HOW NOT TO GAIN ENTRANCE THROUGH HEAVEN’S GATES?

Jan van der Watt (Sermon on ekerk 26/9/2022

A Wrong Eschatology Births a Wrong Soteriology

It is astonishing to see how mainline evangelists in Protestant churches are advocating Roman Catholic doctrines such as salvation by works in some of the most subtle ways imaginable.

I have always maintained that a wrong view of biblical eschatology leads to a wrong gospel. Bear with me and I will explain this dangerous phenomenon considering a sermon Jan van der Watt delivered on ekerk on 26th September 2022. But first, we need to review ekerk’s stance on some of the most important eschatological events described in the Bible.

  • They reject a Pretribulation Rapture.
  • They believe that the 12 tribes of Israel no longer exist
  • They believe that all the promises made to Israel have been transferred to the church.
  • They believe that the Kingdom of God is already here and now on earth and that they are advancing it through their good works and deeds. In other words, the 1000 reign of Christ on earth has been running since His First Advent.
  • The result of their above view of God’s Kingdom led to their belief that the book of Revelation is mainly a series of allegories, hyperbols, or symbols.
    • They believe that the 144 000 in Revelation 14 and the multitude from “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” in verse 6 are the same group of people.
    • They believe that there is only one future resurrection of both believers and unbelievers at Christ’s Second Coming.

    What Happens when all Peoples (Believers, and Unbelievers) Arrive at Heaven’s Gates?

    Jan-van-der-Watt
    Jan van der Watt

    Jan van der Watt begins his sermon with a little anecdote that, according to his liking, is rather funny. Many people, he says, want to know what will happen when they arrive at heaven’s gates. The most common story relates to Peter sitting at heaven’s gates weighing the good and bad works of those who seek to enter heaven.

    Even Augustine, he says, when he read the verse, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal,” was somewhat puzzled. (Matthew 6:20). He was dumbfounded because he argued that his little donkey could hardly carry all his treasures from one town to another, let alone from earth into heaven.

    So, Augustine made a heavenly plan. He distributed his treasures among every individual he met and asked them to leave it with Peter when they arrived at heaven’s gates so that when he arrived there all his treasures could be returned to him just before he entered heaven.

    To substantiate his claim that works play a major role in salvation and is the deciding factor of who will enter heaven or not, he jumps right into Revelation 20 with emphasis on verse 13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” 

    Here already his distorted view of the millennium begins to play havoc with his assertion that works finally determine whether heaven’s gates will be opened to you or not. Like Stephan Joubert, van der Watt believes that the Millennium has been introduced on earth since Jesus Christ’s first coming and will reach its zenith at his Second Coming. Hence their belief that the Kingdom of God is already here and now on earth and that the 2000 years that have elapsed is merely an allegory of the Millennium (1000 years of peace on earth).

    Is their eisegesis biblical? Hardly! Indeed, they desperately need to repent if they fear God’s indictment in Revelation 22, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:19).

    Many earlier translations of Revelation 22:18-19 (RSV, NASB, NIV, ESV, Holman Christian Standard), render it as“his part or share shall be taken away from the Tree of Life” (and not The Book of Life). When Erasmus (a Roman Catholic priest) translated these verses, he used the Textus Receptus. The latter refers to all printed editions of the Greek New Testament from Erasmus’ Novum Instrumentum Omne (1516) to the 1633 Elzevir edition. It became the most commonly used text type for Protestant denominations.[1]

    The manuscript Codex 1r used by Desiderius Erasmus (a Roman Catholic priest) to produce his Greek New Testament is missing the last six verses of Revelation chapter twenty-two. It is thought that Erasmus took the Latin Vulgate and retranslated these verses back into Greek. In fact, he used the Textus Receptus, and unfortunately, he translated the original Greek word “ligno” (a tree) into “libro” (a book).

    Many scholarly theses have been written to certify either one or the other, depending on the author’s own preference. However, I don’t think we need to resort to another complex academic essay and simply use our common sense.

    Assuming that Erasmus’ translation, of “Book of Life,” is correct, it poses many problems concerning the doctrine of eternal security (John 10:28), for it decidedly says that the share (part) of those who take away from God’s Word, will be taken away from the Book of Life. It cannot be a reference to unbelievers because God in his awesome omniscience and foreknowledge knew, even before the foundation of the world who would respond to his Gospel call and be saved, and accordingly never wrote their names in the Book of Life.

