Living with the end in view

For the past few months, I’ve engaged Steve Husting in a dialog about kingdom Exclusion at his blog, Living With the End in View. Husting’s field of study is living the Christian life with “the end in view.” He maintains that, at the close of the age, Christians will be held accountable for how they lived. Though accountability is not the exclusive domain of exclusionists, they do maintain a unique perspective, that carnal Christians will experience some form of exclusion in the millennial kingdom. Moderate exclusionists say that unfaithful Christians will simply be excluded from reigning with Christ but that they will be present with the savior; some extreme exponents of this theology hold that the carnal will be hurt in the lake of fire. Husting claims to be working through the details, though he embraces the idea of exclusion as a biblical truth.

He argues that the scriptures “prepare us for a confident entrance into His presence,” but that “we often fail to see the link between our Lord’s end-times prophecies and our behavior.” He continues, “Thankfully, the Word of God has much to say to prepare us for a confident entrance into His presence. We often fail to see the link between our Lord’s end-times prophecies and our behavior. This web site attempts to make the link clear.”

The discussion between Husting and me focuses on a particular point: will the so-called carnal Christian be excluded in the millennial rule of Christ at the close of the age (Rev. 20)? My position is that they will not. No mention is made of the judgment of Christians in Revelation, let alone exclusion. That exclusion is absent in the key text is acknowledged by the majority of exclusionists.

I further maintain that exclusion is not mentioned anywhere else: in no place in scripture does it say Christians will be temporarily excluded from God’s kingdom, i.e. his presence. When you put these ideas together, you have the crux of my argument.

Husting’s position is that the warnings in the New Testament indicate that Christians will be excluded at some time in history, even if one cannot find an explicit reference to it in scripture.

After a few months of debate, he concedes my major points, though he does not change his position. Writes Husting:

1. “God does not reveal everything about a doctrine in a single verse.” Here, he establishes the idea that exclusion need not be expressly stated in Rev. 20.

2. Husting bolsters his argument, declaring that the phrase, “kingdom of God,” which is found elsewhere in scripture, refers implicitly to the millennial rule of Christ. “I’ve never picked up KE from Rev. 20. I’ve picked it up from Matt. 24:45-51, Gal. 5:21 and other perfectly plain teachings on the subject. What part of ‘shall not inherit the kingdom’ should puzzle me?”

3. His acknowledgment of my claim that exclusion is absent in Rev. 20 is categorical, but he vigorously denies that its absence confounds the doctrine of exclusion. “If kingdom exclusion MUST be found in Rev. 20 and it is not, then you’ve made your case that the entire doctrine is a sham, right?” Much later, he writes, “Since you believe that God has to put it in Rev. 20 for it to be true, nothing will satisfy you.” Of course, simply finding a passage in Revelation that mentions exclusion would satisfy me. When pressed on this point, Husting wrote, “To be excluded for only a thousand years is an attempt to harmonize eternal security of the believer and the passages on punishment of the believer. You won’t find a specific passage that ties the two together… [Thus,] your challenge [to find a reference to exclusion in scripture] cannot be met, so consider yourself preeminently unsatisfied.” Later, he added, “With regards to not finding a specific verse that the punishment is limited to one thousand years – that is a piece of the puzzle that is missing.”

4. At times, Husting seeks to distance himself from the term, yet only to preserve the idea. “Forget the term Kingdom Exclusion and hear what the passages are saying: Exclusion may happen at any time at God’s discretion.”

5. Finally, I asked that if exclusion is not mentioned in Rev. 20 (or all of Revelation), how would Christians have known that the “warning” passages found in other places in scripture spoke of temporary punishment in the millennial kingdom? Husting succinctly replied, “They would not have known.”

I have researched kingdom exclusion extensively for over a year now, conducting interviews, reviewing literature, and participating in online discussions such as the one at Husting’s blog. I offer this outline to demonstrate what is constantly lacking in this debate: a single reference in scripture. Even in composite, taking a verse here and a verse there, it’s lacking.

