- Brexit – a blow to Global Government
- Bible Prophecy implications
- Peace for Israel?
- Does the Bible prophesy a peace covenant for Israel?
- Can you lose your salvation?
Brexit – a blow to Global Government
Steven MacMillan, an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of ’The Analyst Report’ has written, ‘The EU has always been a key part of the grander strategy by the global elite to destroy national sovereignty and bring in a world government, through eventually amalgamating the EU with other trading blocs.’ The idea that the EU was created by a Western elite who have been surreptitiously working to build a global government was backed up by Herman van Rompuy, the first President of the European Council. On taking office in 2009, as the Lisbon Treaty gave the EU its President, Foreign Ministry and other trappings of statehood, he announced that 2009 was ‘the first year of global governance.’
To this end the EU has spent half a century pursuing a goal of continual expansion and ever-closer union within its borders. Now Britain has had the nerve to reverse this process and vote to exit the EU. This goes against the global government agenda, which is why we had a succession of globalist politicians and organisations like US President Barak Obama, and Secretary of State John Kerry, Christine Lagarde from the IMF, Pascal Lamy from the WTO (World Trade Organisation), the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and G7 world leaders warning the British people not to vote to leave the EU. ‘Project Fear’ warned that this would rattle Britain’s economy and the global financial system at large. On the home front politicians of left and right, the nationalists, the trades unions, the Bank of England, most of big business, the BBC and much of the media and the Church of England were all mobilised to work for an ‘In’ vote on June 23rd.
Despite this in the early hours of Friday 24th June David Dimbleby announced on BBC, ‘Britain has voted to leave the European Union’. A political earthquake shook this nation and Europe and sent shock waves out around the world. David Cameron announced his resignation as Prime Minister and set in motion a leadership contest within the divided Conservative Party. Jeremy Corbyn faced a ‘no confidence’ motion as most of his shadow cabinet resigned in the even more divided Labour Party. The Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon proposed a second referendum on the secession of Scotland from the rest of the U.K., because ‘the Scottish people have voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.’ Pro Remain supporters blamed the Brexit vote on racism (untrue) and claimed that young people’s future was being put in jeopardy by a vote of mainly older people for Brexit. 3 million people supporting Remain signed a petition to hold another referendum in order to get a different result (a familiar tactic of the EU when it doesn’t get its way).
The EU, which is one of the most undemocratic political institutions in the western world, reacted with shock and fury at the British decision. European Parliament President Martin Schultz said, ‘The British have violated the rules. It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate’ (i.e. don’t ask the people what they want but dictate it to them). German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, ‘There’s no way around it: Today is a watershed for Europe and the European unity process.’
EU leaders are frightened that other countries dissatisfied with the EU government will want to follow Britain to the exit door. Indeed, no sooner was the referendum’s outcome announced than France’s National Front issued a call for ‘Frexit,’ while Dutch populist Geert Wilders promoted ‘Nexit’ (Netherlands to leave). In Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, the group known as the ‘Visegrad’ countries, there is anger at EU demands that they take their quota of migrants or face huge fines for every migrant refused. There is also discontent in the Scandinavian countries.
On the economic front the Italian government used Brexit as a pretext to unleash a €40 billion ($44 billion) bailout of its insolvent banks. Italy’s banks are beset with €360 billion (and rising) in bad loans, some 18% of total bank balance sheets. Italy faces the risk of a ‘full-blown banking crisis’ that could bring the Italian ‘Five Star Movement’ (which also wants to leave the EU) to power as early as next year. The annual Greek bailout negotiations are about to begin with no workable solution in sight. Once again there is the possibility that Greece runs out of money and defaults on its debts, causing a crisis in the Euro currency and Greece’s exit from the EU. The IMF has said that the bank which poses the biggest risk to the global financial system is the mighty Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank which has exposure to €55 trillion worth of derivatives. What the IMF report means is that if Deutsche Bank falls, everyone else will follow.
George Soros, the billionaire investor who is a fervent supporter of the EU and global governance, is trying to overturn the Brexit vote fearing it will cause the break-up of the European Union (EU). Mr Soros told a panel at the annual meeting of the influential European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) that Brexit should be overturned and instead the EU given even more powers, transferred from national governments. The Council on Foreign Relations is a US based global governance organisation.
