Thursday, January 12, 2012

John MacArthur Believes In Only ONE Salvation for Both Jew and Gentile Even During the Tribulation

Contrary to what some salty  Reformer accuses MacArthur of teaching, that is, two ways of salvation, let's be clear about a few things.

MacArthur has systematically, historically, consistently, and biblically, ever taught One Gospel for all people for all time, that is, faith in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Period. There's a little book he wrote some years ago that may sound familiar, "The Gospel According to Jesus", to be followed up by "The Gospel According to the Apostles". Besides this little detail, there are hundreds of times where MacArthur proclaims that same Gospel. One was at the Truth Matters Conference I attended in September 2011 where he talked greatly about the Gospel. Here he talks about the Gospel which is the same for both Jew and Gentile: trusting in the Person and finished work of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Let's also be clear about something else. When Romans 11 says all of Israel will be saved, this is true. After the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, it will be Israel's turn. All the elect of Israel will be saved. All believing Israel will be saved. How? By faith in the Person and work of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. This is what MacArthur clearly states even  in the quotes salty thinks he's using against MacArthur. I have posted lengthy quotes from MacArthur on this very issue below.

Scripture often talks about salvation for people in the future, simply because there are events that haven't happened just yet, and also because they haven't been born yet. So salvation yes, is for today for those who are alive, but God's plan for Israel at large as a nation, has yet to come to pass--its a PROPHECY.

Salty Reformer says this:

"Since before the canon of Scripture was closed, it has been a clear message from God, to man, that today, the present moment, is the day of salvation, and there is no later time promised. You may die tonight. If that’s the case, it’s too late for repentance. Scripture is clear." He goes on and suggests MacArthur says otherwise. Let's take a look at what MacArthur has historically taught: :

"I believe there is a second thing you can't do with the Sermon on the Mount and that is to push it into some prophetic tomorrow. I don't think Jesus is suggesting that this is for some far future era. I think He is demanding a decision now, in this time. I believe there are many people who admire the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount, that's not what Jesus wanted. And I believe there are many people who take the characteristics of the Sermon on the Mount and its demands and push them off to the future kingdom, I don't think that's what Jesus wanted either. What Jesus demanded was a choice, an act, an ultimate decision to be made at that time and at that moment on the basis of what He had just said. A deliberate choice has to be made. Christ came to bring a kingdom, He was a King, He was THE King, He was THE King of Kings. And He came with a kingdom that was unique and special and separate and different from all the kingdoms of the world. And men would not understand His kingdom unless He articulated its principles and so in this masterful sermon He has articulated the principles of living in His kingdom."

Yet there is also a future for the salvation of the Jews in great numbers as Romans 11 clearly states, which is AFTER the fullness of the Gentile number. God's covenant will be fulfilled.

And to be clear, MacArthur affirms that salvation of souls during the Tribulation will happen because of the Holy Spirit's work, just as now. He affirms there is no salvation without the person and work of the Holy Spirit:


Please notice in verse 7, the one who restrains is taken out of the way...just a footnote, that does not mean He is removed from the world. It doesn't mean that. That doesn't mean that He's taken into heaven. Listen, in the first place, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, right? So He has to be everywhere. In the second place, people are going to be saved during this time and nobody is saved who isn't begotten again by the Spirit. So the idea that the Holy Spirit leaves is not true. What happens is the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way in terms of blocking Satan, in terms of His restraining ministry. So the Holy Spirit is simply taken out of the way as a restrainer, removed as a roadblock, not removed from the world or no one could be saved and God wouldn't be effecting His purposes and His plans. So we don't want to make too much out of that. It is the Holy Spirit, He is not removed from the world, or there could be no evangelization by the 144 thousand, there could be no comprehension of the gospel because the Spirit has to quicken the mind, there could be no conversion because He alone is the one who gives eternal life, so He has to be here doing His work, He just stops the restraining part of it.

