The Rod: Will God Spare It? An Exhaustive Study of Temporary Punishment for Unfaithful Christians at the Judgment Seat and During the Millennial Kingdom
Author: J.D. Faust
Publisher: Schoettle Publishing Co., Inc.
For the first three centuries, author Faust notes, Christian believers understood that according to Rev. 20:4-6, entrance into the coming Millennial Kingdom was only for those who were martyred. This teaching helped believers endure horrible persecution. Later, from the third through the nineteenth century, believers broadened the requirement for entering the kingdom to include any believer who suffers for the Lord to the end. They used such passages as 2 Tim. 2:12 and others. Christians who persisted in carnality should expect to be excluded from the kingdom.
Many famous Christians held these views. Faust quotes confirming passages from the following: Polycarp (69-155), Tertullian (160-240), James Usher (1580-1656), Thomas Newton (1703-1784), Anthony Norris Groves (1795-1853), Robert Govett (1813-1901), J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861-1927), D.M. Panton (1870-1955), G.H. Lang (1874-1958), William Frederick Roadhouse (1875-1951), hymn-writer O.J. Smith (1889-1986), and Watchman Nee (1903-1972), among others.
Preachers in the past few centuries, though, have de-emphasized the view of coming punishment upon Christians at the judgment. In his book, Faust thoroughly reintroduces a theology that was meant to cultivate a holy fear in God’s people and help them prepare for the judgment to come.
Faust exposes several extreme errors in the church and reconciles them. The first error is that there will be no punishment for the believer due to Christ’s finished work on the cross, so all warning passages must refer to the unsaved person. The second error is that Christians can lose their salvation. He reconciles the two views by showing how the warning passages refer to the believers’ loss of rewards (not loss of salvation), temporary punishment, and full exclusion from the one-thousand year reign of Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. But after the kingdom, the excluded believers will be reinstated at the second resurrection, and escape the Lake of Fire.
He covers the subject thoroughly, including the use of Hell, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and being hurt of the second death. He anticipates his critics, showing rightly how Scripture distinguishes the future punishment from the unbiblical Catholic view of Purgatory.
Faust has done a commendable job of ordering the many passages of the coming time of judgment, placing them in sequence so we can know with the Apostle Paul “the terror of the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:11).
The love of God has been a bulwark against sin in my life. (Why would I want to risk damaging my wonderful relationship with my Savior by sinning?) But this book has shown me a double barrier against sin: the fear of God. Our God has given us every resource we need to stand before Christ victorious over sin. To reject His means and persist in carnality is to invoke severe consequences.
If you have followed my many meditations on the warning passages in Matthew and Luke, but still find the warnings or consequences vague, you’ll get greater clarity if you get this book. If you find yourself without the fear of God and lukewarm regarding holiness, get The Rod.
He web site is also informative. He answers many critics of his book, including those who claim there is no punishment because Jesus “will never leave me or forsake me.” This passage in Heb. 13:5 is actually a quote from Deut.31:6, in which Moses encourages the children of Israel regarding a God who had killed their fathers for their obedience, sending poisonous snakes to them, and prevented them from entering the Promised Land in His wrath! Paul can say that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, even though many Christians, not taking the Lord’s Supper properly, were asleep, slain by God.
With this argument and others against taking Scripture out of context, Faust skillfully shows us the reality of conditional entrance into the kingdom. We will be rewarded according to our works.