    Only believers’ names are written in the Book of Life. (Revelation 17:8). One of the opinions taken to harmonize this verse with the doctrine of eternal security, enunciated in many other parts of Scripture, is to claim that only the believers’ part (share, inheritance) in God’s Kingdom will be taken away from them whilst their salvation itself remains intact.

    The author of this article advocated this view but has since changed his mind. He tried to verify his view with 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, which cannot hold water because it speaks about the works of the saints at the Bema Throne Judgment (after the Pretribulation Rapture) and not the White Throne judgment in the Book of Revelation.

    Moreover, the terrible indictment in Revelation 22:19 has more to do with one’s attitude or approach to God’s Word and not works per se. Bear in mind that God’s Word is forever firmly established in heaven (Psalm 119:89); it endures forever (1Peter 1:25), and it will not pass away though heaven and earth will pass away. (Mark 13:31).

    The most dangerous approach so many have embraced in their precious bosoms for centuries is that the Book of Revelation is merely a series of symbols or allegories, and not a rigid set of prophecies foretelling the future (end times). The Kingdom-Now protagonists who believe that they are ushering in the Kingdom of God on earth through their service and sacrifices, which is purely a Theosophical approach (aka Alice Bailey), must of necessity take away (rip to shreds) God’s intended purpose with his Book of Revelation and replace it with an imaginary array of stories. A case in point, is Stephan Joubert’s ungodly approach to Revelation, in his own words:

    “You need an imaginary world. Don’t you think that if you start reading the book of Revelation, not as the book of little prophecies that you can pick out with a little tweezer, but as the story that will open up your imagination, what will happen? We need imagination if we want to understand. Use it well. God gave it to you.”

    His derisive words that Revelation is just a “book of little prophecies which you can pick out with a little tweezer” is a perfect example of what it means to take away or add to the Book of Revelation. Instead of revering with fearful and trembling awe God’s Word that is forever settled in heaven, he scornfully boasts that he and his ekerk are bringing heaven down to earth.

    We are Living Heaven Back to Earth Every Day.

    Surely, you must be as blind as a bat not to see that he and his friends at ekerk are leisurely adding to and taking away from the Book of Revelation. Furthermore, having mentioned that Revelation 22:19 refers to “The tree of life” and not the “Book of life,” one can only deduce that they are playing with fire and are on the brink of having their part (share) in the “Tree of Life” taken away permanently.

    Everyone has a predetermined or prearranged part of and can share in the “Tree of Life” so long as God’s longsuffering allows it (2 Peter 3:9). The “Tree of Life” stood next to the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God never barred Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life. They could eat from it whenever they wanted. Sadly, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (Genesis 3:6), at the bidding and deception of Satan, stunned them and they ate from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of the Tree of Life.

    Had Adam and Eve not been barred from the Garden of Eden, and Cherubim placed at the east of the garden with a flaming sword that turned every way, to keep them away from The tree of Life, they would have lived eternally in a state of perpetual sin and separation from God. (Genesis 3:24).

    Glory be to God who sent his Son to become a curse on our behalf and died on a cursed tree (Galatians 3:13) so that the curse and wrath of God that fell on all mankind due to Adam and Eve’s original sin and everyone’s own sins, could be placed on Him. With his “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” He uprooted the tree of worldly wisdom (Sophia) and knowledge of good and evil and supplanted it with God’s way to the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 2:7).

    As God’s blameless Lamb, He took upon Himself the wrath and righteous judgments of God for our sins, and was smitten to death with a single blow of his Father (Isaiah 53:5). He literally uprooted the tree of wisdom and knowledge of good and evil and opened the way for those who believe in Him to the Tree of Life that shall be in his New Jerusalem. (Revelation 22:2, 14). ‘Oh, that’s just a symbol of what we are doing right now to bring back heaven on earth through our service and sacrifices” is the new symphony that is reverberating throughout ekerk’s corridors and the world.

    Do you understand why it is so inescapably dangerous to mess with God’s eternal Word and flippantly sweep it under the carpet in favour of a more amiable imaginary and “itching ears” gospel that causes one to dream in symbols and allegories of a better world or, as Johan Geyser (of the Mosaïek Kerk) once said in an intoxicated state of mindlessness, wrought by an equally mindless contemplative, apophatic meditative spirituality, “a preferable future.”

