The Kingdom, Power & Glory--
Dividing All Believers Into
This book was published in 2007 under the same title, but the author was listed as Nancy Missler. It was 324 pages long. The new and revised edition (2009) is nearly 400 pages and the authors are listed as Chuck and Nancy Missler. I would assume that Nancy wrote most of the material in the book, and that Chuck is the minor contributor, but I assume he is in full agreement with everything in the book. When I wrote to the Misslers and shared some of my concerns with them, the letter I received back from them was written by Nancy, although she wrote that both she and her husband reviewed my letter together.
The Misslers are the founders of Koinonia House, an international publishing house, and also The King's High Way Ministries, a local outreach with emphasis on teaching, counseling and discipleship. Their desire is to help believers "walk out" their faith in a practical way.
I do not know Chuck and Nancy Missler apart from some limited correspondence, and the things shared in this review are not intended to be a personal attack. We share the same desire to encourage believers to walk in a godly manner, well pleasing to Christ, so that they might gain a full reward and not lose out on what God has for them, both in this life, and in the life hereafter. There are many helpful principles in this book regarding Christian growth, sanctification and victory. The Misslers truly want to encourage believers to walk in the Spirit, abide in Christ, manifest the life of the Saviour and persevere in the faith regardless of the difficulties along the way. For this I am thankful.
My concern is with the overall teaching of this book. Today in the evangelical world there is a mushrooming movement which professes to champion the “free grace position.” However, many others see this position as dangerously approaching antinomianism. Those who embrace this doctrinal position insist that a true believer can depart from the faith, deny Christ totally, persist in sin (including homosexuality, drunkenness, adultery, etc.), abandon Christianity, and yet still be counted among those who are truly saved. According to this view, such apostates will gain heaven, but will be penalized greatly at the judgment seat of Christ and during the kingdom reign of Christ. Indeed they teach that there will be a sizable group of saved people during the kingdom age who will be put into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The Misslers promote these kinds of doctrines.
Consider the following:
1) The Dual Destiny of the Body of Christ
The Misslers divide the body of Christ (all true believers) into two distinct groups (documentation of these points will come later):
|The Overcomers||The Overtaken|
|Those who will inherit the kingdom
(the righteous believers)
|Those who will merely enter the kingdom
(the unrighteous believers)
|Those who enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb||Those who will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth|
|Those who enter into God's millennial rest||Those who fail to enter into God's millennial rest due to unbelief|
|Those who suffer for Christ and earn the privilege of being "joint heirs with Christ"||Those who fail to suffer for Christ, and who are heirs of God but not joint heirs with Christ|
|Those saved people who will reign with Christ||Those saved people who will not reign with Christ|
|Those who enter through two gates: the first gate represents an entrance into the Kingdom of God (based on Matthew 7:13) and the second gate represents inheriting the kingdom which is earned by the faithful few who "strive" (based on Luke 13:24)||Those who enter only through the first gate, but they fail to get through the second gate|
|Sanctified believers (those who are partakers of Christ's life)||Unsanctified believers (those who are justified but not sanctified--see p. 66).|
For a study which discusses this problem of dividing all saved people into two distinct groups, see A Scriptural Refutation of the Teachings of Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow and the Grace Evangelical Society.
2) The Impact of Joseph Dillow
On page 49 the Misslers strongly recommend a book. "We strongly suggest Dr. Joseph Dillow's outstanding book The Reign of the Servant Kings (p. 49). On page 271 they refer to Dillow's work as a "wonderful book."
The errors found in Dillow's book are too numerous to list here, but the reader is referred to the following document: The Theology of Zane Hodges and Joseph Dillow and the Grace Evangelical Society. Chuck and Nancy Missler's book mirrors many of the teachings of Joseph Dillow. We will point these out in the following discussion.
3) The Overcomers and the Overtaken
The Misslers insist that only a select group of believers will qualify as overcomers and earn their status as overcomers. They teach that the overcomers will reign with Christ in contrast with a large multitude of saved people who have failed to measure up (those who are "overtaken"). This is one of the major themes of the book. In fact the subtitle of the book is "The Overcomer's Handbook."
