Category Archives: ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES) / PROPHECY

Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?

IS MATTHEW 25:31-46 A PLAN FOR OUR SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Concluding His renowned Olivet Discourse (end-times prophecy), the Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew chapter 25: “[31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

“[34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: [36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? [39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? [40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

“[41] Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [42] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: [43] I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. [46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Dear Roman Catholics, and various other precious “good works people,” appeal to the above passage as proof that God certainly rewards us on the basis of our good deeds. They point especially to verses 34 and 46: “[34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:… [46] And these shall go away into … life eternal.”

In summary, they say that if we help the poor and visit the sick, God will reward us with eternal life and let us enter His kingdom. While the passage surely stresses good works resulting in eternal life, there is something very important that we need not overlook (as they do). Just because a verse is in the Bible, that does not mean that verse is to or about us. Who is the audience of these verses? We do not appeal to Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry to see how salvation unto eternal life works for us today. After all, Saint Paul is God’s spokesman to us Gentiles: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13). Saint Paul is our apostle.

Contrariwise, Jesus Christ said that His ministry was not to us Gentiles. He especially commanded His 12 Apostles (Peter included) not to preach to us Gentiles. Therefore, when we seize upon Matthew chapter 25 as applicable to us, we mishandle God’s Word. “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:5-7). “But he [Jesus] answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). Saint Paul said in Romans 15:8: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:….” There are no Gentiles in these verses!!

Returning to Matthew chapter 25, verse 40: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” In light of the fact that Jesus Christ was sent to the nation Israel, that means that His “brethren” in this passage are none other than Jews, believing Jews. Verse 32 says that “all nations” (Gentiles) will come before Jesus Christ when He sits on the throne of His glory (yet future from us), and they will give account to Him for whether or not they blessed Israel with material goods. This is in perfect accordance with the Abrahamic Covenant. God stipulated in Genesis 12:1-3: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Matthew 25:31-46 can be recapitulated as follows. The Gentiles who blessed Israel in the seven-year Tribulation (prior to the Second Coming of Christ), these nations will enter the subsequent Millennium of Revelation 20:1-6. They will be blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world… life eternal” (Matthew 25:34,46). Those Gentiles who cursed Israel, these nations will be cast into Hell—“ye cursed, everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels… everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:41,46). This is a national judgment, the Judgment of the Nations, rather than individuals (although individuals are obviously involved). Matthew 25:31-46 in no way applies to us for the following reasons.

Firstly, Saint Paul says that Israel is currently fallen. Salvation is coming to the Gentiles without national Israel. Romans 11:11-14: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” (Did you see Paul’s ministry in verse 13? Rather than God’s Word coming to us through Israel, His message comes to us through Paul!)

If there is no Israel today in the Dispensation of Grace, then it is impossible to bless or curse Israel today. Romans chapter 11 goes on to say that Israel is temporarily blinded: Israel has no spiritual standing before God today. God considers her just another Gentile nation: “[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. [28] As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.”

Secondly, we do not have a works message from God delivered us through Saint Paul the Apostle. Those of the aforementioned “good works” crowd go around bragging that James chapter 2 says we need faith and works to be justified. They will then use Matthew chapter 25 as a supplement: “We show our faith by our works. As Jesus said, we help the poor, orphans, widows, infirm, elderly, and so on.” Friends, this is certainly not faith. Faith is defined as believing what God said to you. God never told us (or them) that we have to fulfill Matthew chapter 25 to obtain eternal life. The message God has to tell us Gentiles without Israel’s rise to kingdom glory, is that we do not work for salvation.

Look at what God through Saint Paul tell us Gentiles in Romans 3:19-28: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. [21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.Is there anything about blessing Israel? Helping the poor? Visiting the sick? Nothing!

Saint Paul also penned in Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.Again, is there anything about blessing Israel? Helping the poor? Visiting the sick? Nothing!

Dear friends, how silly it is to ignore God’s Word to us (Pauline doctrine), then grab something in the Bible that is not to or about us, and finally pretend it is to or about us! In the case of the Gentiles in Matthew chapter 25, they have faith and works because their message from God requires faith and works. If they believe God’s Word—that Israel is God’s special nation (Genesis 12:1-3)—then they will have works to prove their faith. God tells them (not us but them) to bless Israel. If they curse (mistreat, ignore) Israel, they will not have eternal fellowship with God. These cursers of Israel will be tossed into Hell whereas the blessers of Israel will enter the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. That will be the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant—blessed because they blessed Israel or cursed because they cursed Israel. Again, through Israel, God will bless all nations.

