The Rod--Will God Spare It?
J.D. Faust published a book in 2002 entitled The Rod--Will God Spare It? It was published by Schoettle Publishing Company, the same company that published Joseph Dillow's book, The Reign of the Servant Kings. This publishing house specializes in authors (such as Govett, Lang, Panton, Pember, etc.) who teach that unfaithful saved people will be excluded from the kingdom (or in Dillow's case, excluded from reigning with Christ). Many of these men also believe in a partial rapture (Dillow does not). Faust believes in "partial immortality," that is, only some believers are raised to immortality, but unfaithful believers are raised in mortal bodies and then are slain at the judgment seat and sent to be punished in the underworld for a thousand years. He teaches that the unfaithful believers will not be raised to immortality until after the millennium.
Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin share much in common with Faust. They all hold to the same theological framework in that they divide all saved people into two distinct groups: those who are overcomers and those who are not; those who inherit the kingdom and those who do not, those who are partakers of Christ and those who are not, those who will reign with Christ and those who will not, etc. But Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin strongly reject Faust's extreme views on millennial punishment, and for good reasons.
Faust teaches that unfaithful Christians will be hurt of the second death (basing this on a misunderstanding of Revelation 2:11) and then will be cast into Hades where they will suffer torment in fire for a thousand years. He believes in degrees of suffering--some saved people will only suffer "few stripes" and other very wicked saved people will suffer "many stripes." Faust defines outer darkness as follows:
OUTER DARKNESS: This is the same as the underworld or hell. To be cast out of heaven is to be cast down to earth (Rev. 12:7-10). Therefore, to be cast out of God's kingdom on earth is to be cast down into the underworld (Matthew 5:30, 18:9, Mark 9:47). Unfaithful Christians will be temporarily banished to the underworld until after the millennium. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in this outer darkness (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). The unfaithful Christian goes to the same place as the unbeliever and hypocrite until after the millennium (The Rod, p. 408).
Faust's great error is that he believes that the great majority of true Christians will be cast into outer darkness where there will be intense punishment and suffering for a thousand years. This outer darkness will involve weeping and gnashing of teeth. [See our paper, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth--Will This Be the Fate of True Christians?] He denies that this is a "protestant purgatory." It is similar to Catholic purgatory in that it involves intense suffering and agony in flames for a significant period of time. It is different from Catholic purgatory in the following ways, as Faust himself explains:
Catholics teach that people actually earn salvation by suffering in a mythological place called purgatory. The doctrine of millennial exclusion that is taught in this book is the exact opposite. It states that salvation in eternity is a free gift through faith alone in Jesus. No sins can keep believers from experiencing eternal life on the last day (after the millennium). Millennial exclusion and chastisement is for the purpose of correction. It indicates God's justice in regard to His children. Disobedient Christians do not earn, contribute to, or keep their salvation in eternity by suffering chastisement during the millennium (The Rod, p. 408).
To require that Christians be punished for their sins, even for the so-called purpose of "correction," is a wicked insult to the perfect finished work of Christ on the cross. We must never doubt the sufficiency and the adequacy of the cross-work of Christ and the Father's total satisfaction of that work. And if we were to be punished for our sins, even for the least of our sins, 1000 years would never be sufficient to satisfy the justice of God. It would require the lake of fire forever. Indeed, even if faithful Christians (those Faust says will reign with Christ during the millennium) were to be punished for their sins, 1000 years would never be sufficient to satisfy the justice of God. How thankful we can be that Calvary's cross was sufficient to satisfy all the demands of God's justice.
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
Bold shall I stand in Thy great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved thru these I am,
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
So in Faust's theology, God corrects wicked believers by sending them to a fiery hell for 1000 years to suffer alongside of wicked unbelievers (to have their portion with unbelievers and with hypocrites!). "The unfaithful Christian goes to the same place as the unbeliever and hypocrite until after the millennium" (The Rod, p. 408, emphasis mine). The only difference he makes between the unsaved and the unfaithful Christians, is that the punishment of the unsaved is eternal and the punishment of the saved is temporary. The sufferings that unfaithful Christians will receive are not only "corrective" but "punitive" as well. On page 42 of his book he says that Christians will experience "punitive judgments" and will experience "severe punitive consequences." So, according to Faust, God will correct His unfaithful children by punishing them severely for 1000 years in the same place where the unbelievers and hypocrites are suffering.
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We will now go to the Bible to show that J.D.Faust's horrible views of millennial exclusion and millennial punishment are totally contrary to what the Scriptures actually teach.
True believers in Christ will not be judged or condemned with the world. This is because the judgment has already fallen on our Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, when He died on the cross.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). See also verse 3 (we are not condemned because Christ was condemned).
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:31-39). Note: Is there any hint in these verses that the great majority of Christians are going to suffer in hell for a thousand years? If the highest court of the universe (God's supreme court) has justified us, then what lower court could ever condemn us?
"For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we
would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we
are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world"
(1 Cor. 11:30-32). The Bible says that we will not be condemned with the
world. Faust teaches that the majority of believers will be condemned with
the world for a thousand years. "The
unfaithful Christian goes to the same place as the unbeliever and hypocrite
until after the millennium" (The Rod, p. 408, emphasis mine).