The Misslers teach the following regarding the overcomers:
All believers will be with Christ in the coming Millennium, but only the overcomers--the ones who constantly recognize their choices and choose to turn around and follow Christ--will inherit levels of responsibility in that kingdom (p. 55).
Positionally it's absolutely true that we are overcomers the moment we believe, because Jesus Christ is in us and He is the true overcomer (John 16:33). (p.223). On this point we fully agree with the Misslers. See 1 John 5:4-5.
Overcomers [are] those faithful, obedient, and persevering believers who are not only "partakers in Christ's Life," but also "partakers of His Life...Jesus is the real Overcomer, but as they continually allow Him to live His Life out in them, they, too, can become overcomers. They have died to self and they now live to please the Lord by a holy and blameless life. An overcomer is faithful, obedient, and persevering (p. 361).
In the chart on page 67 of their book, the "overcomers" inherit the kingdom and the "overtaken" merely enter the kingdom but do not inherit it. In the chart on p. 94 the "overcomers" are welcomed into a region of light and experience intimacy and the joy of His presence; whereas the "overtaken" are cast out into a separate place (sphere of darkness) outside of the joy of the Lord. They are excluded from the light and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (p. 94).
Thus the Misslers divide all the saved into two distinct groups: 1) the overcomers who inherit the kingdom; 2) the "overtaken" who are cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Concerning the overcomers in the church of Smyrna, who are promised that they will not be hurt of the second death (Rev. 2:11), the Misslers teach the following:
Someone recently asked us a very good question: "If the overcomers in the church of Smyrna will not be hurt of the second death, what about the non-overcomers in this church? What happens to them? Will they be hurt in the second death? Do they lose their salvation?" We wrestled with this question for a while. But we know that God's Word always has an answer for everything, if we just wait. We did. Finally, it came. Smyrna, remember, is the only church that had nothing bad said about it, so in essence, there were no non-overcomers! (p. 76)
Our response: The overcomers will not be hurt of the second death simply because all believers are overcomers, as clearly taught in 1 John 5:4-5. I wrote the following to the Misslers regarding their unique view that all the Smyrna believers were overcomers:
As for the church in Smyrna, the Bible never says that there were no non-overcomers in that church. That was your statement. Your assumption is that since this church is commended, then it must be composed only of victorious, overcoming Christians. Frankly, I have never seen a local assembly in which every believer was victorious, and none were carnal. Have you? The Philippian church was highly commended by Paul. Does this mean that they had no problems with carnality among individual believers? What about Euodia and Syntyche? If you know of a local assembly where there are only victorious, overcoming Christians, please let me know. I’d love to visit that place. And to use your same logic, the Lord does not say anything good about the church of Laodicea (as you admit on p. 79). Does this mean that there were no overcomers in that church? You said that if He says nothing bad about a church then this means that all the people in this church were overcomers. Following this logic, if He says nothing good about the church then this must mean there were no overcomers at all. And yet you teach that there were faithful and obedient overcomers in the Laodicean church (p. 79). You can’t have it both ways.
For a full discussion of who the overcomers really are, based
on Scripture, see Who Is the
Overcomer in Revelation 2-3?.
4) Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth
The Misslers teach that a large percentage of saved people will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth:
In the darkness outside, the unfaithful servant will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth, which simply means "profound regret" (p. 88).
"Weeping and gnashing of teeth" occurs when carnal believers reflect remorsefully on their lives and all the missed opportunities. Scripture says they will remember their past because God will remind them of every detail at the Bema Seat Judgment (p. 198).
..."weeping and gnashing of teeth" can refer to either extreme sadness or remorse for believers in the darkness outside Christ's throne room or [it can refer to] the anguish and hopelessness unbelievers will experience in hell. It all depends upon the context of the particular passage (p. 199). Thus the Misslers teach that "weeping and gnashing of teeth" sometimes refers to the experience of saved people and sometimes refers to the experience of unsaved people.
"Gnashing of teeth" [signifies] hopeless despair, regret, and remorse (p. 201).
"Weeping and gnashing of teeth" refers to the unimaginable regret, remorse, and sense of shame that carnal and disobedient Christians will experience in the Millennium as they look back over their wasted lives (p. 365).