He called the EU ‘a noble, well-intended experiment in international governance, which has failed, and has not delivered what it promised. … But we must not give up. Admittedly, the EU is a flawed construction. After Brexit, all of us who believe in the values and principles that the EU was designed to uphold must band together to save it by thoroughly reconstructing it. I am convinced that as the consequences of Brexit unfold in the weeks and months ahead, more and more people will join us.’ The thorough reconstruction he is proposing involves more powers being transferred from national governments to the central government of the EU.
He is not alone in saying this. Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister and arch federalist leader of the liberal bloc in the European Parliament, has said, ‘We should forge a strong European federation to replace the weak, incapacitated confederation of member states we have today. Our own European Founding Fathers wrote as early as 1953 a federal constitution for Europe. They envisioned a Europe with a united defence force (i.e. a European army), a common foreign policy, a small but powerful European government and a full-fledged European treasury with own resources.’
A Polish TV channel, TVP Info, has seen a document which says that Germany and France have prepared a plan to reform the European Union, which envisages deep integration of EU member states. According to the channel, ‘If the proposed document is implemented, then they will set up a single European state – instead of the European Union – which will depend on the strongest players in Europe.’ The member states will not have the right to have their own armies, security services, separate Criminal Code, and national currency. The document envisages creating unified police forces, an overall tax system and so on. The member states lose control over their borders and procedures of receiving and resettling refugees within their territories. The project also provides for introducing a single visa system as well as conducting a common foreign policy. The document states, ‘France and Germany share a common destiny and a common set of values that provide the foundation for an ever closer union between their people. We will therefore move further towards political union in Europe and invite the other Europeans to join us in this endeavour.’ This has also been reported in the Daily Express (28/6/16).
Such a programme would certainly go against the will of the majority of people in Europe and could really only be implemented by suspending democracy and introducing a new form of dictatorship. The unified police force would end up serving a police state, which no political parties or media outlets would be allowed to criticise or oppose. But then ‘global governance’ has never been about freedom and democracy, but always about control by an unelected elite over the masses who submit to it.
Bible Prophecy implications
In our last edition I wrote about the view that the EU is the fulfilment of Bible Prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. These foresee a revival of the Roman Empire in the spirit of Babylon out of which the antichrist will emerge in the last days of this age. How does Britain’s proposed leaving of the EU affect this view? There are a number of possibilities:
1. Globalist leaders in the EU and Britain manage to work out some kind of a compromise deal which leaves Britain in pretty much the same position we are in now, but with even less control over our own affairs. Alternatively they make life so difficult for us in the coming year that the population demands a second referendum, resulting in the decision to leave being reversed. In this case nothing has changed. The EU as it is remains the ‘Revived Roman Empire’ with Britain part of it.
2. Britain successfully leaves the EU and is joined by more nations that decide to leave, reducing the number of nations to a core that becomes a single entity in a European Federal State. This then becomes the seat of power of the antichrist. Perhaps the number could be reduced to ten nations which become the ‘ten kings’ who ‘receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind and will give their power and authority to the beast.’ Revelation 17.12. In this case the present form of the EU changes into a final union ruled by ‘ten kings’ who give their power to the beast. Britain is outside of it.
3. The EU breaks up and causes a world economic collapse. Out of this disaster a new entity arises bringing the nations together under some kind of UN dictated world government. The antichrist rises to power out of this entity. In this case the former EU becomes one part of the final world government, perhaps one of the ten kings that give their power to the beast.
Whichever of these possibilities comes to pass, the antichrist will rise to power in the final 7 year period before the return of the Messiah Jesus to the earth (Revelation 13). The Lord Jesus will end his rule when He returns in power and glory to judge the world in righteousness (Revelation 19) and set up His Millennial kingdom for 1000 years from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2.1-4, Zechariah 14, Revelation 20).
Meanwhile the Lord is calling us to use the time that remains and the period of grace which I believe He has extended to this nation by getting us out of the EU to proclaim the Gospel message.
Two days before the referendum vote we had a prayer meeting in our fellowship. The Lord led me to read out Micah 2 and apply this to a call to leave the EU: ‘Arise and depart for this is not your rest; because it is defiled, it shall destroy, yes with utter destruction (Micah 2.10).’ In the previous verses the Lord speaks woe to those who ‘devise iniquity’ and ‘oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance’. They change the ‘heritage of my people’ and remove boundaries (verses 4-5). They reject the word of the Lord and take away the glory of the Lord (verses 6-9). The EU and global governance agenda is fundamentally antichristian and has played its part in removing our Christian heritage and the moral boundaries set by the Lord. Our own leaders have been willing co-workers in this, see verse 4: ‘He has changed the heritage of my people, how he has removed it from me and to a turncoat he has divided our fields.’
