beginning in the Reformation but have lost what they had.
      Philadelphia - Yay! The true Church, following the Lord even in their weakness and promised an escape from the Tribulation! (Rev 3:10)
      Laodicea - The worldly, largely unsaved church that values wealth and, like a modern day take on 'The Emperor's New Clothes' doesn't even know it is naked, nor that Jesus is not even in the 'Church' but is outside knocking on the door.

      Just in case you are wondering from what I just wrote, I believe in eternal security and that Jesus will lose none of those that the Father gives Him. I also believe that all true born again believers go in the rapture from any of these 'types' of churches. But it seems that 3 out of the last 4 are largely unsaved and will go on into the Tribulation.

      My 2c : )

      Delete
    11. Oooh... That's interesting (elgordo)... going to look into that some. ;)

      Delete
    12. Gregg,

      You said "You and others are not understanding the 'through FAITH part' ".

      I couldn't disagree more...

      We're just not hung up on the works evidence. That is the business of Christ to be concerned over considering our Sanctification, and not you, or I, or anyone else here. I would remind you of Paul's warning of (Romans 14:4).

      Your assumption that we don't understand this is a bit condescending and it is certainly inaccurate. I'll ignore the personal accusation you made that I am twisting scripture to suite my own interpretations as well. I do go by the Word, have quoted it, and rely on it, and you have offered mostly opinion.

      Now as to Faith...

      I can agree that true Faith is evidenced by the faithful works of the believer as James and others put it. These works however have nothing to do with salvation or maintaining salvation, and as Greg L. put it in this article:

      Spirit-led works are not what saves you—
      they are the evidence that you are saved.

      Got questions has a good definition and analogy on Faith I'll include here (and with which I think you would agree):
      ___

      This definition of faith contains two aspects: intellectual assent and trust. Intellectual assent is believing something to be true. Trust is actually relying on the fact that the something is true. A chair is often used to help illustrate this. Intellectual assent is recognizing that a chair is a chair and agreeing that it is designed to support a person who sits on it. Trust is actually sitting in the chair.

      Understanding these two aspects of faith is crucial. Many people believe certain facts about Jesus Christ. Many people will intellectually agree with the facts the Bible declares about Jesus. But knowing those facts to be true is not what the Bible means by “faith.” The biblical definition of faith requires intellectual assent to the facts and trust in the facts...

      https://www.gotquestions.org/definition-of-faith.html
      ___

      As you have said, the Word speaks for itself and interprets itself, so lets once again look at some of it concerning faith and works, from the Author and Finisher Himself.

      ___

      John 6:28-29

      Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”
      Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”
      ___

      John 6:37-40

      Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never drive away.

      For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.

      And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day.

      For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
      ___

      John 6:47

      Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes has eternal life.
      ___

      John 10:25-30

      “I already told you,” Jesus replied, “but you did not believe.

      The works I do in My Father’s name testify on My behalf. But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe.

      My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.

      I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.

      My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

      I and the Father are one.”
      ___

      Romans 10:8-11

      But what does it say?

      “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”

      that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:

      that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”
      and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,
      you will be saved.

      For with your heart you believe and are justified,
      and with your mouth you confess and are saved.

      It is just as the Scripture says:

      “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”
      ___

      So now we come full circle based on scripture about Faith, which is belief and trust in Christ Jesus. Where in any of this, does salvation get granted or maintained by Good Works? They are not even our works, but His through us, or they are worthless.

      Delete
  10. By the way Greg L.,

    Great to see you posting here and also a very good article to read.

    Grace and peace to you! ;)

    Jack - The ๐ŸฆŠFoxMan

    ๐Ÿšซ ๐Ÿ‡

    ·····|\︵/|··
    ··╱ษท ษท╲··
    ··╲\▼/╱··

    Foxman on the Wall

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JackN...You make some really good points about what Jesus says in Revelation 2-3.

