LIVING IN A "HAUNTED" HOUSE

LIVING IN A “HAUNTED” HOUSE

When Halloween rolls around it always reminds us of haunted houses. Someone once asked me: “Wayne, do you believe in “haunted” houses?” I answered, “Of course not. I study the Bible. I believe what God has said about those things. I am a preacher and do not believe in ghosts, spooks, and goblins.” He said, “Well, would you go into a house that most everybody in town believed was “haunted” and stay all night?” I replied, “Who me? Never!!! I may be wrong about ghosts and goblins. I have misunderstood numerous things in the Bible in my time and there is no need to take any unnecessary chances!”

I well remember a song from the sixties by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (yes that was really the name of the group) called, “Haunted House.” As the title would imply, the song was about a guy who moved into a haunted house. Inside the house, “bells started ringing and chains rattled loud” and he knew he had moved into a “haunted house.” He saw a man from “outer space” that had “one big eye and two big feet.” The alien sat on a “hot stove” and “drank hot coffee right from the spout” and “hot grease from the frying pan.” The strange visitor ordered, “Don’t be here when the morning comes.” Now, talk about an unnecessary command. He would not have had to tell me that! I would have been gone as soon as I saw him. But this man in the song decides to stay, regardless. In fact he said, “Yes, I will be here when the morning comes, I’ll be right here” and “ain’t gonna run.” He bought this house and there was no way a “haint’s gonna run me off.”

But seriously, “Haunted House” is just a song that came from the imagination of the writer. The house and people and circumstances it describes do not exist and they never did. But I do know a lot of Christians who are like this, at least in a sense. They, too, live in an “imaginary” haunted house. One of the words that can mean the same thing as “haunted” is “troubled.” We say things like, “If you do that, it will come back to haunt you.” And what we mean, of course, is that a certain decision now may trouble or disturb us later.

Many believers live troubled lives and their hearts are disturbed because they are living in a “haunted house.” A haunted house of “guilt.” Some Christians just can’t seem to get passed…the past. They can’t seem to accept the fact that God has actually forgiven them for the stupid decisions they have made and horrible sins (especially presumptuous sins) they have committed. But David in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 11-12) and Paul in the New Testament (1 Timothy 1:12-16) are examples to us all of how ready and willing God is to forgive us. David knew about God’s “multitude” of “tender mercies” (Psalm 51:1). Paul knew that God’s grace is “exceedingly abundant” (1 Timothy 1:14). As a matter of fact, in the famous Old Testament passage where God says His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways—as much so as the heavens are higher than the earth—He was talking specifically about forgiveness and how willing He is to forgive! He promised to “abundantly pardon” those who would turn to Him from a life of sin. Read it for yourself in Isaiah 55:6-9. He does not think like we think or act like we act when it comes to forgiveness. We cannot out sin the blood of Jesus. Jesus is better at saving than we are at sinning!

So we need to get out of the “haunted house” of guilt and shame and get on with living for God. Being tormented, troubled, or even slightly disturbed over the sins of the past that have been forgiven is living in an imaginary “haunted house.” What’s done is done! But more importantly, what Christ has done is done! It is finished (John 19:30). We need to stop trying to “restart” what He has “finished.” I know that some preachers and other Christians continually want to remind us of past mistakes, failures, and sins, but do not listen to them. These sincere souls are surely not from “outer space” like the one in the song, but they are definitely “out of place” when they say, teach, or imply that one has to “straighten out the past” in order to be “forgiven in the present.” Remember, if you are a Christian you are in the Lord’s “House of Grace” (1 Timothy 3:14-15; Rom. 5:1-2) and His house is not a “haunted house of guilt.”

Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
https://gandpministries.wordpress.com

Will Only The Church of Christ Be Saved?

WILL ONLY THE CHURCH OF CHRIST BE SAVED?