Let us look at James chapter 2 for a few moments: “[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, [16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? [17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. [19] Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. [20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? [22] Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? [23] And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. [24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [25] Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? [26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Dear friends, before we yank this passage too as though it is written to or about us, we had better look at James 1:1. James says he is writing “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad.” This is not Gentiles. This is the nation Israel, for Israel alone has 12 tribes. Since Israel is God’s literal, physical, visible, earthly people; He wants them to have literal, physical, visible, earthly works. Gentiles who have faith in Israel’s program will have works to show their faith as well. See Rahab’s example of blessing Israel noted in James 2:25 (historically, this occurred in Joshua 2:1-24 and Joshua 6:17-25). After all, these people have a works message from God. Faith is first and foremost, trusting God is first and foremost, but works follow (prove) their faith.

In the case of us in the Dispensation of Grace, this is not true. We do not have a works message from God. Our message is grace, and grace says not to work! Jesus Christ did that work at Calvary to please God and make us acceptable to Him. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is what we have to trust—place our faith in—in order to have eternal life today. We do not have to worry about what God told Israel or Gentiles in her prophetic program. They are not us and we are not them!

Let us go now to Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Israel did not learn this lesson; hence, they crucified Jesus Christ (see Romans chapters 9 and 10 quoted below). Her message from God was faith and works; instead, she stayed in unbelief and tried to substitute faith with works, rather than having faith and then works.

Romans chapters 9 and 10: “[9:30] What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. [9:31] But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. [9:32] Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; [9:33] As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. [10:1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [10:2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [10:3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Today’s aforementioned works-religion people are in the same satanic trap. Self-righteousness has consumed them, just as it did Israel of old. They can quote the Bible all they want, and still wind up in Hell! How critical it is for them to learn this verse: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We must separate God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon) from the rest of Scripture. It is a matter of getting the right Gospel message out of the Bible that applies to us. How dangerous it is to grab verses out of context, especially verses that have absolutely nothing to do with us!!

Saint Paul the Apostle, when asked about salvation unto eternal life, replied as follows: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). Romans 3:22 says: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:…” First Corinthians 1:21: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Galatians 3:22: “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Once more, there is nothing here about works. Faith and faith alone is the issue today as pertaining to justification unto eternal life, forgiveness of sins, a home in Heaven. That is “the Gospel of the Grace of God” committed to Saint Paul’s trust and our trust (Acts 20:24).

Now, dear friends, let it be clearly understood we do good works as Christians, but not to become Christians. Thanks to religious tradition, there is great confusion here—and there should not be. We are saved by grace through faith without works, but that does not mean that God does not care how we live. He saves us in order to do good works in and through us; we are not saved to continue in sin.

Romans 6:14-15: “[14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

Ephesians 2:8-10: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Titus 2:11-15: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [15] These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

Also see:
» Is grace “a license to sin?”
» How do we not “live after the flesh” if we live in bodies of flesh?
» Who are the “fatherless” and “widows” of James 1:27?

Who are the “three shepherds” of Zechariah 11:8?

WHO ARE THE “THREE SHEPHERDS” OF ZECHARIAH 11:8?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Zechariah 11:8 is one of the most disputed verses in Zechariah. It says, “Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.” Who are these “three shepherds?”

Probably the oldest explanation is that they are the three classes of rulers in Israel—prophet, priest, and king. The prophet is God’s spokesman to man, the priest is man’s mediator or representative to God, and the king is the governmental leader.

Another possibility is that the three shepherds are the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Herodians. These three prominent groups derided and opposed Jesus Christ most vehemently during His earthly ministry. They were false teachers in Israel.

There may be a third option, which cannot be discerned at this time. Since the verse is in a prophetic context, its meaning will be clearer to those who live in the future (after our Dispensation of Grace).

Whoever the “three shepherds” are in Zechariah 11:8, we can be sure that they are unbelieving leaders in Israel. They hate the LORD God and He hates them. He punishes them by taking their lives, that they mislead His people no more.

Also see:
» Who is the wounded man of Zechariah 13:6?
» Should we use the term “pastor” or “bishop?”
» Who or what are the “Chemarims?”