Yet exponents of this theology are confident that theirs is the correct perspective, that the general church community has failed to disseminate the truth about accountability. I find this astonishing.

Some rebut my claims boldly asserting that exclusion is explicitly mentioned in other places in scripture and even in Revelation itself. Yet when pressed to supply a reference, none is found. In short, exclusion simply is not taught in scripture.

© 2008, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

22 thoughts on “Living with the end in view

  1. Hello Mark,

    It looks like you are still up to your old tricks. Tell me, how is it that you, a so called Christian, can tell such blatant lies and accuse his fellow Christians of being everything from blatant fabricators to religious extremists, as if they belong to some criminal terrorist element or something.

    May God have mercy on you! Your tirades remind me of what the Apostle Paul thought of one “Alexander the coppersmith” who greatly withstood the Word of Truth from Paul himself.

    You who challenges that there is not a shred of evidence in Revelation 20 concerning Millennial exclusion. What do you make of verses 5 and 6 then, oh blind a deaf one? You who thinks that you stand.

    Let the words of our Lord and Judge pierce your flemsy armor.

    “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

    Amen!

    Sam Ennis

  2. Sam,

    Welcome. There is one part of your comment that I would like to respond to. It is is this: “You who challenges that there is not a shred of evidence in Revelation 20 concerning Millennial exclusion. What do you make of verses 5 and 6 then…”

    First, define millennial exclusion. What is it to you?

    Second, how do verses 5 and 6 support your definition of exclusion?

    In order to respond to your thoughtful inquiry, I must know what you mean.

  3. Mark,

    Will you know gold (tried in the fire)? Do you seek white raiment? Will you anoint thine eyes with eyesalve? We will find out.

    Millennial exclusion = the second death
    (as is the dead who lived not again until the thousand years were finished). They are hurt of or held by the second death during that time.

    If they are dead how can they be alive as in ruling and reigning with Christ during the millinial reign? If they are not ruling and reigning are they not excluded?

    Chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews teaches the same thing.

    3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

    3:18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
    (If they did not enter were they not excluded?)

    3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (could not enter = exclusion)

    4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (come short, as in be “excluded from”)

    4:4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
    (an example of a 1000 year day to come) [2 Peter 3:8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (A 1000 year rest) or (a 1000 year Sabbath day).

    4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
    (again the admonishment that a believer can fall, or can be excluded)

    4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
    (a warning of coming judgment and possible exclusion from the 1000 year day of rest)

    Note: Let the scripture be clear – Hebrews is written to believers and for believers. Hebrews is and admonishment to Christians and Christians only.

    These truths are not debatable. So Mark, you have a choice – buy the gold which has been tried by fire or believe not and suffer the consequences. I will pray that God will have mercy on you.

    Sam

  4. Your definition of millennial exclusion intrigues me. So millennial exclusion equals the second death. Do we understand correctly that the second death occurs after the millennial kingdom? Also, these dead apparently have not risen. So, during the millennial kingdom, their spirits are with God, their bodies are in the earth and their souls in Hades? Also, you only speak of the dead which have not risen, what about the living? Am I to understand that ME does not apply to them, for you only speak of “as is the dead who lived not again until the thousand years were finished”? Please answer these questions that I might better understand what it is you have to tell us.

  5. Mark,

    You asked: Do we understand correctly that the second death occurs after the millennial kingdom?

    Absolutely not. The second death, as it pertains to Christians, occurs prior to and during the millennial kingdom. The millennial kingdom begins, for Christians, right before the seven years of the tribulation of God’s wrath upon the Earth dwellers (the unsaved) and Israel (saved as a nation but unfaithful children of God) on the Earth.

    The millennial kingdom does not begin for Israel and other nations until ‘after’ the seven years of tribulation have been fulfilled.

    I am in full agreement with Chitwood’s study “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” found at this link. {http://lampbroadcast.org/LAMPBOOK.HTM#TJT}
    The seven years of tribulation and “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” is the very same period of time according to the scriptures.

