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New Wine for the End Times
Chapter 4
Problems Solved by the New Wine System

We must read Scripture the way the ancient Jews would have read Scripture.  But being a natural descendent of Abraham, in and of itself, does not make you part of the true Israel that will rule the nations.  You must also have faith in the true Messiah.  And Gentiles who have this faith in the true Messiah are grafted into the vine of Israel.  (See chapter 18 of this book for the reasons why the true Israel is the same as the true Church.)  The ancient Jews were right about (the true) Israel being the “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Peter  2:9, Exodus 19:5-6), who will rule the world in the Messianic age to come.  This is a core belief of ancient Jewish eschatology.

The seven letters to the seven churches of Revelation each gives a reward for those who overcome sin (mature in Christ).  One of these seven rewards, given in Revelation 2:26‑27 says that those who overcome sin will reign over the nations.  The Church will literally reign over everyone else in all the nations.

Revelation 2:26-27 He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.  (27) He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father:

This verse quotes Psalm 2:8-9, which is a prophecy of the Messiah ruling the world in the Messianic Kingdom to come. The Greek word used here for “rule” means to shepherd.

Psalms 2:6-11 "Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion."   (7) I will tell of the decree. Yahweh said to me, "You are my son. Today I have become your father.   (8) Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession .  (9) You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."   (10) Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth.  (11) Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  

How would the ancient Jews have interpreted this Psalm?  Is there any doubt they believed Israel will literally rule the world, here on Earth?  This Psalm is the verse that John quotes, saying those who overcome sin will be given authority over the nations.  The verse in Revelation quotes the verses in Psalm.  And the verse in Revelation is explicitly written to a church, not to national Israel.  The New Wine System is all about interpreting Scripture the way ancient Jews would have interpreted Scripture, with the Church being Israel.

Exodus 19:3-6 Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, "This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:   (4) 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself.   (5) Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from 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 which you shall speak to the children of Israel."

Peter quotes this Old Testament verse:

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

How would ancient Jews have interpreted this Old Testament verse?  When Peter quoted the verse, he was applying it to the Church.  The New Wine System is all about interpreting Scripture the way ancient Jews would have interpreted Scripture, with the Church being the Israel.

Peter even addresses the Church as “living as foreigners in the Dispersion” (1 Peter 1:1).  James addresses the Church as the “twelve tribes which are in the Dispersion” (James 1:1).  Israel is God’s chosen people.  The Church is God’s chosen people.  Israel is the elect.  The Church is the elect.  The Church is Israel.  Gentile believers are grafted into Israel.

Those who are a part of true Israel will be raised with spiritual bodies.  The second death has no power over them (Rev 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, and 21:8).  “They will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years” (Rev 20:6).  Israel will include Gentiles from every “nation, tribe, people, and language” (Rev 7:9).  Everyone living in all the nations will have fully sanctified rulers over them from their own nations, tribes, peoples, and languages.

4.1)  Seven Major Problems of Scripture Solved

This same application of Old Testament Jewish eschatology to the New Testament Church solves seven major problems of Scripture, which have divided the Church over the centuries.  Most of the New Testament was written by Jews.  The New Wine System literally interprets Scripture along the same lines as the Jewish eschatology system of that day.  The Jewish New Testament authors applied Old Testament prophecies about Israel to the New Testament Church.  If we do the same, then these seven major problems of Scripture are solved.

Calvinism vs. Arminianism (election vs. free-will). Solving this major Church divider without the use of paradoxes, or two sides of the same coin.

Salvation is a free gift.  But inheriting the Kingdom requires lots of work.  Solving the friction between grace and holiness verses.

Does salvation require fruits of the Spirit?  Solving the friction between Lordship Salvation and Free Grace Theology.

The millennium as a free-grace alternative to purgatory.  Solving the differences in salvation verses between Catholicism and Protestantism.

Would a loving God have a merciful plan for our loved ones who have died having never heard or understood about Christ?

Jewish eschatology provides Scriptural evidence that children who die young do not go to hell.

Amillennialism vs. Premillennialism.  Scriptural evidence for the purpose of Christ's Messianic reign.  The millennium is the climax of God's plan of redemption for all generations.

Some aspects of these seven problems were covered in chapter 1 of this book.  In that chapter we saw a chart of holiness verses that speak about inheriting the kingdom. The chart shows opposing free-grace verses that deal with salvation.  By separating the reward of inheriting the kingdom from the free gift of salvation, the New Wine System solves this traditional problem of Scripture. (Problem 2 above.)  The struggle between holiness verses and free grace verses can be found at the root of the old church division between Wesleyans and Calvinist Reformed theology.  

Today, there is a very similar division happening between lordship salvation and free grace theology.  (Problem 3 above.)  Many of the same issues are discussed.  But the lordship salvation debate is more focused on whether discipleship is required for salvation.  Can one be saved without really being a disciple of Christ?  The free grace advocates say yes.  The lordship salvation advocates say no.  And of course the New Wine System solves this problem of Scripture.  Everyone is reconciled because it's a free gift.  The foolish will be resurrected and thus saved from death.  The wise, who are the true disciples of Christ, will be rewarded by inheriting the kingdom during the millennium.

In chapter 13 of this book we will look at the issue of lordship salvation vs. free grace theology in much more detail.  We will see very convincing quotes from both sides of the issue.  And of course, the New Wine System solves the debate.