Was Luke 21:20-24 fulfilled in A.D. 70?

WAS LUKE 21:20-24 FULFILLED IN A.D. 70?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Friend, if you are familiar with prophecy preachers and teachers, you will have invariably heard the recurrent reference to A.D. 70. Is this year significant in Scripture, as so frequently claimed? We are not interested in theological speculations or religious traditions. “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Luke 21:20-24 is perhaps the passage most commonly utilized to uphold the “A.D. 70” position: “[20] And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. [21] Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. [22] For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. [23] But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. [24] And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Dr. Scofield attached the following footnote to verse 20:

“Verses 20, 24 are not included in the report of the Olivet discourse as given by Matthew and Mark. Two sieges of Jerusalem are in view in that discourse. Luke 21. 20-24 refers to the siege by Titus, A.D. 70, when the city was taken, and verse 24 literally fulfilled. But that siege and its horrors but adumbrate the final siege at the end of this age, in which ‘the great tribulation’ culminates. At that time the city will be taken, but delivered by the glorious appearing of the Lord (Rev. 19. 11-21). The references in Mt. 24. 15-28, Mk. 13. 14-26 are to the final tribulation siege; Lk. 21. 20-24 to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. In Luke the sign is the compassing of Jerusalem by armies (Lk. 21. 20); in Matthew (24. 15) and Mark (13. 14) the sign is the abomination in the holy place (2 Thes. 2. 4).”

Is Luke 21:20-24 in fact, as commonly assumed, a reference to Titus attacking Jerusalem in A.D. 70? While this author once held that view, he has since studied his Bible to see that A.D. 70 is not found here or anywhere else in Scripture. In this study, he will offer his four reasons for abandoning the “A.D. 70 interpretation.”

1. WILL ISRAEL BE DISPERSED NEAR THE END OF THE TRIBULATION, JUST PRIOR TO CHRIST’S SECOND COMING?

The “A.D. 70 proponent” says: “No. Israel was scattered in the A.D. 70 invasion of Jerusalem, but will not be dispersed at the end of the Tribulation. Since Luke 21:24 says Israel will be ‘led away captive into all nations,’ the verse must be speaking of A.D. 70.” (What Scripture can this individual offer to verify his assertion that Israel will not be scattered in the Tribulation? This author knows of no such verse.)

In contrast, this author replies, “Yes, Israel will indeed be scattered at the end of the Tribulation.” Zechariah 14:1-4 says: “[1] Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. [2] For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. [3] Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. [4] And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”

Verse 4 is obviously Christ’s Second Coming, when Jesus Himself literally stands in wrath and judgment on the Mount of Olives (cf. Acts 1:9-12, especially verse 11). Verse 3 of Zechariah chapter 14 is the Battle of Armageddon, which is paired with the Second Coming. Verse 2, of course, would also be tied to that Second Coming.

What exactly do we find in Zechariah 14:2? “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” Does this not resemble Luke 21:24? “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” There is war in Jerusalem, the city is captured, the houses are robbed, the women are sexually assaulted and enslaved, half of the city is taken away captive, and a remnant survives and remains in the city. Zechariah and Luke are prophesying the same event!

In light of the above analyses, the “A.D. 70 interpretation” of Luke 21:20-24 only complicates the Bible. On the basis of Zechariah 14:1-4, we would be forced to infer that the Second Coming occurred in A.D. 70. Did it? The preterists say yes, but this author disagrees. He abandoned the A.D. 70 interpretation once he saw these dangerous implications. It is totally inconceivable that Jesus Christ returned in A.D. 70 and fulfilled all Bible prophecy. That was 2,000 years ago, and Satan is working mightily on Earth even now. Israel is still fighting to keep the Promised Land from domineering Gentiles. She is still without her Davidic Kingdom. The curse of sin has yet to be lifted. Is this as good as it will get? Has Christ returned?! (No!) When Christ returns to our planet—yes, that Second Coming is future—we can be absolutely sure all of these problems will be solved. This is how we know Christ did not return in A.D. 70.

2. WHERE DOES LUKE 21:21 FIT ON THE BIBLE TIMELINE? A.D. 70? OR IS IT YET FUTURE?

Read verse 21: “Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.” According to Matthew chapter 24 (verses 14-21), this will be in the midst of Daniel’s 70th Week. Luke 21:21 must be future because this verse is true during the Antichrist’s reign. Otherwise, we entertained the idea that the Antichrist came in the A.D. first century and forced Jews to flee from Jerusalem then. So, if that is the case, is there a future Daniel’s 70th Week and a future Antichrist? Or, as the preterists argue, is all now past? Inserting A.D. 70 in the Scripture here just adds difficulties… needless snags that could be avoided.