Yes and no, depending on what is meant? In the book of Matthew when Jesus said “on this rock I will build My church” (Matt. 16:13-18), He was referring to “His kingdom” or those He would save and therefore “reign” over in order to guide and protect. His “kingdom” then consists of all of those He saves and who submit to His will (as they understand it at any given point) for their lives. So in that sense all of the saved are part of the universal “church” that belongs “to Christ” or church “of Christ.” He is going to save the “body” of saved people (Eph. 5:23) who come to Him for salvation and who submit to Him as Lord (Col. 2:6). If we have any view of the church of Christ that does not include “all” of the saved, then we do not have the right view when used in this sense. If our view is limited to one “sect” or “group” or “denomination” or “tribe” or “fellowship” or “segment” or “Church” that does not include all believers then we hold a view that is simply not true. God adds all of the saved to His church (the number who are being saved) the moment they are saved (Acts 2:47)….even if they are not part of our particular “group” (or any local organized “group” for that matter).

Seeking to be “Christians only” is not the same as thinking that we are the “only” Christians. There is a big, big difference in thinking that “only the ones who believe” are right with God… and in believing that we are the “only ones right” with God. All true “believers” are members of “Christ’s church” regardless of what we think or what they may call themselves or where they may be in the world. Therefore, it is important to understand that the one true “church” of Christ is not a denomination comprised of what some may refer to as locally organized “sound Churches of Christ.” Salvation is not based on a connection to a local church or group of churches or a particular segment of a “restoration movement/group/heritage/tribe/Churches.” Salvation is based totally on being “in Christ” who Himself adds all those He saves to the number who are being saved which composes the universal church or body of Christ.

We do not get “into Christ” through “the” local Church or through “a” Church. We get into the church through Christ and that is a big difference. It is interesting that not one of the local Churches that we read about in the Bible exists today, but the “church” (body of saved) that belongs to God/Christ does. Some of us who identify ourselves with a locally organized “Church of Christ” have left the impression that only those who “meet with us” are saved. This is just as denominational and sectarian as it gets and has never been true. When we hear our people speak of “Church of Christ members” or “Church of Christ preachers” or “Church of Christ Churches” they are obviously referring to the local organized group that we identify with, but if we think these are the only ones who comprise the universal “church” that belongs to Christ then we are sadly mistaken. And if we apply this local group concept to the church that Jesus promised to save, then we are mixing “apples and oranges” or “denominational/sectarian concepts” with the “Bible concept” as well as taking a “universal” reference and applying it to a “local” reference concerning who is in the church and who is not.

Any believer who has been “born again” (Jn. 3:3-5) is added to Christ’s church before/without having to “meet with us” or having our approval. As a matter of fact, there are some who “meet with us” who are not saved (Rev. 2-3) and there are plenty who do not “meet with us” who are. For example, the Ethiopian eunuch was added to “body of the saved” (church) because of his faith in Jesus before he met with any group (Acts 8:35-39)…if he ever did. Some of those who were in one of the local seven Churches in Asia were not in the real “church” of Christ even though they were part of a local congregation referred to as “the Church” (Rev. 2-3). We may join a local Church in one way or another (place membership/identify with/join, Acts 9:26) once we have been joined to Christ (Zech. 2:11; 1 Cor. 6:17) as part of His body…but the two are not necessarily the same. Paul was added to the Lord’s church (body of the saved) when he believed in Jesus (Acts 9:1-18), but later “he tried to join the disciples” in the local Church in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26), which is one way to illustrate the difference. All believers are saved and members of the “church” that belongs to Christ even if they never meet with a local group called the “Church of Christ.” I certainly believe that the Bible teaches that there is only one body (Eph. 4:4) and that “body” consists of all of those who are “in Christ” and that is the only “church/body” that He has promised to save (Eph. 5:23). And anyone, anywhere who has faith in Jesus Christ and is born again is part of that body or church. A person does not have to be a member of one of our “local Churches of Christ” to be saved but he/she must be “in Christ” and therefore be part of His (universal) church. So my answer to the question is: ‘Yes’ a person must be a member of Christ’s church to be saved. And ‘No’ a person does not have to member of a local “Church of Christ” or “meet with us” to be saved. We are saved by faith in Jesus not by membership in a local Church. Thank God for Jesus and His church/Church–all those He has saved (Acts 2:47)

Hope this helps!

