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THE ROD: WILL GOD SPARE IT?
        
An Exhaustive Study of Temporary Punishment for Unfaithful Christians at the Judgment Seat and During the Millennial Kingdom
by Joey D. Faust

   

 

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Second Edition, 2003, 458 pgs.
$20.00 (softcover only available)
 

Although it is shocking, the truth concerning the Judgment Seat of Christ presented in this book provides a sufficient answer to the numerous Biblical warnings addressed to the saints.  This alarming doctrine of temporary chastisement ironically protects and magnifies the precious truths of eternal security and salvation through faith alone.  Yet, unlike other modern defenses of eternal security, this teaching provides a much-needed panacea for careless Christianity in these last days.

Pastor J. D. Faust was born in Columbia, South Carolina.  He is currently the pastor of Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Texas.  He is the editor of The Kingdom Alert newsletter.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. The Accountability Awakening
  2. The Foundation
  3. Two Historic Errors
  4. Positive Rewards
  5. Negative Rewards in this Life
  6. Negative Rewards at the Judgment Seat
  7. Millennial Counterfeits
  8. The Christian's Danger of Kingdom Exclusion
  9. A Protestant Purgatory?
  10. Where Do the Unfaithful Christians Go?
  11. The Underworld
  12. The Temporary Abodes of the Dead
  13. Death at the Judgment Seat
  14. Temporary Soul Death
  15. Hurt of the Second Death
  16. Trial by Fire
  17. Two Phases at the Judgment Seat
  18. The Prize of the First Resurrection
  19. Safeguarding Literal Interpretation
  20. Millennial Incarceration
  21. Blotted Out of the Book of Life
  22. The Unquenchable Fire
  23. The Reward of Eternal Life
  24. Believers Should Believe
  25. Objections and Questions Answered
  26. Accountability Truth in History (Part 1)
  27. Accountability Truth in History (Part 2)
  28. Accountability Truth in History (Part 3)
  29. Believers Must Confess

Appendix A (Everlasting, Forever and Eternal)
Appendix B (Refuting Universalism)
Glossary

 

Chapter One


CHAPTER 1 - THE ACCOUNTABILITY AWAKENING

“The native magnitude of this [kingdom-accountability] truth must speedily redeem it from all obscurity…This doctrine so potently contends against the selfishness and laxity of believers in this latter day, that no one who considers the matter can expect that its career will be otherwise than stormy…those who have the single eye will perceive its amplitude of evidence, and embrace it, in spite of the solemn awe of God which it produces, and the depth of our own personal responsibility which it discloses.”  -Robert Govett (1813-1902)

“...a host of living expositors of Scripture [are embracing kingdom-accountability truth], a host which is increasing all the time.”  -William P. Clark (1864-1953)

“We are glad to be counted amongst the rapidly growing number of writers who are doing pioneer work in teaching the Scriptural, searching message of a deeper Personal Responsibility…Forever suppressed these truths will not be - The Holy Ghost is pressing them even now upon believers everywhere.”  -W.F. Roadhouse (1875-1951)

“[Christians are] slowly waking to the immense importance of responsibility truth. It is tragic how many evangelicals abhor responsibility truth.…What will such evangelicals feel when they discover the truth at the Judgment Seat of Christ?”  -D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

The writers of the above quotes were premillennial fundamentalists who were strong defenders of eternal security. These men also preached that disobedient Christians (who do not repent before they die) will be briefly punished at the judgment seat and then excluded from Christ’s future one-thousand year kingdom. This book will document that multitudes of other fundamental Christian leaders throughout history embraced the same teaching. These men were glad to see the powerful, motivating fires of this accountability truth beginning to glow among the saints. Yet, these fires were later largely extinguished; the consequences have been devastating. This precious accountability truth must be restored!

Believers who lack the full truth concerning their promises and warnings are in constant danger of becoming spiritually anemic. The Bible teaches that Noah moved with fear when he heard the holy warning about the impending flood (Hebrews 11:7). Saints in this perilous age also need the Lord’s warnings to keep them running in holiness:

“The denial of these solemn truths paralyses and destroys some of the most powerful stimulants God has supplied…it empties of all horror the dread warnings to the backslider, and leaves him, if it does not put him, in a drugged sleep; and it drives privilege over the precipice of responsibility….”  -D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

The Bible exhorts Christians to race for the prize of reigning with Jesus in His future kingdom:

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run…
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a CASTAWAY.