"gnashing of teeth" does not refer to sorrow or regret or remorse or grief
as the Misslers teach, but
instead it refers to anger, rage, pain or anguish. The term refers to the
punishment of the wicked. It does not refer to the sorrow and regret of carnal
Christians. For a thorough study of this issue, see
Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth--Will This Be the Fate of True Christians?
5) The Outer Darkness
The Misslers teach that in the kingdom saved people will have two distinct destinies. The saved people who are unrighteous and wicked and carnal will be segregated from the righteous saved people who will rule and reign with Christ. Consider the following:
Where will we spend our Millennial Kingdom days? Will we be rejoicing and fellowshiping with each other in the presence of the King of kings, or will we be in some other separate region or "separate place" experiencing profound regret and remorse as we look back on a life full of lost opportunities? (p. 49)
"Outer Darkness"--This does not speak of "hell." Nor is it a place where unbelievers go (1 John 2:9-11). It's the place where the unfaithful and disobedient believers will dwell during the Millennium while they learn sanctification. It's a separate place, another room or region outside of the light of the presence of the Lord (p. 361).
When you hear the term "outer darkness," don't jump to the conclusion it's talking about hell. It is not! (p. 62)
It's simply the darkness outside the light of God's presence. It's another region or another area outside of where the joy of the Lord was being experienced...It's a place outside the room where the obedient servants are enjoying God's presence, but evidently contiguous to it. The unprofitable servant can see what is going on in the other region, but he cannot enter in. He is a castaway—he was cast out of fellowship (p. 88).
They are in the kingdom, but they will be cast out from experiencing the joy of the Lord, thrown into the outer darkness (or the darkness outside) where they will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth (p. 198).
Being thrown into the outer darkness is probably not something that occurs in heaven, but something that occurs on the earth at the beginning of the Millennial reign, perhaps just before the Marriage Feast..."Outer darkness" does not mean eternal condemnation, hell, or Hades, but simply exclusion from the realm in which the faithful enter. It's an area immediately outside the festivities attendant to the King's presence (p. 268).
Thayer's Greek/English Lexicon says that the outer darkness is "the darkness outside the limits of the lighted palace." It's evidentially a space in the kingdom, but outside the circle of men and women whose faithfulness earned them a special rank. Among the privileges of the overcomers is nearness to Christ. The opposite of this is the darkness outside of His presence. The unprofitable servant is simply being excluded from the light and the joy of the feast with the Lord. Note: Thayer's comment actually contradicts this statement by the Misslers. Thayer said, "The darkness outside the limits of the lighted palace (to which the Messiah's kingdom is here likened)." [The Misslers failed to cite Thayer's parenthetical comment.] According to Thayer the palace represented the kingdom, and thus those in the darkness outside would be outside of the kingdom. In contrast to this, the Misslers teach that "the darkness outside...is evidentially a space in the kingdom. [emphasis mine]." They cite Thayer is support of their view that these people were in the kingdom, even though Thayer taught that those in the darkness outside were excluded from the kingdom.
The Misslers teach that in the kingdom there are two distinct groups which are separated from each other. This doctrine of segregation in the kingdom affects one's understanding of the Marriage Feast:
There will be no equality. All will be in the kingdom, but some will occupy positions of honor and glory, while others will occupy positions of shame and disgrace. This determination will influence our attendance at the Wedding Ceremony, the Marriage Feast, and where we will spend the Millennium (p. 115).
The Misslers admit that the Church is the Bride of Christ (see the chart on p. 122), snatched up at the rapture, but they teach that certain members of the Church will not be present at the wedding ceremony and the marriage feast! How is it possible that multitudes of those who are the Bride of Christ will be excluded from the wedding ceremony and marriage feast? The doctrine set forth by the Misslers divides Christ's beloved body and bride, His Church.
Another insult to Christ's
Church is found on page 125 where the Misslers teach that "the 'holy ones
without blemish' in Ephesians 5:27 are those believers who have chosen to keep
themselves clean, prepared, and ready. They are sanctified" (p.