Wayne Dunaway

ohatcheechurchofchrist.com

Refusing to Baptize the Divorced and Remarried

Refusing to Baptize the Divorced and Remarried

Another MDR question. One reader (who obviously is not familiar of “our group”) wants to know, “Who would refuse to baptize or demand that a divorced and remarried couple divorce again especially if they are now happily married and have children together?”

My response:

Some preachers and leaders in the “Church of Christ” do. I have a friend who is Catholic and he is refused “communion” because he is divorced so I guess they do it at least in some sense. If I understand it right, the Catholics believe in the “indissolubility” of marriage and therefore do not recognized divorce and remarriage for any reason. They believe that the Church decides who is married and who is not regardless of what the couple involved do or believe. Some of our brethren believe like the Catholics concerning the “indissolubility” of marriage but they make an exception when one of the mates commit fornication but then only the “innocent party” can ever remarry. I am sure there are a few others who do not accept the MDR couples unless and until they divorce and remain single or go back to the first partner…which is usually not even possible in most cases.

According to my understanding neither of these views is true as I explain in my book and the “indissolubility” of a marriage has never been true whether they are married in the Catholic Church, Church of Christ, or outside the Church. God authorizes divorce for sexual unfaithfulness (Matt. 19:9) as well as for desertion and marital abuse (1 Cor. 7:12-15). It is wrong to teach married people that they have to put up with “abusive mistreatment” or that they are “still in bondage” to one who has abandoned the marriage…regardless of who teaches it or how long it has been taught. We all believe that if it can be worked out, it should, but that is not possible in all cases. We all believe that marriage should be for life and that is the way God originally designed it, but the question usually is, “What do we do with those whose marriage did not work out and they have started over in a new marriage relationship?”

As far as I can tell most of us in the Church of Christ do not refuse to baptize those involved in MDR, but, believe it not, there are still some (probably only a few nowadays) who refuse to baptize them unless they divorce. Others will baptize them, but then treat them like “second class” members of the church…and there are still quite a few of these in our brotherhood. It is a serious issue among us and most of those who reject those involved in MDR do so out conviction and, in my judgment, a serious misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches. I certainly do not believe that they are “hypocrites” or that they just want to “hurt” people. I believe that in almost all cases they are sincere and think that they are doing the right thing based on what they have been taught and/or on what they believe the Bible teaches. But the results are the same and most of those involved in MDR are turned away by them because those involved in MDR rightly refuse to break up their families and leave their children without “married” parents. There is no “gospel” in that kind of message…at least not for them. As a group we have made a lot of progress along these lines since I became a member back in 1970, but we obviously still have a way to go. This is the reason I wrote my book on the subject. There are numerous other good books on the subject written by our brethren who believe MDR couples can be forgiven of marital mistakes and go on from where they are without having to divorce again and live single. I have had a lot of positive response to my book, especially from those involved in MDR as well as from numerous preachers and other leaders in our group. Of course, I have also been criticized for it, but the good responses I have personally heard have been really great and most encouraging. As you most likely know (and if you don’t, you should), I am far more concerned about the souls of those MDR couples and their children who want to come to Jesus than I am about the opinions and/or criticisms of those who seek to “break up marriages” and “destroy established families.” If they can sleep well with that decision then all I can say is…sweet dreams! But I personally believe that those who have made bad marriage choices and decisions need to be treated like all others who come to Jesus for salvation. Most of us have been forgiven of such sins as pride, prejudice, fornication, lying, drunkenness, covetousness, hate and a host of other sins in our past, and I believe those who have made bad marriage choices or sinned against their previous mates need to be forgiven and go on from where they are just like we do/have regarding our sins of the past. Paul clearly said that converts should “remain” in the state in which they were called (1 Cor. 7:17, 20, 24) and he later specifically applied that statement to married couples in the context (1 Cor. 7:27). My book is dedicated to those who have been “hurt” or those who have “hurt” others in failed marriages and have come to Jesus for forgiveness and healing. Divorce is rampant enough in our country without church leaders demanding more…but, believe it or not, it does still happen! But again, as far as I know, most of us in the Churches of Christ are opposed to breaking up established families.

One final point. Refusing to baptize those involved in MDR has never been the norm as far as I can tell. For example:

One of the most conservative and influential men among our churches (at least at one time) was Foy E. Wallace, Jr. He had this to say years ago about breaking up families and destroying marriages.