If the sins of believers should be punished by God, beyond what was done at
Calvary, then on what basis should believers only suffer in hell for a thousand
years? Why should they not suffer forever? And why should not this punishment
fall upon every believer, even for the smallest and slightest sin?
If the sins of believers should be punished by God, beyond what was done at Calvary, then on what basis should believers only suffer in hell for a thousand years? Why should they not suffer forever? And why should not this punishment fall upon every believer, even for the smallest and slightest sin?
True believers in Christ will never die.
This is in contrast to the teaching of Faust who says that the great majority of Christians will die or be slain at the judgment seat of Christ and that this state of death will continue throughout the millennium.
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:25-26).
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death" (John 8:51). Note: In the context of verses 43-47, the person who "keeps My saying" is the person who hears God's Word and believes Him. It is descriptive of all true believers (compare Rev. 22:7; John 17:6).
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Note: We've been delivered totally from the realm of death. We have passed out of death into life, but Faust claims that the majority of us will then pass back into death for a thousand years!
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). Literally this verse says, "Forever they will never ever perish!" Will they ever perish? NOT EVER! Not even in all of forever will they ever perish! And yet Faust teaches that many of Christ's sheep will perish in a state of death and be punished and tortured in hell for a thousand years.
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col. 3:3-4). Note: How could believers appear with Christ in glory if the great majority of them are destined to die and be slain at the judgment seat and then suffer in a state of death for a thousand years?
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21). Note: How could it be "gain" to die if for so many it means being slain at the judgment seat, being hurt of the second death, and suffering in the fires of Hades for a millennium?
"Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" (2 Cor. 1:10). Note: What kind of deliverance is it for God to deliver us from so great a death only to then punish us with so great a death for a thousand years? But the verse teaches that God has delivered us, He is now delivering us and He will yet deliver us in the future. Total, continual deliverance from so great a death!
"But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10). Note: Faust's "gospel" abolishes immortality and brings death to countless numbers of believers in a millennial hell.
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:52-53). If the dead are raised incorruptible (not subject to death), then how can they die at the judgment seat as Faust teaches? To get around this, Faust teaches that the unfaithful Christians are not raised incorruptible, but such a thought flatly contradicts this passage as well as many others.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). But according to Faust's so-called "gospel" you need to be sure to read the fine print at the bottom of the contract. The fine print says, "Even though you gave been given the gift of eternal life, most of you will be slain at the judgment seat, will be hurt of the second death, and will suffer the torments of Hades for a thousand years."
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:11-12). Note: The significance of this verse must not be lost. The only way a believer can die is to be divorced from life. The only way to be divorced from life is to be divorced from Jesus Christ. To die and to lose life is to lose Jesus Christ, and such is unthinkable. Even for a thousand years it is unthinkable.
Possessing Life But Not Experiencing It?
Faust has a strange understanding of eternal life. Here is how he explains it:
Every Christian has eternal life as a possession. Yet, every Christian will not experience eternal life until after the millennium. Faithful, overcoming saints will experience eternal life at the judgment seat before the millennium. Unfaithful Christians (at the judgment seat) will not experience eternal life until the last day at the Great White Throne (after the millennium). Therefore the goal of every Christian should be to win eternal life a thousand years earlier (The Rod, p. 405).
Eternal life is a present possession (1 John 5:12; John 6:47; John 5:24). To say that believers possess eternal life but do not experience or enjoy it until the judgment seat or until after the millennium is totally untrue. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Eternal life is knowing the living and eternal God in a real and personal way. To say that we cannot experience or enjoy eternal life now is to say that we cannot know God or experience a relationship with Him. Perish the thought!
Eternal life is no one less than Jesus Christ Himself (John 14:6; 1 John 5:20). He is our LIFE. To say that we cannot experience LIFE now is the same as saying that we cannot experience and enjoy Jesus Christ now. Eternal life is experienced the moment a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. "He that hath the Son hath life" and it is our privilege to experience Him and enjoy our relationship with Him, a relationship which is very real now, and which will only get better when we are with Him (1 Peter 1:8; Phil. 1:21). Faust teaches that for most believers, things will get far worse when we see Him. For most believers the "blessed hope" is not a blessed hope at all but will involves pain, anguish, death, fire, hell, weeping, gnashing of teeth, etc. But the good news, according to Faust, is that it will only last a thousand years, whereas for the unsaved it will last forever.
Believers in Christ are not appointed unto wrath
Faust teaches that unfaithful believers will partake of the wrath of God along with unbelievers, but only for a thousand years. What saith the Scriptures?
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thess. 5:9-11). Faust teaches that many believers have an appointment with wrath for a thousand years. Is there comfort in that?
"And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10). But Faust teaches that a majority of believers are not delivered from the millennial wrath to come.
The wrath of God is reserved for the "children of disobedience" (Col. 3:6) and for the "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:2-3), not for Christ's beloved body and bride.