    Preferable to what? Desirable, superior, nicer, better than what? Well, determining the “what” is really not that difficult. You only need to recap what Stephan Joubert has said about the Book of Revelation on several occasions, pinpointing it not as a book of little prophecies which you can pick out with a little tweezer, but as a book to open your imagination. In what way has it opened Stephan Joubert and his ekerk followers’ imagination? – by adding the abominable lie that they are living back from heaven to earth every day.

    As a matter of interest, Erasmus could easily have viewed the expression “taken away from the Book of Life” as a loss of eternal life because Roman Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of eternal security. Consequently, it would not have bothered him at the very least.

    Jan van der Watt’s Imaginary Book of Revelation

    In stark contrast, Jan van der Watt asserts that the entire world of believers and non-believers is going to appear before God at his White Throne Judgment seat, at which time “the books” will be opened, including another book called the “Book of Life.” “The books” (plural) are clearly something different in nature and content from “The Book of Life” (singular).

    The ones whose works will be judged are those whose names are written in “the books” and NOT in the “Book of Life.” They are also called the dead which does not merely refer to physical death but spiritual death, or the second death. We have already seen from Revelation 17:8 that the names written in “the books” had not been included in the “Book of Life” because God knew before the foundation of the world that they would worship Satan through the Antichrist and live the spirit of the Antichrist back to earth from the bottomless pit every day of their lives. (Revelation 14:8-10).

    Good Works Versus Not So Good Works

    After having read Revelation 20:12, Jan van der Watt unashamedly says in the next section of his video that those who performed good works go to heaven and those whose works are not so good, will never make it to heaven, and consequently will be cast into hell.

    His unbiblical semantics regarding the slight difference between “good works” and “not-so-good works” reminds one of the Islamic last-day judgment procedures. According to the Quran and traditions of the Infallibles, it can be concluded that in Qiyamat, a scale would be established in order to weigh the good and bad deeds of people. The weighing of deeds is an Islamic principle and it is a part of accounting.  

    Jan van der Watt’s assumptions can only be called lies. (John 8:44). The rest of Chapter 12 and the next chapter 13 do not at the very least affirm that the do-goody-goodies go to heaven and the not-so-do-goody-goodies will go to hell. Indeed, the last verse of chapter 15 unmistakably says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

    It is vitally important to understand that the works that will be judged are found written in “the books” and not The Book of Life.” Why would God want to judge the works of those whose names are written in The Book of Life to determine who will go to heaven or not when they are already saved?

    Nevertheless, according to Jan van der Watt the works of those whose names are written in “the books” and not in the “Book of Life” will still have a chance to go to heaven, contingent on whether their works were good enough so that they may enter heaven.

    Their works, as stated before, will be judged and not those whose names are written in The Book of Life. Moreover, at the White Throne judgment, the ones whose names are written in the books will not have a second chance to have their names transferred to the Book of Life. Therefore, the judgment of their works means something else, as we shall see later, and not as van der Watt suggests, to distinguish between good works and not-so-good works to determine their destination.

    Why are both “the books” and “The Book of Life” opened at the White Throne Judgment seat? The answer is quite simple. Firstly, it is to show them that their names do not appear in The Book of Life. Then, in utter dismay and surprise, they will ask Him. But Jesus, did we not “Speak Jesus” just about every day of our lives? “Why aren’t our names written in ‘The Book of Life?’ Surely “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    Then Jesus, with “the books,” opened will show them every single work they had done throughout their lives, supposing that their good works would grant them free entrance into heaven. And He will say to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” by mutilating and twisting my Word. (Mattew 7:21-23). Their entire premise for their salvation is built on the things they had done, thinking that it would please the Lord because it was always done in his Name, and not on His finished work on the cross. This, in a nutshell, is their iniquity. Their works, in other words, will be used as a witness against them.

    Eschatological Hick Cups

    The heading sounds a bit off-beat, but most so-called Christians like to dance to the tune of false prophets in these last days. Very few people believe in a Pretribulation Rapture, the seven-year tribulation (Jacob’s Trouble), a future Millennium of peace on earth, and Israel’s full restoration to her promised land. Henceforth, they misinterpret passages in Scripture that apply to Israel (and NOT the church) with so much gusto that even God must be surprised because they do not believe that every promise of God is yeah and amen in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:20).

