Will There Be A Second Chance?
Weldon E. Warnock
Premillennialists tell us that during the Tribulation (an imaginary seven-year period) God will work among both Jews and Gentiles to save them. J. Dwight Pentecost, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote:
God's purpose for Israel in the Tribulation is to bring about the conversion of a multitude of Jews, who will enter into the blessings of the kingdom and experience the fulfillment of all Israel's covenants . . . . It is also God's purpose to populate the millennium with a multitude of saved Gentiles, who are redeemed through the preaching of the believing remnant (Things To Come, pp. 237-238).
Lewis Sperry Chafter, a staunch premillennialist who founded Dallas Theological Seminary and who is often quoted among those of that persuasion, wrote:
The Scriptures bear testimony to the fact that Israel as a nation is to be saved from her sin and delivered from her enemies by the Messiah when he shall return to the earth . . . . Jehovah will, in connection with the second advent of Christ and as a part of Israel's salvation, "take away their sins." This, Jehovah declares, is His covenant with ,them (Rom. 11:27) . . . In Hebrews 10:4 it is stated that it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should "take away" sin, and in Romans 11:27 it is promised that Israel's sins will yet be taken away . . . . The induction to be drawn from these and other portions of Scripture is that Jehovah will yet in the future, in the briefest portion of time, and as a part of Israel's salvation, take away their sins (Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, pp. 105-107).
Hal Lindsey, graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and a prolific writer of the millennial mania, states:
As Armageddon being with the invasion of Israel by the Arabs and the Russian confederacy, and their consequent swift destruction, the greatest period of Jewish conversion to their true Messiah will begin (The Late Great Planet Earth, p. 167).
But before the seventh seal is opened, Revelation 7 gives us a parenthetical panorama of the evangelistic activity of the Tribulation period . . . . These evangelists are Jews who may have been witnessed to by some Christians prior to the Rapture; when they discover that all the believers are gone, they turn in faith to Christ to become their Messiah (There's A New World Coming, p. 112).
As anyone can readily see (except the millennialists) in the preceding declarations and pronouncements, positions have been assumed and plain teachings of the Bible have been contradicted in order to provide a second chance for salvation in the Tribulation. But no second chance is offered in the Bible.
No Second Chance
First of all, there in no second chance because there is no tribulation period in which the opportunity for salvation is provided. The Bible nowhere teaches a seven-year tribulation, called "the Great Tribulation." Foy E. Wallace said, "If the millennialists can find a passage in the Bible or the Almanac that refers to 'wrath' or 'trouble' or 'battle' they jump to the tribulation; the millennium and Armageddon." Jesus said, "When the Son of man shall come . . . . then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations" /Matt. 25:31-32). "When" and "then" are adverbs of time and show the judgment will take place at the coming of Christ. This leaves no time for a tribulation.
Second, there is no second chance because the Scriptures show that the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles is through the gospel of Christ - now, in this dispensation. Paul said: ' . . . now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). The theme of the Roman letter is that salvation is through the gospel for all (Jew and Gentile) who believe (Rom. 1:16). Righteousness is through the gospel (Rom. 1:17) which is "by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference" (Rom. 3:22). "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek . . . . For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:12-13). Paul stated, "The word is nigh thee . . . (Rom. 10:8). God's message of salvation is not far off, but is near, ready for those who will accept it. No future, second chance is offered in the gospel.
Third, there is no second chance because the gospel Paul preached is the only hope of Israel. Before king Agrippa Paul stated, "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews" (Acts 26:6-7). Later, under house arrest in Rome, Paul declared before the chief Jews, ". . . because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain" (Acts 28:20).
The hope Paul preached was not what Israel hoped for. Israel hoped for an earthly Messiah and an earthly kingdom, a false hope. The hope for which true Israel hope was spiritual in nature, coming through the promise to Abraham and realized in Christ through the gospel. This is the hope of Israel! If Paul had preached what Millennialists are preaching, he would not have been bound by a chain, but adored and praised by his fellow-Jews.
Fourth, there is no second chance for the Jews or the Gentiles because conversion must come within the scope of the Great Commission. Jesus said that Great Commission embraces all nations (Matt. 28:18) and every creature (Mk. 16:15). Peter alluded to this at the house of Cornelius and said, "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:36). Hence, there is no doubt that the Jews are included in the Commission.
But notice that the Great Commission ends with this age when Jesus said ". . . lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20). There are no provisions for another age. We are living in the last days (Acts 2:16-17), the last times (1 Pet. 1:20) and the last hour (ASV) (1 Jn. 2:18). Jesus is speaking to us in the last days (Heb. 1:2), not some future era. He was manifested in these last times (1 Pet. 1:20), not a future time and he is speaking to the dead (spiritually dead) in this last hour (Christian Dispensation) (Jn. 5:25), not some future hour.
Fifth, there is no second chance for the Jews or Gentiles because it would require another covenant as there is no such provision in the present covenant. Salvation is in the present covenant, the New Testament, is through the cross of Christ. "By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10). "And to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling" (Heb. 12:24). "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20).