125). The Misslers' view reflects a total misunderstanding of Ephesians 5:27 which
teaches that the entire church (with no exceptions) will be presented to Christ
a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
This presentation will be accomplished by our merciful and unfailing Saviour
(see Jude 24). At that time we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as
He is (1 John 3:2), and no believers will be excluded (Rom. 8:29-30)! How
absurd to suggest that Christ will have a spotless and glorious Church on the
one hand, and a filthy, reprobate Church on the other hand.
6) Who Will Inherit the Kingdom?
On page 28 the Misslers say this: "1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says that if we are unrighteous, we will not inherit the kingdom. So there's a huge difference between simply entering the Millennial Kingdom and being a 'subject' there (which all believers will do) and actually inheriting that kingdom and being a 'sovereign' there (which only the faithful overcomers will do). All born-again believers will enter, but only the triumphant overcoming Christians will rule and reign. The deciding factor is how we live our lives here and now."
So, according to the Misslers, all believers are divided into two distinct groups. The righteous believers (having earned this status by faithful living and by overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil) will inherit the kingdom and rule and reign with Christ. The unrighteous believers, including the homosexual believers, the adulterous believers, the covetous believers, the fornicating believers, etc. (1 Cor. 6:9-10), will enter the kingdom but will not inherit it and will not rule and reign with Christ.
This view is totally contrary to what 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is really teaching. The reason a person can be righteous and inherit the kingdom is not because he has qualified himself for the kingdom by righteous and faithful living, keeping himself from sin. No, the reason a person can inherit the kingdom is because God in His grace has justified and washed and sanctified this person, totally apart from any merit on the part of the person (1 Corinthians 6:11). We are not righteous in ourselves; we are righteous in Christ Jesus. Our righteousness is based on Christ's work, not our spiritual achievements.
In contrast to this, the Misslers believe that we inherit the kingdom based upon our works: "Christians are saved with a view toward bringing forth fruit, because fruit—or good works done by the Holy Spirit in us—as you will see in the coming chapters, becomes the 'score card' by which we inherit the kingdom or not" (p. 47). They believe that this kind of inheritance "refers to a meritorious reward that only overcoming Christians will receive for their obedience, faithfulness, and endurance. This reward will allow us to inherit the kingdom" (p. 66). "Only Christians who are deemed worthy, fit, and qualified at the Bema Seat Judgment will be able to inherit that kingdom. These will be the overcomers whose works stood the test of fire" (p. 169). "Only those Christians who have chosen to stay sanctified (clean and open) for God's use, will be deemed worthy, fit, and qualified to inherit that kingdom" (p. 185).
The Misslers summarize their view in this way: "Inheriting the Kingdom - Those faithful and obedient Christians who have learned how to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil by the authority and power of Christ are the ones who will inherit the Millennial Kingdom. These are the ones who will rule and reign with Christ. The deciding factor is how we live our life here and now...This inheritance is earned by merit" (p. 359).
For a detailed study of this passage, see Those Who Do Not Inherit the Kingdom--Are They Saved or Unsaved?
The Sheep and Goat Judgment of Matthew 25 clearly contradicts this view of the Misslers. Consider what the Misslers say about the Sheep and Goat Judgment of Matthew 25:31-46: "[This is] the judgment of Gentiles living at the time of the Second Coming. This judgment occurs immediately after the return of Christ. Those who pass this judgment will enter the kingdom because they cared for 'the brethren' during the Tribulation" (p. 354, emphasis mine).
Why do the Misslers speak of the sheep entering the
kingdom when the passage says that the sheep will inherit the kingdom (see
verse 34--"Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
for you from the foundation of the world"). This is curious in light of
the fact that throughout their book the Misslers make a huge distinction between
inheriting the kingdom and merely entering it. However, this passage does
not fit their theory. According to the teaching of the
Misslers there should be three groups: 1) the goats who go to
everlasting punishment, that is, the unsaved (v.46); 2) the sheep who inherit
the kingdom and rule and reign with Christ; 3) the unrighteous sheep who
fail to score high enough on their "score card" (p. 47) and thus they merely
enter the kingdom but fail to inherit the kingdom. However, in sharp
contrast to what the Misslers teach, Matthew 25 speaks of only two groups:
the sheep who inherit the kingdom and the goats who do not (see also verse 46 where
there are only two distinct destinies, not three).
7) Will Only Some Members of the Church Reign With Christ?