In chapter 1 we also saw how the New Wine System deals with the death of infants, children, and the mentally ill.  Traditional Protestant systems of interpretation must include an exception known as the age of accountability.  Protestants claim sola scriptura, or "by scripture alone."  This demands that we accept only the doctrines that can be directly found in Scripture, or that are indirectly deduced through valid logical deductions or deductive reasoning from Scripture.  But the doctrine of the age of accountability is not found in Scripture, and it cannot be deduced based on the traditional systems of interpretation.  (Problem 6 above.)  The New Wine System, on the other hand, needs no exception for children.  The system uses direct evidence from Scripture to show that everyone will be resurrected unless they harden their hearts against Christ.

This chapter covers the problems of election vs. free-will.  Election vs. free-will is all about Calvinism vs. Arminianism.  (Problem 1 above.)  Later on, in chapter 12 of this book, we will look at the problems of Calvinism more closely by going through each of the five points of Calvinism.

In chapter one we also covered Christian Universalism.  Christian Universalism is an attempt in dealing with the problem of those who die, having never heard or understood about Christ. (Problem 5 above.)  Verses that say everyone is saved are used to argue everyone will be saved, even if they repent while in hell.  The biggest problem with everyone being saved is it would mean nobody has the free-will to reject Christ.  Is torture in hell until they give up and repent really in line with God’s nature?  The New Wine System provides a free-grace alternative.  The unjust are resurrected and allowed to live until it becomes obvious they will never truly repent and truly desire to overcome sin in their own free-will.

This chapter will also cover a number of minor problems of Scripture, solved by the New Wine System, that have not divided the church over the centuries.

4.2)  The Elect are Those Who Inherit the Kingdom

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Mat 5:5).  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that neither the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers will “inherit” the kingdom of God.  But the greedy and the drunkards, if they have not rejected Christ, can be resurrected and thus see the kingdom of God.  If they then put their faith in Christ, the saints who “inherit” (rule) the kingdom will be able to lead the greedy and the drunkards into holiness.  The key difference here is “inheritance.”  Those who inherit will rule over those who don’t.

Flesh and blood cannot “inherit” the kingdom of God (1 Cor.  15:50).  Only those with spiritual bodies will own the kingdom.  But flesh and blood can live in the nations.  They will live a long time, perhaps even a thousand years.  But some will be considered cursed and die (Isaiah 65:20).

The idea of inheriting the kingdom comes from inheriting the promise given to Abraham.  If we are in Christ, then we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise that was given to Abraham (Gal 3:29).  Paul said, "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith" (Gal 3:8-9).

Gentiles are justified by faith, and every Gentile who walks as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), and has an [agape] love for Christ, is a part of the true Israel.  But does this mean that carnal Gentiles who do not mature in Christ are also Abraham’s children and heirs of Abraham’s promise?  I don’t think that either Abraham or Paul understood that every last person living on the earth during the Messianic reign would be a child of Abraham.  Christ (the seed of Abraham) becomes a blessing to all the nations (Gen 18:18).  Those who are in Christ are a part of that seed, which is a blessing to the nations.  Then, those who mature in Christ during the millennium will eventually receive eternal life along with true Israel.

The New Jerusalem has twelve gates.  Each gate has a name for one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  There are no gates for Gentiles.  Until the millennial reign of Christ is completed, the nations are blessed by the promise.  But the nations are not heirs of the promise.  Again, this would have been Jewish thinking at the time of Christ.  Those who are heirs of the promise are the “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession” (1 Peter  2:9, Exodus 19:5-6).  This “holy nation” does not include the nations of the world.  Currently, the elect are ambassadors to those nations (2 Cor. 5:20).

 “Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for [Christ's] sake, will receive one hundred times, and will inherit eternal life.  But many will be last who are first; and first who are last” (Mat 19:29-30).  So those who truly [agape] love and serve Christ now, and walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:9), will “inherit” first.  They will rule over the rulers of today.  They will be the saints, which means “holy ones.”  Those who put their own lives first will not “inherit.”  “God [has] chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to "inherit" the kingdom which he promised to those who love Him” (James 2:5).  

Paul’s letters to the Corinthians are letters to the problem-ridden church.  They are not mature in Christ, yet they are saved.  In 1 Corinthians  14:33, Paul speaks of the “congregations of the saints” to be like they should be, not like they are.  In other words, Paul is not saying they are all saints already.

The saints (holy ones) will rule in the millennium.  1 Corinthians  6:1-2 speaks about the saints.  Paul is saying that people in church should take their disputes to the saints instead of the court.  This would seem to elevate the status of sainthood to be those who are mature in Christ.  Also, in verse  2, Paul says the saints will judge (rule) the world.  Those who are saved will be alive in the millennium.  But those who are saints will rule and judge over those who are simply resurrected.  

At the end of the millennium, the Lamb’s Book of Life is opened.  God says, “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son” (Rev 21:7).  But he who continues to sin will die the second death, and will be thrown into the lake of fire (verse 8).  After the Great White Throne Judgment, everyone will either “inherit” or they will die the second death.

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."

Without the millennium, there is no chance for carnal Christians who die to become mature.  Without a real requirement of righteousness, sanctification becomes unneeded and meaningless.  But with the thousand-year reign of Christ placed between the last-day resurrection and the final Judgment, the requirement of entire sanctification can be made for everyone who is to be eternally saved.  Those who mature in Christ before Christ returns will be priests and kings over those who don’t (Rev 1:4, 2:26-27, 5:10, 20:6).

