Question #112

Is the Kingdom of Christ present or future?

I ran across your website and can't help but comment shortly regarding a question someone asked and you responded by saying that a saved person in the body of Christ can fall. That is false and does not even follow biblical doctrine.

We are exhorted to listen and read the teachings of the Apostle Paul which he calls "my gospel". He was taught personally by the Lord Jesus Christ in Arabia for three years and in his letters and epistles he exclusively teaches one cannot lose their salvation. This gospel that Paul teaches is the Grace gospel in which he was personally attacked and accused of being a libertine but he rebuked them and said they deserve what they get.

To many people confuse the Kingdom Gospel/Circumcision Gospel with Paul’s gospel. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the Kingdom Gospels in which you call fall away, have to be baptized, etc... The Lord's teachings and purpose was for the lost sheep of the House of Israel, the Lord said for himself this was true, and only them because he was offering the Kingdom to the people of Israel.

The Kingdom Gospel will be reinstated after the rapture in which the books of Hebrew, 1 and 2 John, and Revelation etc. will apply.

Think of the mercy the God has shown us Gentiles by bringing up the Apostle Paul to proclaim the mystery that God had never discussed or shown to anybody. Which to bring the blessings of eternal life by free Grace to the Gentiles/Jews by believing on Christ Jesus because Israel denied the offering of the Kingdom.

This is not to say all the books of the bible should be used for reproof and correction but we are exhorted by Paul to "show ourselves approved and rightly divide the bible".

At this age in God's world we are secure in the body of Christ and cannot be lost and anything other than that is heresy. We are exhorted by Paul to live Godly lives, refrain from sinful living so we can be presented before God without blame and reproach. Everybody needs to understand that another dispensation will occur after the rapture and God had books written for the people that are left to instruct them. They will be under another Gospel in which they can fall away, baptisms are required, etc... Pay attention to who it is addressed to. Hebrews was not written by Paul and doesn't apply to us in this age just like the Old Testament sacrifices doesn't apply to us now, for example, the book of James was written to the twelve tribes of dispersion so on and so forth.

Please read and rightly divide the bible before teaching that Christians can lose their salvation... Once Saved Always Saved or Eternal Security or whatever you want to call it is biblically based and doctrinally sound in this age but not so for people after the rapture.

Rejoice that we can live in the Body of Christ with security and can concentrate on spreading Paul’s Gospel: The death, Burial, and the Resurrection. Praise the Lord!

The Answer:

Using “answer” here may be a misnomer because this communication is more of a statement and argument than it is a question. Nevertheless, Thy Word Is Truth is happy to address it. While somewhat difficult to ascertain exactly what the Inquirer’s position is, it appears to be that there was one gospel for the period of Christ’s earthly sojourn and while the gospel was exclusively preached to the Jews, and another gospel was revealed to Paul to be preached to the Gentiles. Paul’s gospel, not the gospel of Christ, is what is applicable presently, the Inquirer asserts, but, he continues, the gospel that Christ preached will be proclaimed once more after the Rapture. Part and parcel of this position is that Christ came to establish an earthly kingdom, failed in the mission because of the rejection of the Jews, but will return again to establish his earthly kingdom.

At the time of the first coming of Christ the Jews believed that the Messiah’s Kingdom was to be an earthly kingdom. Millennialists believe the same thing now. What the Millennialists have never been able to explain is how Christ, having failed in his first mission, can guarantee success for the same mission when he returns. Their attempted answer is that “the bible tells us so.” The problem with that answer is that prophecy also “told us so” in connection with Christ’s failed first mission, so they cannot depend on prophecy to assure us that He will accomplish the second time that which he failed to accomplish the first time.

This teaching is popularly known as the “postponement theory.” It holds that when Jesus failed in his mission to establish the kingdom he postponed the establishment of the kingdom and gave us the church as an interim substitute for the kingdom. This resulted in what the Millennialists are pleased to call “the church age.” Since both sides agree that Jesus came the first time to establish his kingdom, the first question to be addressed is whether Jesus failed in his mission to establish the kingdom. If he did not fail the questions that follow need not be addressed. Even so, Thy Word Is Truth will address whether Paul taught the security of the believer in the sense that a Christian cannot so sin as to be eternally lost.

Since all agree that Jesus came to establish his kingdom, it will surely be agreed that the kingdom that he came to establish and which would have been perceived by his hearers was the kingdom of Old Testament prophecy and of Jewish expectation insofar as that expectation harmonized with prophecy. It should further be agreed that this kingdom of prophecy and expectation was the same kingdom announced by John (Matt. 3:1) and later by the Lord himself (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:14-15). If that common ground is so, it is here that Millennialists part company with scripture. Their position is that the kingdom which both John and Jesus proclaimed as being “at hand” never came into being.

Scripture is clear that a kingdom existed after Pentecost (Acts 2) and during Paul’s preaching. Colossians 1:13. If this is not the kingdom of prophecy what kingdom is it? If it is not the kingdom of prophecy, how does it differ from that kingdom that Christ announced and said was at hand. Additionally, please tell us where in all of scripture there is any reference to a “postponed kingdom,” or an “interim kingdom” that exists until the “postponed kingdom” is established.

Here, then, is where the Millennialists stand – the fulfillment of these prophecies was made impossible and the kingdom that was foretold by the prophets and announced by John and Jesus was automatically deferred when the Jews rejected Christ. Then, to get around the inevitable consequences of the postponement of the kingdom theory and in order to “explain” Col. 1:13, they take another erroneous position – namely, that there are two kingdoms, the one that was postponed and another of their own manufacture that was never once foretold or mentioned in the divine plan.