FOY WALLACE, Jr. ON “ABIDE IN THE CALLING”
It is in this connection that the apostle added in verse 20, “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called” and it should serve as a check to some marriage counseling preachers who are so readily disposed to break up marriage relationships that are not in conformity with their own immature human opinions. (Comments on I Corinthians 7, THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT AND THE CIVIL STATE, pg. 45)

H. LEO BOLES (another very influential brother) wrote years ago, when ask about a preacher who refused to baptize a lady involved in MDR:

I think that if I had been the preacher, I would have baptized her…. It is a fearful thing to hinder or keep anyone from obeying the gospel. I do not want to have to answer for such a sin. I have had a few cases like the one described above, and I have baptized the parties and left it with them to bring forth fruit meet for repentance. (Questions & Answers, Sermon Outlines & Bible Study Notes, pp. 63 & 64)

Hope this helps! God bless! Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).
Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

College Football and Christian Faithfulness

COLLEGE FOOTBALL and CHRISTIAN FAITHFULNESS

All real fans know that following College Football in this country (especially in the SEC) is a lot of fun. I have been a serious fan since I was a teenager and I still am. I really enjoy pulling for my team, writing poems and blogs about them, kidding with my family and friends on the opposing teams, and the other things that go along with being a fan.

But sports mean absolutely nothing to believers when it comes to what we live for. When compared to what has real meaning in our lives all sports could cease to exist and our reason for living would not change one bit. We are Christians. This means that for us “to live is CHRIST” (Phil. 1:21). He is the only real focus we have in this life and pleasing Him is all that really matters. Everything that happens (good/bad; wins/loses) fade totally out of existence when compared to our “life in Him” and what He has done and will do in our lives. Those in our world who are overly affected in a negative way by anything that happens on this planet in sports do not know the Jesus we know or else they have not paid enough attention to what He has taught us. As believers our only real focus is on spiritual things and the spiritual blessing we have in Christ (Eph. 1:3). The “one thing” that we do is press for the goal He has made available for us (Phil. 3:13-14). Everything else is viewed and faced in light of our Lord and His purpose for our lives.

It is easy for those who don’t know Jesus to get so “caught up” in the things of this life and be so obsessed by them that their real joy, peace and contentment is decided by what happens in the world of football and sports. But the only real game that is actually important to us is the spiritual game of life (1 Cor. 9:24-27) and that game has already been won. The final score has already been posted and we are looking forward to the victory celebration. (Read the book of Revelation). We are members of a victorious team…a team of believers who are more than conquers over all opponents through Him that loves us (Rom. 8:37). This victory that overcomes the world is our faith and is possessed by us all in various degrees (1 John 5:4).

If we ever allow any sporting event or team to cause us to insult, humiliate, mistreat, hurt, say hateful things to, have hateful feeling toward, or wish bad things to happen to others, then we should pray that God will help us cut it completely out of our lives forever (Matt. 5:29-30). We have a life and we don’t have to “get a life.” Our life is in Jesus and our real/main focus is on things above (spiritual things), and not on things on the earth especially such things as sporting events, politics, etc. This does not mean that we are not involved in or enjoy some of these things; it simply means that these things are viewed in light of our relationship with Jesus. Being a Christian helps us to see sports and other earthly matters from the proper perspective and keep them in their proper place in our lives.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-3, NKJV).

Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

Not Under Bondage: R. L. Whiteside

I recently received the following very encouraging note from a brother (who has been preaching for quite some time) concerning my book on “Just As I Am: Married, Divorced and Remarried.”

“Freeing, practical, healing.” Just As I Am” can be summed up with these words! It will not only aid in the healing of those who have experienced the pain of divorce, but is also a helpful resource for those who are married, or considering marriage. I used this book the first week I had it in my hands to help a couple in premarital counseling better understand Jesus’ teachings on ‘one flesh.’ This is a great book!……I never noticed or paid attention to 1 Cor 7.15 til I read your book.”