4.3)  Problem Solved: Election (Israel) vs. Free Will

There is a dichotomy of verses in Scripture that has caused many divisions in the churches.  It’s the controversy of election vs. free will.  The controversy is also known as Calvinism vs. Arminianism.  Calvinism holds that before we are even born, God predestines each of us to be eternally saved or eternally condemned.  Those who are to be saved are the elect.  This doctrine goes back to Augustine who developed the doctrine in response to Pelagius’ concept of human innocence and moral freedom.  (Pelagius was a Roman moralistic monk.)  The Catholic Church adopted everything said by Augustine, almost to the point of considering Augustine’s doctrines to be Scripture.  Luther was also a big fan of Augustine.  Luther and Calvin held strong views of predestination.

James Arminius (1560­‑1609) was a Dutch pastor and theologian who had been taught the Reformed position of predestination.  But Arminius came to believe there are problems with Calvinism.  First, it makes God the author of sin.  Secondly, it does away with genuine human freedom.  If we are not free to make, or not make, the decision to follow Christ, then how can those who don’t be held morally responsible for not following Christ?  John Wesley (founder of the Methodists) followed the teaching of Arminius.

Arminianism holds that election is on the bases of foreknowledge.  “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).  In other words, we have the freedom to follow Christ or not, but God knows in advance what decisions we will make.  Arminianism holds that Christ died for all men.  "If I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (John 12:32).  (Also see: 1 Tim. 2:4, 6, Rom. 5:18, Rom. 11:32, 1 Tim. 4:10, 2 Peter 3:9, Titus 2:11, 2 Cor. 5:19, and John 3:16-17).  Arminianism holds that salvation is a choice that can be made by anyone (Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:34-35, Romans 1:16, Hebrews  5:6, and Rev 22:17).

On the other hand, Calvinism puts emphasis on God’s sovereign grace and on man’s totally depraved nature.  Calvinism holds that it’s God’s choice, apart from any foreseen merit or faith within man.  "You didn't choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit" (John  15:16).  Calvinism holds that God’s choices have nothing to do with our choices.  "But God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: that no flesh should boast before God" (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).  Calvinism holds that God’s choices were made before Adam sinned, and before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

It’s possible to rectify this dichotomy of verses by reading the verses like the way ancient Jews.  The truth hides in the middle.  Ancient Jews understood themselves to be the chosen nation.  At the coming of the Messiah, Israel would lead the nations into righteousness.  Many of them believed that they were chosen simply because they were descendants of Abraham (Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8, and John 8:39).  But Jesus and Paul made it clear that being Abraham’s natural descendant does not make you one of the chosen few (John 8:44, Romans 9:6-8).

The chosen few are those who enter through the narrow gate of holiness (Matthew 7:13).  The chosen few are those who grow into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13-15).  These verses of Scripture, read the way an ancient Jew would have read them, would still be understood to mean that those who are chosen, during the Messianic kingdom, will lead the world into righteousness.  The countless number, from every nation, tribe, people, and language are still the chosen few.  During the Messianic Age, the few will rule over the many.

The wise are the chosen few, who inherit the kingdom.  They are the elect.  The foolish (or carnal) middle group will not inherit, but they will be resurrected and have the opportunity to decide to follow Christ during the millennium.  They are not the elect.  But they will still have opportunity to be saved by the blood of Christ.  Thus, with three types of people in the grave, there is no dichotomy of verses with regard to election vs. free will.  The truth hides in the middle.

The ancient Jews were surprised to see Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit, which was a clear sign of being chosen (Acts 10:45).  Gentiles can be fellow heirs of the promise to Abraham (Ephesians 3:6).  But this new revelation would not change the fact that those grafted into the vine are part of Israel, and will lead the nations into holiness.  God doesn’t predestine anyone to be condemned.  God does, however, choose the teachers who will lead the world into holiness during Christ’s earthly reign.  Those who are chosen by God are the saints.

Paul said, "We have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Tim 4:10).  So God is the Savior of all people.  But there is a special salvation for the elect, who have an [agape] love for Christ, and who walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:9).  The saints are saved with spiritual bodies, which is the higher and permanent form of salvation.  Only spiritual bodies have eternal life.  Others will follow and get permanent spiritual bodies later.  The death of Christ draws all men to Christ (John  12:32).

James said, "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created" (James 1:18).  So the chosen people of true Israel are the firstfruits of all men.  Also see Jeremiah 2:3 and Romans 8:23.  We have the firstfruits of the Spirit and groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption as sons, which is the redemption of our bodies.  Being firstfruits, means there will be many more to follow in the final harvest.

The Church is also the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23).  How can the Church be the firstborn if there are not also others who will follow?  This verse also says our names are written in heaven.  We are firstborn of those written in heaven.  This is the Book of Life.  Everyone is written in heaven unless and until they reject Christ.  The elect are the firstborn of those written in heaven.

Hebrews 12:22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem , and to innumerable multitudes of angels,  (23)  to the general assembly and assembly of the firstbornwho are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,

In chapter 7 of this book we will see why the Book of Life contains more names of people than simply the elect.  In other words, the firstborn were chosen by God.  The Church of the firstborn is the elect.  But those who will follow in the millennium, and those who are carnal Christians today, will accept Christ as Savior by their own choice.  Again, if everyone in the Church is firstborn, then there must be a much greater multitude to follow who are not first.

