|The Truth Which Sets Free - Destiner Press|
For free online reading simply click on the Chapters listed below.
An exposure of the false teaching of Christianity concerning the reason for evil and suffering. This is one of the most challenging and deepest areas in the Word of God.
The following four booklets are now also included in the Addendum of The Truth Which Sets Free.
Chapter 14. Sheep & Goats
"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at the right hand, and the goats at the left to those at his right hand, Come O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world to those on his left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." And again Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a net which is thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them in the furnace of fire; where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:47-50; 25:31-41)
All forms of fishing involve a snare for which the quarry is quite unprepared, and none are drawn in without shock and upheaval, especially in Gods angling, for His Net pulls men right out of their element and lands them gasping and floundering. They suck in air in terror or in excitement, for as Jesus often said, the time is coming and now is, when the sorting out begins. Whatever was in the eternal plan before the Net was cast is sealed in the Spirit on the deck now, and is exactly what is revealed and confirmed at the Last Day. Any gospel that produces canned goods, fish arranged and conformed like neat sardines, packed in comfortable pews, all agreeable to each other and at peace with the world, is not the saving Net of the Fisherman. The real Word will have the wrong fish fighting against Him in dread or the right fish jumping for joy, because once the latter are reeled in from the dark depths to excruciating light they find they are not suffocating, nor dead, but unexpectedly able to breathe and allowed to live for another good fight. And that battle will surely come, not for the fish whom Satan already has securely asleep in his creel, but the live ones who are set free, because the subtle one never ceases to flick out his tasty looking lures which so closely resemble the real thing. Many of the right fish will have the scars of his angling, even struggling for years before they spit his hooks. Some are snatched from the Devils line at the last moment by the greater hand. This is the only fight the good fish cannot win, when the Master says, "You, come with Me."
Years ago when I was a student at London University a man came to my study room one night with a small do-it-yourself salvation book. He read it to me by rote and asked me to pray a prayer at the end of it. I declined, and then we talked for a few minutes before he left. At that time I disdained all things supernatural. A little later I sat on my bed in thought, considering some of the scriptures in that booklet. Then the curtains blew inward and wide open. I looked out of the window, and then went outside in curiosity, because there was not a breath of air stirring a leaf or piece of paper anywhere. I knew right away that something had happened. Firstly, I found that everything I had previously derided in the Bible was flooding into me, and that I believed it all. Secondly, my habitual use of the name of Jesus Christ in cursing was immediately and effortlessly removed from my mouth. Even to try to blaspheme actually seemed to burn my lips, and thereafter I never ceased to be amazed at how Christians, especially Roman Catholics, reveled in taking the Name of God in vain. I sought out the man who brought the booklet a few days later, and he gave me a New Testament which I devoured in a few days reading. But he could not understand what was going on. He kept asking me, "But have you prayed the prayer of commitment in the back of that booklet?" And he was visibly upset when I said, "No." He just could not grasp it. No true disciple sees the Light in exactly the same way. Some God wakes up gradually, others may be like the devout churchman Paul, struck from a horse while hounding the elect. The man in London could not understand that the Spirit proceeds where He will, and salvation is by sovereign grace.
I tell you this story merely because it was my initial experience. I put no faith in it. No individual experience is a substitute for the Word. Christians love to recount their experiences; they will devote entire services to this self-congratulatory witnessing of "what God is doing in their lives." Goats love to hear this stuff, and will write and read countless books about their favorite subject; themselves. That is not the Word. Accept no replacements. The only experience that can actually save is the experience of Jesus of Nazareth, what God accomplished in his life, his coming, his flawless life and death for his ransomed people, his resurrection on behalf of his sheep. Jesus, who was the only one with the right to bear witness to himself, made it clear that bearing witness to ones own experience or self is wrong, and even the churchmen of his day knew it well. (John 5:31; 8:13,14) The example of Christ was exceptional, being the Lord he was in authority to point to himself, but he preferred others or his works to be the proof that his was the truth and the light. (John 5:32,33; 10:25) The message of the apostle Paul was never his conversion event on the Damascus road; he excelled in the declaration of primary importance, "nothing but Christ crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2; 15:3; 2 Corinthians 10:17,18) John likewise emphasizes that the real testimony is not about self but about Christ, and that it is for this witness that the world and church will persecute the elect. (John 5:9,10; Revelation 1:9; 12:17; 19:10; 20:4) The elect should have the inherent trait of pointing away from themselves to Christ. Learn this lesson well from John the Baptist who exalted his Savior perfectly saying, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) Do not be seduced by Christian testimony-worship. Let the churchmen revel in their own faith and experiences for which they will receive applause, not harassment. Christians even think that salvation is by their faith rather than by a life of perfect obedience to God. Not so. That is the most subtle way of making faith into a work of human effort, the foundation of almost every Christian gospel. The elect know that only the sinless obedience of Christ can save, and that if they are granted the gift of true faith in Him they are accounted with his perfect life. It is not the elects inward or selfish incident which saves but the experience of Another in their place. That is precisely why John Lambert, when being burned at the stake by the church in 1538, cried out, "None but Christ, none but Christ!" Lambert had stood alone while disputing with Henry VIII and ten bishops. When he denied that the Eucharist was the literal body of Christ he received the death sentence.
