Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death* (Prov. 23:13-14, *Hebrew: Sheol)
Scope of This Series
Just as the Scriptures teach that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works, and IS eternal, they also teach that all men will be held accountable for our deeds, and will be rewarded OR punished accordingly (e.g. Gal. 6:7-8; 2 Cor. 5:9-10; Col. 3:23-25, Rev. 2:23). This series, Resurrection, Rapture, Judgment, and Millennium, addresses how God reconciles these two seemingly (but not actually) conflicting truths for believers (the old “faith without works” vs. “faith and deeds” controversy) during the Tribulation and the Millennium, before the last day when the old order of things will pass away and the New Jerusalem appears, with every believer a mature part of it (see Rev. 20:11 – 21:5; Eph. 4:11-13).
Synopsis of Part 2
Most readers whom truly studied the Scriptures addressing the prize of the first resurrection for Christ’s overcomers presented in Part 1 will now have eyes to see truths in well-known Scriptures that they had previously been blinded to. PLEASE STUDY AT LEAST PART 1 (PREFERABLY THE OVERVIEW ALSO) BEFORE READING THIS. Praise God for His omnipotent word! Part 2 thus begins with some well-known words of Jesus by which he discloses that He will not permit all believers into His Kingdom on Judgment Day for lack of obedience in putting God’s will/words into action. We’ll address sanctification via trials and tribulations, and then study some Scriptures regarding God’s disciplining of His children in this lifetime (including severe ways most Christians don’t acknowledge), and during the Millennium, starting with Paul’s teachings. Those saints whose life’s works do not withstand the flames at the time of Christ’s parousia will have to endure severe discipline via the Tribulation if alive then, or during the Millennium if they died before His parousia. This truth of Millennial chastisement is contrasted with the Catholic perversion of it: purgatory. Proof is provided that all Jesus’ accountability teachings in the gospels ARE to be taught to all disciples AND obeyed by them, thus rendering a death blow to the false doctrine of hyper-dispensationalism, whereby many dear siblings have been deceived. THEN more of Jesus’ many warnings of kingdom exclusion and destruction (not annihilation!) of disobedient saints are finally studied.
Jesus Will Not Permit All Who Call Him “Lord, Lord,” on Judgment Day to Enter His Millennial Kingdom
Jesus began His ministry preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” then described blessings and other details of the righteous life required to partake of His coming Millennial Kingdom in His sermon on the mount (given to disciples), in which He began to teach them, saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 4:17; 5:3). Therein, Jesus used the word “reward” nine times, and taught His disciples that few enter into (eternal) life by the small gate and narrow road of obedience, and that many enter through the wide gate and broad road that lead to destruction (see Matt. 7:14, 13) (as noted previously, in Scripture “destruction” does NOT mean annihilation; we’ll see it used by Paul in First Corinthians in a similar context later on). Please realize as you study this sermon yourself that He was indeed addressing believers (e.g. 6:4), therefore He did indeed mean what you just read in the preceding sentence! Praise God for opening our eyes as we press into His omnipotent, stronghold-demolishing word! Hallelujah! Now, do not fear, and let’s continue.
Jesus ended the sermon teaching about Judgment Day and entrance into His Millennial Kingdom, and prophesying, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ [only Christians will be before Him on that day calling Him that] will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 7:21), and indicated that on that day he will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.’ ” (vv. 22-23). The Greek word γινώσκω translated “knew” (Strong’s G1097) in v.23 represents “knowledge as the effect of experience” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary) – experiential knowledge.
Knowing this, and that no unbelievers will be at the Bema seat when Christ judges His saints, what is concealed on a more casual reading of this passage, but now revealed, is this: Jesus lacks experiential knowledge of some believers who think they have been doing what their Lord expects (prophesying, casting out demons, and performing many miracles); although they did righteous-appearing works (and apparently with positive results), they actually had not put the Father’s will/words into action. Other Scriptures, of course, reveal that righteous acts must be done in accordance with the Spirit (Ro. 8:5, Gal. 5:15, 5:25, John 16:13, etc.). Praise God, as previously addressed, we know that ALL believers will eventually have eternal life as part of the New Jerusalem! However, when such a believer’s unrighteous acts are burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Cor. 3:15)
We Must Go Through Many Hardships to Enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22)
Our trials and tribulations ARE the means by which God disciplines us, the means by which we Christians overcome our sinful nature and become sanctified – set apart, holy. This sanctification/maturation process via discipline is a key purpose of our earthly lives (along with ministering/revealing Christ to all), and is accomplished in accordance with the Spirit (Romans 8:13); we must humble ourselves and call on the Lord Christ Jesus repeatedly, for the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).