After the word to depart in verse 10, the Lord gives a word of restoration: ‘I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel, I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture. They shall make a loud noise because of so many people, the one who breaks open will come before them; they will break out, pass through the gate and go out by it; their king will pass before them with the Lord at their head.’ On one level this speaks of the restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, something the EU is also working against by its promotion of a Palestinian State and the re-division of Jerusalem (see the following article).
At the same time this passage speaks to me of the Lord gathering His people together to make a loud noise for the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. He has come to open the prison doors of captivity to sin and Satan’s power. He is coming again soon to gather His people together at the rapture of the church and then to come in power and glory as King of kings and Lord of lords, with the armies of heaven (the angelic hosts and the redeemed church of Jesus Christ) following Him (Revelation 19.11-16). In that day the ‘kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ / Messiah and He shall reign for ever and ever.’ Revelation 11.15.
Therefore we should use the time that remains to tell the people that ‘God commands all people everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.’ Acts 17.30-31.
Peace for Israel?
The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has reported that Israel is in a good strategic position with its neighbours at present. Peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan are holding, while Syria is in its fifth year of a vicious civil war and in no position to threaten Israel. Ties and cooperation with Egypt are stronger now than ever before, as both countries collaborate in the war on Islamic terrorism, which is the real threat to the stability in the region. Now Israel and Turkey have reached a deal to normalise diplomatic relations making reconciliation with another major Sunni Muslim power.
Israel’s main enemies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran, are in a weakened position. Hezbollah is caught up in the conflict in Syria where it has lost many of its commanders and fighters and lost support in its base in Lebanon. Hamas is still building tunnels with a hostile intent against Israel, but Israeli intelligence estimates that it doesn’t want to be dragged into a new round of war with Israel and is not ready for it. Iran remains very hostile to Israel but it too is caught up in conflicts in Iraq and Syria and not likely to set off any attack on Israel. Iran boasts of having missiles capable of hitting Israel, however Israel’s Arrow 3 anti-missile is now able to intercept any missile launched from Iran close to its launch site.
According to the IDF report the Middle East is characterised by the growing conflict between Shi’ites and Sunnis, between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and rifts inside the Sunni world involving terrorist groups like Islamic State and al Qaeda. In these conflicts Israel’s potential enemies are fighting each other rather than turning their fire on Israel. Also Israel has the same enemies (Iran, Hezbollah, Islamic State) as the Sunni Muslim powers in the region (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia).
Commenting on this situation Rabbi Kahana, a Jerusalem based scholar and prolific author, has said that God is protecting Israel in fulfilment of prophecy. He wrote: ‘Syria, the rebels, the US, Russia, the Gulf States, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Hezbollah, the Kurds – everyone against everyone in a free-for-all of murder for religious, political and economic interests but in total disregard of the others’ interests. However, there is complete agreement on one single item – Israel. Ironically and miraculously, and despite all the bloodshed, none of them has lifted a hand or a bullet against the Jewish State. Everywhere you look, pandemonium reigns in the Middle East. Except in Israel. … God has blessed Israel! A cloud surrounds the borders like it surrounded the people of Israel in the desert and the Jews need to watch over themselves.’ He compares this to the protection God provided for the Children of Israel as they wandered for 40 years in the desert. He believes God works for the ultimate redemption of the Jewish nation. He concludes, ‘So there is no reason to fear, no matter what might seem to be the perils — because hakol be’ye’dei shamayim — it is all in God’s hands.’
The Rabbi is being a bit optimistic in my view, especially as terror attacks against Israelis continue, with the active support of the Palestinian Authority. However there has been a flurry of activity aiming at creating a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The French government hosted international talks aimed at restarting the peace process in Paris with 28 states participating. Palestinians and Israelis were not represented in the Paris talks.