    You also said “So, during the millennial kingdom, their spirits are with God, their bodies are in the earth and their souls in Hades?”

    Again, not so. During the millennial kingdom, their spirits are with God, their bodies and souls are held in “gevenna” of Hebrew origin (see Strong’s(01516) and (02011)) and pronounced “gheh’-en-nah”.

    Gevenna is temporary and for those who believe. This is the place Catholics call purgatory. They have corrupted the idea of this ‘just recompence of reward’ with the idea that one can be prayed out or paid out of this place. That will not happen. They will be held there for the duration of the 1000 year reign of Christ just like [Revelation 20:5] says.

    It is a very different place than “Hades” which Strong’s defines as “the realm of the dead later use of this word: the grave, death, hell.”

    Hades is for the unsaved and has everlasting verities.
    It does not end.

    Mark, you also said “Also, you only speak of the dead which have not risen, what about the living?

    My reference was to [Revelation 20:5-6] which speaks of both the living and the dead. Please try not to misrepresent what I am referencing in the future. Your readers might get confused and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?

    So, what about the living? If the living are with Christ, in His heavenly kingdom, ruling and reigning with Him for 1000 years, is it not rather obvious that they are ‘included’ in Christ’s kingdom as opposed to ‘excluded’ from Christ’s kingdom?

    Sela

  6. I’m afraid if I rely solely on the text of the Bible, I cannot agree that “as it pertains to Christians” the second death “occurs prior to and during the millennial kingdom.” That’s just not in the text. I will point out categorically that Christians are never mentioned in conjunction with the second death, and, equally, the second death is not temporary. You may choose to believe it is otherwise, but that is not what the text says.

    I also note that you appear to part company with Chitwood as to what happens the three parts of man. He asserts that man’s spirit goes to God, the soul goes to Hades (this is his language), and the body goes to the earth. He asserts this on page 4 of Salvation of the Soul. Allow me also to point out that you fail to support your assertions with scripture. So either you can provide support, or you’re interposing something into the text.

    Rev. 20:5-6 does not speak about the living. Here’s what the text says: “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” This passage speaks exclusively of the dead.

    Nor am I misrepresenting your views by asking questions.

    In the end, Sam, I find not gold, but pebbles — sometimes dust — in your presentation of the End Times. As Steve was unable to do, so you are unable to do. No exclusionist has been able to provide scriptural evidence for millennial exclusion. Just saying you have, absent direct scriptural support, does not make it so.

  7. Mark,

    Your utter disregard for the literal value of the black and white text of the Holy Scriptures does not surprise me in the least, as I stand by the opening statements I made toward you on April 21, 2009.

    But, that said, I am sure there are those who are reading your defenseless attempts at rebuttal and simply shaking their heads at the shame on display by Mark Adams. The whole truth as to your blindness is now on display for the whole Christian world to see. It is your own words that betray your motives and your folly.

    You said: “I am afraid” and then continued with your first paragraph which flies in the face of those with understanding as the cries of a defenseless baby. Yes Mark, you are afraid and you have every reason to be afraid; for you have no spiritual discernment at all. None.

    It is with great mourning and sadness that I now quote the words of the Apostle Paul in the opening verses of 1 Corinthians chapter 3.
    “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”

    Neither yet now are ye able Mark.

    I ask you Mark why was it that the Apostle Paul called these things a mystery? The word ‘mystery’ is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary online and the very first thing it has to say about this word is this: 1a: a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand.

    This is my very point. Mark your motives are wrong. God knows your heart. Your dark heart is exposed to the light of God. I admonish you to give up your fruitless attempts to mock the Truth.

    God alone gives revelation to those who diligently seek the Truth. It is not something that any of us do through any means of the flesh. What you are doing here is in the flesh and it has the sound of the second death upon it. God will not honor your debating of His Truth. Endless debate is a sin as much as any other sin is a sin. Sin is sin. There is no large or small sins. Sin is sin.

