Is This The Only Day Of Salvation?
Modern Christianity teaches that there are only two classes of people—the lost and the saved. But what about those who die never having heard the name of Christ? Would God be fair to condemn them? It is commonly believed that God is desperately trying to save the world now. That He is struggling with Satan to save all mankind now, while ‘the devil’ is feverishly trying to keep as many as he can “lost” forever. If this is true, who do you think is winning?
If God and Satan are in a titanic battle for human lives, and if God is as all-powerful as the Bible reveals, then why is five-sixths of the world non-Christian today? And why have billions already died without ever having had a chance to ‘be saved’?
Many sermons have been preached based on the premise that “there is no middle ground. Either you are this minute saved, or you’re a lost soul! “Many people have grieved over dead loved ones ‘who had never professed Christ’. Perhaps over one who was ‘a terrible sinner’; perhaps over one who lived a good life, but never became an active church member. Still others grieve because they are not sure whether some loved one ‘died saved’.
The teaching that a person is either saved or lost comes from the assumption
that God is out to save the world now—that the mission of the Church is
to save mankind now—that this is the “only day of salvation,” and that
this time is just about over. These assumptions are all absolutely false!
Why Most Have Not Understood
The vast majority of people have never heard the true Gospel—the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. And of those who have heard it, most have not understood that message because Satan has deceived them (Rev. 12:9). Therefore, they never had a chance to understand! Are they all, through no fault of their own, “lost” forever? Shocking as it may sound, God does not intend for everyone to understand His truth at this time! If He did, they would understand!
Many think that Jesus spoke in parables to make His meaning clearer. This was not the reason. He spoke in parables to hide His real meaning so most of His hearers would not understand. After Jesus had spoken the parable of the sower, He plainly told His disciples whom He had called, “It is not given” to the rest (those who had not then been called) to understand the truth about the Kingdom of God. They were not permitted to understand! (Mark 4:10-12; Matt. 13:10-13.)
God has allowed the vast majority of humanity to be blind to His truth. He has allowed Satan to deceive the whole world. It is God’s purpose and plan that, until Christ returns, only those who God the Father specially calls (John 6:44, 65) can understand the truth.
The future members of God’s Family
will be the kings, priests, teachers and administrators in His soon-coming
world-ruling government. Only a comparatively few are now being called
to fill these positions. They are receiving the training necessary to prepare
them to teach all mankind when God’s Kingdom is set up, with world-ruling
headquarters in Jerusalem.
Everyone to Be Called
God reveals in His inspired Word that those He has not yet called are not lost. God is not in the process of saving everyone now! After Christ returns and establishes the Kingdom of God on earth, He will then begin to teach billions. They will have their calling and opportunity to understand God’s truth and be born into His Family during the Millennium.
But what about the billions who have already died without ever hearing or understanding? After the Millennium, they will be resurrected to human life and given their opportunity to understand God’s truth, to receive God’s Spirit, to grow in His character, and to become members of His Family.
God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Everyone will ultimately be called and given an opportunity. God is absolutely fair! The truth about this important subject is plainly revealed in the pages of the Bible. So be sure to read each verse given in answer to the questions. Prove the truth from the Bible. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21).
God, the Ruler of the entire universe, assigned the archangel known as Lucifer to administer God’s government on this earth. But Lucifer rebelled against the government of God, and so God changed his name to Satan, which means adversary, competitor, enemy. But God has not yet taken away Satan’s authority. According to God’s plan, He has allowed Satan to continue ruling the earth until his successor, Jesus Christ, is officially installed by God in that office of authority.
The first human disbelieved and disobeyed God, choosing to go his own way and do his own thing. When Adam chose to reject God’s authority, he rejected revealed spiritual knowledge from God. He chose instead to follow Satan’s self-oriented way of life—his way of “get” as opposed to God’s way of “give.” Consequently, all mankind, except for a few God has specially chosen to call out of Satan’s world, has been deceived by Satan for almost 6,000 years.