Notice in Romans 2:6-11 there are only two groups mentioned (one of which receives wrath), not three groups. The theology of Faust demands three groups. The same is true in John 5:29. The saved have life; the unsaved have damnation. There is no such thing as a third group which has damnation for a thousand years followed by life for all eternity.
Notice also that two and only two groups are mentioned in Matthew 13:41-43 and 13:47-50. There are the unsaved who do not enter the kingdom and the saved who enter the kingdom. There is no third group mentioned made up of saved people who fail to enter the kingdom. The same is true in Matthew 25:31-46. There are the sheep who inherit the kingdom and the goats who go away into everlasting punishment, but there is no mention of sheep who fail to enter or inherit the kingdom. There is no mention of sheep who are cast into everlasting punishment for a thousand years.
All Christian believers, from the time of the rapture on, will be forever with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Faust teaches that "unfaithful Christians will be temporarily banished to the underworld (Hades) until after the millennium" (p. 408).
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:17-18). Note: If Christ promises that all the raptured saints (the entire church) will ever be with the Lord, then how can He turn around and banish the majority of Christians to be punished in Hades for 1000 years in fire? And what comfort is there in that?
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:1-3). He comes again to receive us unto Himself so that we may be where He is, and then He banishes most of us to Hades to suffer torment with weeping and gnashing of teeth? If that were the case He should have said, "Most of you should let your hearts be very troubled!"
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). But if what Faust teaches is true, Christ's desire for His believers will be thwarted because most of them will not be in the mansions prepared for them, but will be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:7-9). Today we walk by faith but we have the joyful prospect of seeing our Lord face to face, and even now it causes us to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. But according to Faust, there awaits for most of us the horrible prospect of seeing an angry Judge who will banish us to the underworld for a thousand years where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Such a prospect is certainly no cause for rejoicing, but cause for great sorrow and anguish. We should weep with sorrow unspeakable and full of anguish!
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:1-2). At the time of the rapture all believers in Christ will be like Him. We will be glorified. For God to take a majority of glorified saints, who are perfectly Christ-like, and then consign them to a thousand years of torture in the fires of Hades is unthinkable.
The Bible teaches that believers suffer in this life and they await glory in the next life.
This is in contrast to the teachings of J. D. Faust. Faust teaches that believers suffer in this life and then the majority of believers suffer the torments and torture of hell in the next life for a thousand years, and only after that do they enter into glory.
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (1 Peter 5:10).
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Pet. 4:12-13).
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17).
The believer suffers now but awaits future glorification, not future damnation: "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:29-30).
"To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints" (1 Thess. 3:13).
All believers are overcomers because our victory is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5). Note: It should be observed that there is only one passage in the New Testament which asks the question, "Who is he that overcometh?" and the question is answered in the same verse with the unequivocal declaration that every believer is an overcomer. We need to allow the Bible to define its own terms.
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). As the hymn says, "Victory in Jesus, my Saviour, forever!"
"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57). The word "victory" is related to the "overcome." Even the carnal Corinthians are told that they have been given the victory!
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:7-8). Please note that there are two and only two groups mentioned here: 1) The overcomers who inherit all things; 2) The unbelievers who go to hell. There is no third group made up of "non-overcomers who go to hell for only a thousand years." Faust's third group doesn't exist.
Faust's misunderstanding of who the overcomers are forces him, based on Revelation 2:11, to teach that there will be a large group of saved people who will be hurt of the second death.
For further study see "The Overcomer of the Apocalypse," by James E. Rosscup, Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 261-86. This is an excellent study showing that all true believers are overcomers.
All believers will reign with Christ in His kingdom.
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Note: The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom, but everyone who has been washed, sanctified and justified (declared righteous) will! God has qualified us to inherit His kingdom, not based on our merit, but based on His fathomless mercy and grace: "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 1:12).
"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Cor. 6:2). Note: Even the Corinthians, who often were troubled with carnality, are told that the saints (which includes the Corinthians, see 1 Cor. 1:2) would judge the world. If they are being tortured in the fires of the underworld, then how can they judge the world?
"Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Heb. 12:28).
"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13).
"And so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:17). If Christ is reigning over the millennial earth, then we shall be with Him, not banished from Him in some underworld torture chamber where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. 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" (Rev. 1:5-6).
"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). Note: The Bible speaks of only two resurrections, the resurrection of life for the just and the resurrection of damnation for the unjust (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Daniel 12:2; Luke 14:14). The first resurrection is the resurrection of life for the just. Those who belong to the second resurrection will also experience the second death for all of eternity. All saved people will participate in the first resurrection, although not all at the same time. For a study on the two resurrections, see The Two Resurrections.
"And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron....To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21). Note: The overcomer is promised that he will rule with Christ in the kingdom and we have already seen that all believers are overcomers.
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him" (2 Tim. 2:12). All believers suffer with Christ (John 15:18-21; Col. 1:24; 2 Cor. 1:5; etc.). For a full discussion of this point, see our discussion of Romans 8:17 in our notes on Romans 8.
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We have a number of documents which
evaluate the teachings of Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, Robert Wilkin and other men who share views
similar to J. D. Faust, though they do not embrace his views of millennial
punishment. Please consider
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The Middletown Bible Church
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