3. WAS “ALL” OF BIBLE PROPHECY FULFILLED IN A.D. 70?

Verse 22 of Luke chapter 21 says, “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” Were all Bible prophecies fulfilled in A.D. 70? As briefly noted earlier, the preterists believe that. Furthermore, if we say Luke 21:20-24 applies to A.D. 70, we have no other conclusion to reach but to agree with them—that all prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70. Was it? Be consistent, dear friend. Do not split up the passage; we do not have liberty to do that. Friend, we cannot have it both ways. Either all four verses are future from us, or all four are history from us.

4. LUKE 21:23 SPEAKS OF GOD’S WRATH ON ISRAEL, YET THERE IS NO WRATH IN THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE!

Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry never, ever spoke of A.D. 70. Verse 23 foretells wrath: “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.”

There is absolutely no wrath of God being displayed in this the Dispensation of Grace. Israel as a nation does not exist in our dispensation. She is fallen, temporarily blinded; it serves no purpose to judge her when her program is not even operating right now! Read Romans chapters 9-11, friend, and you will see the dispensational boundaries that cannot be crossed. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Keeping prophecy and mystery separate is absolutely critical to our understanding the Holy Bible.

Romans chapter 11: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?…. [25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:….”

Second Corinthians chapter 5 characterizes this the Dispensation of Grace: “[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles [all nations]” (Romans 11:13). As God’s spokesman to all nations, Paul was led on 13 occasions to write, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 3). Each of Paul’s epistles greets the world (including fallen Israel) with “grace and peace” (opposite “wrath and war”). Again, 2 Corinthians 5:19: God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Because of Calvary, God is not angry at nations today. He is being kind to them!

Concerning “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), God’s attitude toward all nations is “grace and peace.” There is no Law system operating today as in Israel’s program. Israel’s Law system was simply to prove that God would have to save mankind according to His grace, not man’s religious efforts. Now, He is manifesting His grace (unmerited favor) to mankind in a very special way today—the soul salvation found in Jesus Christ’s shed blood. In the Dispensation of Grace, God is freely and unconditionally offering the nations (including Israel) salvation through Jesus Christ. God is longsuffering, and has been for 2,000 years, for the people of the world to respond in faith. Once they trust His Son, He permanently reconciles with them individually.

Again, through the cross of Christ, God is offering to all nations—all the world—a chance to be reconciled with Him. He has suspended Israel’s special status, that all nations approach Him on an equal basis. They can come as individuals (faith in Christ alone) and join the Church the Body of Christ. This began with Paul’s salvation in Acts chapter 9, and carries on even now. It was true in A.D. 70, which shows us that God could not have poured out wrath on Israel (Jerusalem) in A.D. 70. Luke 21:20-24 applies to a future time, a period after our Dispensation of Grace, when God will pour out His wrath on sinners! Until then, Paul’s salvation is the pattern: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

CONCLUSION

Based on the aforementioned Bible verses, what are to believe about A.D. 70 and Luke 21:20-24? Does the Bible speak of A.D. 70 at all?