The Palestinians welcomed the talks, hoping that it would hasten the arrival of their aim of a Palestinian State. Israel was not happy about the conference seeing it as an attempt by unsympathetic EU powers to dictate the terms and impose a Palestinian State on them, which would be a threat to Israel’s security. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said: ‘Peace is not achieved in international UN-style conferences, nor through international diktats that come of meetings of countries around the world sitting to decide our fate. Peace is achieved through direct negotiations where the Palestinian Authority (PA) would face a historic choice: recognise a Jewish state side by side with a demilitarised Palestinian state, or try to eliminate it.’ Interestingly the day the French sponsored peace conference began in Paris the River Seine flooded the city, something unprecedented for the summer month of June, which could be seen as God’s verdict on the event.
At the same time Mr Netanyahu made surprising statements recently indicating a willingness to seek for a peace settlement. He has offered to negotiate with the Arab world along the lines of the Saudi peace plan launched in 2002, which promises Israel full diplomatic ties with 57 Arab and Muslim states in return for cementing a peace accord with the Palestinians.
Dr. Anwar Eshki, a senior Saudi official in contact with Israelis, said in an exclusive interview with Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, ‘I assure you, from personal knowledge, that there is now a real opportunity for peace. Everyone around wants to reach an agreement. The prospects and opportunities have improved immeasurably.’ Egyptian President al-Sissi has also said that it is time to revisit a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. He promised Israel warmer ties if it accepts efforts to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, and offered to mediate in order to pave the way toward a lasting peace accord with the Israelis.
Does the Bible prophesy a peace covenant for Israel?
We believe the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is a fulfilment of Biblical prophecy for the last days of this age: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ (Jeremiah 31.10 – see also Isaiah 43.5- 6, Ezekiel 36.24-28). Psalm 83 sees the surrounding Arab nations seeking to destroy Israel: ‘They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ Psalm 83.4. However God would preserve the nation as He has done in the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973.
As a result of the 1967 Six Day War, Israel gained control of the whole of Jerusalem and the biblical area of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in the Six Day War. This ended the situation which existed from 1948-1967 in which Jerusalem was divided with the western half in Israel and the eastern half under Jordanian control. At this time the Old City, where the holy places, including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, are off limits to Jewish people. When Jerusalem was taken Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan proclaimed, ‘We have returned again to our holiest of holy places never again to depart.’
In July 1980 Israel passed the Jerusalem Law proclaiming Jerusalem the complete and united capital of Israel. In August 1980 the UN passed resolution 478 which declared that Israel’s law is ‘a violation of international law’, is ‘null and void and must be rescinded forthwith’. This created the situation prophesied in the book of Zechariah 12.2-3 whereby Jerusalem became a focus of world attention as the nations of the world sought to resolve the question of who should rule this city: ‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.’
To this day this issue remains on the agenda of the world powers. The major stumbling block for a ‘two state solution’ of the Arab – Israeli conflict remains the status of Jerusalem. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that Jerusalem remains the indivisible capital of Israel and should remain a united city ruled by Israel. The Palestinians, backed by the Arab Muslim nations, want a Palestinian state with its capital in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Jerusalem has become the ‘burdensome stone’ of Zechariah’s prophecy, a source of contention, which the nations of the world are involved in.
In Daniel 9.24-7 we have a prophecy, which speaks of God’s dealings with Jerusalem and the Jewish people through to the end of this age. Verse 27 speaks of a seven-year covenant made with Israel: ‘Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week’ (a week is a period of seven years in this prophecy). The person who makes this covenant is described as ‘the prince who is to come’ in the previous verse. On the basis of other passages in Daniel and Revelation we identify this one with the antichrist. As we saw in our last edition there is good reason to believe that this one will arise out of a revived Roman Empire and the EU fits the bill for this quite well. There is also the possibility that he will arise out of an Islamic alliance of nations.
There is a strong emphasis on treachery in this agreement: ‘The treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously’ (Isaiah 24.16). Daniel says that ‘he shall act deceitfully’ and ‘he shall enter peaceably’ though his real intention is to invade and plunder (Daniel 11.23-4). For Israel this covenant will turn out to be a ‘covenant with death’ based on deception: ‘For we have made lies our refuge and under falsehood we have covered ourselves’ (Isaiah 28.14-15). Daniel 9.27 implies that the peace agreement will break down halfway through the seven-year period. This will lead to the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’ which Jeremiah 30 warns about: ‘Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.’
