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The New Wine System

The Gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom   (more)

Believe in Jesus and you will inherit eternal life.  But look at the context of John 3:16 for a true understanding of the Gospel.  John 3:14-15, says: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."  The people of Old Testament Israel were told to look upon the serpent to be healed of sickness and disease.  But Christ was lifted up so that we can be healed from sin.  We must be saved from sin.  All sins are habitual.  If we still sin, we must continue to look to the cross in order to stop sinning – in order to be healed from our sinful habits, so that we no longer sin.  Only then can we inherit eternal life. (more)

Inheriting the Kingdom

An Introduction to the New Wine System

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The early church distanced themselves from the Jews. For example, at the Council of Nicene in 325 AD, Constantine sided with those who wanted to stop observing Passover and start observing Easter.  He said, "We desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep the feast.  …  It would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people."

Also, the school of Alexandra specifically sought to interpret the Old Testament in a spiritual way such that the Greek mindset would be more accepting of the seemingly barbaric nature of Jewish Scripture.  They did the same with New Testament Scripture.  There was never much attempt to interpret the New Testament like a Jew would have done.  So there was never much attempt to interpret the New Testament in the context of the Old Testament.

Because of this, we have distorted presuppositions about Scripture.  We try to “reinterpret the Old Testament in light of the New.”  These presuppositions cause us to have vast differences in interpretation between Catholics and Protestants, and between the various denominations of the Protestants.  The New Wine System solves all this by truly interpreting the New Testament in the context of the Old in a very literal way.  The Old Testament is also interpreted very literally.

Inheriting the Kingdom
An Introduction to
The New Wine System
Philip B. Brown ( www.newwine.org )

Appendix A – Problems with the Pre-tribulation Rapture

Appendix B – Problems with Christian Universalism

Appendix C – Problems with Preterism (Past Fulfillment)

Appendix D – The New Wine System is More Literal

The early church distanced themselves from the Jews. For example, at the Council of Nicene in 325 AD, Constantine sided with those who wanted to stop observing Passover and start observing Easter.  He said, "We desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep the feast.  …  It would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people."

Also, the school of Alexandra specifically sought to interpret the Old Testament in a spiritual way such that the Greek mindset would be more accepting of the seemingly barbaric nature of Jewish Scripture.  They did the same with New Testament Scripture.  Historically, there has never been much attempt to interpret the New Testament in the context of the Old Testament, even when it means abandoning some strong traditional views.

Because of this, we have distorted presuppositions about Scripture.  We try to “reinterpret the Old Testament in light of the New.”  These presuppositions cause us to have vast differences in interpretation between Catholics and Protestants, and between the various denominations of the Protestants.  The New Wine System solves all this by truly interpreting the New Testament in the context of the Old in a very literal way.  The Old Testament is also interpreted very literally.

At this point some dispensationalists will object by saying they interpret the Scripture very literally. It’s called the historical/grammatical system of hermeneutics.  It’s true that dispensationalists, beginning around 1830 AD, began to interpret the Old Testament more literally regarding eschatology.  (This is the study of the end times.)  It’s true that dispensationalists interpret the Old Testament books of prophecy very much like ancient Jews would have interpreted their own books.  But to accomplish this, the New Testament was reinterpreted in only one small point. 

Dispensationalists believe the Church is a separate “plan” or “purpose” of God from that of Israel.  Thus, traditional interpretations of New Testament Scripture are simply applied to the New Testament Church and not to Israel.  Old Testament prophecies are applied to Israel and not the Church.  The Church becomes a “parenthesis” between two dispensations of Israel.  But what if Gentile believers really are grafted into Israel (Romans 11:18-36)?  If the olive tree in this passage is not Israel, then from what were the unbelieving Jews broken off?  When we truly understand that Gentile believers are grafted into Israel, then there cannot be two “plans” or “purposes” for God’s people.  Paul says, “there is no difference between Jew and Greek” (Romans 10:12).

Dispensationalism does, however, have one very good point.  Dispensationalists view Jews as God’s chosen people and are not God’s problem people.  This has allowed a significant portion of the Church to start loving the Jewish people instead of harboring a very anti-Semitic view of the Jewish people.  When Israel became a nation again, the dispensational part of the Church could see this as God’s work.  Yet, a large part of the Church today will side with the Palestinians against Israel, not understanding that the restoration of Israel as a nation is exactly what our Christian Bible teaches.

In the very same breath, where Paul says we are grafted into the olive tree (Israel), he tells us not to be arrogant toward the Jews.

Romans 11:17-18 ESV  But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,  (18)  do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.

What does Paul mean by the fact that the Jews support the Gentiles, even if they are broken off Israel?  Even if the Jews today are no longer in the vine of Israel, we still have their Old Testament Scripture.  If we do not interpret the New Testament authors in the context of their own Old Testament Scripture, then we forsake the very support of that root.

But the second century Church became very arrogant towards the Jews.  There was even a movement to exclude the Old Testament from the cannon.  The Jews were God’s problem people.  The Church was viewed as a replacement for Old Testament Israel.  Except for the dispensationalists and other premillennialists, this view continues today.  Throughout history, the Christians hated the Jews.  Even today, many Jews believe that all Christians hate them.  With all this history of arrogance and hatred towards the root of Scripture, can Christians honestly believe they have been interpreting the New Testament correctly?

The dispensationalists are correct in saying we should not be arrogant towards the Jews.  They are still the focus of God’s redemptive plan.  But the dispensationalists have missed Paul’s point that such arrogance causes great harm to our understanding of the New Testament because it has never really been properly and naturally interpreted in the context of its Old Testament root.

Scripture should be interpreted literally and read naturally.  How would the original authors and their audience have naturally read Scripture?  We should not use figurative and allegorical interpretations to make it fit what we believe it to be saying.  We must be on guard against presuppositions that we have been taught throughout the centuries.  The early church distanced themselves from the Jews, who were the very authors of Scripture.  Even our most basic doctrines of salvation have been clouded because of centuries of replacement theology.

Prior to dispensationalism, the Church was believed to be a replacement for Israel by both Protestants and Catholics.  The Jews had rejected the Messiah.  So, they could not be God’s people.  They were God’s problem people.  Jews of all ages have been hatefully blamed for the crucifixion of Christ.  But God never had a “plan B.”  God always knew the Jews would reject the Messiah.  They are still his chosen people.  Gentiles are grafted into Israel, and are thus also God’s chosen people.  There is no difference.  There is no “plan B.”  This is exactly the issue that Paul addresses in Romans 9-11, where we read about the olive tree.  Just as there is no “plan B”, there is also no “parenthesis” in God’s redemptive plan.  Gentile believers have been grafted into God’s only redemptive plan.  So, the New Testament must be reinterpreted.

The early Church tried to distance themselves from the Jews.  This blinded them because salvation cannot be understood without an understanding of how Israel fits into the Messianic reign of Christ.  So, the New Wine System requires a proper understanding of the end times as taught by Jesus in the context of the Old Testament.  With this in mind, the gospel of the kingdom becomes one that truly reflects the loving nature of our heavenly Father.

The New Wine System can be understood simply by considering how a wise and loving Father raises his children.  But don’t restrict his plans to our presuppositions about Scripture.  We must remember that our Father in heaven is the wisest and the most loving of all possible fathers.  Do we become a child of our Father by finding out about him and believing in him?  Or do we become a child of our Father by simply being born?   We are all children of Adam, and Adam was a child of God (Luke 38:8).  We are already His children because He created us.

Does God have a redemptive plan that includes only a chosen few of his children?  Or does the Father’s plan, in a very practical way, include all his children?  That’s not to say everyone will inherit eternal life.  But God’s plan will give everyone of all generations the opportunity to spend the time on the earth that it takes to mature in Christ.  We are all God’s children and he has a plan for everyone.

This is not Christian Universalism.  People are not given the opportunity to repent when they die, or while they are in hell.  Nor is this Unitarian Universalism.  You can’t get to heaven through other religions.  The only way to the Father is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.  There is no other name under heaven by which a person can be saved.  And we must spend time maturing in Christ while here on the earth before we can inherit eternal life.

Does this sound like a contradiction?  It’s not when one gets rid of our presuppositions about the plans of our heavenly Father.  The best way to understand our relationship with our heavenly Father is to first ask a question that has plagued many people for a very long time.  Why does God allow his children to suffer?  Why does God allow all people to suffer?

1) Why Does God Allow Suffering?

The simple and best answer is that we were all created by God with free will.  God the Father loves all that he created.  God loves us unconditionally.  In return, God wants us to love Him unconditionally.  At the same time, God is the Creator.  The Creator cannot allow for disobedience indefinitely.

If an electronics and software engineer were to create an intelligent robot, he would most likely make the robot to look like himself.  If he gave this robot the ability to make his own decisions, he would still want the robot to obey his creator.  If the robot stopped obeying his commands, it might be tricky to fix the robot without disrupting the robot’s ability to make his own decisions.

God loves all his creatures, including animals.  But animals cannot love God.  God gives everlasting life only to those created in his image because we can love God.  Those who deliberately disobey God do not love him.  So, they lose their everlasting life.  God cannot allow deliberate disobedience to continue indefinitely.  If the subject of a king deliberately disobeys the commands of the king, then it is treason.  If there is no repentance, the subject must be executed even if the king personally still loves that subject.

God gave us free will, because without free will there is no true love of God.  To be able to truly love God, we must have the free will to disobey God.  God created Adam with the free will ability to disobey God.  If God were to have simply “fixed” Adam so that he could no longer disobey, then Adam would no longer have free will, and would thus no longer be able to love God.  Even if Adam remained intelligent, Adam would be like an animal.

The bride loves her husband and thus does things to show her love.  But if the things she does is not being done out of true unconditional love, then her love and obedience will not grow.  But if her love is true, then her obedience will grow to the point where it would be unthinkable for her to disobey.  She still has the free will ability to disobey.  She simply would never do so.  For a good marriage to work, this relationship maturity must be developed before the marriage can take place.  Therefore, we must become mature in Christ before we can be given eternal life.

After Adam sinned, his children were put under lesser “gods” who are also in rebellion against God.  The Most High God cannot allow mankind, who he still loves, to remain directly under his own authority.  That’s because we continue to be disobedient, and thus would have to be executed.  (God did this in the Great Flood.)  But God has a plan to redeem his children.  That plan cannot be to simply fix us so that we no longer disobey.  Doing so would remove our free will and thus we could no longer truly love God.  We can read about being ruled over by these lesser “gods” in Psalm 82.

Psalms 82:1-8  God presides in the great assembly. He judges among the gods(2)  "How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?" Selah.  (3)  "Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed(4)  Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked."  (5)  They don't know, neither do they understand. They walk back and forth in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are shaken.  (6)  I said, "You are gods, all of you are sons of the Most High.  (7)  Nevertheless you shall die like men, and fall like one of the rulers."  (8)  Arise, God, judge the earth, for you inherit all of the nations.

Right now, the nations are under the “prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:4, and Ephesians 2:2).  But as Psalm 82:8 (quoted above) says, God will take the nations back and will again be the Judge of the earth.  In the meantime, suffering continues because God doesn’t want to simply fix us so that we would no longer have free will.  Suffering also continues because the rulers of this world are enemies of God and have no interest in ending our pain and suffering.  They refuse to “rescue the weak and needy,” or to “deliver them out of the hands of the wicked.”  That’s why we have pain and suffering today.  But in the age to come, God will turn that pain and suffering into joy and will use the pain and suffering of this age to bring forth the maturity that is needed for his children to love and obey Christ the King of Kings.  But we will still have the free will to reject Christ’s authority.

2) Be a Wise and not a Foolish Virgin

The foolish virgins said, “Lord, Lord, let us in.”  Jesus replies, “Truly, I say to you, ‘I do not know youWatch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.’”  How can the fact that these foolish virgins don’t know the day or the hour possibly relate to the fact that they don’t get into the wedding banquet?  Is the problem really that they don’t know the day or hour?  The foolish virgins do not have as much oil in their lamps as the wise.  Shouldn’t they get caught up in the rapture no matter how much oil they have?  Or is it because they don’t watch the signs well enough?  Does the fact that they don’t study Daniel and Revelation cause them to be excluded from the wedding banquet?

Apparently, something is here that the average Christian does not understand, which will cause them to be foolish virgins.  But surely one’s understanding of obscure points of doctrine shouldn’t cause these virgins to be excluded.  Most Christians believe they couldn’t possibly be one of the foolish virgins because they claim to know Christ as their personal Savior.  But does Christ really know them?  Read the parable closely.  The only difference between the wise and the foolish virgins is that the foolish virgins do not have enough oil in their lamps. 

The foolish virgins believe they know Christ but they continue to sin.  They will insist that continued sin in one’s life will not prevent them from getting into the wedding banquet.  Is this the foolishness that Christ is warning about?  What does John say about those whom Christ does not know?  Can we interpret John’s words in the context of Jesus?

1 John 3:5-6 ESV  You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin(6)  No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

Matthew 7:21-23 ESV  Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  (22)  On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' (23) And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

Matthew 25:11-13 ESV  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.'  (12)  But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'  (13)  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

At the time of Christ, the Jews of Israel hated Roman rule over their lives and believed the Messiah would come to overthrow the Roman kingdom.  The term “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” is a reference to the eternal kingdom that will begin here on earth when the Messiah comes.  This can be seen in the context of Daniel 2, 7, 8, 9, and 12.  We must interpret the words of Jesus in the context of their end-time centric culture.  With these words of Jesus taken out of the context of Old Testament Jewish culture, the gospel of the kingdom can be misunderstood.  In this context, the Church is not ready for the return of Jesus Christ.

Daniel 9:24 ESV  Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy...

Many say sin was “put to an end” at the cross.  But this is a requirement for “your people” and “your holy city.”  It’s not something that Christ fulfilled at the cross.  Vision and prophecy were not sealed up at the cross.  Daniel had been praying for the forgiveness of Israel’s sins and for the desolation of Jerusalem to come to an end.  Seventy weeks of years (490 years) were decreed for God’s people to completely stop sinning before the Messiah comes. We are grafted into Israel.  Likewise, we must also completely stop sinning before we can be ready for Christ’s return.

Israel was told when the Messiah would come.  However, they failed to even recognize the Messiah and continued to sin.  Therefore, seven of the seventy weeks were moved into the future for a second coming.  The timing of the Messiah’s return became unknown.  They no longer knew the “day or the hour.”  But stating such would still mean we must stop sinning before Christ returns

We are told to watch the signs and be ready for Christ to return.  That’s the purpose of the seventy weeks.  That’s why Jesus told the foolish virgins that he didn’t know them and to watch the signs.  The foolish virgins were told they don’t know the day or the hour because in that culture, they knew that all of Israel must stop sinning before the Messiah comes.  Foolish virgins will miss Christ’s return.

This is like the watchman in the night.  To watch for the enemy to come is to be ready.  The enemy is sin.  As we watch for the signs, we get ready by overcoming all our sinful habits.  It’s the wicked servant who will not know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:42-51).  The wise servant will know when Christ will return.  We watch for the sign of the abomination and the great tribulation.  Salvation is a journey of faith and belief in Christ.  It’s an active journey during which we become like Christ, who did not sin.

Since salvation is a journey of faith, then how do we understand grace?  The answer is that grace is also part of that journey.  Grace is not simply God forgiving our sins.  Grace is the active presence and/or work of the Holy Spirit in us as we do the works given to us by the Father.  As we do the will (works) of the Father, the Holy Spirit works in us to make us into new creatures.  We become like Christ, doing the Father’s will, and we no longer sin. (Refer to Matthew 7:21‑23, quoted above.)

Paul wrote, “For by grace [God’s work] you have been saved through [continuous] faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of [your] works, that no one would boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8‑10).  We are not saved by our own works.  We are saved from sin by God’s works.