By following Satan’s way and rejecting God, Adam in effect chose Satan as the “god” of mankind. And the Bible shows that God has allowed Satan to influence and deceive mankind ever since the first man and woman.
1. Is Satan the god of this world? II Cor. 4:4. Has he blinded people to God’s truth? Same verse. Is Satan also the prince of the power of the air? Eph. 2:2. Has he indeed deceived the world? Rev. 12:9.
COMMENT: Satan, the “prince of the power of the air,” influences mankind by “broadcasting” his moods and attitudes of vanity and selfishness to the human spirit in each individual. Humans unwittingly accept and express these attitudes as their own. “Human nature” is actually Satan’s nature expressed in humans. Because they have been deceived, they are unaware of this spiritual broadcasting by Satan.
2. Do true Christians belong to Christ and God the Father? Mark 9:41; I Cor. 3:23; 6:20. Is that because God, through Christ had to “buy” them back? Matt. 20:28; Col. 1:14; I Tim. 2:6; I Pet. 1:18-19.
COMMENT: “Redeem” (from which the word “redemption” comes) means to recover ownership of something that had been lost. The fact that Christ had to pay a ransom (His life) to buy back those who are now His proves that we all have belonged to Satan! (See John 8:44; I John 3:8; Rom. 6:16.)
3. What did God warn Adam that the penalty of law breaking would be? Gen. 2:17.
COMMENT: This and the other verses we have read clearly show that Satan is the ruler of this present evil world. But he retains that power only by God’s express permission. God has assigned Satan 6,000 years in which to rule over mankind. When that time expires, Christ will forcibly intervene in world affairs and reestablish the government of God on earth. He will then rule the world for the next 1,000 years. God’s plan spans a period of one prophetic “week,” since a day is as a thousand years with God, and a thousand years as a day (II Pet. 3:8).
God has said to Satan, in effect: “Six ‘days’ shall you labor, and do all your work: but the seventh ‘day’ is the Sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work” (Ex. 20:9-10). The first six days of this prophetic week God has turned over to Satan, and given him free reign to influence and deceive.
Satan’s work is a labor of deception—of deceiving mankind—of turning God’s truth upside down—causing honest, sincere people to accept a counterfeit for the genuine—deceiving people to break God’s law. And how successfully he has worked at his occupation for nearly 6,000 years!
We are now nearing the end of Satan’s six millennial days (6000 years) of work. And
the coming seventh millennial day shall be the Sabbath of the Lord God.
It belongs to God. In it, Satan shall
not do any work. He will be restrained.(Rev. 20:1-3). He will not be allowed to deceive anyone
during the Millennium -1000 years of world peace.
Jesus Hid the Truth !
When Jesus Christ came to earth nearly 2,000 years ago, it was not to set up His Kingdom (John 18:36). Christ did not, at that time, come to restrain Satan from deceiving the world. Contrary to what many have been taught, neither did Christ come to earth the first time to call everyone. Rather, He came to deliver His Father’s message—the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Notice the New Testament proof that Christ did not try to convert everyone.
1. Did Jesus speak to the multitudes in parables to make His meaning clearer, or to hide it so the public would not understand? Matt. 13:10-15; Mark 4:11-12. Did He speak to the general public only in parables? Matt. 13:34. Was this because it was not the time for most to be forgiven their sins and converted? Mark 4:12.
3. Did Jesus often try to avoid crowds of people? Matt. 5:1; 8:18; 13:36; Mark 3:13; John 5:13; 7:10. Did He often tell those whom He had healed not to tell anyone who healed them? Matt. 8:4; 9:30; 12:16; Mark 5:35, 41-43; 7:35-36. Did He want everyone to know who He really was? Matt. 16:20; Mark 3:12.
COMMENT: For most of His ministry, Jesus avoided publicity. It was not God’s will for everyone to understand who Jesus was. Spiritual understanding will not be granted to the world until Christ removes Satan.
COMMENT: The New Testament Church of God was started with only about 120 people. Only after they had been trained could they teach and train others. Christ at first needed only a few teachers to teach others to become teachers, so He called only a few at that time.