All of this ties in with the prophecies in the New Testament about the Second Coming of Messiah. Shortly before the crucifixion Jesus warned of the coming ‘desolation of Jerusalem’ when He wept over Jerusalem, saying that ‘your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’ (Luke 19.41-44, see also Matthew 23.38). In Luke 21.20-24 He prophesied the fall of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people into the nations of the world, the event that took place when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD after the failed Jewish revolt of 66-70. He said ‘Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’ This speaks of a long period of Gentile rule over Jerusalem, but He also indicates that this time will come to an end in events which are connected to His Second Coming.
Did this time frame come to an end with the Six Day War of 1967 and Israel regaining Jerusalem? Not entirely, although that event was without doubt a significant event on the way to the redemption of Jerusalem. While the Israeli flag does fly over the Old City of Jerusalem, the most holy place, the Temple Mount, remains in the hands of the Muslim Wakf with the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan acting as custodian of the area. Now the great powers of the world are seeking to impose a settlement which would redivide Jerusalem and create a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
This will cause God’s great displeasure: ‘For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Jehoshaphat means ‘the Lord judges); and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.’ Joel 3.1-2.
The Bible prophesies some supernatural events taking place in Jerusalem in the last days. According to Revelation 11.2 ‘the Gentiles’ will ‘tread the holy city (Jerusalem) underfoot for forty two months (half of the seven year tribulation period). During this time the ‘two witnesses’ will prophesy with great power from Jerusalem, before being killed by the antichrist and then rising from the dead in the sight of the world, an event which will be followed by a great earthquake destroying a tenth of the city (Revelation 11.3-14).
Jesus prophesied the ‘abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place’ (Matthew 24.15) which sets off the great tribulation: ‘For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.’ Matthew 24.21-22.
These days will be shortened by the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth which will happen as the armies gather around Jerusalem for the last battle described in the prophecies of Joel 3, Zechariah 14 and Revelation 16 and 19. Zechariah 12.10 tells us that Israel’s salvation will come as ‘they will look on Me whom they pierced’, clearly pointing to Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah as the coming one who will save Israel. In Matthew 23.39 Jesus said to Jerusalem, ‘For I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ In Hebrew this phrase is ‘Baruch ha ba be shem adonai’, the greeting for the coming of the Messiah. When the remnant of Israel turns to Jesus and accepts Him as Messiah the cause of the desolation of Jerusalem (rejection of Messiah) will be over and He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords to bring peace to Israel and set up His Messianic kingdom from this revived and renewed city as He rules over the nations bringing real peace and safety to Israel and the whole world (Isaiah 2.1-4, Zechariah 14, Revelation 20).
One final point for your consideration. According to the pre-tribulation rapture interpretation of end time prophecy, the seven year period of Daniel 9.27 begins with the covenant being made with Israel. It is also preceded by the rapture of the church, when the Lord Jesus will ‘descend from heaven with a shout … and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.’ 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17. In this case any movement towards a peace settlement in Israel is another sign of the imminent coming of the Lord for His church and a reason why we should pay attention to Jesus’ words: ‘When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption draws near.’ Luke 21.18.
Can you lose your salvation?
I listened to a message by a well-known preacher on Revelation TV who told his listeners to believe in the Lord Jesus as Saviour. He said those who believe will have their names written in the ‘Lamb’s book of life’, but went on to say that after that they had to make sure that they kept their names written in the book of life. If they failed to do so their names would be blotted out of the Book of Life, referring to the verse in Revelation 3.5 where the Lord Jesus says, ‘He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and the before His angels.’ The implication he drew from this is that those who do not overcome will lose their salvation and have their names removed from the Book of Life.
Revelation 20.15 says ‘Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire’, so this would mean that a person who has accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord can lose their salvation and end up in hell as a result of sin, backsliding or unbelief. This preacher believes strongly that the church will go through the Great Tribulation period and in his talk he implied that if a Christian denies Christ as a result of persecution or torture they will lose their salvation and be lost. In this case we can have no assurance or certainty of salvation while we are in this life because we may be saved today but lost tomorrow.
I believe that the person who has truly accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord is eternally saved. In Romans 8.38-9 we read: ‘For I am persuaded that neither death not life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8.38-9.