Christians never give up trying to ignite a human faith, and that is exactly all that kind of faith is, a work of flesh. Like the man above, several people in his group were also relentless about my praying their specific prayer. I said, "What for?" I knew that what had happened to me and my new faith was not of my own doing, that, "No one can receive anything unless it is given to him from above." (John 3:27) What I did not see clearly then was that they were utterly stuck in salvation by an act of self, and were calling it grace. How many of those Campus Crusade people I saw "fall away." One of them asked me about this, she having been friendly with an "apostate" and terribly disturbed by her friends "fall." I said, "I think it has something to do with this election thing that these Christians are avoiding." Understatement of the year. This was a critical lesson to me, right from the beginning, that Gods Word works despite men, not because of them. "So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11) The fact that the Word produces results does not necessarily mean that the carriers are approved, not even if they perform miracles. God loves to call his elect by any means He wishes, using even the magazines of the worst sects that quote His Word, but this does not justify a person accepting the rest of that philosophy or joining such a sect. No way. Anyone can use his name, call him Lord without the vaguest understanding of that word, even cast out demons with it, and still be damned because they neither hear nor conform to his Word in themselves. (Matthew 7: 22-24) A few months later I sat with people from this same group as they "witnessed" with their little booklet, The Four Spiritual Laws (like something from Buddhism, a law of salvation by a work of self) to a student in the university dining room. It turned out that the man was an elect disciple, firmly grounded in Christ, sitting there reading a favorite book by Charles Spurgeon. He gently expounded the scriptures, showing them their error, and they could not get away from him fast enough. I was amazed and asked them what all that was about. They conferred with whispers and would not discuss it with me. Then I knew for sure that something was very wrong.
Salvation belongs solely to the Ancient of Days and His Lamb. Religious people are always tempted to "devise a plan not of His Spirit" (Isaiah 30:1), to hope in the flesh, the cornerstone of religion and church. But men cannot save others, and cannot save themselves. As He says, to put us in our rightful place, "I, I am the LORD. My glory I share with no other." He alone can call out his number so that none is missing. (Isaiah 40:25,26) "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be after me. I, even I am the LORD and besides me there is no Savior...none can deliver out of my hand; I work and who can reverse it?" (Isaiah 43:10-13) This is the only true salvation, irresistible and irreversible. Nothing else will cut it. King and Redeemer declare it over and over, "I am First and Last and there is no other escape or Rock." (Isaiah 44:6-8) "I call my elect and name and clothe them before they know me, I am the Maker of peace and calamity, light and darkness, I do all these things." (Isaiah 45:4-7) "For I am God, there is no other; I am God, there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things not yet done, Saying, My counsel shall stand, I will accomplish it all." (Isaiah 46:9-10) None can come unless given ears to hear. (Isaiah 44:18) The elect are not to contrive salvation techniques, otherwise they will produce goat-filled churches. They are to present the Word and see if any other sheep are revealed. In this matter we are subject to utter dependence on the absolute Master, waiting helplessly on Him, hoping eagerly to be astonished by things that we have no power to accomplish.