      Now you've done it: You've got me thinking. =8|

      Delete
    2. Hey Jack, thanks & if interested, I have a chart near the start of the following page that shows how I see the prophetic timeline of the churches in Rev 2-3... cos what's a Revelation study without a timeline chart right? : ) I should also say it isn't a new thought that the last 4 churches are concurrent in their prophetic fulfillment. It was just one that was solidified in my mind as I recently did the studies - but there's well known Bible teachers that have taught this for some time. Cheers.

      https://jesusplusnothing.com/series/post/bible-study-revelation-2-ephesus-church-lost-its-love

      Delete
    3. elgordo, cool thanks!

      Will be checking this out this week as I have internet time. ;)

      Delete
  11. JackN

    “A bit condescending”, perhaps.

    There is that fear of becoming to comfortable in our “Faith” that we become luke warm, neglectful .

    All the promises of God are yes in Christ, so what are they there for if not to be used by the New Creature. We trust or faith in God for our needs.

    If sin was the only issue then why the bread, that was for our personal healing.

    In the sermon on the mount He talks about Faith:

    Matthew 6:30, trusting God for everything and that is something you have to do.

    But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Also something you have to do.

    Every where Jesus goes He highlights the Faither:

    Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

    Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

    Matthew 9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

    Matthew 9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

    John 15:1 -2 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
    Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

    In the Colossian letter Paul makes reference to Church at Laodicea And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

    I don’t think the Laodicean church started off the way it ends up.

    But as an end days Church type, its in full bloom.

    Salvation issue, maybe!

    ReplyDelete
  12. “The Schmuck at the Bema.” ๐Ÿคฃ

    I remember John Hagee said there’s going to be a lot of smoky-smelling Christians in Heaven. Please, God, don’t let me be one of them. I want to be a good, humble and kind servant.

    ReplyDelete
  13. With all the activity going on here on either side of the Appalachia's I can't help but think about next April's, second, Great American Eclipse to finish the "X" over the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

    :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget the annular solar eclipse coming this October 14 which falls on Parashat Beresheet - the beginning of Torah reading for the Civil New Year 5784.

      We are living in interesting days...

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. For those who need a little encouragement booster, a new interesting prophetic observation kinda struck me today. In light of an earlier article this month that I posted regarding the "42" stations of the Exodus of the ancient Israelites when brought out of Egypt after 400 years in fulfillment of God's promise (the 400-year prophecy of Exodus), we find that Donald "Trump" will receive a "400" year sentence if convicted of his charges. America reached that "400" year mark in 2020 (the year when the nascent beginnings of the NWO tyranny kicked in). Add that extra 4 years possibly being representative of the ancient Israelite's "40" years in the wilderness taking us to 2024 - the year of the second American eclipse, and we have the makings of a very interesting set of "circumstances."

      And, of course, many of us are already aware of the much discussed peculiarity of Trump's last name. For those new readers who may not be, the Rapture is accompanied by the sound of a "Trump" according to the writings of the Apostle Paul when revealing the revelation of the Rapture.

      400 year sentence? Trump? Coincidence? Probably not. A sure signal from on high that things are still on track and that we are still getting ready to leave here. The hand of God is surely at work in the affairs of man right on down to the most minute of details.

      Delete
  14. Since this article was about Salvation, I think this is a great place to ask this question.

    Most people I come across like the Brent Miller films from Ingenuity Films. Early on with their first two films I subscribed to their email list. About the same time their offshoot project (One Path Research) of the "Pure Word" bible translation came out, and I subscribed to that email list also. I was originally interested in getting a copy, but I waited a bit and later decided not to.

    As of late I am getting emails which show the direction they are taking. Ones that I find disturbing myself.

    But I don't want to bias this question so I'll only ask anyone here who is familiar with both the translation and the emphasis they seem to be peddling what you guys think?

    I find this question relevant with all the deception running around these days, but if the Blog owners think this isn't the place for it then I'll delete it or they can delete it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd never heard of it before, but I went and did a (very brief) Google search about why some people liked it and others didn't. My personal (completely unprofessional) opinion is that I might get it as a companion Bible in the same way I'd get...oh, the New Living or perhaps the Message Bible. It's a single person's translation, and I felt it had possibly personal bias and flourishes that I might not exactly love. But, I don't think it necessarily strikes me as heretical. I'd pick the version that the people who run this website like (made?) over the Pure Word version. The Literal Standard Version. It seems like a more faithful translation to me.