  1. Israel being scattered is not limited to A.D. 70. According to Zechariah 14:1-4, there will be a dispersion of Israel just before the Second Coming of Christ. If the scattering of Israel in Luke 21:24 is A.D. 70, that leaves open the possibility that the Second Coming occurred 2,000 years ago as well. This is exactly what the preterists believe, but this author rejects that postulation entirely. In fact, we know that Luke 21:24 is speaking of Israel’s dispersion just before the Second Coming because verses 25-28 are the Second Coming and its precursors. A.D. 70 is not in view in Luke 20:21-24.
  2. Israel fleeing to the mountains in Luke 21:21 is yet future because the companion verses Matthew 24:15-21 and Mark 13:14-19 are also future (the Antichrist desecrating the Jerusalem Temple). Luke 21:20-24 is entirely forthcoming—none of it was fulfilled in A.D. 70. Furthermore, despite what people say about Luke 21:24 supposedly pointing to A.D. 70, its companion verses (verses 21-23) look 2,000 years into the future… to a time even beyond our day. A.D. 70 cannot be inserted here.
  3. Luke 21:23 allows only “all” prophecies to be fulfilled—yet, “all things” were not fulfilled in A.D. 70. Or, if we believe Luke 21:24 was fulfilled in A.D. 70, then we make ourselves vulnerable to saying all of the passage (including the Second Coming and its signs in verses 25-28) was fulfilled in A.D. 70. Was all Bible prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 70? If not, then Luke 21:23 says verse 24 was not fulfilled in A.D. 70 either.
  4. The most glaring error in saying Luke 21:24 was fulfilled in A.D. 70 is to insert the prophetic program into the mystery program. We have the awkward transition from mystery to prophecy and back to mystery again. The Dispensation of Grace (mystery program) is operating with Paul’s ministry in Acts, but it would have to give way to the prophetic program in A.D. 70 so Jesus’ words in Luke 21:24 can be fulfilled. We now have Jesus in His earthly ministry predicting an event in the Dispensation of Grace, which weakens the “secret” emphasis of said dispensation. Mystery somehow (?) returned after A.D. 70, which is where we find ourselves today. If all prophecy has been fulfilled, then the prophetic program is permanently terminated instead of temporarily interrupted.

If the “A.D. 70 interpretation” stands, unanswerable confusion results. There is no smooth narrative in the Bible passages. Two attacks of Jerusalem are not in view in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21. These verses look toward one attack of Jerusalem future from us—just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. In no way would Jesus in His earthly ministry speak of an event that would happen in the Dispensation of Grace. Jesus Christ would never reveal the Dispensation of Grace in His earthly ministry because that information would be kept secret until He revealed it to Paul (Ephesians 3:1-11).

While much more could be said, this author believes the dangers of “A.D. 70” have been underscored enough that this study can now conclude. A.D. 70 has nothing to do with anything in the Bible and the Bible has nothing to do with A.D. 70.

Also see:
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?
» What is the Dispensation of Grace?
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”

Is the United States’ recent embassy move to Jerusalem a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?

IS THE UNITED STATES’ RECENT EMBASSY MOVE TO JERUSALEM A FULFILLMENT OF BIBLE PROPHECY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The prophecy preachers are excited now that the United States has relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem! Is there any merit in their elation? Could this news be a sign of Jesus’ soon return?!

Someone points to Zechariah 8:22, “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.” By having its embassy in Jerusalem, the United States is allegedly drawing worldwide attention to said city. Perhaps other nations will follow the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? They may even flock to the city en masse!

In His famed Olivet Discourse, Jesus laid forth many specific details about end-times prophecy. Two questions had generated that sermon: “And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?” (Luke 21:7). The more famous version is Matthew chapter 24; Mark chapter 13 is a third account. Matthew 24:3: “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” What we want to know about these verses is that they outline the various “signs,” or indications, of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Luke 21:20 says: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” Certain prophecy preachers see here the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict having been intensified by the embassy transfer.

Making history, United States President Donald J. Trump will be meeting with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un next month. Some have gone so far as to see this predicted in Daniel chapter 11—the interaction of “the king of the north” and “the king of the south.” While we can see a connection of North Korea and the king of the north, the United States can hardly be considered “the south.” (For the record, the king of the north and the king of the south would be in reference to the land of Canaan—the land north of Canaan [that is, Syria] and the land south of Canaan [namely, Egypt]. North Korea and the United States have absolutely nothing to do with Daniel chapter 11! President Trump and Dictator Kim Jong Un are not there either!)

So, what are we to make of these current events? Should we be alarmed, excited, or indifferent? Rather than offering opinions, hunches, speculations, and the like, we will look at facts.

Firstly, we should point out that very rarely is the Bible ever used as God intended. This author, many years ago, was caught up in “seeing the Bible in the newspaper and nightly news.” When some world event occurred—especially concerning Israel and/or the Middle East—he arrived at the conclusion, “How close we are to the Lord’s return!” It was 70 years ago this month that Israel was founded as a modern nation. For seven decades, Christian people have been saying, “Israel is in the land and the Lord’s coming is near!” (A good many of these individuals have since died, having never seen His coming.) Rather than using the Bible properly, they rely on the traditional (ly wrong) approach the preachers and teachers learned in seminary and Bible College. The scoffers and skeptics then use this as ammunition to discredit the Bible. No, the Bible is not discredited; Bible corrupters and Bible abusers are discredited. These are nothing but cases in point for the need of proper Bible study. As you can see, people grab verses from just about anywhere in Scripture and try to make it fit a modern situation.