The early church preached the resurrection to the Gentiles because the disciples had witnessed the resurrection.  This was very different from the prevailing Greek view, because they believed in a spiritual life after death and not the resurrection.  Because of their unique eyewitness testimony, the disciples preached the gospel of the resurrection all over their known world.  They were willing to die for their testimony of the resurrection.  Just as with Christ, the cross comes before the resurrection.

The resurrection cannot be preached without knowing that the cross comes first.  If we expect to be resurrected into eternal life like Christ, we must take up our crosses and live for Christ.  We overcome all our sinful habits to be like Christ.  We must be ready for a martyr’s death.  But continued sin keeps Christians in slavery to sin and unwilling to die for Christ.  As we do the Father’s works, the Holy Spirit changes us inside.  This is the gospel of the Cross followed by the Resurrection.

There are two active spirits of deception in our churches today.  These can be thought of as literal demonic spirits, or simply as deceptions that are from Satan, designed to deceive the Church regarding sin and being ready for Christ to return.

The first can be called the spirit of witchcraftIt’s a spirit of fear.  This spirit was prevalent in the churches through the centuries.  The believer becomes afraid of displeasing God, making the Father become a God of wrath even to the believer.   Luther wrestled with an unholy fear of God.  This led him to an understanding of salvation by grace alone.  But if grace is misunderstood, it can lead to another spirit of deception.

Grace is not “unmerited favor.”  Jesus was filled with grace (Luke 2:40).  But Jesus did not have “unmerited favor.”  Grace is the active presence and/or work of the Holy Spirit in us as we do the works given to us by the Father.  Paul would often start his letters with “grace be unto you.”  He wasn’t blessing them with “unmerited favor.”  This greeting is the same as “God be with you.”  If grace is “unmerited favor,” then why can people fall from grace?

Galatians 5:3-5 ESV  I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  (4)  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace(5)  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Here (above) Paul says that grace is the “power of Christ.”  It’s an active and on-going power.  It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit in us to change us and to empower us to do the Father’s works.

Acts 20:31-32 ESV  Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.  (32)  And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Here we see that grace is an on-going process that builds us up.  Through our journey of grace, over time, we are sanctified (made righteous) so that we can receive our inheritance.  Only those who overcome all their sinful habits will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  (10)  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:18-23 ESV  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law(19)  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20)  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions(21)  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God(22)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The Greek word for grace simply means “favor.”  After Pentecost, all believers who desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit are filled.  But this was not the case in Old Testament times.  Those who were filled by the Holy Spirit were considered “favored” by God.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for “favor” and “grace” is the exact same word.  That’s why some have said grace is “unmerited favor.”  Their presupposition is that grace means sins are forgiven.  But as we have seen, this meaning doesn’t fit the context of all the verses with the word ‘grace.’  However, if you go through every verse in the New Testament and substitute ‘grace’ with God’s presence or God’s work, every verse begins to make perfect sense.

Grace is the active presence and/or work of the Holy Spirit in us as we do the works given to us by the Father.  Grace is not “unmerited favor.”  It’s not the forgiveness of sins.  Yes, the Father forgives us when we repent.  The blood of Jesus Christ is a ransom for all our sins.  But we must stop sinning before we can inherit the kingdom.  Grace is the active presence and/or work of the Holy Spirit in us so that we can overcome all our sinful habits.  This means that salvation is a journey of grace and faith.  It’s a journey of grace because the Holy Spirit does the work of changing us, making us into new creatures.  It’s a journey of faith because we believe in God to change us.  We hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV  For by [God’s work] you have been saved through [continual] faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  (9)  not a result of [your] works, so that no one may boast.  (10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Israel was given 490 years to stop sinning before the Messiah would come.  But they did so under the Law of Moses.  The Law was given on Mount Sinai at the time of Pentecost.  The Law defined sin.  Old covenant Israel was told to stop sinning by means of self-control and self-effort.  Israel was scattered to Babylon for 70 years because Israel continued to sin.  At the end of those 70 years, Israel was given 490 years to stop sinning before the Messiah would come.  But Israel continued to sin.

Under the Law, only a few “favored” were given the Holy Spirit.  Everyone else was expected to stop sinning by their own power.  But after the crucifixion of Christ, all believers were given the Power of the Holy Spirit.  This also happened on the day of Pentecost.  Thus, Pentecost is all about the Law.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Grace is the Power of Christ to overcome sin and to live for Christ.  Christ’s Power is made perfect in our own weakness.  However, most Christians today deny this Power because they deny that we can become “perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.”

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty(2)  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good(4)  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God(5)  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

This verse perfectly describes the Church today.  Church members are no different than the rest of the world.  And the reason is right here.  Most of the Church denies the Power of the Holy Spirit to overcome all sinful habits in their lives.

Acts 1:8 ESV  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Romans 1:16 ESV  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

The presence of the Holy Spirit makes all true believers become “favored” by God.  Grace saves us instead of being under the Law of Moses.  But the requirement remains to overcome all sinful habits before the Messiah comes.  That grace is God’s Power, instead of our own power, to stop sinning.  The Holy Spirit is our Helper (John 13:26) giving us that Power.  Gentile believers are grafted into Israel.  We stop sinning by faith in that Power.

Titus 2:11-14 ESV  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  (12)  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,  (13)  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ(14)  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Under the Law of Moses, God gave us his written words as to what we should and should not do.  To disobey is sin.  Under the new covenant, we must still overcome all our sinful habits.  But God gives us the Holy Spirit as a Helper to change us on the inside so that we no longer sin.  The new covenant was prophesied to come by Jeremiah.

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

These verses are quoted in Hebrews 8:8-12.  This is the longest quote of the Old Testament in the New Testament.  Right after these words, the writer of Hebrews adds this verse:

Hebrews 8:13 ESV  In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Notice that the new covenant is with the “house of Israel and the house of Judah.”  It’s not a covenant with Gentiles except that we are grafted into Israel.  Thus, Israel did not become obsolete.  The Church did not replace Israel.  Gentile believers are grafted into Israel.  Since Gentile believers are in Israel, the need to stop sinning before the Messiah comes was not made obsolete. 

But now there’s a new way to fulfil the Law.  Instead of living under the Law of Moses, whereby we try to obey with our own efforts, we have the Holy Spirit as our Helper.  This is living under grace.  But we must still overcome all our sinful habits before Christ returns.  Right after this new covenant in Jeremiah, we have an affirmation that Israel is eternal.  So again, the new covenant does not replace Israel.

Jeremiah 31:35-37 ESV  Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD of hosts is his name:  (36)  "If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever."  (37)  Thus says the LORD: "If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the LORD."

Under the new covenant, the law is “written on our hearts.”  That means our very nature is changed.  The desires of our heart changes from serving self and sin to serving the Father and our neighbors.  This doesn’t happen overnight.  Salvation under the new covenant is a journey that tends to take time.  But it remains a journey that must be completed before the Messiah comes.

Notice that the new covenant states, “They shall all know me.”  This is opposed to the old covenant where, “each one teaches his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD.'”  In other words, the old is learned from a written Law.  The new is a change of heart whereby we really know God.  But the foolish virgins and the foolish false prophets don’t really know ChristThey continue to sin.

We started this lesson by learning about the foolish virgins of whom Christ says, “I never knew you.”  This parable is one of four that Jesus gave when the disciples asked about his second coming (Matthew 24-25).  The first of these four parables is about the wise or wicked servant.  The wicked servant doesn’t know when his master will return and chooses to beat his fellow servants because he knows his master is long in coming.

This is the spirit of witchcraft, also known as the spirit of fear that has been in the churches for all these centuries.  Church leaders use fear to control Christ’s servants.  Down deep they have contempt for Christ and do not love Christ’s true servants.  This stifles any desire in the churches to truly further the kingdom of God.  These wicked servants in the churches will be cast into the lake of fire after the millennial reign of Christ.  They are not expecting, nor looking, for Christ to return.

The third of these four end-time parables is the parable of the talents.  The wicked servant hides his one talent.  This parable is talking about the second of the two demonic spirits that deceive our churches in these end times.  It’s called the spirit of antichrist.

John speaks of the spirit of antichrist as having already gone out into the world (1 John 2:18 2:22, 4:3, 2 John 1:7).  In John’s day, the spirit of antichrist was the beginnings of the Gnostics.  The word ‘antichrist’ means ‘against Christ.’  That spirit uses subtle deceptions about Scripture which leads the church away from the clear teachings of Christ.

Martin Luther realized that grace alone saves us.  But over time, the journey aspect of grace became misunderstood.  When grace became a one-time decision for Christ, the need to overcome sin became obscured.  At first it was called free-grace.  Then it became radical grace (or hyper-grace).  The need for repentance and the need to overcome sin became divorced from the doctrines of salvation.  The “gospel of Christ” started to be perceived as completely different from the “gospel of Paul.”  Books have been written about the perceived difference between these two gospels.  But the differences disappear when grace is properly understood.

Radical grace causes pastors to avoid preaching against sin.  This spirit of antichrist is portrayed in the parable of the talent.  The servant buried his talent in the ground instead of working for the kingdom.  He considered his master as cruel and said that he “reaped where he did not sow.”  He didn’t want to work for the kingdom.  He was “against Christ.”  This is the spirit of antichrist in the churches.  It’s a very subtle demonic deception and is harder to see.  It’s predominant in the churches today and leads to the strong delusion of 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

Radical grace (or hyper-grace) preachers don’t understand that grace is God’s presence or God’s work.  They don’t believe that salvation is a journey of grace through continual faith to overcome all our sinful habits.  They will often say that repentance is not necessary for salvation.  They put emphasis on Paul because Paul taught about grace.  But they incorrectly interpret Paul’s letters with their incorrect definition of grace.

One radical grace preacher I know personally told me the great commission became obsolete at Pentecost.  This is based on dispensationalism.  For the Church, dispensationalists believe salvation is based purely on faith and not the overcoming of sin. 

He recognizes this was not the teaching of Jesus.  But the great commission says to baptize new believers and teach them everything Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).  So, radical grace will naturally teach that the great commission became obsolete.

To one degree or other, most preachers today see friction between the “gospel of Jesus” and the “gospel of Paul.”  Most preachers today do not understand grace.  Without a proper understanding of grace, preachers tend to avoid the issue of sin.  Most preachers today never preach against sin.  But Jesus said that we will know these false-prophet preachers by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).  Their fruits are their church-goers.  Today, statistics show that evangelical Christians are morally indistinguishable from the rest of the world.  On the average, Christians continue to sin just as much as anyone and everyone.  That’s because they have been taught, “Nobody is perfect.  Come as you are.”  We know these false-prophet teachers by their bad fruit.

Right after these verses about the false prophets who say “Lord, Lord,” we are told what Jesus will say to them.  Christ will say, “I never knew you.”  They are wolves in sheep clothing.  But they honestly believe they understand the meaning of grace and their resulting false doctrines about salvation.  They believe what they were taught.

Many of these false-prophet preachers today say that the words of Jesus are obsolete, and that you will inherit the kingdom even if you continue to sin.  But these two “Lord, Lord” verses (Matthew 7:21‑23 and 25:11-13) both prophesy about the future return of Christ.  Are these two prophecies obsolete?  To make these two prophecies of Jesus obsolete is to make Jesus into a false prophet.  Who then, will be the false prophet?  Will Jesus be a false prophet?  Or, when Christ returns, will these wolves in sheep clothing be proven to be the real false prophets? 

Both the spirits of witchcraft and antichrist try to obscure the true meaning of God’s grace.  Both lead to the believer effectively living under Law, in self-effort salvation, instead of living under grace.  Living under grace is living in God’s presence and work.

To inherit the kingdom, we must overcome all our sinful habits before Christ returns.  When grace is understood to be the presence and/or works of the Holy Spirit, and when salvation is understood to be a journey to overcome all our sinful habits, then the words of Jesus and the words of Paul come into complete harmony.

The Jews believed the Messiah would come and overthrow the Roman kingdom.  They correctly understood that Israel is a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, chosen to rule the world under the reign of the Messiah.  But world rulers who inherit God’s kingdom must first overcome all their sinful habits.  In the kingdom of God, (here on the earth) the rulers cannot continue to sin.

Revelation 2:25-26 NIV  Only hold on to what you have until I come. (26)  To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations

The fourth end-times parable, found in Matthew 25:31-46, is the parable of the sheep and the goats.  This parable is traditionally interpreted as involving two groups of people.  The sheep are judged as righteous for their good works.  The goats are judged as unrighteous for their lack of good works.  This leaves some theologians scratching their heads and wondering what ever happened to salvation by grace alone.  They say Jesus and Paul had different gospels.  But the parable is better understood if it's interpreted like an ancient Jew would have understood it to be read.

Verse 31 says this judgment happens when Jesus comes in his glory and sits on his throne.  In other words, this is during the Messianic reign.  Verse 32 says all the nations will be gathered before him.  The Jews would not have understood Israel to be one of the nations.  In other words, this is a judgment of the nations and not of Israel.  The people of true Israel are the chosen ones who will reign over the nations during the Messianic reign.  But the elect are not the only ones who will be resurrected.

In this parable, Christ calls the chosen ones his brothers (verse 40).  Christ’s brothers are the true Israel, including Gentile believers.  The sheep and the goats are not judged so much for their good works involving each other.  They are judged according to their good works involving the brothers of Christ.  In verse 40 Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me" (ESV).  This is not so much a judgment of works as it is a judgment of their attitude about Christians.  Their attitude about Christians reflects their attitude about Christ.  This is the primary teaching of the parable.  The wicked are condemned because of their hardened hearts toward Christ.  With a hardened heart toward Christ, they will not be able to mature in Christ during the Messianic reign.  This is not a judgment that happens immediately when Christ sets up his kingdom.  It’s about what will most likely happen throughout the millennium.

3) The Wise, the Foolish, and the Wicked

This parable of the sheep and the goats has three types of people.  The brothers are the wise.  The wise will receive spiritual bodies at the resurrection.  This judgment happens after the resurrection during the Messianic reign.  With spiritual bodies, the wise will not be subject to further judgment that could lead to the lake of fire.  Therefore, the wise cannot be either the sheep or the goats.  Looking at it the way an ancient Jew would have understood it, the wise are a part of Israel, not a part of the nations.  The sheep, therefore, are the foolish who become wise, and the goats are the foolish who become wicked.  In other words, the sheep and the goats are still under judgment, even after being resurrected.  They are raised to a resurrection of judgment (John 5:28-29 ESV).  It’s not a resurrection of damnation, which is an oxymoron.

As we have seen, the unknown day and hour is better understood when Old Testament context is considered.  All the words of Jesus are better understood when interpreted in Old Testament context.  Let’s go back to Isaiah 26 for a better understanding about the resurrection and what Jesus meant about being born again (John 3:1-13).

Isaiah 26:17-19 ESV  Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD;  (18)  we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.  (19)  Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.

This passage establishes the metaphor of the pregnant woman that is found throughout Scripture.  Isaiah 66:8-9 refers to the pregnant woman.  It’s about the nation of Israel being born in a day.  Isaiah is talking about the resurrection.  “The earth will give birth to the dead.”

We will be born again.  That’s what Jesus spoke of in John 3:1‑13.  Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit'” (John 3:6 ESV).  The wise will be born again with new spiritual bodies.  This doesn’t mean we won’t have bodies.  The wise will have heavenly bodies like Jesus after the resurrection.  He could vanish before their eyes (Luke 24:31).  He could appear in the middle of locked rooms (John 20:26).  “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8 ESV).  And he could eat (Luke 24:43).  To be born again is to be resurrected.

Hosea 13:12-14 refers to the pregnant woman in saying that many in Ephraim (the northern kingdom) will not be resurrected.  They turned to other gods and did not repent.  This passage is where Paul gets the saying, in reference to the resurrection, that “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).  In the original resurrection chapter of Isaiah 26, verses 11-14 tells us that the enemies of God will not be resurrected.