The context of this Bible passage is winning a crown at the judgment seat. What does it mean to be a “castaway” at the future judgment seat? Paul is certainly not worried about losing salvation in eternity. However, many advocates of the Biblical doctrine of eternal security do not interpret such warnings in their fullness. Paul is striving to have a place in the future kingdom of God. This millennial (i.e. 1000 year) kingdom is a prize for suffering against sin, the world and the Devil:

2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also REIGN with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 1:5… that ye may be counted worthy of the KINGDOM of God, for which ye also suffer:

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the KINGDOM of God…

Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the INHERITANCE: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not INHERIT the KINGDOM of God.

The above Scriptures reveal that the future millennial kingdom is a reward for faithfulness. All Christians will spend eternity with God. This is the inheritance that every child of God will enjoy. Yet, the millennial reign is a double portion. It is the inheritance that firstborn sons will receive (Deuteronomy 21:15-17, Romans 8:29, Hebrews 12:23). This privileged position is only granted to those who suffer with Christ against sin and the world (Romans 8:17, Acts 14:22, 2 Thessalonians 1:5, etc.).

Christians who will not seek the prize of the kingdom will be held accountable for their negligence. While their brethren are enjoying a double portion of glory, the disobedient Christians will receive for the wrong which they have done (Colossians 3:25). Unfortunately, many modern Christians increasingly disparage the whole idea of such accountability. They have been seduced by the blind world of humanism through the influence of agnostics, liberals and psychologists that continually drink from the cesspool of unbelief. Einstein once stated that he could not understand how there could possibly be a God who would reward or punish his subjects! John S. Spong (a liberal Episcopal Bishop) likewise presumptuously mocks the teaching that God the Father will judge His saints. To Spong, the Biblical doctrine of God keeping records in order to reward or punish on a future judgment day is similar to “Santa Claus.”

God is not influenced by such humanism. In true love, He will certainly reward and punish His children according to their deserts:

Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth…

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

This chapter is only an introduction to the accountability truth taught in the Bible. Many objections are answered in detail in future chapters. This truth runs deeper than many realize. Our rebellious emotions will clamor against it. To grow in understanding concerning this motivating truth, we must diligently thirst for everything that God has to teach us concerning it:

Proverbs 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
5 THEN shalt thou understand THE FEAR OF THE LORD…

Many will not understand the deep truth concerning the fear of the Lord because they do not desire to know it! Instead of diligently seeking the sobering accountability truths abundantly revealed in Scripture, many Christians actually flee them. In the 1920’s, William Powell Clark (Resident Magistrate) identified one reason for this increasing rebellion among God’s children:

“The real reason underlying the refusal of some dear children of God to accept belief in the punishment of unfruitful believers - not eternal, but during the Millennial reign of Christ - is an inadequate sense of the Justice of God. Acceptance of the belief in the temporary punishment of such Christians during the Millennial reign safeguards the eternal merits of Christ’s atonement on the cross, and at the same time, preserves the absolute Justice of God.”

Awake in the Dark

“As for the black time to be expected.…God grant we may be of the number of those that suffer, that...we may be raised and reign with Christ at his coming.”  -William Twiss (1575-1649)

“God shake us up. When Revival comes we shall see this [kingdom-accountability] truth again!”  -W. F. Roadhouse (1875-1951)

Many Christians throughout history expected a revival of accountability truth in the last days. The world is growing increasingly hostile toward Biblical Christianity. Earlier writers knew that these accountability truths would be beneficial in helping a remnant of God’s seeking people to face the temptations that will surely increase as the days grow darker (2 Timothy 3:13):

“...the millennial crown and the first resurrection are a REWARD - the reward of suffering for and with Christ; as I have just said, a special glory and special hope over and above the redemption hope and glory, designed to comfort and support believers under persecution: a need and use which I have little doubt the church will before long be called on collectively to experience….”  -William Burgh (1800-1866)

“The throne for the overcomers! Is it possible? Are they to share the throne of the Son of God? We can see now why, as we pass through the closing days of the age, there must be such terrible conflict, and why the prince of darkness will challenge every child of God who wants to ‘overcome’.…What is in the balance, therefore, for every believer in the present warfare with Satan, which must intensify as the age closes, is the millennial crown and throne….”  -Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861-1927)

