Two Days of Salvation-The Scriptural Basis
When a separate, subsequent day of salvation is understood as depicted in the Bible, it relieves the frantic necessity for everyone to either accept Christ now or be condemned to so-called hellfire. The early Christians, following the example of Jesus, did not cudgel and badger people into accepting Christ. Just as Jesus' words discouraged the nobleman in his quest for "eternal life," in like manner Jesus' followers in the early church held high the standards of discipleship. They did not do what Christian churches do today-try to save immortal souls, which don't exist, from a burning hell fire, which also does not exist. This must be a vexation to God as well as an exercise in futility.
When the Christian church used Christianity for world conquest that is where it lost its way. Christianity was only intended to call and develop those who would be footstep followers of Jesus Christ. Saving souls from hellfire was never the work God authorized.
"Who Will Have All Men to Be Saved"
The Bible says of God, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). It does not say God wills that all men be saved to heaven. In God's purpose "all men" will be saved from the condemnation of death standing against them. This will take place in two different time periods. In the Christian age, believers are given "remission of sins" and the gift of the Spirit to begin in the pathway to the heavenly calling. During the Millennium, the rest of mankind will return from the grave and be given the opportunity of receiving everlasting life upon the earth.
Everyone except Adam and Eve had no choice about being condemned to death. We all were sentenced to death in Adam. "For as in Adam all die" (1 Cor. 15:22). The judgment of death stands against all men and none have escaped. We were all sentenced in one man and, by the same legal requirement, one man-Christ-may redeem us all from the same sentence standing against us.
In this Christian era, only those who present their "bodies a living sacrifice" may receive "remission of sins" and the invitation to the heavenly calling. However, in the Millennium of God's kingdom on earth, the judgment incurred by Adam will be lifted from all men. When awakened in the regeneration, mankind will still have sinful propensities, but the Mediator, the man Christ Jesus, who will stand between them and God, will cover these. It will be very much like the children of Israel under their Mediator Moses. Moses failed because he could not bring the Israelites up to God's perfect law. Christ will succeed because he has the resources to make the inhabitants of earth learn righteousness.
Some say it is only God's wish that he "will have all men to be saved." They say God cannot help it if men turn down His offer. However, the Bible does not say this. Various translations show that it is indeed God's will that "all men should find salvation." (See the New English Bible for 1 Tim. 2:4, for example.) Yet the Bible does not say that God "will have all men to be saved today," does it? Just because today most of the world turns away from Christ's sacrifice, does not mean his sacrifice will not reach everyone later. The wonderful truth is that there are two days of salvation. Many churches have totally missed this clear teaching in the Word of God. Let us examine this matter.
"The Day of Salvation"
"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation)" (2 Cor. 6:1, 2). There it is-"Now is the day of salvation." Some would have us believe that is the final word of the Lord on this matter. However, this is a faulty translation and does not correctly convey the meaning of the original Greek. The King James translators are very inconsistent here. In Isaiah 49:8, the basis of the passage in the Old Testament, they translate it correctly. Then in the New Testament (2 Cor. 6:1, 2) they render it incorrectly.
Isaiah 49:8 reads: "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the...desolate heritages." Isaiah speaks of "a day of salvation" which will be followed by another day of salvation in which those who were first "helped" and "preserved" will then be given "for a covenant of the people, to inherit the desolate heritages."
What are the "desolate heritages"? This has reference to the dominion that man was given over the earth, "over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:28). When man sinned he lost his dominion; he lost control over the earth and all its creatures. This was the heritage, which had become desolate because of sin. However, God intends to reestablish this heritage and give it back to mankind. Christ and his church will be given for a "covenant of the people."
When this New Covenant is in place, the Lord says: "After those days [of the Gospel age], saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer. 31:33, 34).
Of this day we read: "And it shall come to pass afterward [after the Gospel age], that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh" (Joel 2:28). Notice the similarity here to Pentecost, when God poured out his Spirit "in those days [the Gospel age] upon the servants and upon the handmaidens" (Joel 2:29).
Here two ages come to view in full contrast-"in those days" (the Gospel age) and "after those days" (the Millennium). The Gospel Age is a very special time beginning at Pentecost and ending when Christ's bride is selected and glorified. Believers were specifically promised "remission of sins" and the "gift of the Holy Spirit" as the heavenly calling was opened up during the Gospel Age. In the next age, the Millennial Age, which takes place "afterward," God will pour out his Spirit "on all flesh" and will also grant "forgiveness of sins" on a worldwide basis. The difference is that those called during the Gospel age are offered the "high calling of God"-to glory, honor and immortality. In contrast, the great majority of mankind will be brought back from the dead in the "times of restitution" and will be blessed with life in a perfect worldwide Edenic paradise. No matter how we approach these scriptures, they reveal salvation occurring in two different days or time periods and are addressed to two entirely different classes.