      So there's my 2 cents.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. So I had replied to this but it hung up and seems to have disappeared.

      Thanks Sherrill. I agree. Because of the marketing push concerning it, and the things claimed in email by it, I am now therefor suspicious of the translation, and have disengaged from it.

      In this day and age we have to be VERY guarded about what we spend time and energy in.

      ;)

      Delete
  15. New footage of the so-called "aliens" that landed in the Las Vegas family's back yard as covered by a local Las Vegas news station have been discovered. If authentic (which it does seem to be if we are looking at actual footage from that house - which we presumably so we are told), it is a clear demonstration and unmistakable picture of the classic alien look. One of the pictures, which is the most definitive, is of the "alien" standing in front of the doorbell camera. The second picture is one behind the fence with a green look to it. Again, it has the classic large eyes. I inserted the video along with two screenshots from the video into the update section of my latest posting if anyone would like to see it (if you haven't already).
    https://endtimesdarknessdescending.wordpress.com/2023/06/10/the-working-delusion-and-damnation/

    ReplyDelete
  16. At https://www.dexerto.com/overwatch/overwatch-streamer-discovers-cheater-using-unstoppable-ai-teammate-1322794/ "Hacker groups reportedly team up to destroy European Banks in ‘world’s biggest cyber attack’".

    If that is going to happen, we can expect a total collapse of the current financial and monetary system. Russia is also able to destroy undersea communicatiopn cables, see https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russias-medvedev-says-moscow-now-has-free-hand-destroy-enemies-undersea-2023-06-14/ "Russia now has free hand to destroy undersea communications cables, Putin ally says".

    All in all, Russia is able to throw both the US and Europe into total chaos and destruction, paving the way for the rise of the Revived Roman Empire and the subsequent arrival of the antichrist from that empire.

    ReplyDelete
  17. OCEANGATE TITAN & RMS TITANIC

    Posting here as it was far more a fit to this topic than the current topic at hand.

    First, I wanted to express my condolences to the friends and families of those lost on the recent failed expedition to RMS Titanic. I can only imagine the depth of your grief as well as the number of those who have prayed for you, are praying for you and will pray for you. Count my prayers among them...

    I know I'm not the only one to say that all of this seems to mean something. A sign perhaps? I had not explored that until news dropped today of the location of the debris field 1600 ft from the bow of Titanic. Once I started asking the question and looking around I was struck by a few facts and a quote that I will share,

    "Many people in the community were very concerned about this sub. And a number of, of, uh, you know of the top players in the deep submergence engineering community even wrote letters to the company saying that what they were doing was too experimental to carry passengers and that needed to be certified and so on. So, I'm struck by the similarity of the Titanic disaster itself, where the Captain was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship and yet he steamed at full speed into an ice field on a moonless night. And many people died as a result. And for a very similar tragedy where warnings went unheeded to take place at the same exact site - with all the diving that's going on all around the world; uh, I, I think it's just astonishing, it's really quite surreal."

    James Cameron, ABC News Special Report (Interview along with Bob Ballard)
    Thursday, June 22, 2023

    How many times does God have to warn the world before He takes action? How many testimonies will it take for the stubborn and hardened of heart to listen to the voice of reason?

    It was a moonless night on April 15, 1912 that Titanic sped into the ice field to meet its fate. It was a moonless night on June 18, 2023, Father's Day in the US, that OceanGate's Titan submersible slipped beneath the waves for the last time to meet its fate. Both vessels carried some of the rich elite. All the lost share the same watery grave in the depths of the sea.

    12,600 feet down at the bottom of the North Atlantic.

    If to ask if this all has anything to do with the harpazo or the 70th week to come as a sign? It may. I can share a couple of observations that are "interesting" but at a later time if it seems appropriate.

    PR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm, just noticed one thing...

      The first and second half of the 70th week of Daniel is broken into two 1,260 day periods. Titanic and Titan lay 12,600 feet down on the bottom of the North Atlantic.

      Delete


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