The only verse in the Bible that tells us to “study” the Bible also tells us how to study the Bible: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If we keep looking and reading, we will find other verses to help us understand exactly what it means to “rightly divide the word of truth.” Two passages very helpful in that regard will be shared now.

Peter the Apostle preached in Acts chapter 3: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” If we get nothing else from this, friends, we at least understand that God told man some information since Adam’s creation. God was unfolding His plan and He was revealing it to man piecemeal (little by little).

Paul the Apostle was led to write something quite different in Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….” With Paul’s ministry God is revealing some information He has kept secret since Adam’s creation.

Did you notice the simple divisions presented by the above verses? In the Scripture, there is revealed truth and there is hidden truth. Revealed truth is prophecy—something God spoke since the world began. Hidden truth is mystery—something God kept secret since the world began. There is absolutely nothing difficult here unless we have a denominational system to defend or a church tradition to maintain. It is so crystal-clear if we just let the words of God say what He means and mean what He says.

Let us offer a few more verses about special Paul’s ministry and message. When he was converted on the road to Damascus in Acts chapter 9, Saul had a personal face-to-face meeting with the ascended Lord Jesus Christ. Years later, in chapter 26, Paul provides his testimony: “[15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” We want to notice that Jesus Christ personally commissioned Saul of Tarsus as the apostle, or sent-one, of the Gentiles (verse 17). Romans 11:13 thus says, “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” And, Ephesians chapter 3: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.”

All of this shows us that, if we ignore Paul’s writings—the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon—we are disregarding God’s Word to us the nations. We do not go to Christ’s earthly ministry to find current divine revelation (remember, Jesus will not reveal the mystery until Paul’s ministry some years later). It makes no sense to grab Matthew chapter 24, or Luke chapter 21, or Mark chapter 13, and try to find us or God’s present dealings with man. How silly it is to yank a verse from Zechariah or Daniel and make it fit in this the Dispensation of Grace! Daniel and Zechariah had no idea about us the Church the Body of Christ.

If prophecy is ongoing, then that means the mystery program has stopped. If the mystery program is ongoing, then that means the prophetic program has stopped. Both cannot be operating because they are so radically different. Prophecy involves the nation Israel; mystery involves the Church the Body of Christ. We should stop mixing Israel and the Body of Christ, Law and Grace, Heaven and Earth, Prophecy and Mystery. Such mingling has caused absolute confusion in churches for thousands of years now.

Never once did the Apostle Paul—God’s spokesman to us Gentiles—ever tell us to look for “signs” of Christ’s return. We can search Romans through Philemon in vain. “The Jews require a sign,” 1 Corinthians 1:22 says. Are we Jews?! Then why are we looking for “signs?” In fact, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we have no reason to be looking for the Second Coming of Christ anyway (which is what Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21 anticipate). The Second Coming is prophecy whereas we are living in the mystery program. We are not looking for the coming as predicted in Matthew through John. Rather, we are looking for the coming as found in Romans through Philemon—Christ’s secret coming for His Body. This is commonly called “the Rapture,” although the Bible uses terms such as the “resurrection,” “redemption of our body,” “our gathering together unto Christ” (Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 2 Timothy 2:18; et al.).

While interesting, today’s events are not fulfilled Bible prophecy. According to Romans chapters 9-11, prophecy is temporarily paused!

Also see:
» Is God finished with the nation Israel?
» Should I be concerned about the four “blood moons?”
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?

What is “the eye of the needle” in Matthew 19:24?

WHAT IS “THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE” IN MATTHEW 19:24?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says:

  • Matthew 19:24: “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
  • Mark 10:25: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
  • Luke 18:25: “For 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.”

What is this “eye of the needle?”

Let us begin to grasp the context, Matthew 19:16-26 (the parallel passages are Mark 10:17-27 and Luke 18:18-27). We will read from Matthew’s account:

“[16] And, behold, one came and said unto him [Jesus Christ], Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [17] And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“[20] The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? [21] Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. [22] But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

“[23] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. [24] And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. [25] When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? [26] But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Jesus said in verse 24, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” What is this “eye of the needle?” Immediately, we think of something like a sewing needle, with its small eye through which thread passes. However, some claim that Jesus is really talking about a camel passing through a small gate (the so-called “camel gate”). Which explanation is correct?