    You said: “that Christians are never mentioned in conjunction with the second death”. Mark who do you think Christ was speaking to if not to the churches and if to the churches, to Christians in Revelation 2:11? “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

    Christ is speaking to Christians. The other side of the coin to what he is saying is that for those Christians who do not overcome, they (Christians) will be hurt of the second death!

    But I am sure that you will some how manage to refute this portion of the Word of God just as you have other portions of His Word so let me just say that I am finished with your deliberate nonsense.

    I now repeat what I said to you in my opening statement to you on April 21, 2009.

    May God have mercy on you! Your tirades remind me of what the Apostle Paul thought of one “Alexander the coppersmith” who greatly withstood the Word of Truth from Paul himself.

  8. Sam, I need to remind you to stay on topic. The comment section here is for the subject at hand. Send personal comments privately (press the “Contact” link at the top of page). Thank you.

  9. I told myself I wouldn’t get involved again in these discussions, but wow, what is this? Is Sam saying there are two millenial kingdoms?

  10. roseted,

    You asked: Is Sam saying there are two millennial kingdoms?

    My answer: Not in the sense that there are two 1000 year periods of time, in time/space, back to back or consecutive to one another.

    But, in the context of inheritance, the overcomers (the Bride of Christ) from the church dispensation will inherit the heavenly portion of the Kingdom and that begins ‘for them’ just after the “rapture” of the church and the subsequent Judgment Seat of Christ. The heavenly kingdom is in the spiritual realm. In time/space, on Earth, this happens just after the “rapture” of the church and the beginning of the seven years of tribulation.

    The inheritance, for the Jews, is the Earthly/physical portion of the Kingdom. But, it can begin ‘for them’ only after the seven years of tribulation has ended and Christ has re-appeared upon the Earth for the second time to rule and reign with a rod of iron in His resurrected physical body. These two events occur in time/space, not in the spiritual realm.

    Therefore, in this sense there really are two Millennial kingdoms, one heavenly and one Earthly but, for all intents and purposes, they will be happening, in time space, or the physical realm almost at the same time.

    Thank you for your question roseted.

  11. So, “in a sense” there are two millenial kingdoms. Yeah, but “in the Bible” there is one. Oh, and don’t start ragging on me like you did mark. You want the Bible to say two kingdoms. It doesn’t. That’s a fact. If the Bible doesn’t say it, you shouldn’t teach it.

  12. Grammatically, it’s hard to follow what you say, Sam. You appear to say there is one, thousand-year kingdom, but then you conclude that it has two “portions,” that one portion starts before the seven-year tribulation, and the other after. Your concluding explanation is frankly contradictory.

    Theologically, you provide no scriptural support. In fact, your position flat-out contradicts scripture:

    “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” — 1 Thess. 4:16-17

    Not only does Paul not mention exclusion, he says exactly the opposite: “and so we will always be with the Lord.” He does not warn Christians that some might be excluded, but expressly states that at the rapture, we will be with the Lord “always”.

  13. Postscript: I fear we have strayed far from the topic at hand, which is an analysis of Steve Husting’s conception of kingdom exclusion. If visitors here want to continue a discussion on another topic, I advise that they move that to the discussion board: http://millennialexclusion.com/. Thank you.

  14. Hey admin,

    That won’t be necessessary. The two millennial kingdoms thing was a little rabbit trail as far as I am concerned and as you can probably see by now I am not helping anyone by posting any further comments. You guys are just where you are on the path and it really wasn’t that long ago that I was where you guys are. So, I will say my goodbye at this point but with a departing note.

    It is my hope that you guys are earnestly seeking the truth. If so, then God will give you what you seek. Let’s try to be more loving toward each other. After all, we are all brethren in Christ Jesus

    May God help us all,

    Sam

  15. My philosophy is to debate ideas, not people. So, if one member of this discussion chooses not to participate, that is of little matter. I note, however, that Sam did not address my statement about 1 Thess. 4:16-17, a passage which expressly states that at the rapture “we will always be with the Lord.” That one passage seems to obliterate the pretenses of kingdom exclusion.