Why Did So Many Churches Lose Sight of the Future Day of Salvation?
It may come as a surprise to some to realize that many churches have abbreviated God's plan down to one day of salvation. What was the motive for closing down the Millennial salvation for mankind? It cannot be argued that this added time of salvation is not needed. Certainly it must be conceded that most people are not converted to Christianity at the present. Two-thirds of the world is outside the Christian circle and those within it are divided into over five hundred denominations, each with a somewhat different message. It stands to reason that if God wished to save the world at this time, he should at least have a united church with a singular message.
Something happened after the apostles died to cause the church to lose its way. The commission to make "disciples" from among all nations was changed to conquer the world for Christ. Many bishops became rich and influential. They strove for preeminence and soon one was respected as the Supreme Bishop of all. When the Roman Emperor Constantine joined the Christian church, pagan opposition ended and Christians had the power of the Roman Empire to expand world conquest. They sought to bring all people under the banner of Christ, first using sweet promises. When this did not work, the civil powers of Rome were engaged to punish those unwilling to join the church. The banner of the cross was lifted over armies and they went forth to conquer the world for Christ.
The history of the Christian church is a horror story of massacres, torture chambers, holy(?) wars, crusades and endless conflict. First pagans were pressured to convert to Christianity. Subsequently, Christians turned on Christians of other persuasions. Church history is cruel and terrible. How could those who profess to follow Christ be so different from the lowly Nazarene who was "holy, harmless and separate from sinners"? Christianity became the religion of the state, "of God and country." How easily Christ became divided to serve national and political agendas. Christian nations soon engaged in war with other Christian nations, each seeking God's blessing.
Scriptures were sometimes modified to accommodate prevailing opinions. Translators generally did well in translating the Bible, but sometimes theology got in the way of good judgment and honesty. We have already considered an illustration of where the translators took such unjustified liberties. In quoting Isaiah 49:8 the New Testament translators wrote: "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the [a] day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the [an] accepted time; behold, now is the [a] day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). The bold word (the) was supplied without authorization. It is not in the Greek.
Rotherham gives an accurate reading: "In an approved season have I hearkened unto thee, and in a day of salvation have I succored thee; Lo! now a well-approved season, Lo! now a day of salvation." This corrected reading allows for another day of salvation. In the Greek when they wanted to use emphasis they would use the article [the] or its varied ending, according to grammatical need. However, the Greek article does not appear here, showing that some translators added it without authority.
When properly translated, Paul's words allow for another day of salvation. This is the teaching of Isaiah 49:8. A class visited "in a day of salvation" will be preserved and given for a "covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages [of Eden that was to fill the earth]." These blessings will occur in a subsequent (yet future) day of salvation.
Paul avers to this in Romans 8:19-21: "For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature [creation] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." This is the glorious hope mankind desires, however, this awaits the "manifestation of the sons of God." When will this take place?
The "Wheat" and "Tares"
Our Lord illustrated what would happen at the end of the Gospel age in Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43. The "Son of man" sowed "good seed" in his field. While "men [apostles] slept [passed away]," the "enemy [devil] sowed" tare seed in the field. False teachings planted by the devil within the church caused a massive growth of "tares." "Tares" look like "wheat," but have no value. "Tares" are defined as "children of the wicked one." The Lord's servants asked if they should root up the "tares" at the beginning of the age. The Master said, "Let both grow together until the harvest." The "harvest is the end of the world [age]." In the end of the Gospel age the Lord would cause a separation of "wheat" from "tares." The "tares" are bundled together and finally burned. Not actually burned as people, but "burned" as professing Christians. In the conflagration they will admit that they were Christians in name only-living lives devoid of spiritual reality.
Some churches avoid mentioning this parable. It can be very uncomfortable to tell churchgoers that they may be "tares" instead of true Christian "wheat." One of the errors planted in some churches is that once "saved" they cannot be unsaved-once in God's grace heaven must inevitably follow. With such a concept, it is unnecessary to grow in the graces of the Spirit or to "follow after that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord."
After the "wheat" is gathered and "tares" destroyed to their false Christian professions, the Kingdom of God will be established on earth. This is the "manifestation of the sons of God" Paul referred to in Romans 8:19. Next will follow a day of blessing, such as earth has never known. Those in their graves shall be called forth from the sleep of death. Then "the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
Are Ye Able?