Vine’s Concise Dictionary of Bible Words has the following information under the entry of “needle:”

“Note: The idea of applying ‘the needle’s eye’ to small gates seems to be a modern one; there is no ancient trace of it. The Lord’s object in the statement is to express human impossibility and there is no need to endeavor to soften the difficulty by taking the needle to mean anything more than the ordinary instrument. An attempt is sometimes made to explain the words as a reference to the small door, a little over 2 feet [0.61 meter] square, in the large heavy gate of a walled city. This mars the figure and receives no justification from the language and traditions of Palestine.”

Someone once said the camel going through the eye of a needle is an example of the Lord’s humor. Think of the absurdity. A giant camel fitting inside of the tiny eye of a sewing needle!

What Jesus Christ was teaching was that material riches were a hindrance in His earthly ministry. It is not good to be wealthy in Matthew through John! His audience would not want to give up their wealth to follow Him. Think of the wealthy ruler who went away—this was the very reason Jesus mentioned the camel passing through the eye of the needle in the first place!

As per Christ’s instructions, those followers in His earthly ministry were to sell all they had and give alms. Reading from Luke 12:31-33: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. [33] Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” They did just this in Acts 2:41-47 and Acts 4:31-37.

Why were they to sell all their possessions? They were to prepare to avoid Antichrist’s snare. With the Antichrist’s coming on the horizon, Israel was to sell their possessions. Revelation 13:16-18 says: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

Once the Mark of the Beast would be instituted, they would not be able to buy or sell without it. In order to keep their money, they would be pressured take the Mark of the Beast. However, if they had given up all of their wealth as Jesus commanded, they would have nothing to ensnare them.

Also see:
» Who are the “poor” in Galatians 2:10?
» Who are the “fatherless” and “widows” of James 1:27?
» Must I walk an aisle to show I am saved?

Who are the “fearful” in Revelation 21:8?

WHO ARE THE “FEARFUL” IN REVELATION 21:8?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Revelation 21:7-8 stands near the end of the Bible: “[7] He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. [8] But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” As you can see, verse 8 lists numerous familiar transgressions… but what of “the fearful?” How can fear be a sin? What is this “fear” and who are those “fearful?”

Our 1611 translators rendered the Greek word deilos elsewhere two other times as “fearful.” It appears in the well-known account of Jesus calming the storm as He and His disciples are in a little boat on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples are so afraid of dying in a shipwreck that they frantically awake sleeping Jesus. As the omnipotent Creator, He arises and commands the wind and the sea to cease their violence. They do!

Notice Matthew 8:26: “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” The parallel verse, Mark 4:40: “And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” People doubt God’s Word here. These are disciples, followers/students, of Christ. Not trusting God’s Word results in timidity, dread, cowardice (lack of courage). No matter the dispensation, God’s people can be cowards. God did not fail them; they failed God. Do you think Jesus would have let the boat suffer so much as a tiny leak… when He Himself was on that boat with them? Oh, certainly not! Yet, the disciples behaved like they were all in jeopardy of losing their lives.

So, is Revelation 21:8 speaking of believers in or followers of Christ being cast into the Lake of Fire? After all, believers can be cowards at times (see the verses above, and consider Christians today who refuse to take a stand for Jesus Christ and His doctrine because they fear negative reactions from others). We have to keep the verse in its context. It is not about us Christians in the Dispensation of Grace; it has nothing to do with believers losing their salvation because they doubted God’s Word.

Re-read Revelation 21:7: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Then verse 8 begins, But the fearful….” There is the prominent issue of “overcoming” in Israel’s last days. Remember, this is the prophetic program, not our mystery program. The first sense of “overcoming” was provided already in the opening chapters of the Revelation. They have to “overcome” the deception of the Antichrist—see God’s message to the seven churches in Revelation 2:7,11,17,26 and Revelation 3:5,12,21. God promises those who overcome, they will inherit all things (Revelation 21:7). They will share in Jesus Christ’s inheritance in the earthly kingdom. God will be their God and they will be His people (see verse 3, if necessary).