It is this priceless experiential knowledge of Christ which will enable some to stand before Him and endure the fire of His baptism on Judgment Day, as discussed in Part 1, enabling them to inherit the reward of early entrance into glory with our Lord (recall Romans 8:17, Phil. 3:11, and Hebrews 11:35b).
God Disciplines Those He Loves, in this Life or the Millennium, That We May Share in His Holiness
The blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin as we obediently repent when the Holy Spirit convicts us (e.g. 1 John 1:8-10). When His children do not repent, God disciplines us because He loves us and is treating us like sons:
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. (Prov. 13:24)
Do not withhold discipline from a child; Punish him with the rod * (Prov. 23:13-14; *Sheol in Hebrew)
and the Lord’s own words to His churches,
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. (Rev. 3:19)
We are to Endure hardship as discipline, [for] God is treating [us] as sons… God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness (Heb. 12: 7a, 10b-11). His discipline is sanctifying – it makes us holy.
Although most believers know that God’s discipline of His saints comes in this life, very few see that, per God’s design, sickness – and even premature death, in severe cases – can be consequences of living in accordance with the flesh / sinful nature instead of with His Spirit (Ro. 8:6):
Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14)
Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat and walk”? (Mark 2:9)
29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep [died]. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor. 11:29-32, clarification added)
Please spend time absorbing this overlooked/denied truth, allowing it to demolish strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4) so that you may apprehend more of what Christ already accomplished on our behalf, and BE healed by Him just as those paralytics were! Strongholds exist because we allow ourselves to be taken captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world [like seeking relief via pharmaceuticals, see Strong’s G5331] rather than on Christ (Col. 2:8). These and a multitude of other Scriptures addressing this truth to which most are blinded are studied in depth in this sharp 7-part Bible study, Looking Into God’s Word on the Cause and Eradication of Disease. (Save it for another time, though! I say sharp because, as with this study, such sharp double-edged truths slay the sinful nature, so strong resistance is encountered when first reading it.)
So, sanctification occurs during this lifetime to the extent that we obediently deny self and walk in step with the Spirit. So, I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. (Gal. 5:16-17)
It is essential to realize that our loving AND just Lord will sanctify/mature these disobedient children via the Tribulation (for those who are alive when it begins), or during the Millennium (for those who die before Judgment Day) to ensure that ALL WILL reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of God (Eph. 4:13), which IS the eternal state, the New Jerusalem of Rev. 21. We first saw that in 1 Cor. 3:12-17 in Part 1, and will dig into other Scriptures teaching that momentarily.
Recalling from Part 1 Paul’s emphatic warning to us about virtually an entire generation of Israelites having failed to enter into the Promised Land because of their disobedience (1 Cor. 10:1-12), and because repetition helps us learn, be sure to digest the important warning at the end of the last passage studied above regarding severe discipline in this lifetime: But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor. 11:31-32)
*Regarding the punishment of the second death alluded to in Prov. 23:13-14 above, again, that will be studied in detail in the next part of this series, God-willing. Meanwhile, I encourage you to make time to study the pertinent Scriptures (listed at the end of the series Overview), and use a concordance, asking the Lord to reveal to you directly Himself how all this ties together.
Purgatory Is the Catholic Perversion of Millennial Chastisement
Purgatory is unscriptural. In brief, that perversion of God’s truth on this matter teaches that eternal salvation can be earned through suffering, and that the purpose of suffering is to earn salvation. As covered in Part 1 already, (1) salvation cannot be earned – it is a free gift through faith in what our Savior already accomplished on our behalf, and (2) the sufferings we are called to in this lifetime (e.g. Phil. 1:29, 3:10, Ro. 8:17, 2 Thess. 1:5), but which few saints heed, are for our sanctification. We are to be discerning and disciplined, and respond (not react!) in accordance with the Spirit in all circumstances, so that Christ will reward our life’s work with the prize of the first resurrection / resurrection of the righteous (e.g. Rev. 20:5b-6, Luke 14:14, Rev. 3:10, Luke 21:36). Suffering saints all reign with Christ for one thousand years before the eternal state, the New Jerusalem, whether they suffer righteously before the Tribulation and are raptured as first-fruits, or whether they must endure the Tribulation in order to mature and are raptured as the great multitude or gleanings (the so-called “Tribulation saints”).