Isaiah 26:10-11,14 ESV  If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD.  (11)  O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.  …  (14)  They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them.

This resurrection chapter of Isaiah 26 tells us, “the earth will give birth to the dead.”  Literally, the souls come from the earth.  Some translations render it this way.  Others use the context of the pregnant woman and say that the earth gives birth to the dead.

Isaiah 26:19 HCSB  Your dead will live; their bodies will rise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust! For you will be covered with the morning dew, and the earth will bring out the departed spirits.

Thus, we see this very early teaching about two regions in Sheol (Hades).  This is seen in the parable of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).  The parable describes a “great chasm” between the enemies of God and those like Lazarus.  Does this mean the wicked in Hades are already in torment?  No, when they awake from their sleep, they will be in torment in the lake of fire.  Time is not perceived while asleep.  The point of the parable, as given in the last verse, is that even if Lazarus were to come back and preach about the torment, the enemies of God would not repent.  This was demonstrated with the resurrection of the real Lazarus (John 11).

No other passage associates Hades with torment.  Instead, Jesus used the word ‘Gahanna’ to talk about hell-fire torment.  Gahanna was developed during the intertestamental periodIt refers to the time of the end, and thus torment would have been understood to take place after the resurrection.  After the millennial reign of Christ, the enemies of God will awake, be judged, and then thrown into the lake of fire, where there is no sleep day or night (Revelation 14:11).  From their perspective, the dead wake up right after they die.  Hades (Sheol) is death, not torment.  But eventually, death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).  This means the dead who sleep in the grave will no longer sleep.  At this point, all the dead are wicked.  They are thrown into torment.

Let’s continue with our study of the pregnant woman.  Matthew 24:8 speaks about the beginnings of the birth pains.  The pregnant woman is about the time of the resurrection.  The gathering of the elect (verse 31) is “immediately after the tribulation” (verse 29).  Paul describes the time of the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:1 – 5:10. This is in the context of grief over those who have already fallen asleep.  The dead in Christ will rise first, before the rapture.  Paul refers to the pregnant woman in verse 5:3.

(By the way, Revelation 20:4-6 tells us that the first resurrection is after the tribulation.  1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 tells us that the rapture is after the resurrection.  The dead in Christ will rise first.  Therefore, the rapture must also be after the tribulation.)

Revelation 12 is all about the metaphor of the pregnant woman.  The head of the woman has a crown of twelve stars.  Twelve is symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The woman is clothed with the sun, and the moon is under her feet.  This comes from Joseph's dream in Genesis 37:9-10.  In the dream the sun and the moon and eleven stars bow down to him.  The dream was about his father, mother, and his eleven brothers bowing down to him, which was fulfilled years later after Joseph became a ruler in Egypt.  So, the woman is Israel.

The firstborn of the woman (Israel) is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He is taken up to heaven.  Satan makes war on the rest of her offspring.  These are all the people of Israel, including the grafted Gentile believers.  The “earth will give birth to the dead.”  The people of Israel are the elect.  They will be resurrected with heavenly bodies, like the angels.  They are the wise ones who overcome sin before Christ sets up his kingdom.  They are the Bride of Christ.  They are the wise who get into the wedding banquet.  They are resurrected in the first resurrection.

But after that, those in the nations who have not yet overcome sin can also be resurrected.  They are still under judgment.  The foolish virgins who believe in Christ saying “Lord, Lord,” and the false prophets who believe in Christ saying “Lord, Lord,” will be resurrected in the second resurrection.  They will have natural, mortal, earthly bodies like they have now.  They will live with the nations.  The foolish, who do not overcome all their sinful habits, can still be resurrected with mortal bodies.  It’s a resurrection of judgment because they are still under judgment.  This second resurrection is in the “same hour” as the first resurrection.  Then at the end of the millennium, the wicked who have rejected Christ will come to life and will be judged.  They will be thrown into the lake of fire where there is “no rest day or night.”

John 5:28-29 ESV  Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice  (29)  and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Notice that both resurrections take place at the same “hour”.  This can be interpreted as the same time.  (The Greek word can mean time.)  So, the two resurrections could be within a time of several years.  But it cannot be a separation of a thousand years.  The wicked will not be resurrected.  And the two resurrections are at the same time.  Christ’s sheep hear his voice.  Even his lost sheep can still hear his voice.  The wicked do not “come to life” until after the thousand years.  They can no longer hear Christ’s voice.

Acts 24:14-15 ESV  But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,  (15)  having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

Paul speaks of the resurrection of both the just and the unjust.  Notice that Paul is speaking to his Jewish accusers.  He was on trial.  The fact that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of both the just and the unjust is assumed in this passage.  That’s because the natural reading of Isaiah 26 is that almost all the dead who are in the earth will be resurrected.  Isaiah is part of their Bible.  We need to start interpreting New Testament Jewish authors in the context of their own Jewish Bible.

This is not two resurrections separated by a thousand years.  In Revelation 20, after the thousand-year reign of Christ, the word “resurrection” is not used for the souls who are awakened for judgment.  It’s not a resurrection because they are not being brought back from the grave to live again.  A “resurrection of damnation” is an oxymoron.

Some have objected to this saying, “People will not get a second chance.”  But is that the Father’s heart?  Is death really an obstacle for God?  Does the Father’s plan really say that those who have died, having never heard about Christ, will burn in hell?  The death of Christ is a ransom for everyone.  His death was not just for a specific elect few.  We all have continued second chances.  The Father never gives up on his children unless they deliberately and knowingly reject Christ.

1 Timothy 4:10 ESV  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

1 John 2:2 ESV  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

4) Why Did God Allow the Church to be Wrong?

Any doctrine of Scripture that is different can be difficult to accept, even when it lines up with Scripture.  Why would God have allowed the Church to be mistaken about the doctrines of salvation for all these centuries?  But is not the Catholic doctrine of salvation very different from Protestant doctrines?  Will Christ return and say one is right and the other is wrong?  Has not God allowed at least one or the other to be wrong?  The New Wine System is somewhere in the middle between the Catholics and the Protestants.  Could it be that the truth hides in the middle?  The word ‘Catholic’ means ‘one’, or ‘unity’.

John 17:9-11 ESV  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.  (10)  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them(11)  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Has this prayer of Jesus been answered?  Is it true today?  Can we expect this prayer to be answered?  Is it possible that there will be true unity in the Church before Christ sets up his kingdom?  I’m not saying we will agree on everything.  But we must agree on doctrines of salvation before we can be considered one, even as Jesus and the Father are one.

I believe doctrinal error began to creep into the Church when the Church disobeyed Paul regarding the Jews.  The Church became increasingly anti-Semitic throughout the centuries.  The early Church became very arrogant towards the unbelieving Jews.  They distanced themselves from the Jews, even to the point of excluding the Old Testament Scripture.  This caused the New Testament reader to misinterpret the Scripture. The Greek mindset Christians began to read concepts like Hades under Greek presuppositions instead of in the context of Old Testament Jewish understanding.

Over time, the idea of a millennial reign of Christ became known as “Jewish superstitions.”  Old Testament prophecies about the Messianic reign became allegorical and interpreted as being about the first coming of Christ.  This is called amillennialism and was predominate in both Catholic and Protestant circles.  Millennialism regained some popularity when dispensationalism came along, starting in 1830.  But even then, the dispensationalists separated Israel from the Church.  The Church went to heaven in the pre-tribulation rapture while Israel could have their Messianic reign here on the earth.  Centuries-old views of the doctrines of salvation could still be applied to Gentile believers without forcing the New Testament to be interpreted in the context of the Old.

Amillennialism goes together with supersessionism, also known as replacement theology.  They believed the Jews are no longer a part of God’s plan.  Even Martin Luther and Calvin were amillennial and thus believed the Jews were a problem for God.  Luther became extremely anti-Semitic after it became clear the Jews would not join his Reformation.  Hitler’s case for the “Jewish problem” originated with Martin Luther.  Without an understanding of the restoration of Jewish (and Gentile) Israel, to reign with the Messiah, the words of Jesus and Paul about salvation became vastly misunderstood.  Tradition is a very strong motivator.

With amillennialism, eternity must be determined at the time of death because there is no millennial reign to begin or continue one’s journey of salvation after the resurrection.  This prevents us from accepting any notion that we must overcome all our sinful habits before the Messiah comes to set up his kingdom.  Westley believed in a form of Christian Perfection.  But he considered it to be a “second blessing” instead of a journey of salvation. 

Luther had big problems with the book of James.  He called it an “episcopal of straw.”  It didn’t fit his understanding of grace.

James 1:22 ESV But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  … So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17

This made no sense to Luther.  These verses should be on the walls of every church building.  Without works, there is no filling of the Spirit, which is grace.  Without works, virgins are deceived and remain foolish.  Every Christian needs to have faith in God to make him “perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  It’s faith to save us from sin before the Messiah comes.

5) Five Progressive Israeli Covenants

At this point, the heads of most Christians will be spinning.  Tradition is very strong.  It’s not easy to rethink traditional interpretations of the New Testament.  But like the Reformers, we really need to stand on Scripture alone.  Let’s go back and take a fresh look at the Old Testament.  What is Israel in the Old Testament?  And if we are grafted into the Old Testament Israel, then how does it affect us as Christians today?

The blood of Christ saves us.  But how does salvation relate to Israel?  What is Israel?  Did God know that Israel would reject Christ?  Did God really need a new plan?  Did God’s plan fail?

Romans 9:4-7a ESV  They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises(5)  To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.  (6)  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, (7a) and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring

To understand better, we need to understand Israel in the Old Testament.  Israel is “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).  Peter is talking about the Church, which is grafted into Israel, as he quoted this verse:

Exodus 19:5-6 ESV  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine(6)  and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."

God is forming a nation of his own in the middle of all the nations that are being ruled by Satan.  The people of that nation are only those who obey God’s voice and keep his covenant.  Thus, Paul is correct in saying that, “Not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Romans 9:6, quoted above).  So, what does God need to form his holy nation?  A nation requires five things.  A nation needs land, people, laws, priests, and a king.

All these aspects of Israel are found in the covenants.  Covenants are very solemn promises.  God is giving his own word that he will keep these promises.  These covenants are assurances to the people of Israel that the promises will be kept.  Thus, covenants are prophecies.  Again, all these properties of the holy nation of Israel are found in the covenants.  Therefore, Israel itself is a promise of a nation that would be “my treasured possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine” (verse 5 above).  Israel is a prophecy of a holy nation that will rule over all the other nations of the world, bringing righteousness to all the nations.

The holy nation of Israel is promised in five covenants.  The first Israeli covenant was given to Abraham.  He is the first patriarch of Israel.  This one covenant with Abraham included three promises (Genesis 13:14‑17, 15:9-10, and 15:17-21.)  Abraham was promised all the land of Palestine and more descendants than he could count.  This was a promise of land and people for the future and holy nation of Israel.  Abraham was also promised that this nation of Israel would be a blessing to all the other nations.

The second Israeli covenant was given to Moses (Deuteronomy 5:1-13).  He was given the Law.  Every nation needs laws.  Old Testament Israel was never a complete fulfillment to all that God has promised for Israel.  The promise of Israel is not completely fulfilled until the Messiah comes as the King of Israel.  The King of Israel is the King of Kings.  Thus, Israel will rule over all the other nations.  All nations need laws.  Moses was given some laws that reflect the nature of good and evil.  These are reflected in the Ten Commandments and are God’s eternal Laws.  Other laws were also given that were needed in that day and time.  These were shadows of laws that are to come.  They were “nailed to the cross.”

The third Israeli covenant was given to Phinehas, a Levite (Numbers 25:10-13).  Every nation needs priests.  God’s holy nation will be a nation of priests and kings.  Israel will rule over all the other nations when Christ returns.  Those who are in Christ will reign with Christ over all the other nations as kings and priests.

The fourth Israeli covenant was given to David.  This covenant is given in 2 Samuel 7:11b-16, 2 Chronicles 21:7, Psalms 89:3-4 and Jeremiah 33:20-21.  This covenant promises to keep a descendent of David on David’s throne forever.  It will be fulfilled in Christ, the Son of David.  Today, the covenant is partially fulfilled.  The kingdom of this world is Satan’s (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11).  But as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), the kingdom of heaven is in the hearts of those who are in Christ.  And we who are in Christ are also in the world (John 17:15).

We can see that the prophecy of Israel is progressive in nature.  Even in Old Testament times, the Kingdom of Israel was “here and now but not yet.”  The kingdom of God will be here on the earth when the Messiah comes.  Until then, it’s still a promise that was only partially fulfilled with Old Testament Israel.  When Christ returns to set up his kingdom, the prophecy of Israel will be completely fulfilled.  Until then, the kingdom is here and now but not yet.  It’s here and now in our hearts, but not yet in the world.

Why is Israel progressive in nature?  Why must God wait before he can set up his kingdom?  There are two reasons.  The first reason is that the people of Israel must be holy.  They must overcome all their sinful habits before they are qualified to reign over the nations with the coming King.  As we have seen, Israel was given 490 years to completely stop sinning before the Messiah would come.  I believe Paul realized, however, that not every single individual descendant of Abraham would overcome all their sinful habits before the Messiah sets up his kingdom.  (His kingdom is a completed holy nation called Israel.)  Paul understood, therefore, that “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.” And, “Not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring” (Romans 9:6-7, quoted above.)  Only those who become holy by the time the Messiah would come would be part of this coming promised holy nation, promised unconditionally to Abraham.

Paul continues with his reasons for why God’s word did not failed.  Israel is a chosen people of God.  This is election.  God chooses those who will overcome all their sinful habits prior to the coming of the Messiah.  God chooses those who will reign over the nations along with the Messiah.

Romans 9:7b-8 ESV "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named."  (8)  This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Paul (Romans 9:9-13) continues with examples of election from the Old Testament.  But this election is not just an election of salvation.  It’s an election of those who will overcome all their sinful habits so that they can reign with the Messiah over all the other nations.

We have shown that Israel is progressive in nature.   This is because God must wait before he can set up his kingdom.  We’ve covered the first of two reasons.  The second reason for God to wait is that God wants people from every nation, tribe, people, and language to be grafted into Israel so that Israel will have rulers from every nation.  The Jews, like Peter, did not originally understand that Gentiles would receive the Holy Spirit.  But after Paul gives his Scriptural evidence for the election of Israel, he gives Old Testament Scriptural evidence (below) for Gentile believers being elected into Israel.  Thus, we are considered as one of Abraham’s offspring.  As citizens of Israel, we are no longer a part of the nations that are ruled over by Satan.  Israel is ruled over by God.

Romans 9:21-27 ESV  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?  (22)  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,  (23)  in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory--  (24)  even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles(25)  As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'"  (26)  "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 'sons of the living God.'"  (27)  And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved.

Only a remnant of the Jews will be saved.  Does this mean that everyone else goes to hell?  Not when you think about it in terms of election for the holy nation of Israel.  To be “saved” means you are given eternal lifeThe Jewish people understood salvation to be a reversal of what happened in the Garden of Eden.  Paradise means “enclosed garden.”   In the Septuagint, the garden in Genesis was called the “Paradise of Eden.”  To be eternally saved from death is to be allowed back into the Paradise of Eden.  Then, one can figuratively eat of the tree of life and live forever.

But this is not directly equated with the resurrection.  With exception of some specific enemies of God, all the people of all the nations will be resurrected.  All of Israel will be “saved” at that resurrection.  Israel will live in Paradise.  But the nations will still be resurrected to live here on the earth. Paradise will come down from the third heaven and will be in orbit around the earth.  The nations will also be resurrected.  They will have the opportunity to learn righteousness because they will be ruled over by a holy nation.