Of course it is vital that we do come to a true and biblical experience of salvation according to the scriptures. There are many churches today which take away from the Bible denying fundamental teachings of Creation, the miracles of God in the Old and New Testaments, the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus, His sinless life and death as an atonement for sin and His resurrection and ascension to heaven and the hope of His second coming. Those who receive these teachings may well end up falling away, because they have been given no real basis for believing in Him. There are also preachers who add to the Bible, promising people miraculous healing for every sickness, prosperity if they give to their ministries and a worldwide revival in which all nations will be converted to Christ before His return. They cannot actually deliver on any of these things so those who are attracted to the faith by these promises may well fall away when they don’t get healed, remain poor or see the world go from bad to worse as nations follow the devil rather than Jesus Christ.
A biblical basis of faith means that we accept that salvation is to be found in Jesus Christ alone, who meant it when He said, ‘I am the way, the truth and life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.’ John 14.6. So did Peter when he said, ‘There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved’ (Acts 4.12). The Lord Jesus is the sinless Son of God who died as a sacrifice for our sins and rose again from the dead to give eternal life to all believers: ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again according to the scriptures.’ 1 Corinthians 15.3-4.
Peter tells us that Jesus ‘Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins might live for righteousness.’ I Peter 2.24. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5.21: ‘For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin (a sin offering) for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ 2 Corinthians 5.21. When Jesus died on the cross He bore the wrath of God against sin in His own body taking the punishment that we deserve in order that we might be redeemed.
Receiving salvation involves a personal commitment to God by repenting and believing the Gospel. After Peter explained the meaning of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus on the Day of Pentecost, those who heard the message said, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Peter replied ‘Repent and let every one of you be baptised in the name of the Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Acts 2.37-8. Throughout the book of Acts the pattern of repentance, baptism in water and receiving the Holy Spirit is followed. Since the Bible teaches that we are all sinners and Christ died for our sins, there must be repentance, a change of mind and a change of direction in order to receive salvation in Jesus Christ.
We must believe that Jesus died and rose again and testify to this faith: ‘If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that He rose again from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’ Romans 10.9-10.
In Ephesians 2.9-10 Paul writes: ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.’ We cannot earn our salvation by religious rites or good deeds but receive it as a gift of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be evidence of the change in our lives that has come through receiving this salvation and God has works for us to do but these works are the fruit of our salvation not the cause of it. ‘For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.’ Ephesians 2.10.
All of these issues are foundational to what salvation is. If people who claim to be Christians have not believed in these fundamental issues relating to salvation we should not be surprised if they later fall away from the faith. It may not be that they have lost their faith, but they never had saving faith in the first place. In John 6.60- 66 we read of a number of would be disciples who ‘went back and walked with Him no more.’ Jesus turns to His disciples and asks, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.’ John 6.68.
Peter has understood the fundamental truth that the Lord Jesus is bringing to the world. He knows and believes that:
- Jesus has the words of eternal life. There is no one else to go to who can offer what Jesus offers.
- Jesus is the promised Messiah who has come to fulfil the words of the prophets and redeem us from our sins.
- Jesus is the Son of the living God. His origins are in eternity, He has become man, at the same time He has a divine nature and therefore is able to fulfil all that He promises us.
The person who has come to this faith understands the enormity of its consequences – that he or she has passed from death to life, from being under the judgement of God to being a redeemed child of God with the prospect of eternal life with God in heaven in view, rather than the terrible fate of eternal torment in hell. Those who come to this faith will not go back because they know that that Jesus alone gives them eternal life.
Accepting Christ as Saviour means entering into the new covenant through which our sins are forgiven, we come to know God and He writes His laws on our hearts by the gift of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31.31-4, Hebrews 8.8-12). Because this is a covenant with God it cannot be broken from His side. This is why Jesus says, ‘All that the Father gives Me will come to Me and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.’ John 6.37. It is the will of the Father and the Son to give eternal life to all who come to God through the Son: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.’ John 10.27-30.
Here we have the promise of the Lord that He will accept and keep all who come to Him. He promises that He and the Father will give eternal life to all who come to Him and no one is able to snatch them out of His hand. This is a very strong statement to give us faith in the eternal security of the believer. We have come into a covenant relationship with God which cannot be broken from His side.
When we accept Christ as Saviour a number of things happen which cannot be repeated or undone. We are born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3.3-8) ‘to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ 1 Peter 1.3-5. Once a child is born, he cannot become unborn. We are also baptised into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.13) and adopted into his family (Galatians 3.26-4.7). We have Jesus interceding with the Father for us (John 17.9 and 20, and Hebrews 7.25). We have a citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3.20) and the Lord promises, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’. (Hebrews 13.5-6).
