A Scriptural Refutation of

The Teachings of Zane Hodges,

Joseph Dillow and the

Grace Evangelical Society,

with Respect to

the Future Inheritance,

Glory, and Destiny of the Church

Christ’s Beloved Body & Bride

by James Ventilato


Particular aspects of the nature, reign, inheritance, heavenly glory, and infinite blessing of Christ’s beloved Body & Bride (comprised exclusively of all believers saved from Pentecost to Pre-Trib Rapture) in and with her Head, Life & Bridegroom:


Addendum and Conclusion




1. “Then we, the living that remain, shall be caught up together with them [the dead in Christ] in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we [all of us] ever be with the Lord [where can the least opening thus be found after the Rapture for any to be cast into outer darkness?]. So then encourage one another with these words [except for the unworthy, unpersevering saints?!].” (1 Thess. 4:17)

“Because God has not set us for wrath, but for obtaining [future-tense] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ [not through our personal worthiness or merit, but through Him], Who has died for us, that whether we may be watching or sleep, we may live together with Him. Wherefore encourage one another, and build up each one the other, even as also ye do.” (1 Thess. 5:9-11)

Let not your heart be troubled [but shouldn’t our hearts in fact be troubled, if there be outer darkness hanging over our heads?]; ye believe on God, believe also on Me. In My Father’s house there are many abodes; were it not so, I had told you: for I go to prepare you a place; and if I go and shall prepare you a place, I am coming again and shall receive you to Myself, that where I am ye also may be [Will He ever be in outer darkness?! We, likewise, will never be!].” (John 14:1-3)

May I ask if it is possible for any of us to know in this life, with any certainty, that we are amongst the elite group of super-spiritual, persevering, worthy saints? If so, how might that be? Or are we all supposed to live in fear and terror of the possibility of being cast into outer darkness, with weeping of gnashing of teeth? Then how can our hearts be anything but troubled? If the real possibility of being cast into outer darkness in the future is hanging over our heads throughout our present life on earth, would it not be meaningless, delusional, and deceptive to be, e.g., comforting and encouraging each other as to the certainty of the “blessed hope” of our being ever and always with the Lord in glory upon our imminent meeting Him in the air?

Are we really talking about scriptural Christianity anymore, or of the true nature and vast implications of salvation in Christ (past, present, and future-tense)? “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him”!

Did the Apostle Paul, by the Spirit, get it backwards [ ! ] when he wrote: “For ye have NOT come to [LAW, to] the mount that might be touched and was all on fire, and to obscurity, and darkness, and tempest, and trumpet’s sound, and voice of words; which they that heard, excusing themselves, declined the word being addressed to them any more: (for they were not able to bear what was enjoined: And if a beast should touch the mountain, it shall be stoned; and, so fearful was the sight, Moses said, I am exceedingly afraid and full of trembling;)”? (Heb. 12:18-21)

“Some good men who, in grievous error, would impose the law as a rule of life for the believer mean very well by it (for they strive to be pious); but the whole principle is false. The law, instead of being a rule of life, is necessarily a rule of death to one who has a sin nature. Far from being a delivering power, it can only condemn such. Far from being a means of holiness, it is, in fact, and according to Paul, ‘the strength of sin’ (I Cor. 15:56).” – William Kelly

“And the blessedness ‘to meet the Lord in the air’! We shall see Him then as He is and gaze for the first time [and henceforth forever] upon the face of the Beloved, that face of glory, which was once marred and smitten on account of our sins. And seeing Him as He is we shall be like Him…. ‘It [the Rapture] is a solemn act of God’s power, which seals the Christian’s life and work of God, and brings the former into the glory of Christ as His heavenly companions. Glorious privilege! Precious grace! To lose sight of it destroys the proper character of our joy and our hope’ (Synopsis of the Bible [by JND])” – Arno C. Gaebelein (Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1049)

“At His coming all will be complete and perfect for the heavenly family; ‘and so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ What can lack, or what be added, to such words of infinite and everlasting joy? ‘So encourage one another with these words.’ “ – William Kelly (The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians, p. 38,39)

“...awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall also confirm you [all believers, no exceptions or distinctions] to the end, unimpeachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 1:7,8)

“But to Him that is able to keep you [all believers, no exceptions or distinctions] without stumbling, and to set you [all believers, no exceptions or distinctions] with exultation blameless before His glory, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might, and authority, from before the whole age, and now, and to all the ages. Amen.” (Jude 24,25)

How preposterous and monstrous is the notion of any saint in Christ, having been, by infinite grace, fully, perfectly, finally and eternally conformed – in a twinkling of an eye at the Rapture, in the consummation of our so-great salvation – to the image and moral likeness of the glorified Son of God, and presented before the Father unblamable, unimpeachable, and in the full blaze of His glory, that he should then be cast into outer darkness! – and that by the very One whose heavenly image he now bears experientially in perfection!!