God’s promise of a nation to Abraham, as given in four covenants, has not failed.  There is no “plan B.”  And God has not put his plan for Israel on hold, with the Church as a “parenthesis” between dispensations.  He has simply shifted the weight of his election for Israel to the Gentiles.   God wants people from every nation, tribe, people, and language to rule over all the nations.

1 John 2:1-7a ESV  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  (2)  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world(3)  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments(4)  Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  (5)  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  (6)  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked(7)  Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.

6) The New Covenant; The Fifth Israeli Covenant

There is one other very big progressive covenant that God instigated into Israel at the time of Pentecost.  We are now under a covenant of grace instead of the old covenant of Law.  But this new covenant was prophesied back in Old Testament times (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  This new covenant is simply a progression of God’s plan for Israel.  It’s also prior to Israel’s final fulfillment when the Messiah will set up the kingdom of Israel.  As we will see, the new covenant is the fifth Israeli covenant.

All the other Israeli covenants were promises of the future.  Israel is progressive in its fulfillment.   It’s a kingdom that is here and now but not yet.  The new covenant began when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church at Pentecost.  How do I know this?  It’s because of what the new covenant says.  Here is the new covenant in Hebrews, as the author quoted it from Jeremiah.

Hebrews 8:6-12 ESV  But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises(7)  For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second(8)  For he finds fault with them when he says: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah(9)  not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.  (10)  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people(11)  And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.  (12)  For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."

Let’s unpack this new covenant.  First, the writer of Hebrews believes that God understood the old covenant to have a fault.  If God had not understood this fault back in Old Testament times, he would not have given Jeremiah the new covenant prophecy.  The new covenant does not replace old covenant Israel.  It’s the next step in God’s plan for a holy nation.  But it does make the Old Testament ordnances of Moses become obsolete because of grace.

Secondly, notice that the covenant is with the “house of Israel and the house of Judah.”  It’s not with the Gentiles.  We are grafted into Israel.  This is the fifth of the progressive Israeli covenants.

Thirdly, notice that God writes his law on our hearts. The covenant that has a flaw is the covenant of Law that God made with Moses.  We can see this in verse 9, where it says it was a covenant the God made when he took Israel out of Egypt.

The problem with the covenant of Law is that people become slaves to sin, very much like they were slaves in Egypt.  Christ came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18).  Under the Law, men tried to overcome their sinful habits through their own effortsUnder grace, the Holy Spirit fills us and writes the law on our hearts.  As we do the works of the Father, God does the work to change our nature on the inside so that we are no longer slaves to sin.

Galatians 3:23-29 ESV  Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  (24)  So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.  (25)  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian(26)  for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  (27)  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  (28)  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus(29)  And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

If we are in Christ (the Messiah) then we are in the holy nation of Israel.  We are counted as Abraham’s offspring and will reign with Christ over all the nations.  This was the promise given to Abraham.

7) The Second Adam Died for Everyone

Disobedience to the Creator results in death.  But Christ died for us, which reversed God’s decree of death for our disobedience.  This was done for all of Adam’s children.  But we still have free will.  Can we be given eternal life before we mature in Christ?  We still have the tendency to sin.  We have been slaves to sin.  Many of our sinful habits remain with us.  If God simply changed us so that we would no longer sin, then we would no longer have free will.   But we can’t change ourselves.  God must change us on the inside.

Under the Law, Israel made sacrifices for sins.  But that easily becomes a payment that does not involve true repentance and true unconditional love.  Even with personal sacrifices, we cannot change ourselves.  Our sinful habits remain.  But God can change us if we seek those changes in faith and a true love for God.  Without faith and love, such changes would remove free will.  It must be through our own will, in true love, that we are changed.  It must be through a journey (process) of maturing in Christ.

Our love for Christ must be given time to grow.  A bride should not marry until the relationship has matured to the point where it is certain that disobedience will not return.  Otherwise, the marriage could wind up in divorce and death.

Salvation from the grave has been given to everyone by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  The original penalty of eternal death has been removed by the blood of Christ, which was a ransom for everyone.  But we all still have free will.  Some people will reject Christ’s salvation because of their own pride and a desire to continue to sin.  They will eternally lose their salvation.

Hosea 13:14 KJV  I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

1 Timothy 2:3-6 KJV  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  (4)  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  (5)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  (6)  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Romans 5:18-19  So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life(19)  For as through the one man's disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, many will be made righteous.

All men have been “justified to life.”  But not all men will be made righteous.  To be made righteous, we must overcome our sinful habits.  Our Father does not abandon any of his children, especially now that all of them have been “justified to life.”  This means that everyone can be resurrected.

1 Timothy 4:10 KJV  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

1 John 2:2 KJV  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Hebrews 2:9 KJV  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Titus 2:11 KJV  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Titus 2:11 ESV  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died(15)  and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Everyone can be resurrected because everyone has been ransomed from the grave.  But there is still the problem that all of Adam’s children continue to sin.  The Father has a plan for that too.  He doesn’t just sit back and Judge.  He is our Father and has an active plan to help us stop sinning.  But that requires faith in Christ.  We must become believers to overcome our sinful habits.  Faith is belief in our Father to help us stop sinning.

We become justified into God’s kingdom (Israel) when we become believers.  Eventually, everyone will be given the opportunity to become believers.  Is God’s plan only for the select few?  Or would a loving Father have a plan that includes all of his children?  Jesus will eventually draw everyone to himself. 

John 12:32 KJV  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

If this doesn’t happen before we die, then it can happen after the resurrection, because everyone has been ransomed from the grave.  Jesus is the second Adam for everyone!  Does this mean everyone will inherit eternal life?  No, because some will lose their salvation and will be tormented in the lake of fire.  But what would it take for that to happen?  What does it take for a child to lose his relationship with his loving Father?

Can a five-year old tell his Father, "You are not my daddy?"  The Father would gently correct him.  Can a twelve-year old tell his Father, "I hate you!  You are not my Father!"  No, the Father would punish the rebellious teenager but he would still be a son to the Father.  Can a thirty-year old man tell his Father, "You are not my Father?"  At this stage, probably yes.  The Father would reluctantly let his son go.  And since that relationship was redeemed by the death of Jesus, the adult son would not be able to return.  It would require the crucifixion of Christ all over again (Hebrews 6:4-6).

God’s continual work saves us.  And it’s through our continual faith.  It’s not our own works that no man can boast.  This means God’s work changes us on the inside, it’s not our own work, so that no man can boast.  And the faith by which we are saved is the continual faith that God can, and will, change us to be like Christ.  Salvation, grace, and faith, are not one-time decisionsSalvation (change) is a journey (process) unto completion

Nothing will stop this process from continuing until completion, not even death.  With God, death is not an obstacle.  That’s the true nature of the Father’s love for all his children.  His plan is not limited to this age.  It can continue into the age to come.  We die because of our sins.  But Christ died in our place.  In Adam all die, but in Christ all are made alive.  This means that everyone’s death sentence, as given to Adam, has been removed.  In Christ all are made alive.  This means he paid the price for us to be resurrected, allowing God to continue to discipline us as necessary.  This verse is in the context of Paul’s resurrection chapter.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 KJV  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  (22)  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Some people continue to be hardened, and continue in their disobedience to the Father, even to the point of death.  But they will be resurrected at a time when Christ himself is reigning over the world.  This will hopefully show them the truth about the loving Father, and their hearts will be unhardened.  Many people, throughout all the generations, never had the opportunity to hear about ChristThey will get their chance.

Others will have heard but did not understand.  Or perhaps they lived a life under the deceit of Satan because they were born into a culture where Christianity was not the dominant religion.

This includes all generations of all people living under other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.  But when Christ returns, Satan will be locked up so he can no longer deceive the Father's children.  The nations will be resurrected to live in Christ’s kingdom.  This is the second resurrection, which is in the same “hour” as the resurrection of the saints (John 5:28-29).  Most in the nations will respond and begin to mature in Christ.  Those who do will inherit eternal life.  Others will reject Christ's reign.  They will die a second death and will be tormented in the lake of fire.  But those who are resurrected in the first resurrection are no longer under Judgment.  They will immediately have eternal life.

Revelation 2:11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won't be harmed by the second death.

Revelation 20:6  Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years.

Revelation 20:14  Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8  But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

When Christ returns to reign, who will reign with him?  Who will help Christ in reigning as priests and kings over the nations, so that the Father's children can mature and become like Christ?  Doesn't it need to be some of the Father's children who have already matured in a discipleship relationship with Jesus Christ?  Would not Christ’s kingdom need rulers who will have already become perfect as the Father is perfect, so that they are like Christ?  Doesn't it need to be people who have already overcome all their sinful habits?

Revelation 2:26  He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.

The Father chooses (elects) some people to whom he reveals His Son.  This holy nation is called Israel.  By serving Christ in this age, they will be ready to reign with Christ in the age to come.  But the nations will be resurrected with natural bodies that can die again.

The harvest is eternal life.  Israel is the firstfruits of that harvest (Jeremiah 2:3, Romans 8:23, James 1:18).  The rest of the harvest is from the nations over which Israel rules during Christ’s millennial reign.  God chooses the people of Israel by election.  But all the nations, of all generations, will have the opportunity to put their faith in Christ and to mature in righteousness unto eternal life.  Christ ransomed the world.  Death is not an obstacle for God.

8) The Kingdom of Heaven/God

The kingdom of heaven is also known as the kingdom of God.  John the Baptist, and later Jesus, preached to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2, 4:17).  The kingdom of heaven is not a simple reference to heaven itself.

This New Testament term comes primarily from Daniel 2 and 7.  In Daniel 2, the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream has feet of iron and clay.  A stone that was not cut out by human hands strikes the feet (Daniel 2:34-35).  The entire statue is destroyed and the rock becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth.

In Scripture, a mountain can symbolize a nation.  The prior parts of the statue represent one-world government kingdoms.  Daniel even calls Nebuchadnezzar a “king of kings” and states that he is the head of gold (verse 37-38).  This end-times mountain, not made by human hands, is therefore the kingdom of God (or heaven) that fills the whole earth.  It’s not simply a reference to heaven.  This dream refers to the time when God’s kingdom will come to the earth and will fill the entire earth.

The kingdom of God, here on the earth, is also found in Daniel 7.

Daniel 7:27 ESV  And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.'

Jesus spoke a lot about the kingdom of heaven.  Many of his parables made direct reference to the kingdom of heaven.  Without this Old Testament context, people assume that Jesus is talking about going to heaven when you die.  But Scripture teaches that the kingdom of heaven will come to the earth, just as Jesus prayed.

Matthew 6:9-10 ESV Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  (10)  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

The Jews at the time of Christ all wanted the Son of David (Messiah) to come and overthrow the Romans.  They were not looking for the Messiah to come and to take them off to heaven. 

They were all familiar with Daniel because Daniel prophesied this coming kingdom of heaven here on the earth.  At the same time, Jesus taught about the Father’s house with many rooms.  The wedding banquet for all of Israel will require a very big place.  There is no place here on the earth that would work.

John 14:2-3 ESV  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you(3)  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

From the Jewish perspective, the Father’s house is Paradise.  Jewish teaching is all about getting back to the Garden of Paradise and being able to eat of the tree of life.  The Jews believed heaven has seven levels, and that Paradise is in the third heaven.  Paul seems to have validated this teaching when he, being a Pharisee, talked about going to Paradise in the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-3).

Which teaching is true?  Does Israel go off to heaven when Christ returns?  Or will Israel remain here on the earth and rule over all the nations?  As it turns out, both are true.

Revelation 2:7 NIV  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 3:12 NIV  Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Paradise and the New Jerusalem both refer to a literal “city of God.”  Paradise means “enclosed garden.”  The New Jerusalem is “12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long” (Revelation 21:16-17 NIV.)  The walls are 144 cubits thick.  This is huge.  It is described in very literal terms.  Paradise will come down out of the third heaven into orbit around the earth.  Thus, the saints (Israel) will rule over the earth.  The Old Jerusalem will be the capitol of the earth.  The New Jerusalem will be the dwelling place for all the ruling saints.  The word “saints” means “holy ones.”  The saints are those who overcome all their sinful habits, thus qualifying them to rule over the nations and teach righteousness.

Israel is the holy nation of saints (holy ones) who will rule over all the nations.  The kingdom of heaven is that promised fulfilment of Israel.  The Mountain of Israel will spread throughout the earth in its reign.  The King of Kings will reign over the earth.  Everyone of all generations will have the opportunity to mature in Jesus Christ.  Those who knowingly reject God’s reign, either in this age or in the Messianic age to come, will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:30-32).  Those who knowingly reject Christ in this age will not be resurrected.  Those who knowingly reject Christ in the age to come will die the second death (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8).

Only the saints of Israel will be able to enter the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:14-15, John 3:3, 3:5).  To enter the kingdom of heaven (New Jerusalem) we will need a spiritual body.  This is a body that is made by the Holy Spirit.  Thus, we become “sons of God.”  Flesh gives birth to flesh.  The Spirit gives birth to spirit.

John 3:5-8 NIV  Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. (6)  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (7)  You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' (8)  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

To be “born again” means you will have a new spiritual body.  This is a body that is made by the Spirit.  We will be like Jesus after the resurrection.  He had a body which could eat and be touched.  But he could appear in the middle of locked rooms.  They can come and go like the wind.  These bodies will be like the angels in heaven.

Matthew 22:29-30  But Jesus answered them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.  (30)  For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like God's angels in heaven.

Earlier in this booklet, I quoted Psalm 82.  This Psalm teaches that the nations are ruled over by lesser “gods.”  The Hebrew words for “God” and “gods” in verse 1 are both elohim.  Elohim usually refers to the one God.  But it can also refer to heavenly beings.  Even when referring to the one God, it’s given in the plural.  Thus, there is a sense that God’s angels act in unison with the will of God.

Psalms 82:1-8  God presides in the great assembly. He judges among the gods(2)  "How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?" Selah.  (3)  "Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.  (4)  Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked."  (5)  They don't know, neither do they understand. They walk back and forth in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are shaken.  (6)  I said, "You are gods, all of you are sons of the Most High(7)  Nevertheless you shall die like men, and fall like one of the rulers."  (8)  Arise, God, judge the earth, for you inherit all of the nations.

The nations are under the “prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:4, and Ephesians 2:2).  But as Psalm 82:8 (quoted above) says, God will take the nations back and will again be the Judge of the earthWhen that happens, we will have spiritual bodies, just like the angelsIn other words, we will be elohim.

Jesus quoted verse 6 of this Psalm when they accused him of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God (John 10:33-38).  Basically, he was treating this Psalm as if it was talking about human rulers being called gods.  But the Psalm says they will “die like men,” and he is addressing a great assembly of elohim (gods).  I think Jesus is saying that Israel, when it’s fulfilled, will rule as heavenly beings.

In other words, Israel will live in Paradise which will be in orbit around the earth.  We will have spiritual bodies, which means we will be elohim.  We will be able to appear in the middle of locked rooms here on the earth, like Jesus.  This will allow the government to be on the shoulders of Christ (Isaiah 9:6-7) and his Bride will reign with Christ while living in Paradise.

9) Salvation is a Journey to Completion

Catholics believe that justification and sanctification are basically the same.  Salvation is understood to be a journey.  If one does not complete the journey before one dies, he or she spends time in Purgatory.  When Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door, all his ninety-five points assumed the existence of Purgatory.  Luther was only objecting to indulgences, which is donations resulting in a reduction of time spent in Purgatory.  Even though Luther stated that there is no evidence for Purgatory in Scripture, it still took Luther about 15 years before he decided that Purgatory doesn’t exist.

Luther eventually rejected the teaching of Purgatory.  That’s because Luther could not reconcile Purgatory with grace.  The problem is that without Purgatory, or some free-grace alternative to Purgatory, the journey of salvation becomes a journey that doesn’t need to be completed.  Since Christians traditionally believe in going to either heaven or hell when one dies, it becomes assumed that if one has faith in Christ that he or she will go to heaven regardless of whether they have matured in Christ to overcome all sinful habits.  For example, the thief on the cross is cited as an argument for making a death-bed decision for Christ without spending the time that it takes to mature in Christ.  But the verse is ambiguous in the Greek and can be translated, “This day I say, you will be with me in Paradise.”  There are other translation issues as well, where tradition strongly influences the translator.

