Your Eternal Destiny is Not in Heaven

holy holy holy

There are three consecutive destinations ahead for believers in Jesus who remain faithful to Him; two temporary, and the third everlasting:

 Destination 1)  After death – what has traditionally been seen as “heaven”. This is a place and time of waiting for the first resurrection, when the dead in Christ will rise before returning to earth with Him. Jesus and the resurrected believers will be met in the air by the believers who remained alive on earth until that time. As they are caught up those latter believers are changed to take on immortality (in other words the same kind of resurrected body as Jesus and those who had died before His return)

 Destination 2)  The Messianic Kingdom on earth (the Millennium). After Jesus returns, those resurrected or “changed” will be with Him on this earth in new incorruptible and immortal bodies like His. According to Revelation this period lasts for 1000 years. This period is followed by the second resurrection, the judgement and the end of the current heavens and earth

 Destination 3)  A new heavens, new earth and the New Jerusalem will replace the current creation. The new earth will be the everlasting home of those who maintained faith in Jesus. It is also where God will make His home among His people.


 There is one ultimate destination for those who don’t faithfully believe in Jesus: the lake of fire.

 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”


God’s Israel

yeshuaReplacement theology is something that continues to raise its head, but that’s not surprising considering its roots go very deep – right back to the early days of gentile inclusion within the church. As more gentiles were added, and especially after the late first century exile of Israel from the Land, the idea of replacement theology strengthened.

Here are some of the important points related to this issue:

1) God has NOT changed the identity of Israel or shifted that identity from one group of people to another
2) God’s promises and prophecies related to Israel remain and apply to blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
3) The gentile church has not become Israel – not a “spiritual Israel” or “the new Israel”
4) We should not confuse today’s political nation of Israel with the Israel of God. God’s Israel also exists beyond the borders of the land He promised to that people, and while many inhabit the promised land, most are still scattered among the nations.
5) One day God will bring ALL of His Israel back to the land He promised to them
6) One day all of Israel will recognise their Messiah and will be ruled by Him (both son of David and Son of God)

Here are links to a few articles dealing with these points that I’ve I posted earlier:

David Pawson and Proof Texts

Not_as_BadThis morning I read a contributor on another blog saying he doesn’t accept David Pawson’s teaching. That wasn’t surprising because I know the writer is a strong Dispensationalist and Pawson’s teaching challenges those dispensationalist views. But I can’t blame the man for dismissing teaching that opposes his chosen doctrines. I had my own struggle with Pawson in the early 2000s.

I knew of Pawson’s teaching back in the 80s and I had a collection of tapes of his preaching at Vision Ministries conferences in Sydney and Melbourne. This was before I entered one of the worst periods of my spiritual life when my faith was severely challenged for around 15 years.

When I returned to faith after that “spiritual crisis”, Pawson was one of the first teachers I came across through his messages on Islam. After hearing that teaching I sought out more and was horrified by some things I heard – I had trouble accepting a lot of his teaching and more or less pushed him aside. What had happened to him over the years? Surely his preaching had changed since I’d last heard him.

But then, as I read more of scripture for myself, I started to think that Pawson might be right and my own understanding wrong.

Maybe one of the “difficulties” with Pawson is his reluctance to give chapter and verse references to provide on the spot proof for his teaching. That kind of approach doesn’t fit with the way Christians have been conditioned to rely on “texts”. His approach makes us search the scriptures if we want to check what he says.

I found one of his most helpful teachings was a sermon about the Millennium. He had a lot to say about it but gave very little “proof” from scripture, so I assumed he was going overboard with speculation – after all, the only references I knew of this period were in Rev 20 and they gave very little detail. It was only through my general bible reading that I started to come across that detail, in the prophets, and I started to see where Pawson had found the ideas he was teaching.

It was helpful because the experience gave me one of the most important lessons I’ve learned – not just about the millennium. I found how ignorant I’d been and how necessary it was to search the scriptures for myself and not to rely on other to provide “proof” for the validity of their teaching.

see here for access to Mr Pawson’s teaching:

“does david pawson use scripture”?

The following question was in the “Search Engine terms” of this blog. It seems someone was trying to clear up some concerns about David Pawson’s ministry.