“In what state does the believer appear before the Lord at the Bema? He is raised in glory. No judgment can apply to him which can affect his being in glory, for he is in it already when he appears There. What is judgment, if we are completely like the Judge – we in His image, in a body like unto His glorious body, and Himself our righteousness and very Life? “Herein is love made perfect with us [marg.], that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). We shall be in glory. We shall not have the nature, the flesh in which we sinned. But we shall know as we are known, and give account of ourselves to the Father, re-pass our whole life and all His blessed ways with us. We shall see it all as our Father sees it, and wonder at the all-perfect grace which has led us onward from our birth. We shall see the thousands of instances of how His loving eye has watched over us to bless us.” (JND, as cited by MJS)

“[Citing JND:] ‘When the Christian is thus manifested, he is already glorified, and, perfectly like Christ, has then no remains of the evil nature in which he sinned. And he now can look back at all the way God has led him in grace, helped, lifted up, kept from falling, not withdrawn His eyes from the righteous. He knows as he is known. What a tale of grace and mercy! If I look back now, my sins do not rest on my conscience; though I have horror of them, they are put away behind God’s back. I am the righteousness of God in Christ, but what a sense of love and patience, and goodness and grace! How much more perfect then, when all is before me! Surely there is great gain as to light and love, in giving an account of ourselves to God; and not a trace remains of the evil in us. We are like Christ. If a person fears to have all out thus before God, I do not believe he is free in soul as to righteousness – being the righteousness of God in Christ, not fully in the light. And we [our persons] have not to be judged for anything: Christ has put it all away’ (Synopsis of the Bible).’ Thus the believer has no more fear of death, for he knows what awaits him; and the judgment seat of Christ has also no terror for him.” – Arno C. Gaebelein (Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 961)

Now seems like as good a time as any, in bringing this little “study” toward a close, to pose a few more questions...


Are those poor, unworthy, undeserving, non-persevering children of God, whom Hodges labels as “bastards,” to remain as “bastards” in “outer darkness,” “weeping and gnashing their teeth” for all eternity? If not, what Scripture do you have for the timing, circumstances and ultimate deliverance of these children of God from the Protestant-Purgatory of “outer darkness” and “bastardship”?

Will only those the saints who are alive and remaining until the coming of the Lord Jesus at the Rapture be potential candidates for being “bastards” and cast into “outer darkness”? Or will all the dead in Christ – those who have been absent from the body and present with Lord, for, let’s say, hundreds of years, without the flesh or sin nature, in sweet, blissful and unbroken communion with their Beloved – also be potential candidates for being “bastards” and cast into “outer darkness”?

Also, why is there not simply a “partial” Pre-Trib Rapture for the worthy, deserving, persevering, “sons” of God? Why is it even necessary for the unworthy “bastards” to be caught up in the same company with the worthy “sons” to meet the Lord in the air prior to the 7-year Tribulation on this earth? Why doesn’t the Pre-Trib Rapture itself do the “dividing up of the Body of Christ”? Why are not the unworthy “bastards” simply left behind to under undergo the Tribulation-Purgatory on earth?

As Alva J. McClain wrote:

“The lofty position of the Church [in and with Christ] in relation to the coming Kingdom would be seriously inconsistent with subjection to the terrible judgments [of the Tribulation] which will prepare for its establishment. For the Church is the very ‘body’ [and ‘bride’ of Christ]…a term of intimacy never applied to any other group of people. To the members of the Church is promised that they have a part in judging the world (I Cor. 6:2) and that they are ‘joint-heirs with Christ’ (Rom. 8:17), destined to ‘reign’ with Him [as queen]….” (The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God, p. 464)

Would not the lofty nature and position of the Church in and with Christ, as His heavenly Body & Bride, be equally inconsistent with a subjection of some of His members to the terrible judgements said to be issuing from the Judgment-Seat of Christ?

What precisely do you deem to be the purpose of the Judgment-Seat of Christ? Is it disciplinary in nature? Or, perhaps, punitive in nature?

If you believe in past-tense salvation (from the penalty of sins) in any real sense, then you certainly cannot hold the Bema to be punitive in nature.

“…’Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified’ [Psalm 143:2]. Were God to enter into judgment even of His servant, there could be no justification for him; for judgment must deal inflexibly with sins. And what servant of His has not sinned since his confession of the Savior? No, salvation is by grace through faith, but impossible on the ground of judgment according to works, which is reserved for those who refused the Lord and rejected His so great salvation.”

“The rapture of the saints is the crowning act of sovereign grace instead of being when the day of grace is past. The throne of judgment only comes into view when the heavenly saints are seated on their thrones around it above. And ‘who is worthy?’ is answered by the Lamb alone, not by them (Rev. 4, 5).” – William Kelly (W. Kelly’s Writings on Prophecy, p. 173, 177, “The Prize of Our High Calling” by J. Sladen: A Review by W. Kelly)

But would it be any less absurd to hold the Bema to be disciplinary in nature?