Jesus says that the believer has eternal life when he or she believes: John 5.24. ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.’ If we can lose our salvation this means we may have eternal life today but tomorrow we may not have it. In this case it is not eternal life, it is a temporary eternal life, which does not really make sense.
Jesus also promised: ‘And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.’ Jesus says here that the Spirit will dwell with you and be in you ‘for ever’, not temporarily.
Paul wrote that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise. ‘In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.’ Ephesians 1.13-14.
In the world of the New Testament a seal would be put on something to show ownership when a business transaction was finished. It would be unique to the person who owned the possession and show that what had been bought belonged to him. So the seal of the Holy Spirit is given to all those who trust in the Lord and believe in the Gospel of salvation. In this case the ‘redemption of the purchased possession’ will be our entrance into our eternal inheritance. So this scripture also speaks of the power of the Lord to keep all those who call on Him for salvation. The word used for ‘guarantee’ in this verse is the word for an engagement ring or down payment in Greek.
These scriptures (and there are many more which I have not quoted) point to the eternal security of the believer in Jesus. However there are other scriptures which are used by opponents of this teaching to say that we can lose our salvation as a result of sin or backsliding. When we look at these passages we find that their primary purpose is not actually about salvation but about some other issue. Let us now look at some of these passages.
1. Passages dealing with producing good fruit and judgement of believers’ works.
When we are born again, God’s purpose is that we should produce good works / works of righteousness. It is not that we are saved by good works but that good works and sanctification are what the Lord wants to see in the life of the believer. Some such passages are interpreted to mean loss of salvation in a Christian who does not practice righteousness. The Parable of the Sower is about such production (Matthew 13). The seed by the wayside is the only one which is definitely not productive and corresponds to the unbeliever who hears the word and it takes no root because the ground is hard and the Devil comes and snatches the seed away. The seed in the stony places falls into the ground but has no root and when persecution or difficulties arise it withers. This corresponds to the person who stumbles in his faith when difficulties arise and is unproductive. The seed which falls among thorns is the one who is unfruitful because of cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. The seed which began to produce becomes choked by other cares coming in and ends up being unfruitful. The seed on the good ground is productive and brings forth fruit. The primary issue in this parable is not salvation but production of good fruit as a result of salvation.
The same applies to John 15, where Jesus talks about the vine and the vinedresser. In this parable Jesus is the vine and the believer is the branch. The purpose of the branch being in the vine is to bring forth fruit. The vinedresser comes to lift up and prune the branches so that they will bear fruit. Only the branch that abides in the vine can bear fruit, otherwise it will wither. When the passage speaks of gathering ‘them’ and casting them into the fire, it is speaking of the unproductive works in the life of the believer, rather than the believer himself. A believer who is out of fellowship with the Lord cannot produce good fruit in his life. So it is an encouragement to stay in fellowship in order to produce good fruit.
1 Corinthians 3.9-15 describes the judgement of believers’ works: ‘For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.’
Here we see that the believers’ works come in two categories:
- Gold, silver and precious stones.
- Wood, hay and straw.
The difference between these two categories is that when you put the first through fire they are refined, but when you put the second through fire they are burned up. When we produce works which are in the will of God and pleasing to Him we are producing gold, silver and precious stones. These works will result in a reward in the kingdom of God. When we are out of fellowship we are producing wood, hay and straw and these things will be burned up on the Day when we pass before the 14
Judgement Seat of Christ for our works to be judged: ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.’ 2 Corinthians 5.10. At the judgement seat of Christ believers are judged for what they have done in their lives (‘the things done in the body’). Concerning the person whose works are burned up, Paul writes, ‘he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.’ 1 Corinthians 3.15. In other words he will be saved but have nothing to show for his life and suffer loss with no reward, whereas the person whose works are approved by the Lord will receive a reward.
2. Passages that deal with discipline of believers.
When we are saved we become children of God. We are adopted into God’s family. In a human family fellowship between members can be broken by sin. A good father should discipline his children when they are doing wrong. God is a good father who will discipline his children. The fact that believers are disciplined does not mean they have ceased to be saved, in fact it implies that they are still God’s children. You don’t discipline someone else’s children, but you should discipline your own children. The main passages which deal with this are Hebrews 12.5-15 and 1 Corinthians 11.29-31. Discipline in the life of a believer may involve cutting off the unfruitful branches of John 15. It can be painful. However the purpose of discipline for a believer is that it should yield the ‘peaceable fruit of righteousness.’ (Hebrews 12.11). The implication of this is that if God is convicting you of sin then allow Him to deal with that issue, and so spare yourself further pain. As a result you will find peace and righteousness.