Arminianism holds that if we are not free to make, or not make, the decision to follow Christ, then we cannot be held morally responsible for not following Christ.  If this is true then it also follows that those who have never heard about Christ’s free gift of salvation, or who have been deceived about the nature of that gift, can also not be held morally responsible for not following Christ.  Therefore, Satan must be locked up during the Messianic reign of Christ so that he cannot deceive the nations (Rev 20:2).  But those who choose to harden their own hearts, so they can no longer hear Christ's voice, or deny the miracles of the Holy Spirit, will have no excuse at their judgment.

4.4)  The Sovereignty of God and Election

The biggest argument of Calvinism (election) over Arminianism is the sovereignty of God.  There is one clear truth of Scripture.  In our fallen state, nobody will come to Christ unless the Father draws him.

John 6:44-45 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.  (45) It is written in the prophets, 'They will all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me.

From this truth, the Calvinist observes that people die without hearing about Christ, and have thus not been drawn to Christ by the Father.  The Calvinist assumes, from centuries of amillennial training, that death is the point of final judgment.  The Calvinist assumes that death is the end of the journey.  The Calvinist assumes that final judgment is not a thousand years after the resurrection.  (Luther, Calvin, and all the mainstream churches, both Catholic and Protestant, were amillennial during most of church history.  They did not believe in a literal millennial reign of Christ.)  Since people have died without knowing about Christ, the Calvinist assumes the Father has not drawn all men to Christ.  

Scripture clearly teaches that those in the Church (or Israel) are elected by God.  Thus, the Calvinist argues that God, being GOD, has the right to pick those he is going to save.  This is known as the Sovereignty of God.  Nobody deserves salvation.  However, God has chosen to draw some of us to Christ so that some of us will be saved.  Nobody can be saved without being drawn to Christ by the Father.

God is without doubt sovereign.  God does have the right to choose whom he will draw to Christ.  However, would the sovereignty of God be in question if God’s plan is to draw all men to Christ?

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

Christ will draw all people to himself.  Does this mean that everyone will be saved?  Not if God, in his sovereignty, has given everyone the free choice to accept or reject Christ after they are drawn to Christ.  It was only because of the sovereignty of God that Adam had the free will to choose between the two trees.  God draws all people to Christ.  This drawing does not automatically produce salvation for all.  

Anyone can choose to reject Christ after they have had God’s revelation about Christ.  God does not choose whether we would commit this unpardonable sin.  If God did choose who would commit this unpardonable sin, it would make God be the author of that unpardonable sin.

Some people have argued that the “draw” of John 6:44 means to compel by irresistible authority.  In other words, some argue that when the Father draws people to Christ, that this Greek word is not a wooing, but is irresistible.  One Calvinist making this argument pointed out that Acts 16:19 uses the same word, where the crowd seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.  Several other examples of this Greek word were also used.

However, the “draw” of John 12:32, quoted above, also uses this same Greek word.  The Greek word means to draw, attract, or drag.  There may be contexts where the dragging is just about impossible to resist.  However, the verse in John 12:32 is about the exact same subject as John 6:44.  God is able to draw all people to himself because of the crucifixion.  Some are drawn in this age.  Some will be resurrected and then drawn in the age to come.  

The drawing is very compelling, especially when physical evidence of Christ’s Lordship is personally seen.  However, with our free-will, those with selfish motivations can still choose themselves over Christ.  They still have Adam’s choice of making themselves to be like God, choosing for themselves what is good and what is evil.  Or they can choose to live for Christ.

The election verses are not talking about salvation, but about being in Israel.  Those in true Israel are not the only ones saved.  Romans chapter 9 is an important chapter that talks about election.  This is the primary text used by Reformed preachers and teachers when teaching Calvin’s election.  In the context of this chapter, Paul is wrestling over why Israel had rejected the Messiah.  The conclusion is that not all Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6).  Paul then uses the example of Jacob and Esau to prove God’s election.  The choice of Jacob or Esau was made before the twins were even born, before either had done good or bad.

Paul includes in his quotes the fact that the older (Esau) will serve the younger (Jacob) (Romans 9:12).  Is this Paul’s way of talking about salvation?  Do those who are not saved serve those who are saved?  However, from the ancient Jewish perspective, in a discussion about Israel, it can be said that the nations of the world will serve Israel.  Israel will rule the nations.  Therefore, Esau will serve Jacob.  Of course Paul immediately makes it clear that Gentiles are elected as well as Jews (Romans 9:24-26).  Therefore, election is not just talking about salvation.  

4.5)  Problem Solved: The Gospel of Jesus VS. The Gospel of Paul

The gospel of Jesus is often seen as being quite different from the gospel of Paul.  Some even claim that the gospel of Jesus was for an old dispensation and that it changed at the cross.  One dispensational pastor, who is a friend of mine, says he interprets the words of Jesus "through the lenses of Paul."  In other words, he reinterprets the words of Jesus using his interpretation of the words of Paul.  A better approach is to interpret Paul in the context of the words of Jesus.

Books have been written about the difference between the gospel of Jesus and the gospel of Paul.  The apparent differences between Jesus and Paul has a lot to do with overcoming sin and whether or not it’s needed for salvation.  

Matthew 5:19-22 Whoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.   (20) For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  (21) "You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, 'You shall not murder;' and 'Whoever shall murder shall be in danger of the judgment.'  (22) But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna.

Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.  (30)  If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.

Matthew 5:48 ESV You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 7:13-14 "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.