Many years later I met the man who brought that first booklet to me. He had since sold out to the church and had been ordained an Anglican priest. We discussed what it was to believe. He told me that in his opinion everyone who called themselves a believer or born again Christian, and their children, even if they did not necessarily believe what the scriptures taught, should be assumed to be saved until proven otherwise. He called this, "giving them the benefit of the doubt." This is one version of the church doctrine of assurance, which will be examined later. That got him into a terrible mess, excusing all kinds of unbelief, and his well-churched children were sad reflections of this classic Christianity. Later that week I went to hear him preach in an Anglican Church "renewal" mission, smoothly presented insipid freewill anecdotes and humanistic salesmanship, typical North American revivalism. Afterwards I sent him some publications on predestination and election, the heart of salvation by grace. As I expected, like the clergy exposed by John the Baptist and Jesus, I never heard from him again. His stand was no better than that of the popular Christian writer, J.I. Packer, professor of systematic theology at Regent College, Canada, that one can give the benefit of the doubt to Pentecostals (classic Roman Protestants) and all manner of Christians in the guise of love and unity. Then how on earth will they come right or escape? This is like saying, "They have a problem but there is no need for a prophet to be sent to them. Why not just let them continue in sin, tell them they are just mixed up and a bit different but still belong to the same flock as ours? Everything is still going to be all right in the end." They are indeed members of the same flock, and everything is not going to turn out well at all.
Scripture nowhere affords those who deliberately and continuously reject the word "the benefit of the doubt." That does not necessarily mean they are goats. They may be unregenerate sheep whose time has not yet come. A faithful disciple with whom I correspond calls such people "sheep-in-waiting," an excellent term for the sons of God yet to be revealed. They may also be regenerate sheep going through upheaval, in which case they will conquer. They may be goats destined for the Pit, in which case they will fail. That is not ours to change. But there is no scriptural doctrine of helping people by making them feel they are comfortably secure while holding views or exhibiting behavior contrary to the Word. Nowhere in the Bible do prophets and apostles justify that. It is quite true that salvation is not by our understanding or doctrinal position, or any other work of man, but solely by His grace. He saves us despite our imperfect knowledge, while we are quite dead. But I do not read anywhere in scripture of a grace that leaves the sheep in the dark, of a Spirit Who does not teach and bring His people into the light of the truth. Ignorance is one thing, and can ensnare for decades. But outright rejection, constant refusal to hear the Fathers voice, for that I cannot find a scripture anywhere which gives us the authority to say that such are saved, or tell them they are His children. When Zacchaeus changed and repented, in both word and deed, Jesus said "salvation has come to this house." (Luke 19:9) If that tax collector had said, "Ill follow but Im not giving up all my old ways and Im not accepting everything you tell me," then Jesus would never have uttered those words.
No, God does not leave his sheep untutored. Understand this, in case you are still confused about sheep and goats, that each is according to its kind. There is no "evolution" involved in spirit any more than in flesh. The sheep are the sheep; their names are in the Book from eternity. The goats are the goats; their names are not in the Book, never have been and never will be. Christmas-keepers are a classic example of this. Scripture is full of those caught up in the great world religion, those whose identities are not recorded, "every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the Book of Life." (Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:17) God is not writing and re-writing the names in the Book of Life, with an eraser at the ready in case of change. Goats do not turn into sheep (although they imitate them) and sheep do not turn into goats (although they slip and stumble). Goats are all too comfortable in the church, because the church is the house of weeds. They love religion, whether it is calm and stately or enthusiastic and noisy. Sheep are the wheat, vexed in their souls when trapped in the unbelief of religion. Luther and Tyndale did not change from goats to sheep. They changed all right, when God awakened them, but they did not change species in the eyes of God. At the appointed time they woke up to what they were, sheep snared in a herd of goats (the church). After they awoke they were not perfect, nor did they get everything right, but they did all that was given to them to do and endured to the end (which was still not enough and required Christs imputation to get them the rest of the way). But do not fool yourself that those who sound and act like goats, and keep sounding and acting like goats, are saved by the life-changing Spirit of the Living God. There is no scriptural basis for offering any such confidence to those who continue in rejecting the Shepherds Word. That is why Whitefield would not bury with any promises that churchman who died as a goat.