Remember, no one can come to Christ unless God the Father calls him (John 6:44, 65). But some will ask: “What about one who really is willing to truly repent and come out of this world and be led by God’s Spirit? Do you mean this individual cannot come to Christ unless God calls him?”
Answer: Such a person is being drawn by God, otherwise he or she would have no such desire. However, most who think they are in that category have followed a false gospel, and a false idea of what God’s way is.
5. Did God, in the Bible, tell us in advance that He would call only a few into His Church, and that His Church would continue to be small, and even persecuted? Luke 12:32; Matt. 10:16-17; 7:13-14; John 16:33; II Tim. 3:12.
COMMENT: From Christ’s human ministry until His soon return to earth,
God has called only a small minority of people. God’s Church through the
centuries has continued to be small. That Church, is in training
to rule and teach the world with and under Christ in the world tomorrow.
What Predestination Really Is
The subject of predestination has often puzzled and worried many people simply because they have accepted, without question, the teachings of their religion. Let’s understand exactly what the Word of God teaches about predestination.
COMMENT: Predestination has nothing to do with any particular decision you will make, or your fate—it has only to do with the time of your calling—whether God calls you now or later. There is not one word in the entire Bible about anyone being predestined to be lost. God has not predestined or foreordained anyone either to accept or reject God’s way of life.
The decision we make is not predetermined. God’s purpose is that we develop His character. It must be developed through experience. And experience requires time. Although God tells us which decision we ought to make (Deut. 30:19), the final decision to choose life is still ours!
Jesus Christ established His Church to train the future kings and priests of God’s Kingdom—to have a part in teaching during the Millennium. God knew far in advance that leaders, teachers, and governmental administrators would be needed for His Kingdom, so He planned ahead—predestined—that He would call some to this training, especially in this age.
COMMENT: If you are one now called, God”foreknew”you. And “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate”-to be lost? No, “to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called…” (Rom. 8:29-30).
Not will call in the future—but called now in this age.
If you are called—if God has revealed this wonderful truth to your understanding—you are having your opportunity now— to be used by Christ in the labor of helping the vast majority of mankind in the world tomorrow! Most Neither Finally Lost or Saved.
2. Will those whom God has already called be given a “second chance”—if they sin willfully? Heb. 10:26-29; 6:4-6. To receive this punishment, was it first necessary for them to have received God’s Spirit and known God’s truth? Heb. 10:26.
COMMENT: There is a big difference between sinning willingly and willfully. Adam sinned willingly, but that does not mean he is condemned to perish because of it. There are only a few who have sinned willfully. God will forgive any law breaking that is repented of—even if, through weakness, temptation or habit, it is repeated of. As long as a person’s intention, attitude and desire is to obey God, (I John 1:9). Jesus said we ought to forgive seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21-22). God is even more willing to forgive than that!
So what is a willful or an unforgivable sin? If a person has been given God’s Spirit and spiritual understanding of God’s way and has experienced the blessings of that way, but decides he no longer wants it, changes his attitude, deliberately chooses a life of rebellion, despising God’s Law, then this sin is unforgivable because he will not repent of it! “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened… who have shared in Gods’ Spirit -God’s Mind, who have understood the word of God and His plan for the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance” (Heb. 6:4-6, NIV).
Such people have been specially called by God and given His Spirit, yet at some point in time they purposely, knowingly, rejected it, stopped allowing God to build their character in them. Like the servant who did nothing with his pound or talent, they failed in God’s purpose for them. They have become so calloused to their sins that they, no matter what God could do to try to correct them, will never want to repent.
COMMENT: To intentionally speak abusively (the meaning of the Greek word translated “blasphemy”) against God’s Spirit. It is a deliberate, premeditated, willful rejection of God and His power!
COMMENT: The proper translation of the Greek of II Corinthians 6:2 (and
the Hebrew of Isaiah 49:8) is “now is A DAY of salvation.” If it were true
that this is the only time when one may be saved, God would not be fair,
for He is now calling only a few!