    Jan van der Watt seems to be doing exactly just that when he uses Matthew 25:31-46 to substantiate his work’s salvation doctrine. The key passage in this portion of Scripture is, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” “My brethren” can only refer to a third party separate from the sheep (the saved) and the goats (the unsaved). Who might they be?

    Jesus warned of a coming Holocaust in the future that would surpass all other Holocausts since the beginning up to this time in its venomous hatred of his brethren, the Jews, its cruelty, and its hellish brutality during the second 3 ½ years of the seven-year tribulation on earth when the Antichrist will sit as God in the holiest of the third temple in Jerusalem.

    The terrible reign of the Antichrist during the seven-year tribulation will be so severe that those who refuse to take his mark, of whom many will be Jews, will never be able to buy and sell domestic necessities, clothes, food, and drink. It will be totally cut off from them. It will also be very dangerous to assist those believing Jews and supply them with food, water, clothes, and a place to stay. In fact, many Gentile believers who do so will risk their own lives and many will be beheaded. It is to these believers  to whom Jesus will say,

    “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:33-40).

    Ekerk’s concept that the poor, the destitute, and the marginalized are Jesus in disguise (a lie Mother Teresa used to validate her good works among the poor in Calcutta, India), is one of the pillars whereupon their works-salvation stands. However, it is a pillar that has no biblical support whatsoever. Nonetheless, van der Watt’s misinterpretation of Matthew 25:31-46 does not seem to disturb him one little bit. He glibly says,

    “It may be a surprise to you concerning the things that are going to happen at the last judgment, that the Lord is going to open books to see what people have done. In Matthew, we read that He says, “I am going to look what you have done, and if you failed to do what my will asks you to do, to help other people, and all the other things of which we read, then you won’t be allowed in the Kingdom of heaven.”

    Well, dear Professor Jan van der Watt. That is NOT what Jesus told one of the men who was crucified with Him and said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus assured him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43).

    The poor man had never done a single good work in his entire life after he had been redeemed and yet he is now in heaven with Jesus Christ, unless his good works which he had done as an unbeliever will be taken into account and open heaven’s gates for him to enter. Yep, unbelievers are also capable of doing good work. A good example is Cornelius, “A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people and prayed to God alway.” (Acts 10:2).

    And then, to pacify those who may think he is promoting a works’ salvation gospel, Jan van der Watt says with composure,

    You may say, wait, wait, wait a wee bit. Are you telling us that we are going to be judged according to our works? Our pastors have told us since our childhood that we are saved by our faith. Indeed, this is ALSO written in the Bible. (DTW comment: van der Watt says this as if salvation proper is a secondary element next to good works).

    It is written that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has eternal life. It appears in many places. The gospel of John describes faith as an important element. (DTW comment: Note, it is an “important element” and NOT the “only element). How then must we understand that in one place faith is emphasized and in another deeds? The biggest problem, however, is that there are many talkers.

    For example, in 1 John 1 from verses 5 and 6 it says God is light and if people say they are in the light; in other words, they talk and say: “I believe;” “I am part of God’s family;” “I belong to God.” If they talk like this, but their walk — the word used here means our general actions in the world — then their walk, behaviour in the world is in darkness, they become liars. You cannot say one thing and do the opposite. With God it is not so much about what you say but what your life looks like, i.e. what you do. (DTW comment: Claiming that good deeds will be the final litmus test to determine whether someone goes to heaven or not does not make you a walker or talker in the light but a fiend of darkness).

    Indeed, God commanded us to be holy for He is holy (1 Peter 1:16) and that we should walk as He had walked (1 John 2:6). However, contradictory statements that emerge from a wrong interpretation of Scripture cannot please God. You cannot say that faith alone in Jesus Christ grants a sinner eternal life and in the next breath just about deny Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross by saying that good works grant you entrance into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    Considering the deceitfulness of man’s heart (Jeremiah 17:9), one of the easiest things for him to do, is to boast, as ekerk has been doing for years on end. One of Stephan Joubert’s most precious immodesties is,

    “We are full-time stewards of God’s gifts which we have freely received. Freely give it away then! No, don’t just give stuff away, give yourself to others. Build relationships with those you serve. Become their friends. Remember: every person that you serve turns into an immediate friend of Jesus. Go one step further: see him or her as Jesus in disguise.”

