Tom: Thanks, Gary.You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.If you’re a first time listener, we’ve been focusing on Dave Hunt’s book In Defense of the Faith, as a source of questions which Dave has collected over many years of ministry, notice I emphasized “many” Dave.
Dave: Right, yes, many.
Tom: Anyway, the questions pertain to basic teachings of the Christian faith as they are presented in the Bible.So we are attempting to answer such questions from the Bible and our encouragement to our listeners is please don’t take our word for what the Bible says, but rather, check the Bible for yourselves to see if what we are saying is true to God’s Word.So, we get into the first question:I was always taught that the Rapture is not found in the Olivet Discourse.Christ’s words “two shall be grinding at the mill; one shall be taken, the other left, etc…”can only refer to Christ at His second coming taking the wicked from the earth and leaving the tribulation saints.Yet you teach this occurs at the Rapture before the tribulation.Can you explain that for me?
Dave: Well Tom, there are a number of reasons for it.Were you there when I gave a talk on the Rapture and the Olivet Discourse to the Pretrib Rapture?
Tom: I was, Dave, I was hiding in the back.You were definitely running against the tide, as it were, with that group.
Dave: They sometimes ask me to talk about what nobody else believes.
Tom: Well, some believed.So don’t say it that way.
Dave: Yeah, there were some, actually.So, I think that’s available from our ministry, don’t we have that tape?
Tom: It is.Gary may make mention of it by the end of the program.
Dave: Very good.Well, those who say it isn’t there often say, well, you couldn’t be talking about the Rapture because the disciples didn’t know anything about it.Well, of course there always has to be a first time to teach them about it, so that doesn’t hold.Sometimes they say Matthew:24:39, “And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”So they say, you see, the days of Noah and the flood—that’s no picture of the Rapture because the wicked were taken away rather than the redeemed being taken away—raptured.
But if you go to Luke chapter 17:26-30, and we read it there,Jesus says, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
Tom: So, in both cases we have a removal from destruction.
Dave: Right.The ark was the shelter for Noah and his family and it certainly lifted them up above the judgment.The flood was judgment upon this earth.
Tom: The same with Lot, he had to leave for the mountain.
Dave: The day he was taken out, here comes the judgment.That certainly is a picture of the Rapture.Furthermore, and notice what it says—it doesn’t say, as it was in the days of Noah, the days of Lot, they were wicked, which they were. Notice what it focuses upon.They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded. That cannot be at the end of the Great Tribulation; the world is practically destroyed.
Tom: Which is not business as usual.
Dave: No, far from it.So it doesn’t fit.Furthermore, those who say, well, "two are sleeping in a bed, one taken, the other left; two grinding at the mill, one taken away the other left." By the way, it shows that Jesus knew the world was round, because he’s got them sleeping and also grinding and also working in the field, so they are on different sides of the earth.But they say, well, they are taken away to judgment.
Well tell me what judgment this is. I don’t know of any judgment where they are snatched out of beds.We have a judgment, not at the Second Coming actually, but in Matthew 25, he talks about, the nations will be gathered before Him, the sheep separated from the goats.I think that’s at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, or it could very well be at the Second Coming. But nobody is being snatched out of beds, they gathered before Him; and then He judges them.
So, why this could not be the Rapture, I don’t know.It sounds to me like it is the Rapture.And furthermore he says, “Matthew:24:44, Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”Well, you could hardly say that that’s a description of the Second Coming.Even the Antichrist knows He is coming; Revelation 19—goes out with his armies to meet Him.So, this has to be some previous coming of Christ, when the world does not expect Him, when the world has not yet been destroyed, there is prosperity and seeming peace and so forth. They are buying and selling, building and planting.That does not fit any time except prior to the advent of the Antichrist.It just doesn’t fit anywhere else.Then why not accept it?Furthermore, Jesus says, in the next chapter, “Matthew:25:5, while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”That’s not just the five foolish virgins, but the five wise as well.Now I can’t imagine people slumbering and sleeping in comfort and not expecting Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation.So, it simply doesn’t fit, Tom.
Tom: Well, Dave, a couple of questions:First, I remember one objection to the view that you take has to do with the gospels—they weren’t speaking to the church. They were speaking to the Jews.Somehow, dispensationalists would say, no, we’re still in a dispensation related to the Jews, not to the church.What do you think?