“does david pawson use scripture”?

It all depends on what the searcher means by “use scripture”, but I’ll give an answer based on my assumption of what the searcher was asking.

Perhaps the question was asked because Pawson rarely gives chapter and verse references during his sermons. He expects people to do more than check a few verses cherry-picked by the preacher to see whether the preaching is scriptural or not.
He has pointed out on many occasions that chapter and verse references are NOT part of the Spirit inspired scriptures. They were added by men for convenience, and have helped change our approach to scripture. People no longer “search the scriptures” like the Bereans, they look up references and in doing so usually miss the CONTEXT of the reference.

The experience that most helped me appreciate Pawson’s approach was hearing his teaching on “The Millennium”. His teaching included a lot of what I though was speculation. He described that 1000 year period in some detail but he referred specifically only to Revelation 20, and very few of his details were mentioned in that chapter.
However, my assessment changed as bit by bit I found ALL of what he had said revealed throughout the Old Testament prophets.

Pawson could have easily peppered his sermon with chapter and verse references, but I found it all MUCH more rewarding and convincing to come across those OT prophecies and their descriptions for myself.

Does “David Pawson use scripture”? He certainly does – and effectively so, in a way that makes it much more real and meaningful to us – but only if WE make use of scripture OURSELVES as something more than a collection of proof texts.

Gospel of the Kingdom: What about Israel?

 “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”.

“…they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority”

The teaching of “replacement theology” is not new. It was stirring in the very early years of the church and it is possible that the book of Romans was written to address this issue with the climax of Paul’s argument coming in chapters 9-11 and particularly in chapter 11.

“Did God reject His people? NEVER!!!”

Romans was written to a church that had for a time been made up totally of gentile believers after all Jews had been forced out of Rome by the emperor Claudius. When Nero came to power he allowed the Jews to return, and Jewish believers had difficulty being accepted back into a church that considered their exile had been evidence that God had forsaken the Jews.

The idea that the church has replaced Israel as God’s people because of Jewish disobedience is categorically refuted by Paul in Romans. When he wrote NEVER in Romans 11, the word used was the strongest possible negative exclamation available to him in the Greek language (meganoita!).

Paul also clearly attacks the smugness of those who considered themselves as being those people who had allegedly replaced Israel in God’s affections. (“Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either”).

While Romans addresses a very early incarnation of “replacement theology” there can be no doubt that it is a belief system that refuses to go away, and it is widely held today; despite the historically unprecedented “resurrection” of a long dead nation (Israel) and its language (Hebrew) only 60 years ago.

Why should there be such contention over Israel and its continuing role in God’s purposes? Why are so many determined to dismiss Israel’s relevance despite the events of recent history in which a nation, totally dead and gone as a political entity, returned against the odds to become one of the world’s most powerful military forces; and to become a nation constantly at the centre of world attention. Has there ever been a time since 1948 when Israel, a tiny nation, has not been in the news? Would there be such a continuing obsession with a mere political entity, no matter how unlikely the renewed existence of that entity after 2000 years may seem?

In a previous post I addressed the matter of the “millennium” in Old Testament prophecies. Almost every Old Testament prophet foretold of a time when the nations would be ruled by a King from the throne of David in Zion. The issues of Israel’s continuing importance and the rule of this King are very much linked. It is therefore not surprising that “replacement theology” often goes hand in hand with “amillennialism” – a theology that denies the literal earthly reign of Christ after His return.

Israel is very much tied up with end time events and Satan knows that. He thought he could prevent fulfilment of God’s purposes by leading men to crucify Jesus – but his “victory” was short lived. Satan knows that God’s plans for THIS creation are heading towards an earthly kingdom ruled by God’s Son from the throne of David. Satan knows that the establishment of that earthly kingdom begins with him (Satan) being imprisoned and stripped of his deceptive power, and will end with him being thrown into the lake of fire. It’s not surprising that he would try to prevent the establishment of that kingdom by removing Israel. And it’s not surprising that he would cause so much confusion about the events that mark his final destruction.