    Really? The ones who supposedly are Jesus in disguise become a friend of Jesus the moment you become their friend.? So, Jesus who is disguised (hidden) in people becomes a friend of Himself as soon as you give them something. Surely, it sounds just like Leonard Sweet’s “Nudge” evangelization trick.[2]

    What happened to the cross of Christ? Not even the cross can magically turn you into a friend of Jesus unless you realize that you are a lost sinner and desperately need Him to be your Saviour; the One who cried out with a loud voice “IT IS FINISHED” (TETELESTAI: PAID IN FULL) and that your best works to supposedly gain entrance into heaven are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

    Double Talk and Double Walk

    Doublemindedness

    God hates double-talking and double-walking. James, the brother of Jesus, warns that a double-minded person is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8). Bear this in mind while we examine what Jan van der Watt said about James’ exposition on faith and works. James, who warned against doublemindedness would never have pitted faith and works against each other. Indeed, such a thing would have made him guilty of his own indictment that doublemindedness leads to instability in one’s walk with God. (Ephesians 4:14).

    The epistle of James has been a bone of contention for many years. Martin Luther called it the epistle of straw.

    St. James’s epistle is really a right strawy epistle, compared to these others [Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Peter, and 1 John], for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it.”[3]

    His “strawy” accusation is, of course, a slant towards Paul’s explanation of the Bema throne judgment subsequent to the Pretribulation Rapture in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, and probably hints at James being saved despite his works that will go up in flames. Be that as it may, Martin Luther will have a lot of explaining to do when God will judge him for taking away from his Word (Revelation 22:18-19), while Paul himself wrote,

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God (including James), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

    The “good works” spoken of in the above passage cannot possibly include doublemindedness to determine which one of the two – faith alone or good works – is the most important element to gain entrance through the gates of heaven. It definitely does not suggest an interplay between “good works” and “not so good works” as Jan van der Watt suggests.

    It is often said that good works are the evidence of one’s salvation. If that were the case men like Cornelius would have been deemed saved before God sent Peter to preach the gospel to him and his household.

    There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. (Acts 10:1-2).

    At face value, Cornelius, as an unbeliever, did much more for the poor than James’ brethren in Jerusalem whose faith was dead for not having done anything for the poor. This is an anomaly that needs to be addressed to understand the epistle of James.

    In reference to James, Jan van der Watt basically says that Christians should live out their faith, which, of course, is true. To substantiate his statement, he also quotes 1 John 1:5-6 and maintains that John refers to our deeds and how we should live our lives in the world to substantiate and validate genuine faith.

    This is not entirely true because verse 6 clearly says that those who do not do the TRUTH (James was not referring to WORKS) are walking in darkness (Psalm 119:105). It has nothing to do with doing good deeds. It is very similar to what Jesus said when was asked “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” and He answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29). It also perfectly harmonizes with Jesus’ statement in John 17,

    And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3).

    That’s it! Nothing more, nothing less. To know the only true God and Him whom He has sent is to know his will, his doctrines, his dogmas, and his promises, and to believe them with all your heart. Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

    Every single example, following this verse, of the faith of Noah, Abraham, Sara, and the multitude that sprung from Abraham and Sara as the stars of the sky, and the sands of the seas, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, and the prophets, do not portray what they had done to prove that their faith was genuine, as Jan van der Watt would like to convince his viewers.

    They had done these works BECAUSE their faith was genuine. It was a faith of which the substance (the evidence) was the things they could not and had not seen, whilst their only hope was the promises God had given them and of yet had not been realized. That and that alone (God’s promises) was what sustained them to keep them growing in their faith and to look ahead to God’s Kingdom despite the direst circumstances that had befallen them. This is doing the TRUTH.

    Let us talk about some of the direst circumstances that had befallen some of them.

    Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they have been sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:35-40).

    How on earth can Jan van der Watt say that those who had done good works shall be allowed to walk through heaven’s gates to eternal life, and those whose works were not so good shall be cast into hell when none of the things that had befallen those described in verses 35 to 40 can be classified as works.