If this Protestant view is correct, then it leaves us with no alternative than to assume God will change us when we go to heaven.  We will no longer sin when we no longer have our sinful oriented bodies of flesh.  This thinking even leads to the Gnostic thinking that all flesh (matter) is sinful and that you must be a spirit to be without sin.  But if God really does change us so that we no longer sin when we die, would not that remove our free will to sin?  God’s whole reason for allowing pain and suffering to continue in this age is so that we can eventually be re-united with Christ without removing our free will.  The Gnostic-like view of Protestants today simply doesn’t consider that God wants us to truly love Him in unrestricted free will.

For this reason, the Catholic view of salvation being a journey that must be completed is the only view that is truly Scriptural.  But Purgatory is not found in Scripture.  The millennial reign of Christ, however, is literally taught by Scripture.  The millennial reign of Christ is the free grace alternative to Purgatory.

Luther would have been completely blinded to this view because of centuries of anti-Semitism in the Church.  This anti-Semitism caused the Church to be almost entirely amillennial.  Millennialism was a “Jewish fable.”  The Jews were a problem for God.  There was never a consideration that God has a reason for preserving the Jewish culture and that he has not abandoned the Jews.  The belief in amillennialism, replacement theology, and the allegorical views of Old Testament Messianic prophecies were heavily indoctrinated into Luther, Calvin, and the rest of the early Reformation.

Philippians 2:12-13 ESV  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling(13)  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

10) The Resurrection of the Just and the Unjust

The wages of sin is death.  But the gift of God is eternal life.  In other words, Christ died and rose from death so that we can be raised from death.  This is what Christ purchased by dying on the cross.  According to the following verse, both the just and the unjust will be resurrected.  Would not the death of Christ pay for the resurrection of both the just and the unjust?

Acts 24:15 ESV  having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

What if this verse is correctly interpreted in saying that both the just and the unjust are to be resurrected, without forcing it to say the unjust are resurrected only to be condemned?  If the unjust dead are already in hell, why will they be resurrected?

The ancient Jews didn't believe the dead go immediately to heaven or hell.  According to ancient Jewish belief, they are asleep in Hades (which means the grave) awaiting the resurrection.  So, this verse, which speaks of the resurrection of both the just and the unjust, interpreted in the context of ancient Jewish belief, would say the unjust will live again when Christ returns.

Modern-day translations of the Bible, such as the NIV, distinguish the Greek word “Hades” from “Gehenna.”  Gahanna does not appear in the Old Testament.  The concept was developed during the intertestamental period, between the Old Testament and the New Testament times.  It is a place of torment for the wicked.  But it was understood to occur in the age to come.  It was not a replacement for Hades, where the dead currently reside.

Gahanna is the place of torment after the Messianic reign.  The wicked sleep in Hades until they are judged.  The one passage that seems to argue against this view is the parable of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).  The parable describes a “great chasm” in Hades between the enemies of God and those like Lazarus.  Does this mean the wicked in Hades are already in torment?  No, when they awake from their sleep, they will be in torment in the lake of fire.  Time is not perceived while asleep.  The point of the parable, as given in the last verse, is that even if Lazarus were to come back and preach about the torment, the enemies of God would not repent.  This was demonstrated when the real Lazarus was resurrected.

No other passage associates Hades with torment.  Instead, Jesus used the word ‘gahanna’ to talk about hell-fire torment.  After the millennial reign of Christ, the enemies of God will awake, be judged, and then thrown into the lake of fire, where there is no sleep day or night (Revelation 14:11).  From their perspective, the dead wake up right after they die.  Hades (Sheol) is death, not torment.

In this context, these Jewish leaders are the wicked who do not hear the voice of Christ.  They have eyes to see, but do not see.  They have ears to hear, but do not hear.  They see the miracles, but become enemies of Christ.  As you read this passage, don’t forget who the audience is.  The audience is the Jewish leaders.  The audience is the wicked, enemies of Christ, who will not be resurrected in this “hour,” because they do not hear Christ’s voice.

John 5:16-30  For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath.  (17)  But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too."  (18)  For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 

(19)  Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.  (20)  For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.  (21)  For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires(22)  For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son,  (23)  that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent him.

(24)  "Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.  (25)  Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live(26)  For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.  (27)   He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.

(28)  Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice(29)  and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment(30)  I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.

The Jewish leaders were not willing to hear Christ’s voice.  Jesus is not pronouncing condemnation of anybody else.  Even his lost sheep can still hear his voice.  Jesus is only addressing the Jewish leaders who were not willing to hear Christ’s voice, even when they saw the miracles.

According to verse 25, only those who hear Christ's voice will be resurrected.  Those who do not hear Christ's voice, such as the Jewish leaders to which Christ is speaking (verse 19), will not be resurrected.  This happens in an “hour” that is coming according to verse 25.  In that same hour, according to verse 28, there will be two different resurrections.  Both “hear his voice” from the tombs. 

Verse 29 says that those who have “done good” will be raised to a resurrection of life.  Verse 24 says they will not be under judgment.  In other words, they will reign with Christ.  They no longer need to be judged.  Verse 29 says others who have “done evil” will be raised to a resurrection of judgment.  They will be ruled over by those who are no longer under judgment.

The death of Christ on the cross paid the price for the resurrection of both the just and the unjust.  In other words, everyone is saved.  This puts everyone on a journey towards holiness.  We must mature in Christ to complete that journey.  But those who reject Christ's salvation will not be resurrected.

Jesus is the Savior of all people.  The fact that everyone is saved can be seen in all the following verses.  The word “all” doesn’t have to be 100 percent.  The exceptions would be the wicked who no longer hear Christ’s voice.  Even the foolish who do not explicitly and knowingly reject salvation as ransomed by Christ will be saved. 

1 Timothy 4:10 KJV  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Does this verse say that Jesus is the Savior of only the men who believe?  Or does this verse say Jesus is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe?  How about the following verse?  It’s in the context of Paul’s chapter on the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 ESV  For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  (22)  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

I’m saved, you are saved, we all are saved.  If you die in Adam, you will be made alive in Christ.  Not just the believers.  Everyone can be resurrected.  But that doesn’t mean that everyone will inherit eternal life.  You must become a believer to be justified and receive the Holy Spirit.  Without the Holy Spirit, there is no way to overcome sin, because we can’t do it ourselves.  It cannot be by our own works, because sinners are slaves to their sins.

Grace is the presence and work of the Holy Spirit inside us to make us into new creatures.  Grace is the work of God to change us so that we no longer have sinful habits.  And without faith in Christ to do this work inside us, it’s not going to happen.  So, we must become believers and have faith in Christ.  Then we can begin our journey of salvation, which is also called sanctification.  If sanctification is completed before Christ returns, we can inherit the kingdom and eternal life by being resurrected with a spiritual body.

Others can be resurrected with a natural body.  But what happens if the resurrected unjust deliberately keep on sinning and wind up dying in their sins again?  The wages of sin is death.  What if they die a second death because of sin?  Does the blood of Christ pay for a second resurrection?  Consider the following verses:

Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV  For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,  (5)  and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come(6)  and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Hebrews 10:26-27 ESV  For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins(27)  but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

Of course, these verses in Hebrews are a warning to Christians who have shared the Holy Spirit and have tasted the heavenly gift.  The entire book of Hebrews was written to some Christian Jews who were considering going back to Judaism.  It's a warning that you can permanently lose your salvation if you deliberately reject Christ.  But this doesn't happen overnight.  It's not a weak moment.  It's a deliberate and continuous rejection of Christ's salvation.

These verses in Hebrews are talking about those in this age, who deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit, and the "powers of the age to come."  Nevertheless, we can see from these verses that those who deliberately keep on sinning in the age to come will wind up dying the second death, and that it would be impossible to bring them back to repentance.  It would require the crucifixion of Christ all over again.

Consider the idea that the entire Old Testament system of Law, as given to Moses, was a shadow of the Messianic reign of Christ in the age to come.  The Old Testament system of Law was a theocracy.  In other words, it was a government that was based on religion.  Likewise, the world government of Christ's Messianic reign will also be a theocracy.  It probably will not have all the same rules and regulations.  But the Old Testament system of Law was obviously a shadow of that which will come.  The Son of David will reign over David's kingdom.

As you can hopefully see, the New Wine System is based on applying Old Testament Jewish eschatology to the New Testament Church.  We read Scripture in the exact same way that the Jews read Scripture.  The purpose of Israel was to bring the gospel to the nations by reigning over the nations when the Messiah comes.  When we begin to read Scripture in the same way, applying this purpose to ourselves, we begin to interpret the Scripture in the exact same way as the ancient Jews interpreted Scripture.  Those who are in the Messiah are Israel.  The Messiah is Christ.  Those who are in Christ are Israel.  Gentile believers are grafted into Israel.   Non-believing Jews were broken off the olive tree that represents Israel.  Thus, Israel is the Church, which means assembly.

11) Salvation is Free for All of God’s Children

Salvation is free.  Does it make sense that God would give this gift to only those who understand the gospel, and know how to ask for it?  If you were to give your child a gift, and that gift is going to save the child’s life, would you say your child can have the gift only if he happens to find it?  Would you tell some of your children about the gift but not others?  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  Because of Christ’s death, everyone is given the gift of life.

The Father disciplines all his children.  If the child continues to displease the Father, the Father will continue to discipline the child.  But what if the child grows up, and tells his father that he no longer wants his family name?  What if the child grows up and disowns his father?  At a certain age, an adult can harden their heart against his or her father.  The child no longer hears the voice of his father.  Unfortunately, this does happen.  But unless we forfeit our gift of life by hardening our hearts specifically against Christ, we are still a child of the Father.  We still have Christ’s gift of life.  It doesn’t matter if we are lost, and don’t know about our home with the Father.  We still have that gift of life.  And death does not change the fact.  We will still be resurrected.

The Father wants all his children to become like his perfect Son.  So, the Father continues to discipline his children.  Most of the Father’s children are very prideful and do not want to be conformed into the likeness of Jesus.  But a few develop a desire to be like Jesus.  The Father loves all his children.  So, he picks some of those who really want to be like his Son, and he sends his Holy Spirit to help them in a very special way.  They become mature, and become like the Son before they die.  They are the first-born to receive new born-again bodies.  So, they receive the inheritance, as is the Jewish custom.  Eventually, the Father will have children from all over the world, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, who will become like his Son.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24  May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (24)  He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.

Then the special day arrives.  The Father all along has appointed some people to be the rulers over the various nations, tribes, peoples, and languages.  But now, the Father chooses his Son Jesus Christ to rule over every nation, tribe, people, and language.  His Son is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  This special day is after some of the Father’s children from all over the world will have become like Christ.  So, he can put them in charge, to rule the nations with Christ.  In this way, all the Father’s children, who are willing, can be brought in to maturity, to be like Christ.

Everyone will know about Christ.  Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus is Lord.  But even then, some will refuse to be conformed into the likeness of Jesus.  Even then, some will forfeit their salvation because of pride.  We are not talking about doing away with individualism.  God made us all unique and special.  We are talking about living righteous and holy lives, without sin, and without rebellion against the will of the Father.  The Father loves all his children, and wants them to walk as Jesus walked, completely without sin.

In Luke 15:11-32, we read the parable of the Prodigal Son.  The word “prodigal” means extravagantly wasteful.  The younger son receives his inheritance in full, and wastes it.  The older son spends his life working for his father.  The younger son returns and his father is filled with joy. The younger son would have been happy to simply work as one of the father’s servants.  But the father restores the younger son, and celebrates.

One thing is often missed about this parable.  The father says, to the older son, “Everything I have is yours.”  The older son still has his inheritanceThe younger son has his life back.  The younger son is saved.  But the younger son has lost his inheritance.

Jesus told believers to seek the kingdom and his righteousness.  Those who seek the kingdom of the Father and his righteousness in this age will inherit the kingdom in the age to come.  The older son will rule with Christ.  But the Father still loves the younger son.  Those who repent in the age to come will be welcomed back as sons.  They will be given life again.  But it’s not eternal life.  They will not inherit the kingdom.  They will not be the priests and kings who reign with Christ during the age to come.

This is a different way to look at the parable.  I believe it’s more Jewish in its interpretation because the Jews believed that Israel will inherit the kingdom and rule the nations.  Israel’s rule results in righteousness being taught in all the nations.  When we interpret all of Scripture in this more Jewish way, it becomes a new system of interpretation that’s based on the ancient Jewish system of beliefs. 

This is a system of beliefs that is based entirely upon the literal interpretation of Old Testament Scripture.  A system of beliefs is called a systematic theology.  The New Wine System is called a “system” because we can apply this same Jewish approach to everything that Jesus and the New Testament writers said.

We, as believers, are told to seek first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness.  Those who seek righteousness will find it.  Those who seek the kingdom will find it.  But if you don’t seek the kingdom, you won’t find the kingdomIf you don’t seek the kingdom, you won’t inherit the kingdom.  We have been taught that to inherit the kingdom is the same as salvation.  However, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (NIV 1 Cor. 6:9-10).  Yet all these sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ.  Christ has ransomed everyone.

We confuse inheriting the kingdom with “getting saved” because we incorrectly assume that our journey of salvation ends with deathThose who complete their journey before they die are the electBut the elect are not the only ones who will be saved.  Everyone else still has the free will opportunity to continue their journey of salvation, even after the resurrection.

The elect are those who commit their lives totally to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We find God’s purpose for us as individuals, and then we get excited about fulfilling that purpose.  Nothing else matters, even if it would cost us our lives.  We help others whom God brings into our paths.  In so doing, we completely overcome sin and find Christ’s righteousness.  If we walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), we will inherit the kingdom.

12) Kingdom Seekers

Jesus told his disciples (believers) to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). You can't seek something that you already have.  Just how much righteousness do you need to seek to obtain salvation? None! Jesus paid the total price for our salvation. But Jesus said that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom (Matthew 5:20). Believers already have salvation.  But you must seek the kingdom and his righteousness to inherit the kingdom.

In the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), what is the difference between the five wise and the five foolish virgins?  Both await the bridegroom, so both believe in Christ as Savior.  Both are asleep when he comes (verse 5).  Both have some oil in their lamps.  But the foolish don't have enough.  The only difference between the wise and the foolish virgins is the amount of oil in their lamps (verses 8-9).  And because of this, the foolish are not able to enter the wedding banquet.  Jesus even tells them, "I don’t know you" (verse 12).  How does having some oil, but not enough, cause the foolish virgins to not be allowed to get into the wedding banquet?  How much oil is needed to inherit the kingdom?  What does the oil represent?

Do the foolish virgins have some faith, but not enough?  If so, then how much faith do they need to be saved?  Do the foolish virgins have some belief but not enough?  If so, then how much belief do they need to be saved?  Do the foolish virgins have some works but not enough?  If so, then how much works do they need to be saved?  But are the foolish virgins really unsaved?

Paul said that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that he was raised from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).  Surely the foolish virgins would confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.  In fact, they do.  In verse 11 they say, "Lord, Lord, open up to us."  So, they confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.  And surely, they believe in their hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead.  Otherwise, they would not have been waiting for Jesus to return.  So, they are savedBut they do not get into the wedding banquet.  And Jesus tells them, "I do not know you."

Let’s relate the foolish virgins to the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus warns about the false prophets.

Matthew 7:15-23  "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.  (16)  By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?  (17)  Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.  (18)  A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.  (19)  Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.  (20)  Therefore, by their fruits you will know them(21)  Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven(22)  Many will tell me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?'  (23)  Then I will tell them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.'