    Sam, if it is true that you were once on the path that Ted and I are now on, I would encourage you to get back on it. Not once have you presented a passage that supports exclusion — in fact, you’ve done quite the opposite. At least Steve Husting is frank enough to admit that there is no exclusion passage. I believe the evidence should compel you also.

  16. This is choice. Sam comes in, says he hopes we’re honestly seeking the truth (ya think?), and bails out when it gets tough. Great verse Mark. Sam says some Christians will be excluded at the Rapture but Paul says we’ll “ALWAYS” be with him. I can either believe Paul or Sam. Decisions, decisions.

  17. That’s what’s truly astonishing about this topic. Follow the conversation I had with Steve Husting. He acknowledges that Paul’s disciples would not have known about the doctrine of exclusion as proposed by Chitwood and Faust; yet, we are to believe it is what Paul taught. Follow my conversation with Sam. He offers an interpretation that involves the rapture, but the supporting material (1 Thess. 4:16-17) contradicts him. When asked to comment on this passage, he declares it is time to go. Yet, we are on the wrong path. Frankly, kingdom exclusion just doesn’t stand well under close analysis.

    This exposes yet another contradiction. Advocates of kingdom exclusion say we shouldn’t trust other men, but scripture. But when we turn to the scripture, well… we are told we are on the wrong path.

  18. ” Just saying you have, absent direct scriptural support, does not make it so.”

    Mark the same can be said of you as well. Just because “you” say that no Scriptural support has been given does not make it so.

    Your attempts are feebile at best, but I have to give it to you. You are just like the Energizer bunny in that you keep going and going and going depsite what anyone says.

    By the way I love how you rip verses out of context in order to prove a point. There is NOTHING in I Thessalonians 4 that indicates Paul is speaking of ALL believers. Context is king and when you use your “own” context there is very little that can not be “proven.”

    Once again you fall short Mark.

  19. Of course Paul is speaking of all believers, Jason; you’re talking nonsense. “We who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep… Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

    I’m not going to believe you or Sam simply on your word. I’m going to believe the scriptures. When Paul says “we who are live” will “always be with the Lord,” I take him at face value. It’s a shame you would have us do otherwise.

    Nevertheless, I find your contribution useful, for it demonstrates an important point. Here, Paul is talking explicitly about the rapture, and never once does he say that some Christians will be excluded. Jason, I’m not arguing the point; I’m asking you to think about this clearly. I’m pleading with you. I want to save your soul from the futility of the dogmas of kingdom exclusion. I’m being utterly serious. You have so blinded yourself with this teaching you are unable to see the plain meaning of the text. That is sad.

  20. “I’m not going to believe you or Sam simply on your word.”

    Nor have either of us asked you to. Nor will anyone that teaches the gospel of the kingdom ask you to do that. Funny how many “orthodox” teachers will though.

    However, in the same breath no one should believe you based on what you have said either. All you have done is simply repeat the verse of Scripture, but to use your line of reasoning Mark, nowhere does it say “all” Christians will be with the Lord forever. It says “we”. Show me in Scripture where “we” is always entirely inclusive.

    Again you can’t simply take a single passage of Scripture at the expense of everything else Scripture has to say. If we do that we can prove anything we want to prove.

    Don’t believe me believe Scripture. But don’t try and re-write it so that it says what you want it to say. Just let it speak for itself.

  21. “You have so blinded yourself with this teaching you are unable to see the plain meaning of the text. That is sad.”

    And Mark in the same breath you have been so blinded with “orthodoxy” and the desire to have “man” back up what you believe that you can not see the meaning of Scripture whether plain or otherwise.

    See that advances nothing. These strawmen are pointless.

  22. That’s the whole thing. They tell us not to rely on man, but when you show them something in scripture, they say, rely on me for the understanding. Wow. Just like the Bareans, we are to look these things up. Thats what I did. I looked it up and didn’t find it. But when you show them, they say go look elsehwere. Amazing.

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