This is a hard verdict. The apostles had to face it when all other followers abandoned Christ over the question of election. (John 6) "Will you also leave?" Jesus asked them, well knowing they could not and would not. "To whom else will we go?" they answered, "You have the words of eternal life." This is an especially difficult decision when it is no longer the church down the road or a worthless hireling "minister" but close family under the spotlight. God was very merciful to me in this. I was allowed to accept almost immediately the lost state of my family. At the same time, I had a good friend who was insistent that his father, a man who died steeped in the Freemasons, somehow died redeemed. It was a ridiculous assumption and he knew it. This society goes back to the secret mystery cults of the first century AD. It specialized in a membership of stonemasons, and later included all craftsmen and merchants. Their favored goddesses were Isis and especially Diana of Ephesus, whose idol in the great temple wore a crown in the form of a small building. It was copies of this statue that the silversmiths were making when the apostle Paul arrived, and why they rioted at his message of one true God. If accepted, this message would have put their pagan traditions and festivals out of business. (Acts 19:24-27) A few elect, that remnant saved by grace, believed Paul, as is evidenced in his letter to them. But now we know that others were only too glad to blend the God of Paul with the old beliefs, creating a new body altogether, the Early Church. And because Freemasonry had critical origins in this key city, right alongside the Christians of Ephesus, it is not surprising that it became enormously important in building churches for Christianity. Indeed, in the Dark Ages it was very difficult for anyone to work in construction without being a member, which must have posed grave constraints on any elect artisans who would not have been able to partake in their secret handshakes and deals. They still produce many church elders, and like Christians today they revel in mixing multicultural paganism with the Lord.
My friend knew it was wrong to hope anything for his father, but how he contorted his face and soul over this! As a result he wandered ever further from the scriptures, making shipwreck of any faith at all, saying eventually that even the Bapu (Father) Mahatma Gandhi must have been saved because he was basically a good man and would have become a Christian, if he could live his life over with a "second chance." All very sad. Salvation is by grace, not works. Gandhi died a devout worshipper of the Hindu version of the mother goddess, and becoming a Christian would not have helped him anyway. Hinduism is second only to Christianity in superstition and idolatry. Gandhi was an enormously successful civil rights leader, but in spirituality his autobiography title says it all, The Story of my Experiments with Truth. Buddha had likewise "experimented" with "an eight-fold path to truth." Muhammad claimed, "The truth has been revealed to me." Jesus said, "I am the truth no one comes to the Father but through me." (John 14:6) He also said he was the Way, the Life, the Light, the Bread of Life, the Resurrection, the Shepherd; that those "shepherds" who came before him were thieves and robbers, and those to come after would be false prophets and antichrists. The last time I saw my poor friend he was in a mild form of self-imposed mental seclusion, trying to convince himself that his father must have had a "last minute" or "deathbed" repentance. There was no evidence whatsoever for this. Goats are goats, and they die as goats. That is not to say that there are not last minute reprieves in Gods predestined plan. The thief on the cross is a classic example. Awakened to Christ in his last hours he had no time to be baptized in water, no time to live a life of repentance, and Christ sealed him in Himself and promised him paradise. (Luke 23:39-43) He did not change from a goat to a sheep, he was a sheep all along. Like the laborer who arrived late in the vineyard he received full reward, even at the last moment, as it pleased God in his sovereign will. (Luke 23:39-43) God did not add him as a last minute entry in the Book of Life. He may have been revealed with moments to spare, but his name was in the Book long before the world was founded, and his salvation, as one whom the Father had given to the Son, was absolutely assured. Even in death, as He hung between heaven and hell Christ divided the two kinds, a sheep on one side and a goat on the other.