In contrast to the believers in verse 7, there are unbelievers and these are those in verse 8. There are eight categories of sinners in verse 8:But the (1) fearful, and (2) unbelieving, and the (3) abominable, and (4) murderers, and (5) whoremongers, and (6) sorcerers, and (7) idolaters, and all (8) liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

The first group is the “fearful.” This would not be Christians today but rather Jews who refuse to follow Jesus Christ for fear of persecution during the Antichrist’s (future) reign. They were God’s physical people (through Abraham) but they did not want to become His spiritual people (through Christ) because then they would ridiculed by sinful men. They did not want to confess Jesus Christ before men; they denied Him. How they did this was—we are looking back on Daniel’s 70th Week (as John is doing)—they accepted Antichrist and his mark and worshipped his image. Jesus had warned in Matthew chapter 10: “[32] Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. [33] But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (This was spoken in view of His Second Coming, which is His return to destroy Antichrist and his followers.)

The “deniers” will not overcome because they will not believe that Jesus is Christ. They will completely reject God’s truth. They will fall for Satan’s lie and believe Antichrist is the true Christ. Facing death, they will choose Antichrist over Jesus Christ. They will rather keep their wealth, friends, and prestige than trust Jesus Christ and make a public profession in rejecting Antichrist. Frankly, they will be cowards.

First John chapter 5, especially verse 5, holds the key to Israel’s overcoming the evil world system present during the end-times: “[1] Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. [2] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. [3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. [4] For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. [5] Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

By believing that Jesus “is the Christ… the Son of God,” the “overcomers” will not be fooled into thinking that Antichrist is the real Messiah. Their faith is what prevents them from falling for the deception! Those who are “fearful,” however, they are too timid to take a stand. They will cave in to the peer pressure and refuse to have faith in Jesus Christ. They will naturally thus fall for Antichrist.

Revelation 14:9-11 serves as a warning for any person living in the Tribulation period: “[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” This is the cross-reference to Revelation 21:8. It has nothing to do with followers of or believers in Jesus Christ, either today or yet future. It is unbelievers during the end-times.

Also see:
» How are the Beast and the False Prophet “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire?
» Is Hell almost full?
» Must I maintain my fellowship with God?

How are the Beast and the False Prophet “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire?

HOW ARE THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET “CAST ALIVE” INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Revelation 19:20 says as pertaining to the Second Coming of Christ, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” How are the Beast and the False Prophet “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire? Does that mean they will be unconscious once they wind up in there?

When the Bible text says thus, it means that the Beast and the False Prophet will not experience physical death before entering the spiritual realm. They will be alive on Earth and Jesus Christ (at His Second Coming) will suddenly pick them up physically and toss them right into the Lake of Fire. In other words, there will be no burial for either, and thus no bodily trace of them left on the planet. They will not defile the Earth once the Second Coming occurs; namely, their graves will not even be here to corrupt the Promised Land.

These two men, the Beast (Antichrist, political leader) and the False Prophet (religious leader), will have deceived the world for the seven years leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Now, they will experience the wrath of God, eternal judgment, in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone (Sulfur).

Even after 1,000 years in the Lake of Fire, they will still exist. They will not be consumed, for the fire will preserve them! Look at Revelation 20:10: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet ARE, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” You will notice in the earlier nine verses that 1,000 years have passed since the close of chapter 19 (our study’s opening verse). Stated another way, it is a millennium later that Satan himself meets the fate of the Beast and the False Prophet. They three, along with all of God’s other enemies (unsaved mankind and fallen angels), will “be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” There is no ended punishment; it is a literal eternity of suffering, full consciousness! If you want to see the human element added to the Lake of Fire, look at verses 11-15.

Perhaps this may help you better understand the Beast and the False Prophet being cast alive into the Lake of Fire. Remember, there are other people who do not die in Scripture. For example, Elijah never died physically—he was caught up alive into Heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Neither did Enoch die physically—he too simply went to be with God (Genesis 5:23-24). Members of the Church the Body of Christ who are alive at the Rapture (future) will never experience physical death either (1 Corinthians 15:51-54—“we shall not all sleep [die physically];” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17—“we which are alive and remain… we which are alive and remain…”). As Elijah, Enoch, and the living Church the Body of Christ meet eternal bliss without enduring physical death, so the Beast and the False Prophet meet eternal damnation without experiencing physical death!

Also see:
» Are 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Revelation 14:10 contradictory?
» Did Pharaoh drown in the Red Sea?
» How can a “loving” God send people to hell forever?