You may have realized by now that Millennial chastisement of the disobedient saints actually safeguards the Gospel! God-ordained sanctifying chastisement occurs during the Millennium in order that believers who lacked a sufficiency of Spirit-empowered works during their lifetimes finally mature, and WILL be resurrected on the last day of the Millennium as vital parts of the New Jerusalem for eternity! (Isn’t the design and wisdom of our God absolutely astounding?! Thank-You, Father! Ah, worship…)
Disobedient Christians Will Not Inherit the Millennial Kingdom, and Will Suffer Destruction and God’s Wrath
So now it’s time to dig into some of the multiple Scriptures which teach that unripe/immature believers will suffer great chastisement (worse words are used, actually!), and warn us not to be deceived otherwise. I caution you to read these severe warnings to true believers via Paul carefully, deliberately, and calling upon the Lord for wisdom and understanding (hyper-dispensationalists, wake up and note: they’re from the apostle to the Gentiles!):
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17[unbelievers are not God’s temple – it is believers whom God will destroy] 18 (1 Cor. 3:16-18, emphasis and comments added)
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived… (1 Cor. 6:9, emphasis added)
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (Eph. 5:5-6, emphasis added)
Note that these warnings of God’s wrath and being destroyed (not annihilated) are to Christians! (The sinful nature resists God’s warnings, whether it is in unbelievers or inside Christians, fighting the indwelling Holy Spirit.) These warnings from Paul are not for unbelievers, for unbelievers are not God’s temple; also, since unbelievers are not His children, they are not even eligible for inheritance into the kingdom. Furthermore, realize Christians cannot lose the reward of a crown/throne and yet become subjects of the kingdom, for these Scriptures clearly state that they will not inherit the kingdom itself!
Beware False Teachings That Jesus’ Warnings and Others in the NT (e.g. those in Hebrews) Don’t Apply to Us
Believers are flat-out deceived when we apply accountability Scriptures to others that are actually intended for ourselves. Some true Christians amongst us falsely teach that Jesus’ warnings apply only to the Jews He was teaching and do not apply to us, and that only the Holy Spirit-inspired words of Paul pertain to Gentiles – as if Christians are exempt from obeying our Lord’s commands! This is the false doctrine of hyper-dispensationalism mentioned above; per J.D. Faust in his excellent book The Rod: Will God Spare It? An Exhaustive Study of Temporary Punishment for Unfaithful Christians at the Judgment Seat and During the Millennial Kingdom, this deception was planted by Ethelbert William Bullinger (1837-1913), a high-ranking Anglican Mason.
Let that sink in before proceeding if you are one who has been so deceived. Recognition of similar deceptions as we continue to study the Scriptures will be especially difficult for those Christians who were educated in seminaries, for the devil has sown his Masons as weeds amongst most (all?) of them first and foremost, and then amongst the body of elders in most denominational and Charismatic churches, then in the upper echelons of Christian television, music, and publishing houses, etc., similar to how the Jesuits choke out or leaven whatever they touch. Note that Jesus prophesied this sowing of weeds amongst the wheat and this leavening of the dough would come (see Matt. 13:24-43)!
Our Lord Jesus Christ’s great commission to His disciples clearly states the following: 19 , 20 (Matt. 28:19-20a, emphasis added). That includes teaching them to obey every single one of His accountability teachings, including His command to Watch and pray that you may be able to escape what is about to happen [the Tribulation], and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man [at His judgment] (Luke 11:35, specification added). Once again, praise God, His word is Truth, and exposes and then demolishes strongholds of false doctrine!
Now, J. D. Faust (link above) reports that the Mason Bullinger taught that even our Lord’s great commission was only for His Jewish disciples! Well, foreseeing that God’s word would be perverted by such wolves in attempt to deny Jesus’ key teachings on accountability of the believer, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul – the apostle to the Gentiles himself – also to teach that Christ’s instruction/words pertain to all Christians:
If anyone teaches false doctrine and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing… (1 Tim 6:3-4), and
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom… (Col. 3:16a) – it is all of Christ’s word which is to dwell in us richly; that includes His word regarding the believer’s accountability and inheritance which we’ll study below; we are commanded to teach and admonish one another with His word, which is all wisdom.
