Q. I have been troubled over a book I started reading (and decided not to finish) a couple of weeks ago. I believe the author is grossly misinterpreting the Kingdom Parables, the Bema Judgment and the Church’s place/role in the Millennial/Heavenly Kingdoms. Furthermore, our sanctification “process” is equated with our Kingdom rewards, and actually states that the “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is about “believers” who are cast out of the presence of God after the Bema judgment because they failed to achieve a certain level of sanctification.
The focus is on Matthew’s parables from chapters 8:11-12, 22:13, 24:50-51, 25:12, and 25:30, and before listing these parables the author states, “Always remember the ones who were not able to inherit:”. Then the author says, after the list, “These passages are all talking about Christians! And yet none of them inherited the Kingdom. Yes, they were all in it. But they were in some other region, some other place -the darkness outside – and thus separated from the light of the Lord’s presence.”
The book goes out of its way to state that the person is still saved, and still goes to Heaven, but because they did not follow Christ faithfully they will dwell in a part of Heaven away from Him and forfeit any rewards of reigning with Him in His Kingdom.
A. If you’ve read the book right, these passages are all clearly misinterpreted. It’s hard to believe that a knowledgeable person would make such an error. Here’s how these references should be understood.
Matt. 8:11-12. Here Jesus is clearly speaking to the Jews, criticizing then for letting a Gentile Roman soldier demonstrate stronger faith than theirs. He’s telling them that their lack of faith will result in people from all over the world inheriting the Kingdom, while they, who were the subjects of the Kingdom, will be thrown into the outer darkness. Israel was then (and will be again) God’s Kingdom on Earth. The Lord confirmed this warning in Matt. 21:43 when He said, “Therefore I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”
Matt 22:1-14 is the parable of the Wedding Banquet, and the one ejected is a wedding guest. The Bride is not a guest and could never be thrown out of her own wedding. Since the Church is always called the Bride of Christ and never called a guest, Jesus can’t be referring to the Church here.
Regarding Matt. 24:50-51, 25:12, & 25:30 the timing is identified as being after the Lord’s return. This was established as early as Matt. 24:29-30 making every thing that follows pertain to believers on Earth at the 2nd Coming. In other words, Tribulation Survivors. You can easily confirm this by looking at Matt. 24:36-37, Matt. 25:1, & Matt. 25:14.
The doctrine of Eternal Security expires at the Rapture, and so Tribulation believers are in danger of falling away and losing their salvation. (Rev. 14:12 & 16:15) These passages in Matthew demonstrate that fact in no uncertain terms.