“First Fruits” Called Now
1. When Jesus came to earth about 4,000 years after the first man and woman had cut mankind off from God, did He say that the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God would be preached to all nations during this age for the purpose of converting them? Matt. 24:14.
COMMENT: The Gospel Jesus proclaimed is to be preached in all the world only for a WITNESS to all nations before the end of the present age—not to convert them! Most who hear the true Gospel do not really understand it. God’s truth is spiritual knowledge, and spiritual knowledge cannot be transmitted naturally to a human mind (I Cor. 2:11-14). Spiritual truth is revealed by God! None can receive it, though their ears hear the words, or their eyes see them (Matt. 13:14), except as God opens their understanding and reveals the truth to them by His Spirit.
2. Even though most of mankind has not yet been called to understand God’s plan, some DO understand. Are these people specially called by God the Father? (John 6:44, 65). How are they referred to by the Apostle James? Jas. 1:18.
COMMENT: Those now called are merely the “first fruits”. God has called only a few in this age—not for special favors, but for special responsibilities. They have been called to grow in God’s character so they, when born into His Family, can rule righteously in the world tomorrow. Then they will help bring God’s truth to everyone during the Millennium.
COMMENT: The promise was made only to those God had predestined to call. It was GOD the FATHER, not the apostles, who added new converts to the Church (Acts 2:47). God’s Spirit-His mind-which every human needs, unites with the human spirit which makes us heirs but not yet inheritors of God’s Family.
It is the spirit of understanding, giving to the physical brain, spiritual comprehension—the ability to really understand spiritual knowledge. It is the love of God placed within us. The same faith Jesus had—now given to us. It is also the spiritual power we need to help us turn from, resist and overcome Satan’s “get” way and turn to God’s “give” way. It is the power by which the few first fruits now called may develop God’s character, which is God’s purpose for having put humanity on the earth—that God may reproduce Himself.
When Adam chose to disobey God, he was cast out of Eden and denied further access to God’s Spirit. Although the world would be ruled by Satan for 6,000 years, God knew that this was the best way for humans to learn their lesson. Those who are called before Christ’s return must, with the power of God’s Spirit, overcome Satan while he is still ruling. That is not easy, but it helps them to qualify for greater positions of responsibility in the coming Government of God to rule this earth. Greater character is built when one has obstacles, such as Satan’s influence, to overcome.
Living in a world filled with sin also helps us learn to thoroughly
hate it (Ps. 97:10; 119:104). The results of selfishness and competition
are painfully obvious to those God calls out of Satan’s world. After Christ returns and restrains Satan, a peaceful world will finally result
that will reflect the benefits of God’s way. The comparison with Satan’s
6,000 years of rule will be spectacular!
All in the Millennium Will Be Called
The 6,000-year sentence on Adam’s world—being cut off from God—is due to end soon. This world, still Satan’s world except for God’s Church, is fast plunging into a period of great tribulation just before Christ’s return.Suddenly, when most needed, but least expected by a world cut off from God, Jesus Christ will come in supreme power. Those of His Church will rule the world from Jerusalem during the 1000 years of peace. Then, after this world has been freed from Satan’s rule, freed from his deceptions and spiritual influences Christ will begin to bring everyone into His Family!
Millions of modern-day descendants of the so-called “Lost Ten Tribes” of Israel will have been rescued from slave labor camps. In an exodus far greater than the original deliverance of ancient Israel from Egypt (Jer. 16:14-15; 23:3, 7-8), they will be delivered from their captors. Many will then remember the warnings given them before the Great Tribulation began. Others will have been warned during the Tribulation by two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-12). They will be willing to admit that their old way of life, was wrong. And they will gladly accept God’s way.
Millions will grow in God’s character, and be born into the Family of God during the thousand years.
2. Will all Israel eventually be saved Rom. 11:26-27.
COMMENT: The Gentiles will also come to be taught by Christ, at the time when He sets His hand to remove the spiritual blindness from the house of Israel.