Here we fine those same words that Jesus said to the foolish virgins, "I never knew you."  These wolves in sheep's clothing prophesy in the name of Christ.  So surely, they confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.  They cast out demons and do many mighty works in the name of Jesus.  So surely, they believe that Jesus was raised from the dead.  Therefore, they are savedBut Jesus does not know them.

1 John 3:3-6  Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself, even as he is pure(4)  Everyone who sins also commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness.  (5)  You know that he was revealed to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.  (6)  Whoever remains in him doesn't sin. Whoever sins hasn't seen him, neither knows him.

Here again are those same wordsJesus does not know them.  What is wrong?  Why doesn't Jesus know them?  Apparently, if they still sin at all, Jesus doesn't even know them!  But apparently, the wolves in sheep's clothing believe in Jesus as their Savior.  Are they saved or not?  It's by their fruits that we are to recognize them.  We are told to recognize them by their works.  Matthew 7:21, quoted above, says it's only those who do the will (works) of the Father that will enter (or inherit) the kingdom.  But those who don't do the works of the Father are still saved.  Right?  We are not saved by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9)!

Yet, apparently works are required to inherit the kingdom.  Apparently works are required for Jesus to even know us!  The pearl of great price cost the man everything he had (Matthew 13:45‑46).   The kingdom of heaven is also like the treasure hidden in the field.  The man sold everything that he had to buy the field (Matthew 13:44).  But salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23).  Why would the man sell everything he had for a free gift?  Or could it be that salvation is a free gift, but to inherit the kingdom requires everything you have to buy it?

Earlier in the sermon, we read:

Matthew 5:14-16  You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden.  (15)  Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.  (16)  Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Being the light of the world involves doing good works.  However, being the light of the world is not about salvation.  We are not saved by works.  We are the light of the world by doing good works.

The foolish virgins did not have enough oil in their lamps to light the way.  They were not the light of the world.  As we do the works of the Father who is in heaven, we receive the oil of the Holy Spirit, so that our lamps shine.  Only those who are the light of the world have enough oil to get into the wedding banquet.  Only those who are the light of the world will be a part of the Bride of Christ.  Only those who are the light of the world will inherit the kingdom.  This is not about salvation.  This is about works.  Only those who do the works of the Father will inherit the kingdom.  As believers, we must seek the kingdom and his righteousness by doing the will (works) of the Father.  Otherwise, Jesus will say, "I never knew you.  Depart from me you who do works of iniquity."

13) Seeking the Kingdom Through Discipleship

Luke 14:26-33  "If anyone comes to me, and doesn't hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can't be my disciple(27)  Whoever doesn't bear his own cross, and come after me, can't be my disciple(28)  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?  (29)  Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him,  (30)  saying, 'This man began to build, and wasn't able to finish.'  (31)  Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  (32)  Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace.  (33)  So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple.

How much does it cost to be a disciple of Christ?  It costs everythingAnd yet salvation is a free gift.  Therefore, Jesus is not talking about salvation. He is talking about being a disciple.  Jesus knows his disciples.  In ancient Jewish culture, the disciple of a rabbi (which means teacher) was not one who simply learned from his teacher.  A disciple devoted his life to becoming like his teacher in every way.  The rabbi personally knew his disciples.

Matthew 16:24-27  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me(25)  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.  (26)  For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?  (27)  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.

You see, the disciples of Christ will be rewarded according to their works (deeds).  This is not talking about salvation.  Those who are true disciples of Christ will reign with Christ in his kingdom.  They will inherit the kingdom.  Only the kingdom seekers are the true disciples of Christ.  But Jesus died for everyone, not just for his disciples.  You can be saved and not be a disciple of Christ.  But you won't inherit the kingdom when Christ returns.

Jesus washed the feet of the disciples explicitly to teach them by example.  After washing their feet, Jesus said:

John 13:12b-17 ESV  "Do you understand what I have done to you?  (13)  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  (14)  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet(15)  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  (16)  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  (17)  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

The point being made here is that for us to be a disciple of Jesus we must be a servant.  This doesn't mean preaching.  This means doing the works of servants.  Jesus told Peter that unless he washed Peter's feet that he could not be his disciple (John 13:8).  No servant is greater than his master.  Any Christian who does not do the works of servants is elevating himself above Christ.  In other words, unless we do the works of servants, we cannot be disciples of Christ.  And yet no servant's work can earn salvation.  So you can be saved but not be a disciple.

Salvation is a free gift for everybody.  It's not just for the few who become true disciples.

1 Timothy 4:10b ESV who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

John 12:32 ESV And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

Romans 11:32 ESV For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

1 Corinthians 15:22 ESV For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Timothy 2:6 ESV who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

1 John 2:2 ESV He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Hebrews 2:9 ESV so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

John 6:33 ESV For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

Do these verses mean that absolutely everyone will inherit eternal life?  Will nobody go to hell?  To say that would not be Scriptural.  (I am not a Christian Universalist.)

Matthew 25:46  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Salvation is given to all, just as these verses say.  But some will forfeit their salvation by rejecting Jesus Christ as their Savior.  The number of true disciples are relatively few.  But the number that are saved is huge.  How does this free gift of salvation, which is for everyone, reconcile with the narrow gate that few will find?

Matthew 7:13-15  "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.  (14)   How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it.  (15)  "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.

Notice that the wide and the narrow gates are in the exact same context as the wolves in sheep's clothing that we discussed earlier.  In other words, the narrow gate is that of holiness.  It's found only by the true disciples of Christ.  The Sermon on the Mount is all about possessions and holiness.  It’s about storing your treasures in heavenIn that context, the wide gate leads to destruction of possessions.  In the age to come, people will not be able to keep the possessions that they have earned during this age.

The two gates are two ways of living your life.  One is living only for Christ.  The other is living for self and possessions, even if you believe in Christ as your Savior.  Those going through the wide gate can still be saved at the resurrection.  But eventually, if their character does not change, their sins will lead to destruction of their souls.  Those who enter through the narrow gate will inherit the kingdom.  Those who enter through the wide gate can still be saved, but they will not inherit the kingdom.

Some will say that one does not have to earn his way into the kingdom.  One does not have to work to inherit, because inheritance itself is a gift from our Father.  This is true.  Our works are not in payment for our place in the kingdom of God.  Our works are a means of overcoming all our sinful habits.  But before we can inherit the kingdom, we must overcome all (100 percent) of our sinful habits.  And the only way to do this is by becoming a true disciple of Christ.  Paul speaks of running the race.  The athlete devotes himself entirely to becoming physically fit and to mastering the game to win the prize.  Likewise, to be a disciple of Christ, you must deny yourself and you must take up your cross and follow Christ.  The personal cost of doing this is huge.  It requires everything you have.

Matthew 19:16-30  Behold, one came to him and said, "Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?(17)  He said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."  (18)  He said to him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, " 'You shall not murder.' 'You shall not commit adultery.' 'You shall not steal.' 'You shall not offer false testimony.'  (19)  'Honor your father and mother.' And, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "  (20)  The young man said to him, "All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?"  (21)  Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."  (22)  But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions(23)  Jesus said to his disciples, "Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty.  (24)  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."  (25)  When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?(26)  Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  (27)  Then Peter answered, "Behold, we have left everything, and followed you. What then will we have?"  (28)  Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  (29)  Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, will receive one hundred times, and will inherit eternal life(30)  But many will be last who are first; and first who are last.

Was the rich young ruler condemned to hell?  Was he unsaved?  At first, Jesus simply tells the rich young ruler to keep the commandments.  But take careful note that Jesus didn't say this would give him "eternal life."  Jesus only said this would allow the ruler to "enter into life" (verse 17). But the rich young ruler persisted and said, "All these things I have observed from my youth.  What do I still lack?" (verse 20).  Jesus responds by telling him how to be "perfect" (verse 21).  In other words, you can simply "enter life" by keeping the commandmentsBut to be perfect, you must devote your life exclusively to being a disciple of Christ. The rich young ruler was given the option to become poor in this age and have treasures in heaven in the age to come.  The meek will inherit the earth.

Again, was the rich young ruler condemned to hell?  Was he unsaved?  No, because all things are possible with God (verse 26).  Jesus said he would “enter life” but not “eternal life.”  The death of Christ on the cross saved the rich young ruler.  But he did not inherit the kingdom because he was not willing to give up everything he had and become a true disciple of Christ.

Why are the disciples astonished? (verse 25).  The basic Jewish culture is to simply obey the commandments.  But the disciples have now been told that to receive "eternal life" you must undergo a very intense discipleship training with Jesus Christ.  And there can be nothing else in your life, such as possessions, to get in the way.  At that time, relatively very few people were following Christ to be his disciple.  Was Jesus saying that everyone else, including the rich young ruler, would not be saved?

No, the rich young ruler will be saved.  Jesus had already told him he can "enter life" by obeying the commandments.  The disciples were confused because they did not yet understand that Jesus had to die on the cross to fulfill salvation even in the Old Testament.  At that time, they didn't understand that it is "impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4).  Because the disciples didn't yet understand the cross, they didn't understand the difference between simply "entering life" and "inheriting eternal life."  The blood of Jesus Christ reconciles us so that we will "enter life" if we don't reject Christ as God.  But we must become perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48) to inherit the kingdom and “eternal life.”

Nobody can obey all the commandments perfectly for their entire lifetime.  All have sinned, and one sin would condemn you to hell.  In other words, without the blood of Christ, one sin would basically invalidate what Jesus told the rich young ruler, that he could "enter life."  Some conservative evangelicals argue that Jesus left out covetousness and any rich person will covet.  But was Jesus really giving the man a trick answer?  Any reasonable person of the time who heard Jesus' answer would not have understood Jesus as saying the rich young ruler is bound for hell.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying.  There is no way to the Father except through a discipleship relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is no other name under heaven by which a person can be saved.  The rich young ruler will be resurrected to live here on the earth.  He will not have eternal life in the Father’s house.  He simply "enters life" from the grave, in the age to come.  Jesus will literally be King over all the nations of the earth.  At that time, the rich young ruler will no longer have his possessions.  Everyone’s possessions are destroyed in the wide gate.  So, his possessions will no longer be in the way of him becoming a disciple of Christ.  If he is willing to do so at that time, he can inherit eternal life.

If today a rich man were to knock on the door of a conservative evangelical and ask him how he can inherit eternal life, what would be his answer?  Would he tell the rich man to sell all his possessions and give all his money to the poor?  Or would the evangelical tell the rich man to simply say the sinner's prayer, believe in Jesus, and start coming to his church?  The rich man would do so, and would then continue his life focused on his possessions.  (And of course, the conservative evangelical would no doubt be happy that the rich man could remain rich so that he could donate to his church.)

Some will argue Jesus knew that possessions would get in the way of truly believing.  But could Jesus not have taken it one step at a time?  Why did Jesus go as far as to drive the man away?  Could it be that Jesus was only looking for devoted disciples who will inherit the kingdom?  And at the same time, Jesus knew that he would die on the cross and that the rich young ruler's sins would be forgiven.  All things are possible with God.  With God, the camel can go through the eye of the needle.

What is the difference between a wolf in sheep's clothing and a true disciple of Christ?  The true disciple of Christ has given up everything to follow Christ.  The wolves in sheep's clothing truly believe they are speaking for Christ.  They truly have faith in Christ to save them.  But down deep even their ministry is for self-gratification.  The pastor who has given up everything for Christ has no room in his life left for any form of sinful habit.  The true disciple of Christ is so devoted to being a servant that any thoughts of self no longer have a place in his life.  The wolf in sheep's clothing is like the Pharisees of Jesus' day.  On the outside, they appear to be clean.  But on the inside, they are as filthy rags.

This does not mean a true disciple cannot take a break from his works to enjoy fellowship with friends, or perhaps to take in a decent movie.  Even Christ took time to enjoy fellowship with friends.  We should have our periods of rest.  Paul spent time making tents to earn a living.  But Jesus and Paul never lost focus on their purpose.

14) The Meaning of Justification and Reconciliation

We discussed earlier the fact that everyone has been “justified to life” even without becoming a believer in Christ.  All men were justified to life.  Many, but not all, will be made righteous.

Romans 5:18-19  So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life(19)  For as through the one man's disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, many will be made righteous.

The fact that all men were “justified to life” means that all men are “reconciled to God” by the death of Christ (Romans 5:8-10).  So, the blood of Christ has justified everyone.  At the same time, by faith we are justified when we become believers.  Does this mean there are two justifications?  Yes, I think there are two justifications.

Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 

It’s important to understand the meaning of the Greek word for “justified.”  The Greek word dikaiosis is a legal or court-room term for winning a court case.  One is put on the right side of the law.  It does not mean that one is morally pure.  We must still go through a journey of sanctification before we can inherit eternal life.  But I think there are two court-room cases in which we are justified.

The first court-room case was when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world.  Jesus paid the ransom for Adam and all his children.  Thus, Christ is the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:22,45).  Jesus paid the price for all our sins while we were still sinners.  This allows everyone to be resurrected.  The exceptions, of course, are those who knowingly become enemies of God.

Because of Adam’s sin, and because Adam submitted himself to the authority of Satan, all the nations were put under the authority of these demonic elohim that we find in Psalm 82.  Unbelievers are still under the authority of Satan.  The second court-room case occurs when we come to faith in Christ.  We are “justified” in God’s court and our sins are forgiven when we become true believers.  Our citizenship is transferred from one of the Gentile nations to Israel.  We become “ambassadors for Christ.”  God reconciled himself to the world and hopes that each of us will reconcile ourselves back to God through faith in Jesus.  Both reconciliations start with justifications in court-room cases.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  (18)  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  (19)  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation(20)  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God(21)  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Philippians 3:20-21  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  (21)  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Our citizenship in heaven means we are no longer under the rule of Satan and his demonic elohim.  We are no longer a member of a Gentile nation.  (The word Gentile is the same as nation.)  We become members of the elect nation of Israel.

Since we are “justified” into God’s kingdom (which is Israel) we can be filled with the Holy Spirit.  We can then reconcile ourselves to God by overcoming all our sinful habits.  The Holy Spirit does the work on the inside, so that we become like Christ.

But what about the unbelieving Jews?  Are they still under the authority of Israel?  On the cross, Jesus said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  The Jews are still under the authority of Israel.  But they are broken off the olive tree of eternal life, which is Israel.  God will bring them back into that belief in the Messiah when the fullness of the Gentiles has come into the olive tree.

Romans 11:25-32 ESV  Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in(26)  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob";  (27)  "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins."  (28)  As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers(29)  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable(30)  For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,  (31)  so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.  (32)  For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

In Old Testament times, the Jews did not overcome all their sinful habits.  And yet they were God’s chosen nation.  Did the first coming of Christ change this fact?  Paul says, “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.   For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (verse 28-29, quoted above).  So, they are still part of God’s chosen nation.  The election of Israel for unbelieving Jews has not been revoked.  If needed, they can continue their journey of sanctification after the resurrection.

When the fullness of the Gentiles has come into the olive tree, the unbelieving Jews will be unhardened (verse 25 above).  But those who have died are still elect.  Those in the olive tree (eternal life) of Israel will live in Paradise, in orbit around the earth.  We will be able to appear in the middle of locked rooms.  Unbelieving Jews will live in Israel here on the earth.  It will be expanded to cover the entire boundaries as given to Abraham.  In both cases, Israel is God’s chosen (elected) nation that will rule over all the nations of the world.  The promise to Abraham, which is the kingdom of Israel, will be precisely fulfilled.  The elected holy nation, which is the Kingdom of God, will be a blessing for all the nations.

15) The Dispensational Objection

One person wrote me and said:

I just read a portion regarding Jesus and Paul seeming to teach two different gospels.  I think it's important to remember that when Jesus was teaching he was teaching under the old covenant and Paul under the new.  I need to read and study much more to understand the concepts of salvation and sanctification.  It seems that you are veering a bit towards a grace plus works salvation.  In any case I'm going to continue on with this and read a bit at a time.  It's a lot to digest.