    Since when are the things that were done to them — cruel mocking and scourging, imprisonment, stoning, being sawn asunder, temptations, slayings with the sword, lack of good apparel so that they had to wander in sheepskins and goatskins, and in destitute places like deserts, mountains, dens, and caves — GOOD WORKS?

    Which of these works was not so good? Perhaps the scourging of 29 instead of 39 (Mishna tractate Makkot) lashes with a leather scourge was not so good. Maybe imprisonment of 10 years was not as good as 20 to 25 years. Even better, the sawing asunder halfway through instead of right through was not so good. What about clothing consisting of both satin or silk and sheepskin, was not so good.

    Oh, OK let’s admit that some heroes of the faith plus works, like Jan van der Watt and Stephan Joubert who have imaginations larger than a football field, can and may indeed call these horrific things good works. Nevertheless, it puts Jan van der Watt’s assumption that genuine faith can only be seen by the good works you do, to eternal rest.

    Lo and behold, their double talk and doublemindedness do not end here. It continues unabated in its bias against Israel’s twelve tribes. Their prejudice is exposed in the fact that they use Hebrews 11 (patently Jewish) to justify their heretical view that both faith and works are necessary for one’s salvation while they deny the existence of the twelve tribes of Israel. How on earth does that work for them?

    Of all the names mentioned as heroes of the faith In Hebrews 11 all, except Rahab, were Israelites to whom God gave many promises concerning their Promised Land on earth. Even their unwarranted reckoning that the epistle of James verifies that both faith and works are necessary for salvation, refutes their denial that the twelve tribes still exist, whilst James himself affirms that the twelve tribes were still in existence in his day when he wrote, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” (James 1:1).

    True faith, as we have seen from Hebrews 11, is to cling to God’s promises that have not yet been visibly realized, to remain faithful to Him and his promises regardless of whatever may happen to a Christian, and to be encouraged, by the proof articulated in the faith of the Jews mentioned in Hebrews 11, that God will fulfill all his promises.

    Any hint of rejection of the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants is an outright rejection of God and his Son in whom all his promises “. . . are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20). So, when you ditch God’s promises that are solidly, firmly, and irremovably entrenched in Jesus Christ, and who now sits on the right hand of his Father, you are not glorifying God but making Him a liar.

    Needless to say, this is not true biblical faith but sheer blasphemy. Hitler’s declaration that the “final objective [of] rational anti-Semitism…must be the removal of Jews altogether[4] has now been fulfilled in Stephan Joubert’s global declaration that the twelve tribes no longer exist. If the ten tribes were lost, Christ’s promise could not be fulfilled to His disciples: “When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).

    Dead Believers or Dead works

    But what about “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18), These are not James’ own words to confirm that he can show or prove his faith by his works to someone else. That was not the point of his discourse.

    James used an imaginary responder to prove that saying and believing God is the only true God without works is completely unprofitable (James 2:19). The imaginative respondent rather cheekily and daringly states both these premises, “Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” to bypass the real issue and suggest that “showing” one’s faith either by or without good works is impossible. Well, of course, he was correct. However, the imaginative respondent’s motives were as vain as he was.

    To consistently prove or show to someone that your faith is genuine through your good works, you will practically have to live with that person every single day, and that is impossible. And if it had been possible, you would only have proven to that one person that your faith is genuine. What the imaginary respondent was saying is, “OK, let us assume you have faith and I have works. If you can show me your faith without works, then I will show you my works by faith, and in that way we can prove that we are saved.”

    He was challenging James to do the impossible.  At any rate, God considers “a seen” or “show-off” of good work to be worthless. (Matthew 6:2). The only reliable evidence of faith is to believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. (John 6:29). We see this from the very first example James uses to confirm his argument. Abraham was justified by the offering of his son Isaac because he believed that God would provide his own Lamb. (Genesis 2:28). The only ones who witnessed Abraham’s work of faith, was God, he himself, and his son Isaac.

    Of course, a person who does not have the Spirit of God is none of his and, therefore, spiritually dead (Romans 8:9). However, this is not what James had in mind when he spoke about death dying the moment the spirit of a man leaves his body. Clearly, he was referring to physical death and not spiritual death. Had James been speaking about spiritual death, he would never have addressed them as his “brethren,” unless he was alive today and like the Pope calls just about every Tom, Dick, and Harry his brothers and sisters in Christ, even Muslims who hate and reject Jesus Christ.