Hyper-dispensationalism is thus exposed as false doctrine.
Realize that Jesus’ first words when asked by His disciples about signs of the end were Watch out that no one deceives you (Matt. 24:4; Mark 13:5)!
Praise God, the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16b KJV), and Christ’s righteousness has been imparted to all who believe! Let’s repent and pray together now, dear brothers and sisters! Dear Lord, have mercy on your Church; forgive us for allowing ourselves to be so deceived! We realize it is ultimately due to lack of studying your vital word for ourselves as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). Cause us to look for [truth and understanding of Your word] as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure (Prov. 2:4), and give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation as we eagerly do so now, in Jesus’ blessed Name. Amen and amen!
Praise God for forgiving us as we repent and dig into His word! That we may wash our soiled white robes every blessed time we humble ourselves and enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus! We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved (Heb. 10:39) – Hallelujah!
So, dear siblings, let’s feast on more solid food now together! Do you have your Bible handy? If not, here’s a link to Bible Hub to open in a new tab so you can study these Scriptures yourself in your preferred translation as we go. Let’s study…
Some of Jesus’ Many Warnings of Kingdom Exclusion of Certain Believers
Recalling that Jesus addressed His sermon on the mount to those who’d already been saved and so were the children of His Father (Matt. 5:16, 45, 48), now remove all distractions and behold some (not all! More in upcoming parts, God-willing!) of what He warns in just the first gospel alone that true believers can miss the Millennial Kingdom:
5 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:20)
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother [any believer angry with another] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother [any believer saying to his brother] ‘Raca,’is answerable to the court.And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. [He doesn’t say “to a brother” in this instance, yet He’s preaching to His disciples… let’s keep our eyes open for more witnesses on this!] (Matt. 5:22, comments added)
29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. [There’s a second witness, for, speaking to believers, Jesus said “you” not “anyone”] 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. [There’s our third witness.] (Matt. 5:29-30)
There you have it: our Lord truly is saying disobedient believers are in danger of the fire of hell and of going to hell*. Again, in conjunction with all the other Scriptures we are studying, we ARE assured of salvation in eternity as the New Jerusalem, so we understand this to be only for the duration of His Millennial Kingdom – one thousand years (relief, yet GREAT shock and sorrow…). THIS is why this message is so vital now! Similar witnesses from Luke’s Gospel and a rarely-preached parable in Matt. 18 will be studied next time, God-willing, but as always, I encourage you to study this yourself meanwhile.
*Please realize that hell (Hades, Ghenna, Sheol) is not the eternal state for the damned: the lake of fire is (see v. 14): 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15) See also Rev. 19:20, 20:10, and 21:8.
Continuing on with Jesus’ words from the first Gospel disclosing that true believers can miss the Millennial Kingdom:
33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. (Matt. 10:33) Only one who has someone can disown him; Jesus is speaking of believers.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man is he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. (Matt. 16:24-27)
2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:2-4)
1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son… 11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless. 13 Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:1-2,11-14) Link wedding clothes with Rev. 19:6-8, and realize only members of the bride are wearing white. Thus, unlike the false teaching so many of us have learned, this “friend” without wedding clothes is a true believer but a disobedient one (not robed in Christ’s righteousness via deeds in step with the Spirit in this lifetime), and he will be thrown outside Christ’s Millennial Kingdom into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (v. 13)
There are more from the first Gospel, but we’ll save some of them for another time.
Severe Punishment For One Who Trampled the Son of God, Crucifying Him All Over Again
In closing, having already shown in Part 1 and herein that the book of Hebrews was written to Christians of Jewish descent, these great warnings to Christians should now reverberate as clear as a bell:
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age— 6 and then have fallen away—to be restored again to repentance, because they themselves are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to open shame. [repentance cannot restore them when they are before His throne on Judgment Day. Again, Scriptures DO assure eternal salvation in the New Jerusalem.] 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is tended receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless, and its curse is imminent. In the end it will be burned. (Heb. 6:4-8) Link that with John 15:6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. [These enemies are believers.] 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:26-31, comment added)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. (2 Cor. 5:10)
So very much love in Christ our Judge, Savior, and Deliverer, your sister deanna
To be continued, God-willing…