Matthew 7:21-23 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.'

Jesus characterizes the kingdom of heaven as being purchased by the merchant who sold everything he had to buy it.  Paul says that salvation is a free gift.

Matthew 13:44-46 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field .  (45) "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls,   (46) who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Jesus said it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Paul says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that he was raised from the dead then you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Matthew 19:23-24 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."

Jesus says you must renounce everything you have if you are to be his disciple.

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.

All this confusion stems from the assumption that all believers are true disciples of Christ and that salvation is equivalent to inheriting the kingdom.  When a believer sees that he is not living up the standards that Jesus sets for being a disciple, or for inheriting the kingdom, he begins to focus on the words of Paul.  All this confusion stems from the belief that everyone’s final destiny for eternity is determined at the time of death.  But for God, death and the grave are not obstacles.  These are obstacles that we have placed on God.  The wise will inherit the kingdom.  But the foolish still have the opportunity to accept Christ as Savior and to mature in a discipleship relationship after the resurrection.  Believers who have not matured are not automatically doomed for hell.  But neither will they inherit the kingdom.

The gospel of Jesus is undeniably that of a journey.  Paul also speaks of salvation as being a journey.  But the many Protestants, especially conservative evangelicals, usually interpret the words of Paul as saying that salvation is simply a decision for Christ.  The Calvinist will say, “Once saved always saved.”  You can point out that salvation is justification, sanctification, and then glorification.  And sanctification is a journey.  At that point one pastor I know revised his assertion and said, “Once justified always justified.”  This Calvinist and Reformed view also asserts that it’s impossible to completely overcome sin.

All this is based on Paul’s teaching of justification by faith, which of course is true.  When we profess faith in Christ we are justified and credited with righteousness.  But the need to make good on that credit is questioned.  It’s said that only happens in heaven.  The Scriptural argument for this is usually along the lines that we have moral bodies that are physically corruptible.  “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53) at the resurrection. This mortal aspect of our bodies is said to be spiritually corruptible and cannot stop sinning. Also, Paul’s expressed experiences with his difficulty of overcoming sin are interpreted as stating an impossibility.  Once this interpretation of Paul’s words becomes established, the contradictory words of Jesus become reinterpreted through the lenses of Paul.

Then, the conservative evangelical must consider the words of John’s first letter. "Whoever remains in him doesn't sin. Whoever sins hasn't seen him, neither knows him" (1 John 3:6).  "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8).  "Whoever is born of God doesn't commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can't sin, because he is born of God" (1 John 3:9).  "We know that whoever is born of God doesn't sin, but he who was born of God keeps himself, and the evil one doesn't touch him" (1 John 5:18).

At this point, many conservative evangelicals start talking about two kinds of sin.  Some sins should not be done by Christians.  Others are unavoidable, they say.  And then they will start listing some sins that they personally are able to avoid.  They list sins that are done on the outside.  But they usually don’t list sins of the heart such as enmity, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, and drunkenness.  But these sins are explicitly listed by Paul in saying those who do these things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).  Even lust becomes acceptable as long as it doesn’t become adultery.  But what does Jesus say?  The Pharisees were very good at appearing righteous on the outside.  But Jesus said that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

At this point many will say I’m preaching salvation by works.  No, we are saved by faith alone.  Salvation includes justification, sanctification and glorification.  We are justified and credited with righteousness when, by faith, we become a believer.  We are also sanctified by faith.  This means that we have faith in God to change us on the inside through the Holy Spirit.  This faith is not just a belief.  It’s a faith that includes work, because faith without works is dead.  As we do the works of the Father, out of love for God and our neighbor, the Holy Spirit fills us and empowers us to carry out the Father’s will.  As we do the works, the Holy Spirit changes us on the inside.  So even sanctification is a free gift from God.  But if we don’t have faith in God to sanctify us, we will grieve the Holy Spirit and we probably will not be able to overcome sin in this lifetime.  We can’t change ourselves.  That is self-righteousness.  When salvation is really understood to be a journey of faith, then the gospel of Jesus and the gospel of Paul come into perfect harmony.

We are to be the light of the world.  But statistics have shown the moral actions of professing Christians is not much different than that of the world.  Jesus and Paul really are preaching the exact same gospel.  But the gospel of the kingdom is not a popular gospel because it’s incorrectly assumed that the foolish will burn in hell.  For most Christians, the true gospel of the kingdom is a very difficult pill to swallow.  Overcoming sin is seen as impossible because it’s rarely understood that it happens by faith alone as we do the works.  It happens out of true love for God and for our neighbors; the kind of love that requires actions.

4.6)  Problem Solved: The Seemingly Harsh God of the Old Testament

If God shows mercy to all, and desires everyone to be saved, then why did God command the people to destroy the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites (Deuteronomy. 20:17)?  Verse 18 of Deuteronomy says, “That they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods.”  But did they know any better?  Why had God revealed himself to the Hebrews and not to these other nations?  Why did God command that some of these other nations be destroyed without giving them a chance to learn about the one true God?  Can this be considered cold-hearted election?  What if God knew that Abraham’s children would be a blessing to all nations, including these, after the resurrection?  But for God to carry out His plan, God must first cultivate a holy nation that will reign with Christ during the Messianic kingdom to come.