Obviously a lot of people in our brotherhood today have “never noticed or paid attention to 1 Corinthians 7:15.” A lot of the confusion about MDR would/could be cleared if people just read what it says in the context. In my book I refer to a number of great preachers in Churches of Christ who believe what I wrote in my book about “Desertion.” One of them is R. L. Whiteside. The following is one of the best articles I have read on 1 Corinthians 7:15 that brother Whiteside wrote years ago.

NOT UNDER BONDAGE
R. L. Whiteside

What is the bondage mentioned in I Cor. 7:15? Does the language mean that the injured, or innocent, party is so released from the marriage bonds as to be free to marry again? How would we contrast this verse with Matt. 19:9?
The verse reads: “Yet if the unbelieving departeth, let him depart: the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us in peace.” The passage seems plain enough; yet opinions differ as to its application. This difference of opinion grows out of the notion that its plain meaning does not seem to harmonize with Matt. 19:9. If a person did not already have his mind made up, he would have no trouble in understanding this verse. It can refer to nothing else than the marriage bonds, or vows. If either husband or wife becomes a Christian and the other is so bitter, against Christianity as to refuse to live with the be­liever, the believer is not under bondage in such cases—is completely released from the marriage vows, and as if no marriage had ever taken place. If this be not so, the believer, is still under bondage. But does that contradict Matt 19:9? It does not, any more than Matt. 19:9 contradicts God’s original marriage law.

In the beginning God made a male and a female. The one female was suited to the needs of the one male (Gen. 2; 24). This is evidently the original law of marriage for the whole human family, and would have continued to be the law with no exceptions had not sin entered into the world.

The first and permanent marriage law is found in Gen. 1:27, 28; 2:24. This law made no provision for divorce—not even for a separation. But the authority that makes a law can abolish it, or he can amend it, as circumstances or occasions demand. Notice carefully what led up to the things Jesus said in the verses in question: “and there came to him Phari­sees, trying him, and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said. Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined to­gether, let no man put asunder. They say unto him, Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and put her away? He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it hath not been so. And I say unto you, who­soever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.” It will appear plain from what Jesus says that the original law made no provision for any separation for any cause; yet the law of Moses suffered a man to put away his wife, but commanded him to give her a bill of divorcement when he did so. That bill of divorce­ment was required when the separation took place (Deut. 24:1). Because God added this amendment to his own mar­riage law, will someone accuse him of contradicting his own law. And when Jesus gave fornication as grounds for divorce and remarriage, will someone accuse him of contradicting God’s marriage law? And when the inspired apostle gave another cause for the complete annulment of the marriage vows, he did not contradict that law. Therefore, “if the unbelieving departeth”, let him depart; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases.” If the believer, in such cases, is not entirely free from the marriage vows, he is still under bondage. We usually have argued that as the apostles were the last and final revelators of the will of Christ, all that went before should be understood in the light of their teaching; but when we seek to bend First Corinthians to fit Matt. l9:9, we re­verse the principle of interpretation. Besides, the two pas­sages deal with different angles of the matter. Jesus speaks of the man who shall put away his wife for other reasons than adultery; Paul speaks of man or woman who has been forsaken by the wife or the husband. The man must not put away his wife and marry another, except for fornication; but if an unbelieving husband or wife leaves the believer, what then? “The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases.” As long as the unbeliever was content to dwell with the be­liever, the believer was still under bondage (Verses 12, 13). The believer must not put the unbeliever away. “Yet if the unbelieving depart, let him depart: the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases.” If his future actions are in any way limited by his former marriage, then he is still bound by that marriage — is still under bondage. To me the language means that the brother or sister is as free as if he or she had never been married. What else can the passage mean? If we did not have our minds made up another way, the passage would mean to us just what it says. (Reflections, p. 414-417)

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Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.wordpress.com

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

This is a chapter from my book: Heaven: Where Few are Many!

LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED

Jesus is in an upper room with His disciples. This is the night that He will be betrayed and arrested. The next day He will be crucified. The words recorded in John chapters 14-16 are His final words to His followers before His death. What did He say? They must have been very important words for them and for us. At least twice on this occasion He said the following words: “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1 & 27). What did He mean and how will these words help us in our present study? This will be the subject of this chapter.