“Only now is this royal [accountability] truth emerging, and general coming persecution is likely to prove its powerful forcing-bed, for believers will see the Coming Age more clearly when they have lost this.”  -D.M. Panton (1870-1955)

“Now, I do believe, there never was a time that this doctrine (the connection between reigning and suffering) would bear less to be overlooked, or required more to be brought forward....”  -Theodosia Powerscourt (1800-1836)

“...The expectation of a Millennium may then be the belief to which they will fly for refuge against the violence of the storm which assails them; and which will serve as an anchor, sure and steadfast to buoy upon and confirm their souls. Whatsoever tends to weaken their confidence in this belief so far weakens and impairs the passive resources of the Church in the days of the great apostasy when she will want every resource that she can command.”  -Edward Greswell (1797-1869)

The truth concerning the future kingdom as a reward according to works will certainly revive in the tribulation period (Matthew 24:14). However, as we continue to see an increase in stage-setting and preliminary signs in these last days before the tribulation period, it is reasonable to expect that this kingdom-accountability truth will also begin to be revived before the rapture.

The renowned Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) also (though indirectly) predicted a revival of kingdom-accountability truth in latter times. Robert Govett (1813-1901) was one of the foremost defenders of this motivating, sobering truth in the days of Spurgeon. Govett stood boldly for the precious truth of eternal security; yet he refused to water-down the Biblical warnings to disobedient Christians. He publicly defended his views in books and periodical debates, causing quite a stir. In regard to Govett’s writings, C.H. Spurgeon predicted:

“We only express our heart when we say that we venerate and admire this author and preacher, whose works will be more appreciated by future generations than by this frivolous age.”

On another occasion, he predicted:

“The day will come when the idols of the hour will perish, and the writings of such a man as R. Govett will be prized as the much fine gold.”

Such a day has arrived! The accountability truths that Govett stood for (and so many other premillennial fundamentalists such as Pember, Panton, Craig, Tilney, Nee, etc.) are presently being revived in varying degrees throughout fundamentalist and conservative evangelical circles. The rotten fruit of rebellion (that fully manifested itself in the 1950’s and 60’s) has ironically triggered a refreshing counter-reaction among a remnant of God’s people! We desperately need to get back to the full teaching concerning the judgment seat of Christ.

The words of Ernest Baker are a fitting conclusion to this introductory chapter. Baker (b. 1869) is best known for his book, The Revivals of the Bible (1906). It is called the most comprehensive book ever written on the revivals in the Bible. Baker was a Baptist pastor in Cape Town, South Africa. He was the editor of The Midnight Cry and The South African Baptist. He writes:

“How does Revival come? It comes in many ways. But one way I want to especially emphasize: And that is, that it comes by Truth that is preached with freshness…whenever any new truth comes to light, or is recovered…it displaces no truth….What I want to get at is this: Is there any truth not yet grasped, but yet plainly taught in God’s Word, that, if fearlessly and plainly preached, would bring quickening to the children of God, and set them on fire with a new zeal? I believe there is….The truth awaiting to be taught, and which will set God’s people on fire, is that the Prize of our High Calling is a Share in the Millennial Reign with the Lord Jesus….This new light broke on me some three and a half years ago. I began to preach it with both lip and pen. But I found that many very good people and good workers were not prepared to hear…that [our Lord] would for a time exclude a believer from a share in the Millennial glory, was something that should never be said. The opposition I encountered made me go quietly for a time. But I have been digging and digging into the Word, and I now know where I am, and am praying that never again may I allow the testimony of the Word to be quenched in me. This truth is possessing and kindling me, and the conviction is growing that if this is fearlessly taught it will prove the truth that will stir believers out of their ease and smugness….Those who came out of Egypt with Moses came out by faith….‘But with many of them God was not well pleased’….God sware that they should not enter into His rest. They were excluded from Canaan…this is the danger facing the unfaithful believer; exclusion from God’s rest, God’s Canaan, the Millennial earth, the reign of 1,000 years.”

May the Holy Spirit grant the seeking reader greater understanding concerning the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 2:5) and the word of the kingdom (Matthew 13:19-20)!
 
 
 

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