However, the cross concerns itself with the church or church age as it was the rejection of the Jews that made the cross possible, according to millennialism. But they inform us the church age will cease when Jesus comes to rapture the church at the beginning of the so-called "Tribulation." Hence, the cross could not be preached during the Tribulation, but some other provisions must be made for the saving of the Jews and Gentiles. Oswald T. Allis wrote:
It cannot be too strongly emphasized that if the Dispensational doctrine regarding the nature of the promised kingdom and the meaning of the word "at hand" is accepted, it leads logically to the view that the Cross, as an atoning sacrifice for sin, concerns the Church age and the Church saints only. As preached at the first advent it did not include or involve the Cross; as preached at the second advent it will not include or presuppose the Cross. It was the rejection of Jesus by the Jews which made the Cross necessary; and it was this rejection which made the Church age possible. So it is for the Church age and for it alone that the Cross is of supreme importance. Only Church saints can say, "Who love me and gave Himself for me." This we maintain is logical, thorough going Dispensationalism. We feel obliged to point it out, not because Dispensationalists are thoroughly logical and draw these disastrous conclusions fully and clearly, but because we believe that a doctrine which leads to such conclusions cannot be true (Prophecy and the Church, p. 234).
Furthermore, it was because the first covenant was faulty that the second one was established (Heb. 8:7). But since the millennial theory necessitates still another covenant, the inevitable conclusion is that the second covenant, the New Testament, is also faulty. But James tells us it is perfect (Jas. 1:25) and none other will, therefore, be sought, premillennialists notwithstanding.
Sixth, there is no second chance because there is no probation after Jesus comes the second time. Listen to the apostle Peter: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night . . . . the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Pet. 3:9-10). The time to repent is during the period of God's longsuffering, before Jesus comes again. There is no opportunity to repent after Jesus comes because the earth will be no more. As Foy Wallace said, "That certainly turns the second chance theory, for anybody, Jew or Gentile, into a tail spin."
Seventh, there is no second chance because God is no respecter of persons. "For there is no respect of persons with God" (Rom. 2:11; cf. 1 Pet. 1:17; Acts 10:34). How can God be impartial by saving those in the Tribulation with a second chance while condemning those who died unsaved prior to the Tribulation?
Eighth, there will be no second chance because the means of conversion will be removed from the earth. Assuming there is a tribulation, there will be no saints on earth to preach the gospel as the church will be raptured and there will be no Holy Spirit present to convict the sinner. Millennialists, by and large, believe in a direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the sinner. But He will be removed according to their interpretation of 2 Thess. 2:7. Allis states:
If the church consists only of those who have been redeemed in the interval between Pentecost and the rapture, and if the entire Church is to be raptured, then there will be no Christians on earth during the period between the rapture and the appearing. Yet during that period 144,000 in Israel and an innumerable multitude from the Gentiles (Rev. vii.) are to be saved. How is this to be brought about, if the Church has been raptured and the Holy Spirit removed from the earth (Ibid., p. 12).
This presents a most difficult problem for the millennialists and so they have had their .imaginations running in all directions in trying to find some plausible answers. Thus far, they have found no biblical solution (and they won't, either).
Ninth, there is no second chance because when Jesus returns the door of salvation will be shut. In the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), when the bridegroom came and entered the house, the door was shut (v. 10). The meaning is that when Jesus comes again the door of opportunity of entering His kingdom, the church, will be forever shut.
Tenth, there is no second chance because the passages used by the millennialists to try to prove a second chance have been misapplied. Some of their favorite passages are Jer. 30:7, Joel 2:32 and Rom. 11:26-27 for the Jews and Isa. 2:2; 60:3, 5 and 62:2 for the Gentiles. Revelation 7 is the alleged fulfillment of these proof-texts (?).
But Jeremiah 30:7 means that Jacob (Israel) shall be saved (delivered) out of Babylonian captivity and eventually serve God through a Davidic king (Jesus in the gospel age). Joel 2:32 is quoted by Peter on Pentecost and applied to those on that occasion (Acts 2:16-21). Romans 11:26-27 teaches, in light of the context, that salvation comes to the Jews in the same manner it does to the Gentiles - by gospel obedience. The word "so" is an adverb of manner and means, "in this way or manner shall all Israel be saved."
As to the salvation of the Gentiles, the Isaiah texts have reference to the blessings afforded the Gentiles through the gospel of Christ. This was first realized at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10).
The seventh chapter of Revelation depicts the church on earth, spiritual Israel (144,000); and the church in heaven, the innumerable host who had served the Lord faithfully through trials and tribulation while on earth. Such is the view of R.H. Charles, Albertus Pieters, Ray Summers and others. The language is symbolic and has no connection with a future salvation of Jews and Gentiles.
In conclusion, there is nothing for the Jews or the Gentiles in the future. The gospel of Christ is final to all men. -today and forever. May we hearken unto it now. "Wherefore, even as the Holy Spirit saith, Today if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts . . ." (Heb. 3:7-8).
Guardian of Truth XXVI: 3, pp. 38-40