    James, I contend, is not speaking about “brethren” without the Spirit of God (spiritually dead) but about dead faith in the sense of a body without the human spirit. In short, James, in the strongest language possible, says that just as a lifeless body cannot be of any value to anybody, so, in the very same way, dead faith cannot profit anybody (argē, “lazy, idle, negligent”). Their faith in Jesus was real but their attitude in their actions toward others (especially the poor) rendered their faith “dead” (unprofitable, useless, worthless). (James 2:26). Could this have any relation to 1 Corinthians 3?

    "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

    I am not advocating faith without works. However, let us rather glorify God by admitting that the Holy Spirit is the only Person who can produce his fruit in us. (Galatians 5:22-26), and that the crucifying of the flesh and its lusts is the fertile ground for His fruit to flourish. We should bear in mind Paul’s words, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18).

    The Throne of his Glory

    And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. (Matthew 20:21).

    The “throne of his glory” Matthew 19:28; 25:31 can neither be the Bema throne in 2 Corinthians 5 nor the White Throne in Revelation 20. It can only refer to the throne of his father David which God the Father promised to give Him while Mary was pregnant with Him before her marriage to Joseph. (Luke 1:32).

    Furthermore, the throne of his father David can only be established in Jerusalem on earth, simply because his twelve disciples will be seated next to Him on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 20:20-23), during his reign of peace on earth for a thousand years (Psalm 2). It has absolutely nothing the do with Stephan Joubert’s deceased saints who are now sitting in heaven next to Jesus on twelve symbolized thrones and passing judgment. It is ridiculous, to say the least.

    Despite these undisputed affirmations that his disciples will rule the twelve tribes from thrones on either side of his throne, the throne of his father David, on earth in Jerusalem, Stephan Joubert describes the thousand years in Revelation 20 as follows in one of his videos in a series he made on the Book of Revelation.

    If there is one chapter that has been the talk of the town, together with chapter 13, then it is chapter 20 where Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire for a thousand years. I think we can understand this chapter in a much better way if we focus on the text itself, and not on speculations, churchy opinions, and our own opinions. So, I want to invite you to read chapter 20 properly and correctly with me. It begins with the words, “Then an angel came down from heaven, and a key was given him to the bottomless pit. He grabbed the dragon and cast him into the bottomless pit and locked it for a thousand years.” When the 1000 years had run its course, he unlocks it, and Satan is released to deceive the world for a short while.

    From this point onward, Joubert starts to express his own opinion without taking the meaning of the text into consideration and falsifies it to mean that all the things depicted happen at the same time, in the same place, i.e. in heaven. Joubert continues to say,

    However, we must read this text further. In the same breath, in verse 4, John sees, at the same time, thrones. Read it carefully. Satan is taken by an angel and thrown in the pit for 1000 years. At the same time, in verse 4, there are thrones, and, on these thrones, John sees people sit who have the power to judge.

    And John also sees the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 

    So, we must understand the following: Satan is underground and the believers who had died, reign with Jesus for a thousand years. So, what have we learned so far about the Book of Revelation? We learned that when a person dies, you are with Christ. We’ve seen how believers join Jesus after death already in chapter 16. We’ve seen it earlier when the sixth seal is opened. (2:12) that believers after death, and post-mortem, are consciously in the presence of Jesus. John also portrays such a death.

    The 1000 years of peace are happening now; believers who died and tasted the first death reign for a thousand years in heaven; Satan is in the underground depths for a thousand years. And that is the time of the end times.

    Joubert’s explanation of Revelation 20 abounds with contradictions, inconsistencies, flaws, and outright lies, and yet he has the audacity to call it a better way because he professedly focuses on the text alone. How on earth can he interpret Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory” (not in heaven, but from heaven back to the earth), in terms of dead saints reigning with Him in heaven? He will ascend the throne of his father David in Jerusalem and reign over the twelve tribes of Israel with his twelve disciples seated on twelve thrones next to either side of Him.

    If Joubert and Jan van der Watt would venture to interpret “shall come in his glory” as his first ascension into heaven and his enthronement in heaven, they will have to disavow the parable of talents preceding these words. In fact, verse 14 of chapter 25 confirms that He was speaking of his first ascension into heaven and his yet-future return to earth to set up his Millennial Kingdom of peace on earth.