I tend to think that Satan’s attempt to destroy Jesus was to prevent the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel under the rule of the Messiah. By killing the Messiah, Satan thought he could stop the kingdom. But God’s plan involved an unexpected twist. The Messiah would come twice, first as a sacrifice then secondly as King to rule over the nations from His throne in Zion.

Satan’s misunderstanding played right into God’s hands. Instead of destroying God’s plans, the death of Jesus FULFILLED them. Satan knows he can no longer prevent God’s Kingdom by destroying the King, so his attention becomes focused on the nation from which the King will rule over the earth.

By turning the church against Israel Satan is trying to kill two birds with one stone. It turns the church away from God’s purposes while trying to rid the world of Israel. The final part of that attempt will come when the beast (Antichrist) launches a massive “final solution” to rid the world of both church and Israel.

Paul made it clear that Israel has not been replaced by anyone. There are many statements in Romans 11 that should dismiss any doubt about Israel’s continued importance to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: the God of Israel.

But true to form, one of the clearest promises made specifically to Israel about its ongoing part in God’s purposes is most often quoted and applied to the church in a most inappropriate way.

“…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”.

Instead of applying this to Israel, it is usually applied to disobedient “Christians” who still SEEM to be displaying Spiritual gifts. Implying that disobedient Christians can’t lose what they have been given – while Israel is portrayed as having lost their inheritance because of their disobedience. What a complete twisting of the context and the intended application of that promise regarding God’s relationship with Israel!

So what are we to do with Israel? Should Christians throw unconditional support behind the current political incarnation that goes by that name? Is that what God would have us do? Or does God require that we expect the same standard of righteousness that HE demands from HIS Israel?

It is clearly the latter – and the only way they can attain that standard of righteousness is through faith in His Son, their Messiah.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” Rom 11:25-27

(This article originally posted on my blospot site 20 October 09)

The Millennium: Failed Prophecies and Lost Faith

 For most of my Christian life “The Millennium” was a mysterious 1000 year period beginning after the Great Tribulation. The religious tradition to which I belonged paid lip-service to the reality of a future “millennium”, but never offered any teaching about it. Therefore the only thing I knew was what I read in Revelation and that didn’t say very much. Even the word “millennium” seemed to take on a mystical character that took it outside the realm of concrete reality.

My first informed introduction to the topic came a few years ago through teaching by David Pawson. At first I thought that most of what he was saying was based on speculation like the majority of popular teaching on end times. But if that was the case it would be out of character for him. He always makes a strong issue out of sticking with the clearest and simplest meaning of the biblical text. Was he abandoning this approach while tackling this topic?

Pawson rarely gives convenient chapter and verse bible references for his hearers to “look up”. He encourages the practice of searching the scriptures rather than checking references; and over time I started to find confirmation of his teaching as I read through the Old Testament prophets. I was surprised how much of their writings applied to the promise of an earthly rule by Israel’s Messiah.

Recently I came across a former believer (and now professing atheist) who claimed that Jesus had failed to fulfil many OT Messianic prophesies. It seemed that this understanding might have played a part in him losing his faith. An honest assessment of his view would see the legitimacy of his conclusion, but ONLY on the condition that Jesus’ time on this earth was over and that there was no further opportunity for the prophecies to be fulfilled.

Most Christians look forward to a “second-coming” of Jesus, but how many have given any thought to WHY He will return to earth? Why is it necessary? What will it achieve that could not be achieved by him remaining in heaven? Is He returning merely to bring everything to an immediate end prior to judgement? If that is the case, then what about those unfulfilled Messianic prophecies? Has God given up on them? Was He lying when He gave those words to the prophets? Or are those events still pending?

Many try to spiritualise John’s prophecy about a 1000 year period in which Jesus rules with His saints. But is it merely coincidence that John describes the very same situation that almost all of the Old Testament prophets predicted? If the prophets’ predictions were valid (which believers MUST accept if we deem that they were prophetic messages from God) then could those prophets have been predicting the very same thing that John foresaw? If so, the events they describe in their prophecies will give us a picture of life during the millennium period, filling in the detail missing from John’s account in Revelation. And the former believer’s claim of failed Messianic prophecies would be clearly premature. There is still plenty of time for the Lord to fulfil His prophesied Messianic promises.

(This article originally posted on my blogspot site on  23 Sept 2009)