The truth is that such treatment of scripture actually denies its inspiration. IT SEEMS NEVER TO HAVE OCCURRED TO THEM THAT THE FULFILLMENT OF A TIME PROPHECY CANNOT BE DEFERRED. If a prophet states a specific time for a prophecy to be fulfilled, that thing cannot be changed later to mean that something else will be done at another time. If the prophecies of the Old Testament refer to the first coming of Christ, they could not later be changed to mean the second coming of Christ, and vice versa. If they referred to the first coming, but what the prophets said did not take place at the time prophesied, then the prophecies failed; there was no “postponement” to it. It was a default – a failure of prophecy. If the prophecies referred to the first coming of Christ, then the second coming will not fulfill them. If there were not fulfilled at the first coming, they will never be fulfilled at all. Thus, the millennial theories nullify the prophecies. The “church age” theory denies the inspiration of prophecies and in so doing denies the gospel of Christ.

What did Paul teach about the church? “8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. . . .” Ephesians 3:8-11. The revelation is (or at least includes) that “the church” was according to “the eternal purpose” of God in Christ. Thus god had the church in mind from the beginning, and it was His eternal purpose to make known by the church his manifold wisdom. If the church is the manifestation of divine wisdom, to teach that the “church age” was an afterthought, the result of a kingdom failure, would reflect on God’s wisdom. The millennial theory teaches that the church was not prophesied at all in the Old Testament. The millennial theory teaches that the church was never in the purpose of God until after He was unable to do what he had purposed to do. Millennialists may adopt the teaching of Paul, but it is obviously only certain portions of Paul’s teachings. They manifestly reject Ephesians 3:8-11.

What does Paul teach about the necessity of baptism? How can anyone read Romans 6:1-7 and Galatians 3:26-27 and conclude that Paul did not believe in the essentiality of baptism. In Romans he taught that it was after baptism that one is “in Christ,” that one entered “into his death,” and that one is “raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:3-4. In Galatians 3:26-27 he taught that in baptism one puts on Christ: “26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” “As many of you as have been baptized” necessarily requires baptism to “put on Christ.” The phrase means “this many and no more.”

What does Paul teach about whether a Christian can so sin as to be eternally lost? Begin with the same letter to the Galatians: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:1-4. The language is clear. Three attempts have been made to avoid its clear teaching. First, we are told that salvation is like a ship – one can fall on the deck and still be on the good ship salvation. The problem here is that Paul says they had “fallen FROM grace.” The word translated “from” means “to fall out of, to fall down from, to fall off.” If you “fall out of” a tree you are no longer in the tree; if you “fall down from” a ladder or roof you are no longer on the ladder or roof; it you “fall off” a ship are no longer on the ship. Second, we are told that they were never saved in the first place. You cannot “fall out of “a tree if you were never in the tree; you cannot “fall down from” a ladder or a roof if you were never on the ladder or roof; you cannot “fall off” a ship if you were never on a ship. Third, we are told that Paul was not saying that it had happened, he was just warning them not to let it happen. That does not comport with Paul’s language. In commenting on Gal. 5:4 The Expositor’s Greek New Testament states:

“This verb is applied with comprehensive force to any destruction of growth and life, physical or spiritual, beneficial or deleterious. Joined with apo it denotes the loss of some essential element of life by the severance of previous intimate relations, e.g., annulment by death of a wife’s obligations to her husband (Rom. Vii. 2), and emancipation from the control of the Law by spiritual death (Rom. Vii. 6). Here, in like manner, it denotes the paralysis of spiritual life by severance of union with Christ. This paralysis produces a deadening effect on the whole spiritual nature, and results in the continuous craving for legal justification which is expressed by dikaiousthe—ekepesate. As the quasi-passive verb ekpiptein corresponds to the active verb ekballein, this aorist corresponds to ekbale in iv.30; so that the combination of kaatargathte with ekepesate contains a special allusion to the doom of Ishmael, who suffered the loss of his inheritance at the same time that he was cast our from his father’s house. Disloyal children of god, who prefer bondage to filial freedom, have by their own act forfeited the birthright of sons, and been cast out from His favour and blessing. Such strong language aside, does it make sense for Paul to warn the Galatians not to let something happen that is impossible? It is like warning those standing on a beach not to fall off of a cliff, or warning those in a deserted wilderness not to play in the traffic.

There is going to be no millennial reign. There will be no rapture. Jesus is not returning to establish an earthly kingdom and reign on the earth. He is coming to deliver up the kingdom to God . 1 Cor. 15:24. Christ is now reigning and he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. 1 Cor. 15:25.

One should listen carefully and read closely when a teacher such as our Inquirer begins to cut the word of God apart and declaring that the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), 1 and 2 John, Revelation, and Hebrews are not meant for us today, but that they are part of “another gospel” that was for the Jews. It is not surprising that he wishes they were not here, because he admits that they deal with the necessity of baptism and falling from grace. But even after the Inquirer has with unholy hands ripped pages from the scripture at least by rejecting their application, the doctrines that he calls “heresy” are still plainly taught in Paul’s writings as demonstrated above.

Much more could be written on these matters but this should be sufficient for those who respect the word of God. I do not for a moment suggest that our Inquirer intentionally rejects and demeans scripture; I do not believe that he does. I grant him that he is sincere, but a sincere misapplication of scripture is still a misapplication; a doctrine that logically rejects the inspiration of scripture denies the inspiration of scripture however well intentioned its proponents. If you desire more information, read the lessons on this website on the book of Daniel and the lessons on the church.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)