The Misslers teach the following: "Co-reigning with Christ - [This refers to] believers who become co-heirs of Christ's kingdom because of their faithfulness and perseverance. They will hold positions of authority in the Millennium helping Christ rule over the nations" (p. 356).
The Misslers teach that only the spiritually elite members of the church (the overcomers), those who score high enough on their "score card" (p. 47) will qualify to reign and rule with Christ. They undermine the teaching of the New Testament which declares that every member of the church will rule and reign with Christ. Consider the following:
Who Will Reign With Christ?
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him" (2 Tim. 2:12a). Hodges and Dillow and Wilkin and the Misslers teach that there is a whole class of believers who are saved but because of their unfaithfulness they will not reign with Christ. They teach that only the persevering, suffering saints will reign with Christ. Only those who are "partakers" ("servant/kings") will rule with Christ for a thousand years. Only the "joint-heirs" will reign with Him (Rom. 8:17). All other believers will be lesser citizens of the kingdom and will be in some sense on the outside, in outer darkness, etc. They teach that the non-overcoming believers will lose out on the privilege of reigning with Christ (Rev. 2:26-27).
It is interesting to consider what the book of Revelation teaches about believers ruling with Christ, and to see if this privilege is limited to some elite group of saved persons. "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Rev. 1:5-6). This passage teaches that all blood-washed believers have been made kings and priests unto God. And as kings, they must rule. Also, as the church of God we are the bride of Christ. Shall not the queen rule with the King?
"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10). Notice the added information supplied by this passage. These blood-bought kings and priests had been redeemed out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. As kings they must rule, and we are here told the location of their reign: "We shall reign on the earth." Nothing is said about a special class of blood-bought believers. These statements apply to all.
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6). We have already seen that all blood-washed, blood-bought believers are made kings and priests unto God. Here we are told that they will all reign with Christ a thousand years (this will also include the tribulation saints according to Rev. 20:4). All who are part of the first resurrection ("the resurrection of life"–John 5:29) will share in this reign. It is noteworthy that Joseph Dillow, in his textbook on who shall someday reign with Christ (The Reign of the Servant Kings) says nothing about any of these passages in Revelation (1:5-6; 5:9-10; 20:4-6), apparently because they contradict his theory. Hodges teaches that Revelation 20:6 does not refer to all believers, but only to those faithful believers who are the heirs of the kingdom (Grace In Eclipse, p. 75). This is another example of forcing the text to fit one’s theological view.
The Apostle Paul taught that all saints, including the Corinthian
believers (who had serious problems with carnality), would someday "judge the
world" and "judge angels" (1 Cor. 6:2-3). It is inconceivable that this could be
done apart from reigning with Christ, the One who is the final and ultimate
Judge of all men and all angels. "Judging" the world and angels in 1 Corinthians
6 refers, indeed, to "governing," "ruling," or "reigning over," as in Matt.
19:28 (judging the twelve tribes of Israel) and Rev. 20:4a (judgment was given
to those seated on the thrones). This is just one more indication that all
saints will rule with Christ, not just some special class of "overcomers."
8) Are Only Some Believers Joint-Heirs with Christ?
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Rom. 8:17).
The Misslers teach that suffering is a condition for reigning with Christ: "If we don't suffer with Him, we will not be joint-heirs nor reign with Him" (p. 28). They believe that all of God's children are heirs of God, but only the overcoming, persevering, suffering believers are joint-heirs with Christ. Those saved people not willing to suffer for Christ are not among the joint-heirs and will not rule with Christ. Again they divide all believers into two distinct groups. A saved person must earn the right to be classed as a "joint-heir" by choosing to do God's will, no matter how difficult it might be: "If we want to be joint heirs with Him in the coming kingdom, we must constantly choose to bar (deny) ourselves from following what we think, what we feel, and what we want, and choose instead to follow what He wants" (p. 234).
This teaching reflects a serious misunderstanding of Romans 8:17, which actually affirms that all believers are heirs of God and all believers are joint heirs with Christ. For an in depth study of this passage the reader is referred to the following document: Who are the "joint-heirs" of Romans 8:17?