This view that Jesus taught under a different covenant is very dispensational.  It’s not something that would be taught by any theologian who is not dispensational.  Some would consider the denial of any New Testament teachings as bordering on “ultra-dispensationalism.”  Ultra-dispensationalists start to divide up the New Testament saying that some is for Jews and other parts are for Gentiles.  All this is in the effort to reconcile what is perceived to be differences in the teaching of Jesus and Paul.  But I don’t believe anything changed between Christ’s teaching and Paul’s.  Thus, I don’t have to try and guess which teaching goes with which dispensation, and what teaching I should say does and does not apply to me.  I apply all New Testament teachings, both Christ’s and Paul’s, directly to myselfI think it's dangerous to do otherwise.

Even the dispensationalists, such as Charles Ryrie, who try and defend against the Lordship Salvation teachings of people like John MacArthur, tend to avoid making a statement like this one.  You can tell it’s what they believe.  But they know that the statement depends upon a strong belief in dispensationalism, and that any non-dispensational theologian would dismiss such an argument.  When it comes right down to it, dispensationalism is just a theory to support the pre-tribulation rapture.  It’s not something that has enough Scriptural weight to use it to say that some of Christ’s teachings should not be applied to us.

I think one would need lots of direct Scriptural support before one can assume that any teaching of Christ would not apply to us.  In other words, it’s based on the assumption that Israel and the Church are two different groups of people.  That was never taught before dispensationalism came along.  And there is lots of Scriptural evidence against it.  For example, should we dismiss the Great Commission as being for an earlier dispensationThe Great Commission says to teach them everything that Christ commanded.

Also, many of Christ’s teachings, that could be considered works-based salvation, are very eschatological in nature.  (I don’t consider these teachings to be about salvation.  But outside the New Wine System, they would be about salvation.)  For example, consider the verses about the wolves in sheep clothing.

Matthew 7:20-23  Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.  (21)  Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  (22)  Many will tell me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?'  (23)  Then I will tell them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.'

Remember that Paul teaches if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, that you will be saved.  These wolves in sheep’s clothing confess that Jesus is Lord.  They even say, “Lord, Lord”.  And they believe that Jesus was raised from the dead because they prophesy in his name.  Yet Jesus says he doesn’t know them.

Who are these wolves in sheep clothing to which Jesus was referring?  How much time was there between the Sermon on the Mount and Pentecost?  Who had the time to build up a ministry, in which they cast out demons and did many mighty works, between the time of Jesus and Pentecost?  It would be very difficult to simply chalk this verse up to a previous dispensation.

Once you start saying that various teachings of Christ do not apply to us, where does it stop?  Which teachings apply and which do not?  The Jewish New Testament writers quoted many Old Testament passages about Israel and applied them directly to the Church.  Nothing in Scripture says that the Church is not Israel.  So in my opinion, it would be very dangerous to deny certain aspects of Christ’s teachings on a theory that Jesus didn’t mean for it to apply to anyone after Pentecost.  Also, many things Paul said can be used to argue the exact same Lordship Salvation position.

The New Wine System sides with the Free Grace people, against the Lordship Salvation people, regarding salvation itself.  In other words, the New Wine System would not say these wolves in sheep clothing go to hell.  The New Wine System would interpret this verse as saying they will not enter the kingdom and reign with Christ, because Christ does not know them.  And that’s exactly what the verse says.  The word “salvation” or “hell” is not in the verse.  The New Wine System simply defines inheriting the kingdom as something different from salvation.

Thus, I agree with Christ that you must work to inherit the kingdom.  And at the same time, I agree with Paul that no work can be done to earn salvation.  I simply do not assume that both are the same thing.  That’s something that neither the Lordship Salvation side nor the Free Grace advocates have understood.  (In chapter nine of his book titled, "The Gospel Under Siege," Zane Hodges heads in this direction.  The kingdom is treated as a reward.  But he doesn’t develop it into a system of theology.)

Paul says that salvation is a free gift.  On the other hand, Paul strives for a reward directly related to the resurrection and having citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:9-21).  This comes only through suffering with Christ.  Paul presses on through most of his life in pursuit of this reward.  Paul gives everything he has in pursuit of this reward.  Thus, this controversy cannot be resolved simply by separating the words of Jesus from the words of Paul, saying they are teaching different covenants. 

The only way to resolve this is to understand that salvation is a journey that does not end with death.  Those who complete the journey in the present age will inherit the kingdom in the age to come.  But others can still be resurrected to live here on the earth so that they can continue their journey in the age to come.  However, no one completes this journey except through Christ Jesus because he alone paid the price that allows us to make this journey

16) Every Knee Will Bow

Universalists like to quote this verse:

Philippians 2:9-11  Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name;  (10)  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth(11)  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Does this mean that everyone will be saved?  If we believe in our hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead, and we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, then we will be saved (Romans 10:9).  Calvinists and Arminians would say that after death, it’s too late.  So, this is a forced bending of the knee.  Or it’s a confession that is not based on faith.  However, I would agree with Universalists that this is a confession that leads to salvation.  This verse is an Old Testament quote of Isaiah 45:23. From the context of this passage in Isaiah, it’s obvious that Isaiah is talking about salvation.

Isaiah 45:20-25  "Assemble yourselves and come. Draw near together, you who have escaped from the nations. Those have no knowledge who carry the wood of their engraved image, and pray to a god that can't save(21)  Declare and present it. Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has shown this from ancient time? Who has declared it of old? Haven't I, Yahweh? There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Savior; There is no one besides me.  (22)  "Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.  (23)  By myself have I sworn, the word has gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and will not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear(24)  They will say of me, 'There is righteousness and strength only in Yahweh.' " Even to him shall men come; and all those who were incensed against him shall be disappointed.  (25)  In Yahweh shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

From Isaiah, we see this verse is about “all the ends of the earth” turning to God to be “saved.”  In Philippians, Paul applies these words to all those “in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”  This does sound like everyone will be saved.  Notice the emphasis in Isaiah on those who “have no knowledge.”  They worship wooden idols because they don’t know about Christ.  But what about those who do know about Christ and yet reject Him?

The problem is in the way we have been trained to think.  We think of salvation as being given to people as they accept Christ as Savior.  However, reconciliation was given to everybody.  Christ died for the entire world.  All people will be drawn to the Father.  The Son of God will be revealed to everybody.  Everyone’s name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world.  However, many are blotted out, because they reject Christ’s salvation.  There is a lot of Scriptural evidence that people are blotted from the Book of Life.  We are Christ’s possessions unless or until we knowingly and explicitly reject Him.

Another aspect of this passage, in Isaiah, is that it’s Messianic.  This happens during Christ’s earthly reign.  Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, during Christ’s Messianic reign.  Universalists, on the other hand, try to apply this verse to people after being punished by fire.  They say the bending of the knee is after a punishment that can last for “ages of ages.”  But the bending of the knee happens in the age to come, when Christ returns.

Again, Universalists, Calvinists, and Arminians see salvation as being gained.  The New Wine System sees reconciliation as being given to everybody, and then possibly lost.  To keep one’s reconciliation everyone will eventually need to mature in Christ into holiness.  Everyone will eventually need to overcome sin.  Eventually, entire sanctification leads to eternal life, which is eternal salvation.  This is after everyone has bowed the knee, and confessed Christ as Savior.  You see, salvation can be lost during Christ’s reign.  At the end of the millennium, when Satan is released, a countless number of people will march across the earth against Jerusalem.  They will be marching against their King of Kings, committing the unpardonable sin.

17) We Must be Born Again

John 3:1-3 ESV  Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  (2)  This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him."  (3)  Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

The conservative evangelical interpretation of “born again” is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.  This interpretation tends to support the view of salvation as a one-time decision and not a journey.  Is an infant child born into this world in a few minutes, or does it take a lifetime?  Are we “born” many times or just once?  A one-time decision implies “once saved always saved.”  This view of “born again” tends to obscure the journey aspect of salvation.  But what if we are “born again” at the end of the journey?  What if to be “born again” is to literally be born into a new spiritual body?

John 3:4-8 ESV  Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"  (5)  Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God(6)  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit(7)  Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'  (8)  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Nicodemus refers to our birth of flesh from our mother’s womb.  Jesus is saying there are two births.  The first is our birth of flesh, wherein we are born of our parents.  Flesh gives birth to flesh.  When our mother’s water breaks, the infant child is born.

The second birth is just as literal and just as physical.  But in this case, we are not born from our mother’s womb.  We get new bodies from the Holy Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to spirit.  That doesn’t mean we will be ghosts.  After the resurrection of Jesus, he said:

Luke 24:39 NIV  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

But Jesus could appear in the middle of locked rooms.  After talking with the two on the road to Emmaus, Jesus vanished.

Luke 24:31  Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished out of their sight.

Thus, those who are “born again” into a spiritual body are not ghosts.  They can eat.  They have physical bodies that can come and go like the wind.  (See verse 8 of John 3, as quoted above.)

John 3:9-12 ESV  Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"  (10)  Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things(11)  Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.  (12)  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

Jesus responds in criticism for Nicodemus’ lack of understanding.  Nicodemus should have known in Scripture where it talks about being “born again.”  Do most pastors today know where in the Old Testament it talks about being “born again?”

Nicodemus was a Pharisee.  He believed in the resurrection.  The problem was that Nicodemus was thinking in terms of what he personally needed to do right now to enter the kingdom of God.  He wasn’t thinking about the resurrection.  Most pastors today are also in ignorance and could not tell you because they also assume being “born again” is something that happens right now.

Isaiah 26:17-21 ESV  Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD;  (18)  we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.  (19)  Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead(20)  Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.  (21)  For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.

Verse 19 says, “The earth will give birth to the dead.”  This is being compared with the pregnant woman who cries out in pain as she is near to giving birth.  This Old Testament passage is what Jesus was referring to when he said we must be “born again.”  We will be born of the Holy Spirit.  But our journey of salvation must be completed before we can receive new bodies and inherit the kingdom.

In John 3:12, Jesus says, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”  The point here is Jesus has been speaking about earthly and physical things.  Jesus has been talking about the birth of flesh from our mother’s womb, and a new physical birth into a new resurrected body.  These are earthly things.  Next Jesus will address the journey that is needed.  The journey is more about heavenly things because they are spiritual in nature.  The journey is about becoming “new creatures” on the inside.  It’s a journey of faith.

John 3:13-15  No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.  (14)  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  (15)  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Jesus is saying that he alone has come from heaven and thus only he is qualified to lead others into heaven.  You can’t enter the kingdom without being born again into a spiritual body.  To get a spiritual body, you must believe in Christ.  Jesus is saying that he must be lifted up just as the serpent was lifted up.  The people of Israel looked to the serpent in faith to be healed.  This was not a one-time event.  We are to look to the cross to be healed from our sinful habits.  It’s a journey of faith in Jesus Christ so that we may be born again at the time of the resurrection.

18) No Matter The Cost

Jesus was not a stranger to suffering.  At least some of Christ’s suffering was directed to happen by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was directed into the desert to be tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1‑2).  After forty days, Jesus was very hungry.  This was suffering like very few of us have experiencedAnd yet it was God who directed Jesus to undergo this suffering.  The suffering was for the purpose of being tested (verse 1).  Could it be that God allows for, or even causes, us to suffer in order to be tested?

How can a good God, who loves us, cause us to suffer?  Children could think the very same thing when their parents make them eat carrots, or other food they don’t like.  But surely, one might say, the suffering in the world cannot be compared with having to eat carrots!  Or does it?

Christ’s death on the cross paid the price for all our sins.  However, we must at some point stop sinning.  Does death change our personality and character so that we no longer sin?  Many believe this to be the case.  But there is no Scriptural evidence for such.  We have the free will to sin.  If we still have sinful habits (or addictions) when we die, and if we were to be resurrected such that all our tendencies to sin are removed, then would we be the same person after being resurrected?  I do not believe that death removes our sinful habits.  Otherwise, God should just let us all immediately die and be resurrected to solve all the problems of sin.

If we are fortunate, we may live to be 70 or 80 years old (Psalm 90:10).  That time is only a drop in the bucket as compared with our lives in the millennium, and then in eternity after the millennium.  From God’s perspective, our entire lives are only a short period of intensive training that we have for eternity.  Before we are given eternal life, we must learn to completely deny self, and to live only to serve Christ and to further Christ’s kingdom.  We must learn to deny self, and to take up our cross, and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23).

Paul was not concerned for his own welfare.  His concerns were only for his “children” in the churches he had started.  Our very existence must become like this.  Our prayer lives must be less prayer for the well-being of ourselves and more for others.  Our prayer lives must focus more on our desire to be used by God.

To become sold out for Christ in this way is to become like Christ.  We have a very short time in which to become like Christ.  How many of us could become truly sold out for Christ if we lived a life of luxury?  It’s harder for the rich man to enter the kingdom than it is for a camel to go through the eye of the needle (Matthew 19:24).  But all things are possible with God (verse 26).  Therefore, it’s only in suffering that we can seek the kingdom to the point of inheriting the kingdom and reigning with Christ.

Paul talks about his struggle for perfection.  And he relates this struggle directly to whether he would know Christ and “the power of his resurrection.”  Yet most Christians assume they will know the power of Christ’s resurrection even if they continue to sin.  They even say it’s impossible to reach this perfection.  Carefully read what Paul says about his race towards perfection and the need thereof to be given “the power of [Christ’s] resurrection.”

Philippians 3:8-21  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  (9)  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--  (10)  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  (11)  that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead(12)  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  (13)  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  (14)  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus(15)  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  (16)  Only let us hold true to what we have attained.  (17)  Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  (18)  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  (19)  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  (20)  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  (21)  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Paul says he does not have a righteousness of his own that comes from the law (verse 9).  We can’t overcome all our sinful habits through our own self-effort.  Grace saves us.  But grace comes from the own-going filling of the Holy Spirit that happens as we do the works of the Father.  Grace is God’s work and God’s presence.  As we do the works of the Father, the Spirit changes us on the inside so that we can overcome all our sinful habits.  This is what it means to live by faith.  Paul says he presses “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  The price is the resurrection into a spiritual body and eternal life.

If you are aware of sinful habits that are still in your life, then your reaction should not be to reconcile your sins with a false doctrine that sins cannot be overcome.  Scripture teaches us to overcome all our sinful habits before Christ returns.  Seek God in prayer in repentance of your sins.  If you are not aware of any sinful habits in your life, then you may be in God’s Rest.  But like Paul, we should not boast of perfection.  Always be open to the fact that the Holy Spirit may need to do some additional work in you to make you ready for Christ’s return.

As the Church overcomes sin, and makes herself ready for Christ’s return, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached to every nation.  It’s a gospel that must include the complete overcoming of all our sins through the Holy Spirit.  Only this will usher in the kingdom of heaven.  I believe there will be a third Great Awakening.  It will include an agreement on the doctrine of salvation between the Catholics and the Protestants.  The truth hides in the middle.

Perhaps you believe that as far as you know, you have overcome all your sinful habits without understanding the New Wine System.  That is very possible.  The Holy Spirit changes people’s lives as we do the works of the Father through faith in Jesus Christ.  But for many in the Church, existing doctrines of salvation allow for continued sin.  The Church is not ready for Christ to return. 

I believe the only way this is going to change is for pastors and teachers to start believing a doctrine of salvation that doesn’t teach that you can inherit the kingdom and yet continue to sin.

Galatians 5:19-26  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions(21)  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God(22)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (24)  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires(25)  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit(26)  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Does the true doctrine of salvation really allow one to inherit the kingdom while continuing in sin?  Catholics believe that works are needed.  But they believe only the few who are declared to be saints by the Catholic Church overcome all their sinful habits.  It becomes an impossible task because it becomes self-effort.  Without the true understanding of grace, it becomes an impossible task.  It becomes a law-based salvation.