Why did God command the death penalty for working on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15)? Could it be that God considered the teaching of holiness to Israel to be more important than their lives?  Those who broke this law can still be raised and live in the millennium.  The important thing was to teach holiness to a holy nation so they could reign with Christ during the millennium.  A holy nation is needed to bring holiness to the entire world.  So from God’s perspective, it matters not if some people must rest for a while in Sheol until the resurrection.

Why does God allow cruelty and injustice?  Why is there so much pain in this world?  We have not been seeing the big picture.

4.7)  Problem Solved: Failure to Lead Our Loved Ones to Christ

I’m adding this section just as I’m finishing the second edition of this book.  A few weeks back, a very close friend of mine told me his younger sister had died.  She is survived by a husband and three teenage children.  Her liver had been failing, and the doctor had given her perhaps six months to live.

For the sake of this story, let’s call my friend Tim, and his sister Susan.  Tim is a Christian and is active and involved in his church.  He accepted Christ, however, as an adult.  Tim had not grown up in a Christian family.  His sister Susan was not a Christian.

During the time when Susan was sick, Tim and other Christians started to talk to Susan about Christ.  She developed some interest and asked Tim to buy her a Bible.  She wanted one of those that didn’t have all the “thee’s” and “thou’s”.  So Tim bought her an NIV.  But she unexpectedly got worse died before Tim could give it to her.  Susan had not made a profession of faith in Christ.

Tim noticed how carefully the pastor chose his words at the memorial service.  Pastors, he said, know how to choose words that comfort the family and yet avoid the issue of whether she has gone to a better place.

How would it make Tim feel, if he believed his sister is eternally in hell, and would be eternally in heaven if he had been perhaps one week earlier in his witness?  In these situations pastors tend to revert to phrases like “God knows best.”  And “God will do what’s right.”  But according to most pastors’ trained doctrines, those who die without professing Christ are in hell.

Wouldn’t it be great if pastors could have a sound doctrine, based on the literal interpretation of Scripture, which would be in agreement with what they tell the bereaved?  The New Wine System solves this problem.  We should not have to bear the guilt of anyone’s eternal standing with God.

4.8)  Every Knee Will Bow

On the last day, everyone who has not taken the mark of the beast, or who has not committed an unpardonable sin, will be raised from death.  Those who take the mark of the beast, during the great tribulation, will not be raised (Rev  20:4-5).  The mark of the beast is taken only by those who harden their hearts against Christ.  It’s a time of world-wide rebellion against Christ (2 Thess. 2:3).  Many people will harden their hearts even more at that time.

Toward the end of the great tribulation, there will be very few carnal (or undecided) Christians.  Persecution has a way of making the Church pure.  At the end of the age, the wheat will be separated from the tares (Mat.13:24-42).  Because of this persecution, Revelation speaks of all the Christians as saints.  Those who stand firm to the end will be saved (Mark 13:8-13, Rev 13:10, 14:12).  They will be saints and will rule in the millennium (Rev 20:6).  But those who receive the mark of the beast will not be saved.  They will not be raised from the dead.

Almost everyone, from all generations, will be raised on the last day.  Jesus said, “He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him.  The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day" (John  12:48).  These who harden their hearts and reject Christ will not be raised.  But everyone else, even those who have not yet accepted Christ, will be resurrected and will have the opportunity to accept Christ and to grow into Christ’s maturity.

When Christ returns, all the nations of the earth will see the sign of Christ in the sky (Matthew 24:30).  The nations of the earth will mourn (Matthew 24:30).  Does this not sound like the experience of a new Christian when he first repents and asks Christ to be his Lord and Savior?

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

Literally speaking, those who pierced him would include the actual people involved in the crucifixion.  According to Mark 14:62, even Caiaphas the high priest will see Jesus coming in the clouds.  Caiaphas later died, so he must be resurrected before he can witness Jesus coming in the clouds.

Romans 14:11 For it is written, "'As I live,' says the Lord, 'to me every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess to God.' "

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.

This verse is sometimes interpreted as a forced bending of the knee.  But looking at this verse the way an ancient Jew would look at it, every knee will bow in true reverence to the Messiah.  Those who really repent of their sins will have been justified at the cross, and they can begin their paths of righteousness under Christ’s rule.  In Paul’s verses about the bowing of every knee, Paul is quoting Isaiah.  Be sure to read this the way an ancient Jew would have read it.

Isaiah 45:21-25 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.

This is what Paul was quoting.  All the ends of the earth will look to Christ and be saved.  Every knee on the earth in all the nations will bow to Christ and confess Him as their Savior.  With just the portion that Paul quoted, it’s not clear that these knees who bow can still have salvation.  But when we look at what he was quoting, it’s obvious.  They will be raised from death, and will be saved, but they "shall be ashamed” (KJV).  However, the descendants of true Israel (Abraham), including all Gentiles who will have matured in Christ, will be found righteous.  Then, they will lead the whole world into righteousness.

4.9)  Problem Solved: Exposing Our Sins at the Judgment Seat of Christ

In 1 Corinthians 4:5, Paul discusses the judgment that awaits Christians.  This verse speaks about bringing to light what is hidden in the darkness, and exposing the motives of men’s hearts.  What’s confusing to some theologians is, why would Christians, who have been forgiven of all sins, be shamed, by having their sinful nature exposed for all to see?  Are not our sins completely covered by the blood of Christ (Romans 4:7-8)?  This has caused some confusion for many scholars.