Yes, God commands his sheep to love everyone, goats and all, but never to give them a false sense of security, because that is not scriptural love. This cannot be emphasized enough. There is the Word of God that brings forth the sheep, the children of God (James 1:18; Colossians 1:5; Ephesians 1:13), and then there is the church gospel which breeds and multiplies goats by the millions. Take as an example what happened to England in the dark ages, as recorded by "The Venerable Bede, Anglo-Saxon theologian, historian and chronologist, best known for his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a source vital to the history of the conversion to Christianity of the Anglo-Saxon tribes...concerned only with ecclesiastical history...he remains an indispensable source for some of the facts and much of the feel of early Anglo-Saxon history." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Bede, Std.Ver.1999) A monk since he was 9 years old, Bede (672-735 AD) knew most of the Catholic bishops and had visited Holy Island (Lindisfarne, where those early English gospels were produced, defaced with pagan icons). For his work in spreading the "universal catholic faith" and recording the history of the "holy church" he became a "Doctor of the Church" and earned the title "Venerable." Bede recorded a critical story of the conversion of England to Christianity which was already pressing in from the south and west, from both Italy and Ireland, which were then, and still are, the two most superstitious countries in the Christian world. The south of England, under King Ealbald of Kent, was already in the clutch of the Church. King Edwin of the north made a calculated political alliance with the south by marrying Ealbalds sister. As part of the marriage deal Edwins new queen was permitted to bring with her a personal priest, Paulinus, an Italian from the Canterbury Mission. Paulinus made a presentation of the Christian faith to King Edwin in 626 AD. The king then conferred with his advisors, one of whom commented that life was fleeting, like a sparrow which had entered the great hall of the king through one door and flown out of another, and that if Christianity had more to say than their present religion about where men came from and where they were going, it was worth considering. What an opportunity that would have been for an elect apostle of Christ! Imagine if a Peter or Paul had been able to expound the Word as they did in front of kings and councils in the New Testament. Unfortunately all that Edwins court heard was the gospel of the church, and they bought it entirely, exchanging paganism for neo-paganism. Shortly after this Edwin, like Constantine long before, promised that Christianity would be sealed as the favored religion if it helped him win a critical battle against the south. He won, becoming the most powerful monarch in England, and the country was lost to the darkness of Christianity. It would be almost a thousand years before Tyndale would write about "individual faith" which was "free from the paraphernalia and repression of the Church." (Introduction to Tyndales New Testament, David Daniell, Yale Press)
It is nearly impossible to know what the elect were doing during this time in England, like the remnant that the prophet Elijah was not granted to see. I have no doubt that they were there, but history only records what the goats were doing, with king, squire, priest and vicar lording over a feudal serfdom. I have sensed what that might have been like when visiting countries in the Caribbean and South America, utterly in the grip of Christianity. Consider the great pre-Lent Rio Carnival, "The combination of this Roman Catholic festival with the exuberant celebrations of people of African ancestry has become a lively tradition among the general populace." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Brazil, Cultural Life, Std.Ver.1999) I have watched thousands of Brazilian worshippers light candles on the beach at sunrise for both Mary and Iemanja (goddess of the sea, their version of Isis), and seen Christian doorways in Peru decorated with crucifixes and sacrificed animal parts mixed together. In Haiti the standing joke is that the people are ninety per cent Christian and one hundred per cent Voodoo. In Mexico Christians and pagans alike scramble on their bleeding knees to worship the Virgin of Guadalupe at the "chief religious center of Mexico In 1754 a papal bull made the Virgin of Guadalupe the patroness and protector of New Spain Each year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to the church, the holiest in Mexico, which was given the status of a basilica by Pope Pius X in 1904." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Guadalupe, Std.Ver.1999) This pagan goddess existed long before the arrival of the Spanish priests who blended her with their own perpetual Virgin. And this we should expect because the Book of Revelation says the whole world has drunk of this cup, all nations and kings being found in bed with this universal religion. (Revelation 17:2; 18:3) The whole of Christian history is the overlaying of the first Babylon with the second Babylon, the system that the apostle Peter identified as Rome. "She who is at Babylon greets you" he wrote when he was passing on a message from someone who lived in Rome. (1 Peter 5:13) Babylon was "a code name for Rome," "a cryptic term indicating Rome, and it is the understanding utilized in Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5,6." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Roman Catholicism, History, Papacy, Std.Ver.1999) Even the church father Jerome, for all his own subtle paganism, called Rome "Babylon" because the Christianity there was so obviously corrupt. This is a twisted kind of "second coming" for the goats, a double dose of darkness. There is no question that Christians would have embraced Easter, the goddess recorded by Bede, for their spring Holy Week. There is no doubt that they would celebrate Saturns festival in December. As H.G. Wells put it, "Everywhere in the world there is ignorance and prejudice, but the greatest complex of these is the Roman Catholic Church." If you are thinking this only applies to Roman Catholicism, think again. Protestants walk in superstitious processions with crosses. Ive even seen them joining in street pageants in India, adding their cross to the parade of Hindu idols while Muslims scoffed, no different from the Roman crucifix, constantly reliving the sacrifice of Christ instead of accepting from the Word that it is over, once and for all, finished, not to be repeated. The early disciples never took part in such processions or passion plays. These activities belong to the church. Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal and a host of other Christian and pagan cults keep exactly the same festivals as Rome. Most have exactly the same church gospels.