In 1 Corinthians 11.27-32 we read: ‘Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.’ In the Authorised Version the word used for ‘judgment’ is damnation.
Paul here tells the Corinthians to examine themselves before they eat the bread and drink the cup in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus told us to take the bread and wine to remember his death. This is a sign of our acceptance of the New Covenant through which our sins are forgiven and we receive eternal life. If we continue in unconfessed sin and take the bread and the wine we are breaking the covenant. Here Paul says in this case we will be ‘chastened by the Lord.’ This chastening may involve a weakness in our life, sickness and the maximum discipline is that we will ‘sleep’ (die). The call of the scripture then is to judge ourselves so that we will not be judged. As a result of judging ourselves we are not ‘condemned with the world.’ Continuing to live like this causes a break in fellowship with the Lord. The fruit of this will be loss of peace, anxiety, mood swings, anger and bad relations with other believers. It is restored by repentance and faith as we confess our sins to God and receive forgiveness through the blood of Jesus which cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1.5-2. 2. Those who do not judge themselves may face the maximum discipline of losing their lives. In 1 Corinthians 5.1-5 Paul tells the church to exercise discipline on a sinning member who is living in gross sin. This involves cutting him off from fellowship and handing him over to Satan. Paul gives a warning of maximum discipline (death) that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. The example of Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5 is of the ‘sin leading to death.’
3. The warnings in Hebrews.
The most used passage in the Bible to speak of losing one’s salvation is Hebrews 6.4-6: ‘For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame.’
For a thorough study of this passage I recommend the talk by Arnold Fruchtenbaum on the ‘Five warnings of Hebrews’. In this he puts Hebrews in its context as a message written to Jewish believers in Jesus written around 65-68 AD. At this time these believers were experiencing severe persecution for their faith and some were considering going back to Judaism, including participation in the Temple sacrifices. They thought they could temporarily give up salvation and go back to Judaism and wait till persecution subsides, then accept salvation all over again and this new salvation would erase the sin of apostasy. The writer wants to tell them that the option they think they have, they don’t. Since Christ has been crucified once to save them from their sins, they can’t renounce their salvation in Christ, then reclaim it because, that would involve re-crucifying the Messiah, something which is impossible to do.
It should also be noted that this passage is based on a conditional clause introduced by the word ‘if’. The writer is saying ‘If you could fall away and then at some later time you could be saved again, that would mean adopting a new way of salvation and another Messiah to come to be crucified again. But that can’t happen so you cannot fall away and be saved again by another means. Therefore you must continue in the salvation which you already have. You must keep bearing the fruit of your salvation in Jesus the Messiah.’ To sum up the writer is pointing to a hypothetical situation and then saying, ‘You can’t do it.’
The rest of the chapter from verse 9-20 assures them of their salvation and encourages them to continue in it, in order to produce good fruit for the Lord. ‘We are confident of better things for you, yes things which accompany salvation’ … ‘God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love’ … ‘by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’
He goes on to speak of Jesus who ‘continues forever and has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.’ Hebrews 7.24- 25. This is not presented as an ‘if’ clause, something which may or may not happen, but an absolute statement of fact.
Another issue which is implicit in Hebrews 10 is that if they do go back to Judaism they will most likely lose their lives in the coming judgement, which was about to fall on Jerusalem in fulfilment of Jesus’ words in Luke 19.41-44 and 21.20-24. In these verses Jesus actually tells Jewish believers to flee Jerusalem when they see the armies advancing on it, something which history records that many of them did.
There are a number of other passages which are used to say that we can lose our salvation, but in each case there is an alternative explanation which can be given. On the other hand concerning the verses which speak of the eternal security of the believer, there is really no alternative explanation, other than the obvious one, that God is able to keep those who have trusted their souls to Him to eternal life and that once their names are written in the Book of Life, they will not be rubbed out again. I have written a longer booklet, ‘Can you lose your salvation?’ which deals with these issues at greater length and is available on request.
In conclusion let us have confidence that God is able to keep all who have received Jesus Christ as Saviour to eternal life. As Paul wrote: ‘I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.’ 2 Timothy 1.12.