The judgment seat of Christ is mentioned in 2 Corinthians  5:10 and in Romans 14:10.  It’s in these two verses that the Greek word bema is used, which is the same word used for the “judgment seat” of kings and rulers.  In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul is talking about his own death that would soon come.  In verse 10 he speaks of the judgment seat where each one of us will “receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  In Romans 14:10, Paul says we should not judge our brothers for minor issues, because we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  But during this judgment, will Christ really shame us by exposing all our sins?  Will he really “bring to light what is hidden in the darkness, and expose all the motives of our hearts” (4:5)?

I once saw a lady come up to the pastor in tears after he taught this will happen.  He tried to phrase things a bit better, in hopes that she could accept this teaching.  But the lady kept crying.  Christ has forgiven us.  Why would he then expose us?

Let’s take another look at the passage, but this time let’s view the passage in terms of the present age, the resurrection, the Messianic age to come, the final judgment, and then eternal life or the lake of fire.  In the previous chapter (1 Cor. 3), Paul had been talking about building on the foundation of Jesus Christ and building toward the kingdom of the Messianic age.  This is also in the context of the different teachers, such as Apollos and Paul.  In the kingdom to come, our ministries will be judged.  It’s not a judgment of sin, although it’s related to sin.  

Some people try to build the kingdom with ministries that have motivations other than the simple love of Christ, the love of our neighbors, and his coming kingdom.  These ministries don’t bear the true fruit that builds the kingdom.  The minister or teacher is saved, but with nothing to show for it.  All his works are “burned up, [and] he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor. 3:15).  Such a teacher or minister is like the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  He doesn’t realize that he is not hearing from the Lord.  The minister is saved because he has not committed an unpardonable sin.  But the minister has not matured in Christ.  The minister is foolish, and will have nothing to show for his works in the Messianic age.  

This is not a matter of his sins being judged.  It’s simply that his works are burned up and he escapes as if through a fire.  He has gone through the wide gate of destruction.  But he is still saved.  If the minister grows in Christ’s maturity during the millennium, he will still be in the Book of Life at the Great White Throne Judgment.  This is not to say that Paul is equating Apollos with a foolish teacher.  He is simply saying that the church must draw teaching from different ministers, and try not to follow teaching that goes beyond what is in Scripture (1 Cor. 4:6).  When Christ returns, the bad teachings will become apparent.

The judgment seat of Christ, (sometimes called the Bema Judgment Seat), is very much a natural judgment seat.  Jesus will be the King of Kings.  In ancient times, the kings were the judges.  The King of Kings will reward his servants by putting them in charge of his cities.  Some of us will receive greater rewards than others.  It all depends on how we invest the talents that Christ has given us.

The judgment seat of Christ is not a time when Christ will shame us by exposing all our deep dark sins.  1 Corinthians 4:5 is still talking about the teachings of Paul, Apollos, or Cephas.  Some ministries will bear fruit in the kingdom and some will not.  The fact that 1 Corinthians 4:5 is still talking about different ministries can be seen in the next verse, where Paul mentions Apollos again.

Some people will argue the Bema Judgment Seat must immediately follow death, because of the context of 2 Corinthians 5:10.  If Paul is really talking about a heavenly dwelling to which we go when we die, then this verse would strongly suggest that we must appear before the Bema Judgment Seat after we die and before the resurrection.  However, I believe Paul is actually talking about the resurrection.  Refer back to section 2.5, titled “Absence from the Body is Presence with the Lord,” to see that Paul really was talking about the time after the resurrection.

4.10)  Problem Solved: Why does Paul Excommunicate Sinners?

There are two verses (1 Cor. 5:5 and 1 Tim 1:20) in which Paul turns specific sinners over to Satan.  Other verses in which Paul prescribes excommunication are Titus 3:9‑11 for divisiveness, 2 Thessalonians  3:11‑15 for free loading, 2 John verses 9‑11 for false doctrinal teachings, and in 1 Corinthians 5:11 for various other sins.  Perhaps someone who has been put out of the church will repent and come back.  But in practice, excommunication generally makes the person even more hardened.  

Did Paul really believe that turning a man over to Satan would lead to his repentance?  I do not believe Paul thought kicking a guy out of the church would save him.  He is not going to undergo the hardships of the world and then come begging back to the church.  If anything, life in the church at that time was much worse than life in the world.  In 1 Tim 1:20, the sin that causes the man to be turned over to Satan is a blasphemous mouth.  Such a person will do fine in the world.

1 Corinthians 5:5 [You] are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

In 1 Corinthians 5:5, Paul turns the man over to Satan so that he may be saved on the Day of the Lord.  Many people believe the “Day of the Lord” is a single 24‑hour day.  Instead, it’s the entire Messianic Age.  With the Lord, a day is as a thousand years.  It’s the “age to come.”  Refer to section 17.9 for the Scriptural evidence.

With the Day of the Lord being the age to come, Paul was saying to turn the man over to Satan so that he could be saved after Christ returns.  The man would not wind up being one of the elect.  He is thrown out of the church for the sake of the purity of the church.  We can see this in verses 6 and 7, where Paul speaks of the yeast of sin that can work its way through the batch of dough.  The man can be saved after Christ returns and Satan is chained.

This verse, over the centuries, has caused commentators to scratch their heads and come up with some interesting theories.  Adam Clarke believed that Satan was allowed to torment the guy’s body, and in so doing, God’s mercy remained, so that he would be saved.  But he said no such power remains today.  Matthew Henry brings up this possibility, and seems to portray it as other people’s opinions, not wanting to endorse it himself.  Yet he endorses no other view.