9) The Two Gates
The Two Gates According to the Misslers
|The Gate at the beginning of the road of
Matthew 7:14--"Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at."
|The Gate at the end of the road of faith:
Luke 13:24--"Strive to enter in at the narrow gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
|Those unsaved people who go through this gate will enter the kingdom.||Those saved people who go through this gate will inherit the kingdom.|
|All enter this gate the moment they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.||Only believers who labor, struggle, agonize and strive will enter this gate.|
|This gate is at the entrance to the Kingdom. This entrance is a free gift and requires no effort on our part, other than to believe.||This gate is at the end of our walk of sanctification. It is called the "Bema Seat Judgment."|
Again we find the Misslers dividing all true believers into two distinct groups: 1) those who labor, struggle, agonize and strive to enter the narrow gate and who thus qualify for kingdom inheritance, and 2) those believers who do not measure up and who are therefore disqualified when it comes to ruling and reigning with Christ. These are the ones consigned to outer darkness who will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth, etc.
Actually these two gates are one and the same. The context of Luke 13:24 is that of salvation. In the previous verse a person asked this question, "Are there few that be saved?" (Luke 13:23) This is exactly what our Lord taught in Matthew 7:13-14. Only few will be saved. "Few there be that find" the narrow gate (Matthew 7:14). In the Greek, the expression "the narrow gate" in both Matthew 7:13 and Luke 13:24 is identical (although in Luke 13:24 some manuscripts have "narrow door"). Furthermore, those who do not pass through the narrow gate of Luke 13:24 are clearly unsaved people who will perish, as the context indicates. The Lord will say, "I know you not whence (from where) ye are" (Luke 13:25; compare our Lord's words to the unsaved people in Matthew 7:23). Also the Lord will say to these unsaved people, "Depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity" (Luke 13:27; compare our Lord's words to the unsaved people in Matthew 7:23). The Misslers think of these people as those who enter the kingdom but who do not inherit the kingdom, but Luke 13:28 makes it clear that these people do not even enter it. They are not in the kingdom at all, but are "thrust out." So the Misslers have taken a passage which was meant to be a warning to the unsaved and have tried to make it a warning to carnal Christians.
10) Baptism Confusion
The Misslers understand the "baptism of fire" mentioned in Matthew 3:11 as a reference to the fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:11-15). See page 113. Most Bible scholars understand "the baptism of fire" as a reference to judgment upon unbelievers, in light of the context (see Matthew 3:10 and 12). The following is from two respected Bible teachers:
"The baptism with fire seems related to the second coming of Christ, for only then will the wheat and the tares be separated and the tares, like the chaff mentioned by John the Baptist, burned with fire (cf. Mt 13:30, 38-42, 49-50)" (John Walvoord, Matthew--Thy Kingdom Come, p. 32).
"The baptism with the Holy Spirit is distinct from the baptism with fire. the former is a baptism of blessing, the latter of judgment. The former took place at Pentecost, the latter is still future. The former is enjoyed by all true believers in the Lord Jesus, the latter will be the fate of all unbelievers....The fire in verse 12 means judgment, and since this verse is an amplification of verse 11, it is reasonable to conclude that the baptism with fire is a baptism of judgment" (William MacDonald, Believer's Bible Commentary, p. 1211).
Concerning the baptism of the Spirit, the Misslers give this
definition: "[The] Baptism of the Spirit...is when the Spirit of God comes
upon us for the sake of empowering. This infilling of the Spirit gives us power
to become witnesses for Christ, not just in words, but with our lives" (355).
Thus, the Misslers equate the baptism of the Spirit with the filling of the
Spirit. The difference between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the
Spirit is significant, and is outlined in the following document:
The Baptism and The Filling.
11) Were All of the Israelites in the Wilderness Saved?
One statement the Misslers' book was somewhat shocking:
Finally, there were the two million Israelite believers who were supposed to inherit the blessings of the promised land, but they failed to do so because of their disobedience and lack of faith. They were saved (they had put the blood on the doorposts of their homes), but they were unable to receive their inheritance and go into the promised land (a foreshadow of the Millennial Kingdom) because of doubt, disobedience, and unfaithfulness. Only Caleb and Joshua of that generation inherited the land and the blessings from God (p. 60).