4. When Christ is King over all the earth during the 1000 years of world peace, will God’s Spirit (represented by “living waters”) go out from Jerusalem? Zech. 14:8-9. Will God pour out His Spirit on all people? Joel 2:28-29.
COMMENT: God’s Spirit – God’s mind will be made available to all and will open their minds to understand God’s way. First, the modern-day descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel will learn to obey God’s law, and then, following their example, also all of the other nations. They will then join those ruling in preparing for the time when thousands of millions will be resurrected after the thousand years.
The Rest Called After the Millennium
All who live during the Millennium will have their chance to participate. They will have their opportunity to grow spiritually toward spiritual birth into the God Family. But what about those who have already died without having understood God’s truth?
1. Did Paul clearly understand that the people of Israel, and mankind in general, were spiritually blinded? Rom. 10:16, 18-21. Although these Israelites heard, they could not obey it. Was this because God had purposely allowed their blindness? Rom. 11:8, 25, 32. Yet, did Paul know that they would have a future opportunity? Verse 26.
COMMENT: When Paul said “all Israel shall be saved,” he meant ALL Israel, including those of his day. But when will they be given their opportunity to come to spiritual knowledge?
2. Does the prophet Ezekiel describe a resurrection of dead Israelites back to human life? Ezek. 37:11-13. Is this clearly a resurrection to physical life—do the bodies have flesh, skin and bones, and require air to live? Verses 5-9.
COMMENT: Israel is a type of all nations. Ezekiel’s prophecies describe a time when both Israelites and Gentiles who died in spiritual ignorance will be given an opportunity. All the inhabitants of Sodom died centuries before Ezekiel wrote this (Gen. 19:24-25).
God can “bring back their captives” (Ezek. 16:53) or “restore their fortunes” (Moffatt, RSV and NIV) only by resurrecting them! All unconverted Israelites will be resurrected at the same time as those Gentiles, and all will be given their first opportunity. (Verse 62.) The prophet Ezekiel does not explain when this resurrection occurs, but Christ did reveal it to the Apostle John.
COMMENT: Even as all men die, the same all will be made alive (verse 22). Everyone who has ever lived and died will be resurrected—first Christ was resurrected, then later those who lived and died before Christ’s Second Coming will be resurrected. But what about the vast majority who never were called? Verse 24 includes them in “the end”—when Christ completes His job of conquering every enemy (verse 25). That happens after the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-10).
Those who have not heard or understood the truth have not been consigned to eternal death. They have not sinned willfully. They never had a chance! Even if some have lived up to the best they knew while alive, the Bible teaches only one way through belief in Christ (Acts 4:12) and spiritual conversion as defined in the Bible.
Most of our loved ones who have died “unsaved” did not die lost. They most likely were not called during this age, but their call is coming later. They shall be resurrected to human life and given spiritual understanding and the opportunity to become members of God’s Family. Revelation 20 tells us when this great resurrection will occur.
5. Does the Bible speak of a “first” resurrection,implying that there are other resurrections? Rev. 20:5, last part. When is the second resurrection? Same verse, first part.
COMMENT: The first part of verse 5 is actually a parenthetical comment. The verse should read: “(But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection.” The sentence, “This is the first resurrection,” refers to the spiritual resurrection of the first fruits of God’s plan, which occurs at Christ’s return, just before the 1,000-year period begins (verses 4, 6).
But notice further the first sentence in verse 5: “But the rest of the dead [those who never had an opportunity to understand God’s truth] lived not again [would not come up in a resurrection] until the thousand years were finished.” This resurrection, which occurs after the 1,000 years, is the second resurrection. It is a resurrection to physical life!
COMMENT: The dead who stand before God couldn’t include true Christians today, because they will receive their reward at the first resurrection when He returns. It couldn’t refer to those converted during the Millennium, because they will have already inherited the Kingdom during the thousand years, after living a normal life span.
Those in this second resurrection are those who died in past ages. Their time occurs after the second resurrection!