End quote. [Emphasis, mine]

 ~John MacArthur on 2Thes. 2:7 

Excerpts from "Israel In the Tribulation" where  John MacArthur states:


Do you want to know the real regathering the prophets spoke about? That's it. It's the regathering for the kingdom. What we're seeing today is only the preliminary. But when Christ returns and sends His angels, He gathers Israel and brings them in and then they enter into the kingdom. Now, I do believe that many Jews will be saved during the tribulation, but I also believe there's going to be a great sweeping conversion at this time, because it says they in Zechariah, "shall look on him," what, "whom they have pierced."
And I believe there will be Jews being saved during the tribulation. Of course, where else would you get the 144,000 evangelists, 12,000 from every tribe? But I think God's going to do some regathering right at the moment of the kingdom. There are many passages that would lend themselves to support that particular view and let me suggest a couple of them....
Revelation 12, they're persecuted. Revelation 13, they're persecuted. There's coming chastisement on the whole nation of Israel. God's bringing them back. You see friends, sin has to be dealt with prior to salvation. And the chastisement of the Lord is going to be instrumental in the salvation of Israel. And so the time of the tribulation will be a time of purging. But you know something, even when all of Israel is saved, according to Romans 11, "so all of Israel shall be saved," even among that all there are going to be some rebels that aren't going to be saved.
The all means the nation in general. There'll be a few exceptions. And God is going to judge the severely according to Ezekiel Chapter 20. God's judgment is severe against the rebels. These are fearful words. Listen to them. "As I live saith the Lord," verse 33 of Ezekiel 20, "surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with fury poured out will I rule over you. And I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries in which you are scattered with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with fury poured out. I'll bring you into the wilderness of the peoples and there will I enter into judgment with you face to face." Verse 37, "I'll cause you to pass unto the rod and I'll bring into the bond of the covenant. And I will purge out from among you the rebels and them that transgress against me." Pretty clear statement.
God says in the regathering of Israel, there's going to be some purging too. And so there's a sense of double chastisement on Israel. There is the chastisement of the whole nation as they suffer during the tribulation for the centuries of rejection of their Messiah. And then there is the specific and eternal judgment against the rebels that takes place.

Romans 11, verses 23-29 describes the salvation of Israel. And so I believe that during the tribulation Jews will be saved, but then at the end when Christ comes the whole nation apart from the rebels is going to turn to Him who is their Messiah.
Lastly, and I close with this, the commission of Israel. You say, well, you know, John the Jews that are going to get saved during that tribulation what are they going to be doing? Well, they're going to have a lot to do, believe me. Let me show you the commission of Israel in the tribulation. Revelation 7:3, here's the 144,000. Now what are they going to do? Well, verse 3, "Hurt not the earth, neither the see, nor the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."
You say what are they going to do John? They're going to serve the Lord. They're going to serve Him during the tribulation. In what way? I believe in evangelism. I believe they're going to be commissioned to reach the world with the gospel of the kingdom. You say why? Well, just after he lists all of them in verse 8, look at the results in verse 9. "After this I beheld and lo a great multitude which no man could number of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues stood before the throne and before the lamb clothed with white robes and palms in their hands and cried to the loud voice saying salvation to our God sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb."
You say who is that group? That's all of the Gentiles that came to Christ in response to the ministry of those Jews. I believe God's going to set loose 144,000 evangelists. I dare say beloved if we had 144,000 spirit filled evangelists in our world today, we'd turn the place inside out easily in three and a half years.
God's going to mark them out, seal them, protection. That means protection. So they can't be harmed by the system. So they can't be killed. The cream of the crop. I know that the Seventh Day Adventists say the 144,000 pertains to their fellowship and I know that the Jehovah Witnesses say the same thing and I know the strange esoteric cult called the Flying Roll, whatever that is, says it's them, it's 144,000 rolls, flying rolls. Some people say it's the church. It can't be church, we're already in heaven. It's the Jews.
Beloved all this and a lot to say that the tribulation is the time for Israel. The tribulation spotlights Israel, covenants they're collecting, their chastisement, their comfort, those other features that we mentioned. And you know something, you say well, John, what we're seeing today then isn't the final regathering. No, but I'll say something, beloved, it sure is the preliminary to the final.
End quote.