First, we need to realize that He was not telling us that we should not let anything at all trouble us. Life is full of trouble (Job 14:1). Trouble will sometimes trouble us all regardless of our degree of faith and commitment to Jesus. Paul wrote that he was “troubled on every side” because “outside were conflicts, inside were fears” (2 Cor. 7:5). His heart was troubled at times and so is ours.

Furthermore, the Lord Himself was troubled on numerous occasions. In John 12:27 He said, “Now is my soul troubled,” because He was thinking about the time of His death. In fact, He was also “troubled in spirit” on this very occasion in the upper room because Judas was going to betray Him (John 13:21). Later, when He went to the garden to pray, He was “in agony” and “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground” (Lk. 22:44). These are a few of the many times that Jesus had a heart that was troubled. There are legitimate reasons to have a troubled heart. So, what did Jesus mean? “Let not your heart be troubled” about what?

If you read the context where these words are spoken, you will realize that Jesus did not want His followers to be troubled about the fact that they would sometimes fail and fall short of what He expects. Failure, weakness, and ignorance are all a fact of life for all believers. In John 13 His disciples learned that they were still very ignorant about much of what He had taught them during His time with them on earth. They did not even comprehend what it takes to be great in the Lord’s kingdom, even though He had tried to teach them on numerous occasions about humility and service (Matt. 5:3; 18:1-4; 20:24-28). Yet, in the upper room on this very occasion they were still arguing over who was the greatest (Lk. 22:24). Also, Jesus had announced that one of them was going to betray Him, another was going to deny Him, and they would all forsake Him and run away (Jn. 13:21-38; Matt. 26:31). In fact, it was immediately after He prophesied that Peter would deny Him that Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). He did not want them so troubled or overly concerned about their weaknesses and failures that they would fail to focus on His promise to them and His encouragement for them. He did not want them troubled about these things, but rather He wanted them to trust in God and trust in Him. He was going to prepare a place for them, and He would come again to receive them to be with Him forever. Faults, failures, weaknesses, ignorance, and sins will not keep us out of Heaven if we continue to trust and rely on Him to save us. Our hearts should never be troubled about our relationship with Jesus as long as we trust Him for salvation and seek His will for our lives in spite of our failures, faults, and sins. Failure does not have to be fatal or final, if we will face our failures with faith. Faith in God and faith in Jesus will always save us regardless of the fact that we often do things we should not do and leave undone the things we should do. This is His message to us, our families, and our friends. In spite of all of the weaknesses and sins of His disciples, Jesus “kept them” by His power and “none of them” were lost, except Judas (John 17:12). He does the same for us all including you, me, our relatives, and our friends. One of the great lessons we need to remember is that Jesus chooses those who choose Him, and He helps us to choose (John 15:16; Acts 16:9-34). He also keeps those who want to be kept, and He helps us want to be kept (John 17:11-12).

In addition, when Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled,” He was telling us not to be worried or concerned about something or someone taking His peace from us that He promised to leave us. He said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). We have a peace that will never cease. Some of the very last things that Jesus said on this very occasion were the following words: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In our final chapter for this book we will discuss this perfect peace that will never cease. Thank God for Jesus!

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org.

Pre-millennialism and the Bible

PREMILLENNIAL VIEW OF THE LORD’S COMING

(Seven Simple Sermons on the Second Coming: W. Hershel Ford)

Pre-millennial refers to “coming before the thousand years.” I personally do not subscribe to the pre-millennial view but a lot of believers do. This article sums up basically what premillennialism is about according to a sermon outline book titled: “Seven Simple Sermons on the Second Coming.” This book does explain the view as “simply” as I have seen. W. Hershel Ford does a great job simplifying it. It is available from Amazon. (In my post at the end I will explain why I believe that the premillennial view…is probably not true.) According to his book and the premillennial view the events concerning the second coming of Jesus will be as follows:

1. Jesus will return in the air for His saints. (p. 11-15)
2. At that time He will raise the righteous dead and change the righteous living and they will be caught up (the Rapture) into heaven. (p. 16-19)
3. The saints will then face the judgment seat of Christ where all differences will be settled and rewards will be given. (p. 26-27)
4. Then will come the marriage supper of the Lamb where the church will be given to Christ and they will enjoy the marriage feast in heaven. (p. 31-34)
5. The saints will be safe in heaven with Christ for a period of seven years. During this seven year period those left on the earth will go through the great tribulation. During this period the anti-christ will appear and the Jews will return to Jerusalem and build the temple. The anti-christ will set himself up as sovereign over heaven and earth, and he will gather all the kingdoms of the earth together to fight against the Lord. (p. 36-49)
6. Christ then returns to the earth with His saints and the Battle of Armageddon starts. Christ and His hosts defeat the anti-christ and the nations that follow him. (p. 51-59)
7. The Jews as a nation will then be converted to Christ. She will repent of her sins and return to the Lord. (p. 60)
8. Christ will then judge the nations as to their treatment of Israel. (p. 60-61)
9. Next Satan is bound and Jesus sets up His kingdom and reigns on earth for a period of one thousand years. (p. 67-70)
10. After the thousand years Satan is loosed for a little season and causes a rebellion and is finally destroyed. (p. 74-75)
11. The wicked are then raised and all the wicked face the great white throne judgment which is for unbelievers only. (p. 79-88)
12. The present heaven and earth will then pass away and there will be a new heaven and new earth where the righteous will dwell in the heavenly city forever. (p. 91-104).

I wrote a brotherly response to this as follows:

PREMILLENNIALISM VERSUS THE BIBLE

NOTE: The word premillennial means “before” (pre) the “thousand” years (millennium). This simply means that according to the premillennial view Jesus will come back to the earth and to set up His kingdom before the thousand years referred to in Revelation chapter twenty. The following comparisons will explain why I personally believe that the premillennial view contradicts the Bible in a number of vital areas:

I. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

A. Premillennialism teaches two comings of Christ–one for His saints and then another with His saints about seven years later. (NOTE: Some prefer to call it the first and second stages of His coming, but in reality they teach two different second comings of Christ.)
B. The Bible teaches that there will be only one “second coming” of Christ.

(1) John 14:3 – Jesus promised to “come again” – not again and again.
(2) Hebrews 9:28 – He is going to appear “the second time”- not a second and third time.
(3) II Thessalonians 1:6-10 – When He comes to take vengeance on the wicked is when He comes to be glorified in His saints.
(4) Matthew 16:27- At His coming Christ will then reward every man according to his works.

II. THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD

A. Premillennialism teaches that there will be two resurrections one thousand years apart.
B. The Bible teaches that there will be only one resurrection of all the dead.

(1) John 5:28-29 – All, both good and evil, will be raised at the same hour (time).
(2) Acts 24:15 – Paul believed in “a resurrection (note the singular) of the dead both of the just and the unjust.”
(3) John 6:54 – Jesus said the righteous would be raised at the “last day” (Note: If it is the last day, then there can be no days after it.)
(4) John 12:48 – Jesus also said the wicked would be judged (therefore raised) the “last day.”
(5) Matthew 22:30 – Jesus further said “in the resurrection” clearly implying that there will only be one.
(6) John 11:24 – Martha believed in “the resurrection at the last day” and Jesus allowed her to believe it because He did not correct her.

III. THE JUDGMENT

A. Premillennialism teaches at least two judgments and some say there are more.
B. The Bible teaches that there is only one general judgmentin which all are judged.

(1) Hebrews 9:27 – Paul referred to “the judgment” (not judgments).
(2) 2 Corinthians 5:10 – Both good and bad will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
(3) Matthew 25:31-46 – Both the righteous and the wickedwill be at the judgment at the same time. The righteous will be welcomed and rewarded. The wicked will be sentenced and punished.
(4) Acts 17:31 – God has appointed “a day” (not days) of judgment.
(5) I John 4:17 – The righteous will have boldness in “the day of judgment.”
(6) II Peter 2:9 – The unjust will be punished in “the day of judgment.”

IV. THE KINGDOM

A.  Premillennialism teaches that Christ is going to set up His kingdom when He returns.
B. The Bible teaches that the kingdom was established on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus as recorded in Acts chapter two.