    For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. (Matthew 25:14).

    Verse 19 unmistakably says that after he had been away a long time, he will return to reckon with his servants who had each received five, two, or one talent. Both the parables of the five wise and five foolish virgins, and the talents apply to the Jews. The Parable of the 10 Virgins (25:1-13) highlights the need for preparedness for the Messiah’s return. The Parable of the Talents highlights the need to serve the King while He is away.

    The judgment of the Gentiles in Matthew 15:31-46 is not as mentioned earlier, the White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20, and only applies to the Gentiles divided into sheep and goats, based on how they treated Jesus’ brethren, the believing Jews, during the horrific reign of Antichrist during  Daniel’s 70th  week, also known as the seven-year tribulation. (Deuteronomy 24:29-30).

    Stephan Joubert’s effort to make verse 4 a reference to a single group of believers who have died and are now seated in heaven on thrones with the power to judge and are presently reigning with Christ for a thousand years, is dead wrong. To come to the correct conclusion, we must read the text, but not the one in chapter 20 only. We should also read the text in Revelation 6 which uses the exact same words that appear in Revelation 20:4.

    And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9-11).

    Their bodiless souls are not seated on thrones in heaven but kept under the altar until the rest of the believers who are going to suffer the same fate of beheading during the great tribulation (last 3 ½ years of Daniel’s seventieth week), join them under the altar, and NOT on thrones. Only then, after the seven-year tribulation when Jesus returns at his Second Coming (not the Pretribulation Rapture) will they be made alive (raised from the dead) to reign with Christ for a thousand years on earth.

    Note carefully that the tense used in chapter 20 and verse 6 is the future tense, “and shall reign with him a thousand years. At any rate, Joubert’s notion that they are given the power to pass judgment in heaven is ludicrous. Who are they supposed to judge in heaven, when in heaven everyone does God’s will perfectly out of sheer love for and obedience to God?

    If the souls in heaven are not seated on thrones in heaven but kept under the altar, who are the ones whom John saw seated on thrones and unto whom judgment was given? Again, we should read the text correctly, as Joubert commands us to do, but again not only the text in Revelation 20 but also the texts in other parts of the Bible.

    In Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30, Jesus promised his twelve disciples that they would sit on thrones on either side of his throne of his father David during His reign of perfect peace on earth during his Millenium (Psalm 2) and rule (judge) the twelve tribes of Israel.

    Of all Joubert’s erroneous statements, his most bizarre and hysterical one is this: “The 1000 years of peace is happening now; believers who died and tasted the first death reigns for a thousand years in heaven; Satan is in the underground depths for a thousand years. And that is the time of the end times.”

    The overarching crux of Christ’s reign of a thousand years on earth is that there shall be global peace, a perfect peace the world has never known or experienced before. How will it be accomplished? (Isaiah 2:1-5). Satan, a murderer, and a liar (John 8:44) shall be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years “that he should deceive the nations no more.”

    The whole purpose of his deception is to incite nations to wage war against one another. And indeed, as the Bible says, this will be his prime objective when he is released for a short while at the end of the thousand years. However, this time he will incite all the nations to make war with the King Messiah, Jesus Christ, and his followers in Jerusalem. This will be Satan’s final death knell (Revelation 20:7-10).

    Unless you have an imagination as large as Stephan Joubert and his followers, no one in his right mind would believe that “The 1000 years of peace is happening right now.” According to the Council on Foreign Relations Global Conflict Tracker, there are currently 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide.

    This year alone the war between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for more than eight months. UN News reported on 9th September 2022 that there are “more than 14,000 casualties to date but ‘actual numbers are likely considerably higher’” in Ukraine alone. Israel herself, as God said He would do, is a cup of trembling (Zechariah 12:2).  

    How many lives must be lost in the present spate of global wars before Stephan Joubert and his emergent followers at ekerk realize that the 1000 years of peace is not happening now? How do they expect unbelievers to listen and respond to the Gospel when they tell them that a thousand years of perfect peace is already here and now on earth? They would probably say to them,

    “Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].” (Romans 1:22).

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus

    [2] Leonard Sweet: Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There- Leonard Sweet.

    [3] Martin Luther, 1522, preface to his German translation of the Bible

    [4] Michael Berenbaum, The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as told in the United States Holocaust Museum (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1933), 105.

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    Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

    Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

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