The Greek word translated “books” in verse 12 is biblia. It is from this word that the English word “bible” is derived. The books that are opened are the books of the Bible! They will be opened to the understanding of the multiple thousands of millions of people who had not been able to know and understand God’s purpose and plan for them during their previous lifetime, never having been called by the Father and given His Spirit of understanding.
Some, assuming that “judgment” means only the pronouncing of a sentence based on past behavior, have thought that these people, even if they repented, could do nothing to alter their fate. Thankfully, God is merciful, always willing to forgive upon true repentance.
In this period of judgment, not only is the Bible opened to their understanding, but the Book of Life is also opened. These people are given an opportunity! God, in perfect fairness, will give them the same opportunity He now gives to those He calls in this age. However, they will not be subject to Satan’s influence as we are today, because Satan will have been finally sent to his punishment (Rev. 20:10). Let’s be sure we understand the meaning of God’s judgment referred to in Revelation 20:12.
COMMENT: God judges by evaluating how well they live by His written Word. Their rewards in God’s Kingdom, will depend on their character development during their life. Those resurrected after the Millennium will be judged the same way. They, will be given enough time to prove they are willing to live God’s way through a life of overcoming and obedience to God.
With God’s Spirit freely available, and freed from Satan’s spiritual influences, they will be given their first and only opportunity during a second physical life. Those who continue to live God’s way of life will be changed from human to spirit at the end of this period.
Vast Majority to Be Born of God!
Imagine the astonishment of those resurrected at the beginning of the period just described. Each one will be in his first moment of consciousness since death. At first, some may think they are in “heaven,” “hell,” or “purgatory.” Most will simply be confused. Nothing that many had been taught about an afterlife will turn out to be true. Faced with undeniable evidence that their old teachings and ways were false, they will be more willing to admit this, start over and be taught the truth. Untold millions who never had any religious teaching whatsoever will start learning .
Who will teach these untold thousands of millions? Millions of teachers who will have been born into God’s Family in the first resurrection and during the Millennium. Those resurrected back to human life will then undergo the process. They will be taught God’s Law. They will learn of God’s mercy, and that Christ paid the penalty for them, if they will accept His payment. The vast majority will undoubtedly repent.
Upon repentance they will be forgiven and God’s Spirit will be given to them. Then they can begin growing spiritually—developing God’s righteous and perfect character. For many, unlearning all the falsehoods learned in their first life and learning God’s true ways will take time. And building character will take time, because character can be developed only through time and experience.
1. How long will this period last? Isa. 65:20.
COMMENT: Those resurrected then will live for 100 years.
God is not willing that any should perish. He wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth. But He knows it is best that most people come to understand His truth in a better world than this present evil world. That is why they will be raised up in the second resurrection—a resurrection into a world free of Satan’s deceptions, and lovingly ruled by the God Family.
They will be able to compare the results of 6,000 years of Satan’s “get” way with the 1,000 years of God’s “give” way under Christ. With 7,000 years of humanity now history, they will face up to what their previous experience really proved. The vast majority will choose God’s way.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ gave enough examples of people living at widespread times to prove that most of humanity will be alive at the same time on this earth. There will be pre-Flood men and women, all 12 tribes of Israel, those who lived during the Middle Ages and the vast majority living now. Even babies and children who died untimely deaths will be resurrected then. They will all rise in the second resurrection because they had not been called by God during their first lifetime.
This group includes all people of all times except those who will have already entered God’s Family, and those relatively few individuals who already had their opportunity, but deliberately rejected it, having sinned willfully. Those few will be resurrected in the third and final resurrection to be destroyed (Rev. 20:14-15).
The ancient peoples Jesus mentioned in Matthew 11 and 12 would have
repented if He had personally come to them in their day. And they will
repent and receive God’s Spirit when resurrected into a world that has
been personally ruled by Jesus Christ for 1,000 years! The Bible shows that the vast majority of those who have ever lived
will finally be born into God’s Family. How reassuring is the truth of a wise, loving God!
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