Commentators seem to have trouble deciding whether destruction of flesh really means death.  They just don’t see how the guy can die and still be saved.  The verse says nothing about torment.  The man is delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.  That’s death.

Would death or torment really lead to salvation?  I thought that only the torment and death of Christ on the cross could lead to salvation.  Or does the destruction of the flesh simply mean that the guy will eventually die a natural death?  The flesh is destroyed so that the spirit may be saved.  Theologians continue to scratch their heads over this one.

But with a Messianic Age to come, as Paul would have understood, it makes perfect sense.  Paul wanted to allow the guy’s salvation to wait on the age to come, instead of allowing him to corrupt the church at Corinth during this present age.  The guy would die, be resurrected, and then he could be saved.

If people who are not in love with Christ are allowed to stay in the church, they may get to the point where they really do reject Christ.  This could get their names blotted from the Book of Life.  It is better that they leave the church, and be turned over to Satan.  That way, they will still have opportunity for salvation in the Day of the Lord.

4.11)  A Close Look at John 3:16, in Context

Let’s take a close look at this most famous salvation verse.  But this time, let’s look at it in a broader context, from verses 14 through 20.  Also, let’s not restrict the time limits for belief, or unbelief, to the time of death.  Let’s allow for an age to come, where both the just and the unjust will be raised (Acts 24:15).  Let’s interpret the verse with salvation being a life’s journey and not simply a moment’s decision to believe.

In verse 16, John says those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.  For the unjust, the resurrection in the age to come is not eternal life.  There is still the second death.  Eternal life is given only to those who overcome sin through a personal (discipleship) relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s the real meaning of “believe.”  The Greek word means faith, hope, and belief.  We must follow Christ and become like Christ in order to receive eternal life.  

Also, let’s read the text as being about the world.  It’s not just about those few in the world who have the opportunity to believe during this age.  As the passage says, it’s about God’s love for the entire world.

I’m using the NIV’s translation of the second half of verse 17, because it’s truer to the Greek.  The WEB renders it as “but that the world should be saved.”  Nothing in the Greek says “should.”  Either the world is saved, or the world is not saved.  There is no “should” applied to the saving of the whole world, and there is nothing in the Greek to say that some in the world are saved and others are not saved.  In other words, most translations are influenced by the beliefs of the translators.

To say that the world is saved does not necessarily mean that each and every individual in the world is saved.  It would, however, have to mean that at least a strong majority of everybody in the world is saved.  Since the high majority of everybody in the world does not express belief in Christ during this lifetime, we can conclude that they will have that opportunity in the age to come.  The New Wine System states that everybody is on the path of righteousness.  We are all saved.  But salvation can be lost if one hardens their heart and rejects the Light.

John 3:14-20 WEB As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,   (15) that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  (16) 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.  (17)  For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, [ but to save the world through him. NIV ]  (18)  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.  (19) This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.  (20) For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed.

The Light has come into the world.  Those who reject the Light are "judged already" (condemned) and they will not be resurrected.  But what about those who have never seen or heard the Light?  What about those who do not as yet understand the Light?

To be “judged already” means there is no longer opportunity for salvation.  Those who have not as yet believed, because they have not yet heard or understood, are not yet condemned.  Therefore, verse 18 cannot be talking about them.  Verse 18 must be talking about those who refuse to have “faith, hope, and belief” in the Light that they see and understand.  They do “not believe” the Light they see.  They no longer hear the voice of Christ.

4.12)  Concluding Thoughts for Part One of This Book

I believe we will see the return of Christ very soon.  But will Christ return to a Church so vastly divided on issues of Scripture?  Is it possible for the Church to come into agreement about the theological issues that have divided us? Most Christians would think it’s impossible.  But with God, all things are possible.  

Would it be possible for all Protestants to see that election and free will are both true?  If so, we don’t need the historical denominational differences along those lines.  Would it be possible for everyone to see that salvation is a free gift for everyone, yet we need to overcome sin to inherit the kingdom?  This issue has also caused many Protestant denominational divisions.  The truth hides in the middle.

Could it even be possible for Catholics and Protestants to get together, perhaps during the great tribulation?  It’s my belief that there will be a great awakening in the Church during the first half of the seven-year period of Christ's return.  Could this awakening also bring unity?  Could the Church once again be truly the One (Catholic) Church?  (The word Catholic means One.)  

Protestants need to realize that purgatory does fill a Scriptural requirement, and Catholics need to realize that the millennial reign of Christ is a much better alternative than purgatory.  Without purgatory, there is no need to pray for the dead, and there is no need for indulgences.  Catholics need to realize that salvation is a free gift for everyone, even for those who have not been baptized.  

Protestants need to realize that you are not automatically a saint when you first profess faith in Jesus Christ.  Salvation is more like the Catholic view of a journey.  Not everyone makes it to sainthood before they die.  Catholics need to realize that the true list of saints is in heaven only, and that you don’t have to be Catholic to be a saint.  And Catholics need to realize the strong assurance of salvation that exists for anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  The truth hides in the middle.

Jesus prayed for unity in the Church.  The Father tends to answer the prayers of Jesus.  Could this be your prayer as well?

John 17:11 I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them through your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are.

Philip Brown

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.

Philip Brown     Click to email me.

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.

Philip Brown     Click to email me.

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.

Philip Brown     Click to email me.