Dave: Tom, am I going to then fold up the four gospels and put them on the shelf? they shouldn’t be part of this Bible because they were only written to the Jews?That simply isn’t true!Furthermore, if you went to Matthew 28, what does it say?Jesus says, "Go into all the world make disciples of all nations." He is telling his disciples, "You teach them—the disciples you make—to observe everything that I commanded you." It sounds to me like there is a continuity of what Jesus taught the original disciples that is to be taught to the disciples they make, because part of that command would be then the disciples that they make are to make disciples and to teach them to observe everything that Christ commanded them. So, you and I are disciples of a disciple of a disciple of a disciple—all the way back to Christ. And I don’t think you can say this is just for the Jews.Now, He is speaking specifically to the Jews at certain times, but we can distinguish that. But that would involve specific situations, not the general teaching.Take the Sermon on the Mount. Are we not to obey the Sermon on the Mount when he says in Matthew 6 “…don’t be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat or what shall we drink? Wherewithal shall we be clothed?' After all these things do the Gentiles seek. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness”—am I going to say, oh that’s just for the Jews?Although in John 3, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, he says, you must be born again. Only the Jews need to be born again? I mean, Tom, it doesn’t make sense.
Tom: Right.So, it’s a matter of imposing a strict view with regard to saying only this book or only that book. We just can’t do that, as you’re saying.
Dave: No.They say, well now he’s talking to the Jews so you can’t mix the Rapture in there because they didn’t know about it.Tom, I think we’ve probably said enough about this subject.He’s coming at a time when no one expects Him, when you don’t think He’s coming.That couldn’t be the end of the Great Tribulation.He’s coming at a time of peace and prosperity, buying, selling, building, planting, marrying, and so forth.That could not possibly be at the end of the Great Tribulation.So, let’s not force it into that, and I don’t know of any judgment when somebody is snatched out of the bed and somebody else is left there and they are not taken to judgment.It just does not fit, so let’s not let our preconceived ideas or whatever you have learned at seminary or whatever, just read what the Bible says.
Tom: Dave, before I interrupted you were talking about the ten virgins, five wise and five foolish.This is our next question: There seems to be a growing teaching that only those Christians who are living holy, victorious lives at the time of the Rapture will be taken by Christ to heaven.The rest will have to face the Antichrist and be purified by martyrdom.Could that be what Christ meant by the parable of the ten virgins—the five “wise” are Raptured and the five “foolish” are left to face Antichrist?
Dave: Tom, I know that is a teaching that is out there. Furthermore, you have the teaching that the church must be purified and returned to its first century unity and Christ isn’t going to come back to a church that is divided up into denominations and quarreling with one another, not living holy lives, and so forth.But it just doesn’t fit.First of all, Paul tells us in First Thessalonians chapter two, that the apostasy has to come first.Christ—we just quoted it from Matthew 25—they are all sleeping.It doesn’t sound to me like a dynamic church.In Luke:18:8, Jesus asks the question:When the Son of Man returns will he find the faith on the earth?Doesn’t sound like a great last days revival, and furthermore, it doesn’t make sense from this standpoint:Would God that there would be a revival, and we ought to teach and preach holiness and submission to the Lord, and seek to arouse Christians to live holy lives and to follow the Scripture, and so forth.But that this must somehow be the condition of the church overall worldwide doesn’t make sense from the standpoint of what I just said: the Bible predicts apostasy, falling away, and so forth.Furthermore, what does that say about the people who have already died and gone to heaven?Have they gone to heaven?My mother and father, I believe, are in heaven; Paul said, "...absent from the body, present with the Lord." Well, when do they get purified?In other words, if the church that’s on the earth at the time Christ comes must have been purified on the earth, when did the rest of the church?—and, by the way, most of the church is already in heaven.We are a fraction of the church.
Tom: Dave, this seems to, at least, move in the direction of the Catholic teaching on purgatory.I know some would say, well, no, it’s not the same thing. But if we’re having to be purged before we get to heaven, tell me the difference.
Dave: Right, it’s very much like it.And, as I mentioned, those who died before this last great purification of the church on earth, where do they get purified?Do they have to go to some kind of a purgatory, intermediate state?No, the Bible says we will be purified at the judgment seat of Christ.Our works will be tried; Paul says that in 1 Corinthians 3: "our works" will be tried in that day by the fire of God’s judgment, God’s evaluation.Not, "we" will be tried.
Tom: Right.This is not suffering in a physical sense.
Dave: We are not being burned in the fires of purgatory in order to purify us.That doesn’t purify anything.
Tom: And then again, how this?That’s another good question.How does burning fire purify?I mean, are we purifying thoughts?How does it go back and affect the deeds that have been done?It doesn’t make any sense.
Dave: It doesn’t.We are purged by the blood of Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins, and we put our faith and our trust in Him.So, the idea that the church that is alive when Christ returns must have been purified on this earth—it’s not biblical and it’s not rational.We will all appear, the scripture says: "We shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." [There's] no point in the judgment seat of Christ if we have already been purified on this earth!It says, "He will wipe away all tears from their eyes... They will be given fine linen, white and clean, the righteousness of saints..." which we will be clothed with at that wedding in heaven, Revelation 19.So, I would just have to dismiss this idea as neither biblical nor rational.