I would suggest Salty Reformer do more homework instead of making slanderous and hateful remarks that are nothing but Straw Man arguments. Why not give MacArthur the same tolerance he gives Piper who clearly promotes a false gospel via Federal Vision's Doug Wilson and Rick Warren the Pelagian. Moreover, for Salty to be consistent, he should reject Martin Luther who himself said in his Larger Catechism:

Lrg. Cat.24] Therefore state it most simply thus, that the power, work, profit, fruit, and end of Baptism is this, namely,TO SAVE. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words declare, that he be SAVED. Luther’s LC 25] But to be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil, and to enter into the kingdom of Christ, and to live with Him forever.

LLC 27] But where the name of God is, there must be also life and salvation, that it may indeed be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water; LLC #27 for by the Word such power is imparted to Baptism that it is a laver of regeneration, as St. Paul also calls it, Titus 3, 5.

Luther LC 79] Repentance, therefore, is nothing else than a return and approach to Baptism, that we repeat and practise what we began before, but abandoned.

Luther’s Lrg. Cat. 83] Thus it appears what a great, excellent thing Baptism is, which delivers us from the jaws of the devil and makes us God's own, suppresses and takes away sin, and then daily strengthens the new man; and is and remains ever efficacious until we pass from this estate of misery to eternal glory.

Luther’s Sacrament of the Alter #23  For by Baptism we are first born anew;

RCC #1213 Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word."

Moreover, "The Luthern Witness", which is the official periodical of the LCMS states:

"Lutherans believe that death to sin and birth to life take place in Baptism. We believe that what Baptism symbolizes actually happens. We are in the minority of Christendom that believes in infant faith, so infant Baptism is our ideal." –p. 8 The Luthern Witness, Jan. 2006

"We are baptized only once, but every day by faith we relive our Baptism by dying to sin and being reborn as God’s children. Baptism sets the boundaries in which our faith lives."-- THE LUTHERAN WITNESS 2006

Contrary to Scripture which states that baptism (the very term means "immersion"--sprinkling is NOT biblical) is for Believers:

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Act 2:41  So  THOSE WHO RECEIVED HIS WORD were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Act 8:12  But when  THEY BELIEVED Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Act 10:47  "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT  just as we have?" 48  And he [Peter] commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. 

So, let's see Salty Reformer reject Luther who clearly taught baptismal regeneration (he had a  Bible he studied, so he was no novice), and Piper (a pastor of 30 years) who continually promotes anti-Justification by Faith Alone teachers.


Steve Lumbley said...


I do not wish to be so presumptuous as to answer for our salty friend but for me a dilemma remains. MacArthur rightly affirms that the salvation of Jews during the tribulation comes by faith in Christ. The question though is by what means are they brought to faith if the church is removed from the earth?

Dispensationalism is by its very nature a dual covenant belief system. One plan for the church and another for the Jews (Israel). Where men like MacArthur stray into the territory of another gospel is in the idea that somehow 144,000 Jews are suddenly going to come to faith in Christ during the tribulation by some means other than the hearing of the gospel. The foolishness of preaching is the method by which God has chosen to save the elect (1Cor 1:21). Furthermore, Paul asks specifically of his Jewish brethren, how can they call on him in whom they have not believed, and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:12-14) With the church gone who shall be sent to preach?

So what we have is God using the method of preaching to save both Jew and gentile during the “church age”. After the church is removed He switches to some other method to save 144,000 Jews. Then they resume the original method, preaching to gospel, to bring salvation to the gentile world during the tribulation. This makes sense to you?

The result of this dual covenant idea, whether you want to admit it or not, is that it leaves the impression that we really don’t need to worry about evangelizing Jewish people today because God has other plans for them. Rabid dispensationalists like John Hagee have said as much. We are therefore relieved of our responsibility in the great commission to take the gospel into the whole world beginning with Judea. To my way of thinking this is indeed one gospel for us and ‘another gospel’ for the Jews.

Denise said...

See the problem Steve is that there ARE two covenants. The New Covenant is to be IN Christ by His blood and consists only of believers (Jew and Gentile).

MacArthur does not teach two ways. If you read the article, I demonstrated how he states that people are saved during the Tribulation by the preaching of the Gospel and the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

Please, stop accusing him of something that isn't true.MacArthur has only ever preached about salvation for all people by faith in Christ alone. Clearly you haven't taken the time to either read this article or look up the links I provided.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. Thank you.

Denise said...

Matt, you are very welcome. May the Lord be glorified. Thank you for stopping by.