(1) Matthew 3:2 – The kingdom was “at hand” when John was preaching.
(2) Mark 1:15 – It was “at hand” when Jesus was preaching.
(3) Mark 9:1 – It was to come with “power” during the lifetime of the disciples.
(4) Acts 1:8 – The “power” was the Holy Spirit.
(5) Acts 2:1-4 – The Holy Spirit and “power” came on Pentecost.
(6) Colossians 1:13 – Paul and the Colossians were in the kingdom after Pentecost.
(7) Revelation 1:9 – John was in the kingdom when he wrote Revelation.
(8) Hebrews 12:28 – The Christians had received the kingdom in the first century.
(9) Luke 17:20-21 – The kingdom (reign) of Christ is in the “heart” of the believer.
(10) Luke 19:11-27 – Jesus went to heaven (far country) to receive the kingdom (v. 12) and reigned over His servants from heaven until His second coming (v. 27).

V. THE EARTH

A. Premillennialism teaches that at His coming Christ will then reign on the earth.
B. The Bible teaches that Christians will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and the earth will be burned up and that it will “pass away.”

(1) I Thessalonians  4:16-17 – Christians will be “caught up” to “meet the Lord in the air” and ever be with the Lord. Nothing is said about Him coming back to the earth.
(2) John 14:1-3 – Jesus is going to receive us unto Himself in the place He has gone to prepare.
(3) II Peter 3:10-12 – At the coming of Christ the earth will be burned up. The present “heaven and earth” that was created in the beginning (Gen. 1:1) will be “dissolved” and “melt with fervent heat.”
(4) Matthew 24:35-39 – “Heaven and earth” shall pass away at the coming of the Son of Man.
(5) Revelation 20:11- There will be “found no place for them” (present heaven and earth).
(6) 2 Peter 3:13 – We look for “new heavens and new earth.”

VI. THE THRONE OF DAVID

A. Premillennialism teaches that at His second coming Christ will then sit on the throne of David and reign in Jerusalem.
B. The Bible teaches that David’s throne is in heaven and that Christ was raised from the dead to sit on that throne and that He is on the throne now.

(1) Psalms 89:35-37 (KJV) – David’s throne is now “in heaven”
(2) Acts 2:29-36 – Jesus was raised from the dead to sit on David’s throne where He is now “Lord (ruler) and Christ.”
(3) Hebrews 1:8 – He has a throne, ruler’s staff, and kingdom now.
(4) Revelation 3:7 – He has the key (authority) of David now.
(5) Colossians 1:13 – We are “transferred” out of darkness and into the His kingdom when we become Christians…because as “Lord” He reigns in our hearts.
(6) Luke 17:20-21 – We do not see Christ on the throne. He reigns “within.”
(7) Luke 19:11-27 – Christ reigns from heaven (far country) in our hearts.
(8) Daniel 7:13-14 – He was given the kingdom when He ascended and went “to the Ancient of Days.”

VII. PAUL’S TEACHING IN 1 CORINTHIANS 15:23-25

A.  Premillennialism contradicts 1 Corinthians 15:23-26 at every point. Premillennialism says that at His coming it will be the beginning of His reign and He will set up His kingdom and therefore “God” will give Him the kingdom and He will take up His rule over His kingdom.
B. The Bible says at His coming then comes the end and He will deliver up the kingdom to God and put an end to His rule on earth.

(1) But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.  (1 Cor. 15:23-26).
(2) Note: At His coming “then” what?

(1) Then comes the end…not the beginning.
(2) Then He delivers up the kingdom…not sets up His kingdom on earth.
(3) Then He will give God the kingdom…not God will give Him the kingdom.
(4) Then He puts an end to His rule on this earth…not takes up His rule.
(5) He “must reign” as He is doing now in the hearts of believers until death is destroyed at His second coming when all are raised.

These are a few of the many reasons that I do not believe in the “Rapture Theory” or the “Left Behind” series or all of the “End Time” predictions that we hear a lot about today. According to my understanding of the Bible Jesus can come today or ten thousand years from now (or more). And when He does come that will be IT…as far as life on this present earth is concerned. At that time all believers of all ages will enter the “new heavens and new earth” and dwell with God and the Lamb forever! (Isa. 65:17ff; 2 Pet. 3:13ff; Rev. 21-22). Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org