Tom: But, Dave, as I referred to earlier, with regard to the Catholic teaching on purgatory, we find within evangelical circles those who claim to be Bible-believing Christians, a kind of—almost a legalism that’s similar to Catholicism.For example, Catholicism teaches that in order to get to heaven you have to be infused with righteousness.You, yourself will literally have to become righteous and you don’t go through the pearly gates without being perfectly righteous.So you have to become righteous.The Bible teaches imputed righteousness.Jesus did it all.We’re going to get in clinging to Him and on the basis of what He did, not on how we’re going to become.That’s not the criteria.
Dave: Maybe you had better explain the difference between “infused” that is, that righteousness becomes part of me and it’s infused into me, and how I become righteous or imputed—that is credited to our account.We are credited with the righteousness of Christ.I am not righteous like Christ is; I’m a sinner, but what He did was to pay the penalty for my sins and when I believe that, I am saved.That’s what the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”I am supposed to believe the gospel.The gospel is the powers of salvation unto everyone who lives up to the proper performance? —No, everyone who believes!
Tom: Dave, my concern, as you know, my being a part of reaching Catholics for Christ, I see evangelicals changing their position on the gospel.The very thing that you laid out—so we all know you’re being a little bit too doctrinal here, we’ve got to soften these things up.In other words, many evangelicals are accepting a Catholic view whether they fully understand it—I doubt—but at least they are moving in that direction.So, in effect, the gospel that’s being promoted among many evangelicals is a gospel that is not true to God’s word.
Dave: They are confusing salvation with sanctification.Now we are to live...
Tom: Now, in Catholicism they are both the same.
Dave: Right.We are to live holy lives, but Ephesians chapter 2:8, 9, 10, which most Christians know:“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves (that is, salvation is a gift of God), not of works lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”So, Paul writes, "Work out your own salvation." We are not working for our salvation; we're working it out in our lives, the outworking in our lives of the salvation that He has given us.But it is God who works in us.Now this is living the Christian life; this is sanctification, it’s not my own strength. I can’t do it but I must do something.In other words, I don’t just sit back, and then God does everything.
Tom: Hang out in the hammock.It’s not the way.
Dave: It’s not right.Colossians chapter 1 verse 29, Paul says—well, verse 28, it’s talking about [how] we want to present every man perfect before Christ, and he said, “Whereunto I also labor, [that is, for himself] striving according to his working, which worketh in me might mightily.”So it is the power of God, the Holy Spirit, working in us to sanctify us, to make us more like Christ, to instruct and teach us so we will live godly lives.But at the same time, I must do my part.I must believe and I must then obey. And this is sanctification, but this is not salvation.And just from a logical standpoint, as well as a biblical standpoint, what can I do to justify myself?I’m a sinner, it’s not like—
Tom: And you don’t have to be, in a sense, an overwhelming sinner.You don’t have to be a Hitler or a Stalin or massacre, bring about genocide in the world, it just takes one sin.Well, first of all, we are under condemnation for who we are because of Adam’s sin, but in our own sin—I just want to explain to people out there, you know, again, it’s not a matter of being on the scales here, my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds, that’s not—one sin is all it takes and you are separated from God forever.
Dave: Well, James tells us, “He who offends in one point…,” that is, one point of the law, “…is guilty of all.”Why would that be?All Adam and Eve did was take a piece of fruit that they were told not to.What is that?That’s rebellion against God!So, the very smallest sin, one part of the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not lie, is one of the Ten Commandments, their false witness.Well then, you have rebelled against God.You don’t have to do all the rest of them to become a sinner.
Tom: And you don’t have to actually carry something out.Jesus talked about your thought life.
Dave: So, what is God going to do?And that’s what Paul discusses in Romans chapters two and three and on through the Book of Romans up through chapter six.How can God be just and justify sinners?Well, if I have someone standing (I’m a judge) even my own son, let’s say, is standing before me.He’s been found guilty, the jury has weighed the evidence, multiple murders, let’s say.And now, I have to pronounce the sentence.I can’t let him off. I would be a partner in his crime. I would be as guilty as he.God can’t just let us off and there’s no way that you can make up for breaking the law in the past by keeping it in the future.It doesn’t work that way.So there is nothing that we can do as sinners before God.And the gift of God is eternal life and if we attempt to pay for it we are insulting God and rejecting the gift.So all we can do is to believe.He paid the penalty; He offers eternal life to us as a free gift of His grace.What can we do?We can’t pay for it.Am I going to add to Christ’s payment? Am I going to say that he didn’t pay enough? Am I going to insult him? Am I going to reject his gift and say, "Well, I don’t need it; I can work my own way to heaven; I can do my own good deeds?"Well then, you are lost forever because you are, on that account, the worst rebel that you could possibly be.
Tom: And the penalty is eternal, when do you start and when do you finish?
Dave: Tom, all we have to do is believe to be saved!But then, we are to live for Him out of love and gratitude for Him, not to earn our salvation but because He has provided it for us.