This booklet is an introduction to the doctrine of salvation which I believe is the true gospel of the kingdom.  Perhaps it’s been like drinking from a fire hose.  You might want to go back and read it again.  If you have further questions, remember that this booklet is just an introduction.  The three books pictured on the cover of this book go into the New Wine System in much further detail.

Appendix 1) Verses on Salvation as a Journey

Protestants will sometimes define salvation as consisting of three parts: justification, sanctification, and glorification.  But when Protestants speak of being saved, they are almost always referring to justification.  When Roman Catholics and especially Eastern Orthodox refer to salvation, they are almost always referring to sanctification.  In other words, Protestants see salvation as a one-time decision.  Catholics and Eastern Orthodox see salvation as a journey.

To be saved is to literally be saved from sin and death.  When we are resurrected from the grave we are saved from the grave.  Verses which speak of salvation in the past tense are simply stating an assurance of salvation at the time of the resurrection.

Philippians 1:6 ESV  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:12-13 ESV  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling(13)  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

In the above verse, we work out our own salvation.  This is obviously a journey.  Does this journey involve work?  Note that God does the greater work in us.  Also, note that we "work for his good pleasure."  Our own work must be part of our journey.  Therefore, when salvation includes justification, sanctification, and glorification, our own work must necessarily be a part of our own journey of salvation.  But it’s the Holy Spirit who changes us and who will resurrect us.  Thus, He does the work of salvation.

The following list of verses refer to salvation in terms of a journey, or as occurring in the future when Christ returns.

Matthew 10:22 ESV  and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Matthew 24:13 ESV  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Luke 13:23-24 ESV  And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them,  (24)  "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Acts 15:11 ESV  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."

Romans 5:9-10 ESV  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  (10)  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Romans 13:11 ESV  Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

1 Corinthians 3:15 ESV  If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 ESV  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation(9)  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV  But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 ESV  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost(16)  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 2:15 ESV  Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 4:16 ESV  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  (15)  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 1:5 ESV  who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, (9) obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 2:1-2 ESV  So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.  (2)  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--

Hebrews 9:28 ESV  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

James 1:19-22 ESV  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;  (20)  for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God(21)  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls(22)  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 2:14 ESV  What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

James 5:19-20 ESV  My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back(20)  let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Jude 1:20-21 ESV  But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  (21)  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Revelation 12:10 ESV  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Appendix 2) Eternal Life Verses

The following are all the verses that speak of eternal life.  There is an overwhelming sense that eternal life is something that we will inherit in the future.  In other words, we still die.  But after the resurrection, those in Christ will receive spiritual bodies that do not age and die.  However, there are a few verses that speak of us as already having eternal life.  These would be like the past-tense saved verses.  We do not yet have eternal life.  But in the Holy Spirit, we can have an assurance of eternal life in the future.  Thus, some verses speak of us as already having eternal life.  These verses simply say that it's a done deal.  It's a promise of eternal life in the future.

Again, salvation is a journey that must be completed.  After our journey is completed, we will inherit eternal life in the age to come.  Our journey is a journey of faith in God to change us on the inside, making us new creatures, so that we no longer have sinful habits.  For those who lack the faith to complete their journey in this age, God can resurrect (save) us so that we can continue our journey in the age to come.

Matthew 19:16 ESV  And behold, a man came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"

Matthew 19:29 ESV  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Matthew 25:46 ESV  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Mark 10:30 ESV  who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

Luke 10:25 ESV  And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

Luke 18:18 ESV  And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Luke 18:29-30 ESV  And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,  (30)  who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life."

John 3:14-16 ESV  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  (15)  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life(16)  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:36 ESV  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 4:14 ESV  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

John 4:36 ESV  Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

(Does the verse above teach salvation by works?)

John 5:24 ESV  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 5:39 ESV  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

John 6:27 ESV  Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal."

(Does the verse above teach salvation by works?)

John 6:40 ESV  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

John 6:47 ESV  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

John 6:54 ESV  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:68 ESV  Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

John 10:28 ESV  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

John 12:25 ESV  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 12:50 ESV  And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

John 17:1-3 ESV  When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,  (2)  since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him(3)  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Acts 13:46 ESV  And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:48 ESV  And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Romans 2:5-9 ESV  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed(6)  He will render to each one according to his works(7)  to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life(8)  but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  (9)  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

(Does the verse above teach salvation by works?)

Romans 5:21 ESV  so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:22-23 ESV  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life(23)  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 6:8 ESV  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 ESV  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  (16)  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 6:11-12 ESV  But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  (12)  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Protestants define salvation as consisting of three parts: justification, sanctification, and glorification.  To receive eternal life is glorification.  Yes, that's a gift from God.  Paul says to Timothy, "Take hold of eternal life" (quoted above).  Here we see that even eternal life is something that comes about only as part of our journey of salvation.

Titus 1:2 ESV  in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

Titus 3:7 ESV  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

1 John 1:2 ESV  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us--

1 John 2:25 ESV  And this is the promise that he made to us--eternal life.

1 John 3:15 ESV  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 5:11-13 ESV  And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son(12)  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 John 5:20 ESV  And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Jude 1:21 ESV  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Appendix 3) Verses on the Journey of Sanctification

Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  (26)  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  (27)  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ(24)  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Hebrews 13:12 ESV  So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

Romans 6:19 ESV  I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Romans 6:22-23 ESV  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life(23)  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ESV   And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption(31)  so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 ESV  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;  (4)  that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,  (5)  not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ESV  But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  (14)  To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  (2)  according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Appendix 4) Verses on the Unpardonable Sin

Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV  For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit(5)  and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,  (6)  and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Matthew 12:31-32 ESV  Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven(32)  And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

1 John 5:16-18 ESV  If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life--to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that(17)  All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.  (18)  We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

Hebrews 3:7-11  Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says,  "Today if you will hear his voice(8)  don't harden your hearts, as in the provocation, like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,  (9)  where your fathers tested me by proving me, and saw my works for forty years.  (10)  Therefore I was displeased with that generation, and said, 'They always err in their heart, but they didn't know my ways;'  (11)  as I swore in my wrath, 'They will not enter into my rest.' "

Revelation 14:9-11  Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand(10)  he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.  (11)  The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.

Revelation 19:1-3  After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation, power, and glory belong to our God:  (2)  for true and righteous are his judgments. For he has judged the great prostitute, who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and he has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand."  (3)  A second said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forever and ever."

Revelation 20:9-10  They went up over the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. Fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them.  (10)  The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

When Christ died, everyone was reconciled back to God.  But only those who accept Christ’s reign over his or her life can overcome sin to be made righteous.  Consider the following verse:

John 3:17-18 ESV  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn [judge] the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  (18)  Whoever believes in him is not condemned [judged], but whoever does not believe is condemned [judged] already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

The world is saved through Christ.  But whoever does not believe in Christ is condemned already.  When a person has not yet heard about Christ, does this mean he does not believe?  Would this mean that he has been condemned, or judged, already?  Yet at any time, one could begin to believe and would at that point not be condemned.  This would seem to invalidate the idea that he has been condemned already.  To be condemned already would be to say that the decision has been made, and is not open to change.

A better way to look at this verse is to understand that if one makes the knowledgeable decision to reject Christ, then he becomes condemned.  The entire world was saved when Christ died on the cross.  But those who reject this salvation become “condemned already.”

You can't disbelieve something that you don't know or understand.  Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.  Whoever continues to believe in him is not in the danger of becoming condemned already.  But you have to reject Christ before you are condemned.  Everyone in the world has been reconciled back to God because Christ is the second Adam for everyone.  It’s only by the rejection of Christ’s salvation that one gets excluded from Christ’s salvation of the entire world.

Let’s take it back to our discussion of the Father’s love for his children.  We are all God’s children.  We were all ransomed from the grave.  Can a five-year old tell his Father, "You are not my daddy?"  The Father would gently correct him.  Can a twelve-year old tell his Father, "I hate you!  You are not my Father!"  No, the Father would punish the rebellious teenager but he would still be a son to the Father.  Can a thirty-year old man tell his Father, "You are not my Father?"  At this stage, probably yes.  The Father would reluctantly let his son go.  And since that relationship was redeemed by the death of Jesus, the adult son would not be able to return.  It would require the crucifixion of Christ all over again (Hebrews 6:4‑6).

Appendix 5) Summary of the New Wine System

"Through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life" (Romans 5:18).  "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22).

"We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10).  Jesus said, “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32).  Paul said Jesus Christ is the, “Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).  See 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 John 2:2, Romans 11:32, 1 Timothy 2:3-6, 1 John 2:2, Hebrews 2:9, John 6:33, Titus 2:11, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, and Romans 5:18-19.  Reconciliation has nothing to do with what we might do, say, or believe.  We were all reconciled.  But those who reject Christ lose their reconciliation.

Reconciliation is not justification by faithNew believers are justified and receive the Holy Spirit.  Justification by faith is the start of sanctification, when we are credited with righteousness.  Later, after completing our journey of sanctification, making good on that credit, we will be glorified with immortal bodies at the resurrection.  But we must complete that journey.

Jesus said, “I am the [road], the truth, and the life. No one [journeys] to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6).  (The Greek word used here for “way” means road.)  Salvation includes a journey of faith.  Paul said, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).

Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).  We are not saved by works.  Christ did that on the cross.

Even sanctification is a free gift by grace alone since the Holy Spirit changes us on the inside as we do the works.  But without works there is no sanctification and thus no eternal life.  Paul said, “But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life” (Romans 6:22).  Again, Paul says the fruit of good works is sanctification and the result of sanctification is eternal life.  So without works there is no sanctification and thus no eternal life.  Paul also said, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).  Therefore, we must complete our journey of sanctification before we can journey to the Father and receive the glorification of our bodies.

We are saved by faith and through grace.  But faith without works is dead (James 2:17, 2:26).  Our belief and faith are not one-time events.  Salvation by faith is a journey.  By faith and belief, we are sanctified as we do the works of the Father.  “He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).  God’s grace is more powerful even than death.  “Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). 

John 3:16, 18  For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  …  He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn't believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.

Belief and faith are a journey.  Those who willfully refuse Christ’s journey are judged already, which means they’ve lost their reconciliation.  Those who complete their journey to overcome sin will be given eternal life.  Those who fall short in this age will be able to continue their journey after the resurrection in the age to come. But you can lose your reconciliation if you willfully turn away from God and keep on sinning.

Hebrews 10:26-27  For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sinsbut a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries.

All people are reconciled because Christ is the second Adam.  "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22).  This is in the context of Paul’s resurrection chapter.  Romans chapter 5 digs deeper into the topic of Christ being the second Adam.  "Through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life" (Romans 5:18). 

Because Christ is the second Adam, all men were “justified to life.”  Those who remain reconciled are Christ’s sheep and still hear his voice.  Being “justified to life,” Christ’s lost sheep still hear his voice and remain reconciled with God, even if they die.  Being “justified to life,” they can be resurrected.  There are two types of bodies at the resurrection: glorified (celestial) bodies and mortal (terrestrial) bodies.  If you die before completing your journey, Christ will simply raise you up at the resurrection.  You can complete your journey in the age to come.  But you will still be under Judgment with a mortal body.  Those who reject Christ no longer hear his voiceThey have lost their reconciliation and will not be resurrected.

John 5:25  Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live.

John 5:28-29  Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice,  and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.

The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).  The gospel (good news) of the kingdom is that anyone can choose to completely overcome sin (all sinful habits), which is to be completely sanctified (1 Thessalonians 5:23), through a personal (discipleship) relationship with Jesus Christ.  No one who abides in Christ keeps on sinning (1 John 3:6), because in Christ there is no sin.  No one born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9).

But what about the people who fall short of this goal?  What about people who die before they have overcome every sinful habit?  Does death change us and remove all sin?  No verse of Scripture says this.

Traditional Christian doctrine is based on the two-type system of everyone going to either heaven or hell immediately after death.  This is Greek thinking.  Children are taught this, and every verse of the New Testament is interpreted in this context.  The resurrection becomes simply a time when the righteous get better bodies and the wicked are judged.  It's not when they become alive again.

The ancient Jews, however, did not believe this.  The Old Testament teaches that both the righteous and the wicked sleep in Sheol (the grave) until the resurrection (Isaiah 26:14, Daniel 12:2, John 11:11-14, 1 Corinthians 15:51).  This allows for more than two types of people to be in the grave.  Ancient Jews believed in three types: (1) The chosen people of Israel, (2) righteous Gentiles, (3) and the wicked.  The New Wine System interprets the New Testament based on this Old Testament context.  The New Wine System applies Old Testament Jewish eschatology to the New Testament Church.

Salvation is a journey of righteousness, by faith in Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10).  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).  Therefore, Christ's death on the cross reconciles everyone, even if they are not Christian.  But without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).  Jesus is the road, the truth, and the life.  No one journeys to the Father except through a relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6).   Death, however, is not the end of the journey.

The wise (Daniel 12:3, 12:10, Matthew 7:24, 25:2) complete their journey in this age (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  They are the saints, which means holy ones.  They are the elect in both Old Testament and New.  They are the Bride of Christ.  They are the firstfruits of the harvest (Jeremiah 2:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, James 1:18).  They will be resurrected with immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50), and will inherit the kingdom, when Christ returns.  The saints will no longer be under judgment (John 5:24).  They will reign as kings and priests over the nations (Revelation 2:26, 5:10, 20:6), here on earth (Matthew 5:5), leading the nations to righteousness (Daniel 12:3).

The foolish, (Matthew 7:26, 25:2) still have sinful habits when they die.  This includes believers as well as lost sheep.  But all of Christ's sheep, both the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15), hear his voice (John 10:16, 27).  They will hear Christ's voice from the tombs and be resurrected with mortal bodies to continue their journey of righteousness (John 5:28-29).  They will still be under judgment (John 5:28-29).  They are saved, but they will not inherit the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:21).  During the millennial reign of Christ's kingdom, some will be led to righteousness (Daniel 12:3) and will receive eternal life.  But others will become wicked (Revelation 20:7-9), and will die the second death (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8).

The wicked (Daniel 12:10, Matthew 24:48, 25:26) are those who harden their hearts and can no longer hear the voice of Christ (Hebrews 3:7, 15, 4:7), as in taking the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9-11).  They forfeit their reconciliation (Matthew 12:31, Hebrews 6:4-6).  They will not be resurrected.  Today, the dead are asleep (John 11:11, Acts 7:60, 13:36, 1 Corinthians 15:6) in Hades.  But after the millennial reign of Christ, the wicked will come to life and be thrown in to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:5, 14), which is hell-fire (Gehenna).  The smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever, and they will have no rest, day or night (Revelation 14:11).

If you want to be invited to the wedding banquet, if you want Jesus to say he knows you when he returns (Matthew 25:12, 7:23), if you want to be in the Bride of Christ, if you want to be a part of the true Israel that will have authority over the nations when Christ returns (Rev. 2:26), then you must repent and seek Christ's help to completely overcome all (100%) of the sinful habits in your life.  Because, without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).

Appendix A – Problems with the Pre-tribulation Rapture

Appendix B – Problems with Christian Universalism

Appendix C – Problems with Preterism (Past Fulfillment)

Appendix D – The New Wine System is More Literal

Overcome sin, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

 

Philip Brown
www.newwine.org

 

Dividor

 

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Book Cover
Table of Contents
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Introduction
First Chapter
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Philip Brown     Click to email me.

 

Book Cover
Table of Contents
(Read the book online)
Introduction
View  or  
Download the PDF eBook
Available from Amazon$22.00
Kindle Edition$9.99
Amazon UK    Amazon DE  
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If you find this book to be of interest, please send an email with a link to this website to all your Christian family and friends.  You could even include one to your pastor.

Thanks,www.newwine.org
Philip Brown     Click to email me.

 

Overcome sin, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!