Are ye able to walk in the narrow, strait way,
With no friend by your side, and no arm for your stay?
Can ye bravely go on through the darkening night?
Can ye patiently wait till the Lord sends the light?
Are ye able to crush your soul's longing for love,
Will ye seek for no friendship save that from above?
Can ye pass through this world, lone, unnoticed, unknown,
While your faith faintly whispers, "He knoweth his own?"
Where the feet of the Blessed One stood, can ye stand?
Can ye follow his steps to a wilderness land?
Are ye able to cast aside pleasure and fame?
Can ye live but to glorify his precious name?
Can ye smile as his dear voice says tenderly, "No,"
When "the field is so white," and your heart yearns to go?
Can ye rest then in silence, contented and still,
Till your Lord, the Chief Reaper, revealeth his will?
Are ye able to lay on the altar's pure flame,
That most treasured possession, your priceless good name?
Can ye ask of your Father a blessing for those,
Who see naught in your life but to scorn and oppose?
When the conflict twixt error and truth fiercer grows,
Can ye wield the strong "Sword" against unnumbered foes?
Can ye lift up the "standard" e'en higher and higher,
While his praises ye sing in the midst of the fire?
When ye see the Lord's cause going down in defeat,
Will your courage endure in the seven-fold heat?
Will your faith keep you steadfast, though heart and flesh fail,
As the new creature passes beneath the last "veil"?
Ah, if thus ye can drink of the cup he shall pour,
And if never the banner of truth ye would lower,
His beloved ye are, and his crown ye shall wear,
In his throne ye shall sit, and his glory shall share!
Gertrude W. Seibert
Summary and Conclusions
The subject "What Everybody Should Know About Being Saved" has been presented to open dialog and stimulate further thought on the subject of "saved" and "salvation." By reviewing a broad scriptural spectrum, the reader will see the need to factor in a host of Bible texts to find harmony and clarity. This study was written to give depth and breadth for all desiring it.
Because the Bible has so much to say in this area, it is difficult to encapsulate a message in quick phraseology or in a paragraph or two. People want brief explanations that can be summarized in a few words or sentences. This characterizes the haste of our day. The nobleman did not want to divest himself of his riches to gain eternal life. Most people do not wish to do that either. Too often they are unwilling to take a few hours to learn the facts. It is easier to accept an assurance of eternal life based on one or two verses of the Bible. That is quick and easy, but it is also very dangerous.
In this study we have considered the terms Jesus presented for "eternal life." We learned that even his disciples were dismayed with those terms, saying, "Who then can be saved?" (Mark 10:26) This caused the disciples to assess their hope. Jesus then gave them needed encouragement. Was Christ's standard of discipleship too high? Surely it could not be such if the Master was the author. Then we went on to define a Christian as "a dead man on furlough." We were reminded that this is a "high calling."
We started with the Pentecostal blessing to learn what the first disciples actually received. Then we traced how the Gospel went forth and the various terms used to engage discipleship. The terms for reconciliation were reviewed. We noticed a difference in the past tense of "saved," and the present tense of "being saved." The need for sanctification and holiness were reviewed. We turned next to the subject of grace and saw how psychology became involved in the grace movement. We presented a strong biblical basis for a future salvation that reaches beyond the present time. The relationship between grace and faith were presented.
The subject of the "soul" was briefly reviewed. We learned that "souls" can and do die. The relationship between "faith" and "works" was brought into focus. We looked at the thought of "once in grace always in grace?" Can the "saved" become "unsaved"? The strong relationship between character and works was presented. Works of character were reviewed and the final analogy presented that Revelation's special promises were only to the "overcomers." We learned there would be two classes who built upon the "rock" which is Christ. One class who built with "gold, silver, precious stones" would pass the test of "fire" that reveals their workmanship, but the second class who built with "wood, hay, stubble" would suffer loss. Their reward would be less, yet by God's grace they would still gain a heavenly salvation.
Once we realize the high standards required for true "discipleship," the need for another day of salvation becomes manifest. We learned there were two days of salvation and the translators of the Bible often failed to clarify this. We concluded by addressing the "wheat and the tares," a parable which seldom is treated. It is fortunate for the "tares" that God's grace has another day of salvation to remedy their plight. Finally, we will present in the appendix all the usages of the Greek word sozo, "saved," so that the reader may observe this subject in its entire biblical context. Because this subject is so vital to every Christian, we pray that each one may carefully avoid basing faith on only one or two verses, and will strive to harmonize all the Bible has to say, "on being saved."
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