“As to failure and sin on the part of true saints through unwatchfulness, there is the plain duty of the church to exercise discipline; and the Lord acts as we read in 1 Cor. 11, dealing even to death of the body; just as the Father judges in loving care, as 1 Pet. 1: 17 says no less than John 15. They are thus chastened in this life. Nowhere is there a hint of saints detained in [outer darkness]…while their brethren reign. Saints by call are disciplined now that they may be saints practically.” – William Kelly (W. Kelly’s Writings on Prophecy, p. 176, “The Prize of Our High Calling” by J. Sladen: A Review by W. Kelly)

What possible need would there be for disciplining any glorified saint, perfectly conformed to the heavenly image of the Son (1 John 3:3), fully knowing even as also he has been fully known of God (1 Cor. 13:12)? How completely incompatible is such a notion with “the likeness to Christ consummated at His coming to present the church glorious to Himself (not part but the whole)”!

According to 1 Cor. 3, the quality of our “works” will be “tried” or “tested;” now, if any of these works have do to with sins committed in general (rather than having to do entirely with our works of service; some of which may be determined to be “bad,” because they were wrought in the worthless energy of the flesh with sinful motives, rather than according to the divine nature in Christ-centered faith by the indwelling Holy Spirit), then what conceivable reason would there be to “try” or “test” the quality of a sin, to ascertain if it be “good” or “bad” (2 Cor. 5), rewardable or unrewardable? Do I really need to ask if there is even the slightest possibility that some sins (which by their very nature are contrary to the will, character, and nature of God) might turn out to be good?! or rewardable?!

Allow me to close now with the following:

All that Christ is, all that Christ has, all that Christ has done – from the Cross forward – is ours, by virtue of our Life in Him, our identification with Him, and our eternal union with Him (through the regenerating, baptizing, indwelling and sealing work of the Spirit at the moment of salvation). For example: we were crucified together with Him; we died together with Him; we were buried together with Him; we have been made alive together with Him; we have been raised from among the dead together with Him; we have ascended and been seated together with Him in the heavenlies at the right hand of the Father; we have been glorified together with Him (again, now positionally so); we are new creation in Him; we have redemption in Him; we have been blessed in Him with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies; we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world; we have sonship in Him; we are crucified and dead with Him to law and to the world; we are dead to the sin nature but alive unto God, in Him; we have been justified in Him; we are accepted in Him; we have been brought near in Him; we are complete in Him; He is our peace; He is our righteousness; He is our Life; He is our sanctification; He is our Hope; we are one heavenly Body and Bride in and with Him; we been made joint-heirs with Him; we have obtained the inheritance of the universe in Him. All this, and infinitely more, will be entered into perfectly, or manifested fully, in an experiential sense, and everlastingly so, at the Pre-Trib Rapture and the subsequent Second Advent to the earth – all by the infinite and sovereign grace of God in Christ Jesus! Absolutely no room or ground for outer darkness!!

“Herein has love been perfected with us that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, that even as He is, we also are in this world.” (1 John 4:17)

“Oh! wonderful grace which has saved us! Grace which has saved us in Christ and through His ever precious blood delivered us from eternal perdition! Grace which saved us from Satan’s power, from sin and all its curse! Grace which has lifted into such heights of glory and has made us the sons of God and the joint-heirs of the Lord Jesus Christ! And how little after all we enter into all these things, which ought to be our daily joy and delight. How little we know of the power of the coming glory of being with Christ and reigning with Him!” – Arno C. Gaebelein (Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1227)

“[Our] calling [cf. Eph. 4:1,4]…embraces God’s dwelling-place, and Christ’s body in union with the Head over all things, immeasurably beyond the kingdom.” – William Kelly (W. Kelly’s Writings on Prophecy, p. 177,178, “The Prize of Our High Calling” by J. Sladen: A Review by W. Kelly)

“To construe His words here [in Luke 22:29, 30] or anywhere else [e.g., Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12] as a reward of their righteousness is distressing error and real self-righteousness…. Besides, glorious as ‘the kingdom’ may be, it is not so deep or precious, as life eternal or union with Christ. The kingdom will be a magnificent display of honor; but eternal life and union with Christ suppose communion with God and enjoyment of His love which is intrinsic and far beyond any display. The scheme spiritually is thus a total fallacy.” – William Kelly (W. Kelly’s Writings on Prophecy, p. 177, “The Prize of Our High Calling” by J. Sladen: A Review by W. Kelly)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us, (we too being dead in offences,) has quickened us with the Christ, (ye are saved by grace,) and has raised us up together, and has made us sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, that He might display in the coming ages the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4-7)

“To me, less than the least of all saints, has this grace been given, to announce among the nations the glad tidings of the unsearchable riches of the Christ, and to enlighten all with the knowledge of what is the administration of the mystery hidden throughout the ages in God, Who has created all things, in order that now to the principalities and authorities in the heavenlies might be made known through the assembly the all-various wisdom of God, according to the purpose of the ages, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:8-11)

“To Him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages. Amen” (Eph. 3:21)


* * * * * * * * *

Please Note: If you have questions or comments about this article, please feel free to contact the author:

James M. Ventilato


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