To say that the entire congregation of Israel in the wilderness was saved goes against two Biblical principles: 1) The Old Testament teaches consistently that within the congregation of Israel there existed only a small fraction or remnant of people who were faithful to God (Isaiah 1:9; 10:20; Rom. 11:27). Remember, "they are not all Israel, who are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6). In other words, not all Israelites are saved Israelites; 2) The Lord Jesus taught that compared to the "many" on the road to destruction, those on the road to life are comparatively only a "few" (Matthew 7:13-14). A general principle in any age is that the saved are greatly outnumbered by the unsaved. There is only one time in the history of the world when every Israelite will be saved, and that will be at the beginning of the millennial kingdom (for the simple reason that the unsaved will not be allowed to enter--Matthew 13:41-43. But even in the kingdom, under ideal conditions, the unsaved will eventually flourish and rebel (Rev. 20:7-9).
Does it really make good Biblical sense to say that these stiffnecked, murmuring, unbelieving Israelites were all saved? And what of Korah and those who rebelled with him, whom the earth swallowed up into Sheol? According to the Misslers they were saved also.
The logic the Misslers are using is faulty. The Israelites were all saved, but in what sense? They were all saved from the destroying angel on the Passover night. This does not mean that they were all saved from eternal judgment. This national deliverance at Passover foreshadowed our spiritual deliverance when we by personal faith apply the blood of Christ. The Misslers reason backwards: All believers who believe on Christ and apply His blood are saved, so it follows that the Israelites who applied the blood at the Passover must have been saved also. This is not true. By using the same logic, one could argue that every Israelite who gazed at the brazen serpent was eternally saved: Every one who believes on Christ lifted up on Calvary's cross is saved (John 3:14-16), so it follows that every Israelite who gazed at the brazen serpent was saved also. But the Bible does not teach this. The Bible teaches that the Israelites who gazed were saved from physical death, and saved from the venom of the snakes. They were not saved from eternal damnation. And yet the brazen serpent incident is a wonderful picture of our eternal, spiritual salvation (John 3:14-16).
Not only that, but would not this same logic indicate that not one of the Jews was spiritually/eternally saved until the Passover??? That is, there were no saved Jews till they applied the blood on their doorposts? And would this also mean that the Jews who were spiritually saved at the Passover, and still alive at the brazen serpent event, were “re-saved” spiritually/eternally [!!] when they looked upon the brazen serpent!!! None of this makes good Biblical sense.
Nowhere does the Bible teach that the two million people in the
wilderness were saved and justified. [Note: Joseph Dillow's view is
that most of the Israelites in the wilderness were saved and going to heaven but
he acknowledges that "some may not have been saved." See The Reign of
the Servant Kings, p. 58.]
12) What are Unsanctified Christians?
On the chart on page 108 the Misslers contrast "sanctified Christians" with "unsanctified Christians." The same contrast is made in the colored chart at the end of the book.
There is a problem with describing Christians as being "unsanctified." I understand what the Misslers mean. They are thinking of Christians who do not walk in holiness and who fall short when it comes to progressive sanctification. However, the Bible goes out of its way to emphasize the fact that all Christians are sanctified. Even when speaking of the carnal Corinthians, Paul goes out of his way to emphasize that they were sanctified in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2; 1:30; 6:11).
The thrust of the epistles is to emphasize the believers' exalted and glorious position in Christ, and then to beseech the believer to walk worthy of that position. To speak of saved people as being "unsanctified" is counter productive and totally contrary to Paul's approach. See the following document: The Believer's Standing and State.
On the other hand, the Misslers' misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 fits well with their concept of "unsanctified Christians." The Misslers believe that in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 true Christians are being described (whereas most Bible scholars understand this as a description of the unsaved). Thus the Misslers believe that there are Christian fornicators, Christian idolaters, Christian adulterers, Christian homosexuals, Christian thieves, Christian drunkards, etc. Thus it is not a great leap to speak of "unsanctified Christians." However, 1 Corinthians 6:11 declares that all Christians are sanctified, including the Corinthian Christians.
* * * * * *
For additional studies dealing with the important issues
covered in the Misslers' book, see
The Middletown Bible Church
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