Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
I received an email or two lately from John Little. He included information that Dr. John McArthur failed to answer a Bible question correctly. If the report is accurate, this time I must say I agree with Mr. John Little, and disagree with Dr. John MacArthur.
The question was: Can a person who has received the Mark of the Beast ever be saved?
Dr. MacArthur’s answer: Yes.
The Bible’s answer: No.
Now it may be that Dr. John MacArthur has studied this matter more thoroughly than I have and has a sound, Bible-based reason for his answer.
Just now, I have worked as far as Revelation, chapter 7, where I am ready to begin “step 5” in my process for expanding the cross references for Bible study. It will be a while before I get as far as Revelation chapter 14. But as far as I know from my studies to this point, Dr. MacArthur must be mistaken, according to the verse cited above as today’s Daily Bible Nugget #315, Revelation 14:11.
If you have noticed my “Daily Nuggets” have not been “Daily” for the last two weeks, you have been a careful observer. There are many days when I have not been able to access the Internet.
But back to Dr. John MacArthur’s apparently mistaken answer. Mr. John Little attributes the error to Dr. MacArthur’s commitment to a mistaken view of Bible prophecy, namely, his belief in the Pre-tribulation Rapture. I have quite thoroughly answered Mr. John Little’s position on the matter of the Rapture, and you can see my several-part answer to his position at the right under the Category “Bible Prophecy.” Belief in the Pre-tribulation Rapture does not necessarily lead to the error Dr. John MacArthur made in his answer. There are many who believe and teach the Pre-tribulation Rapture who do not teach that those who have received the Mark of the Beast can still be saved.
I heard Dr. John MacArthur last week discuss 1 Thessalonians 4:17 in depth. He spent a good part of the program–I’m thankful that is the part I heard–trying to debunk the position I have taken in my note on that verse in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. As I have Henry Alford (see the note in his Greek New Testament for this passage) and also George N. H. Peters on my side, I think I will kindly suggest Dr. John MacArthur has not done his homework on 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Dr. MacArthur offered no explicit Biblical evidence to counter the view of my note. By the way, he did not mention my note, and it is possible though unlikely that he was criticizing some other source. But in any case, I think he employed ad hominem argument rather than careful Bible exegesis to make his point.
The point of my note is that the Greek text of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 does not necessarily require that when we are caught up in the Rapture to be with Christ that we continue with Christ back to the Third Heaven for seven years. That is what most prophecy teachers say it means, but they are likely not correct. Rather, when Christ returns to this earth at the Rapture, though we meet Him in the air, we subsequently accompany Him to this earth to a place Paul in his abbreviated discussion did not identify. But if anyone takes the time to follow the cross references I have provided, they will discover Scripture is not altogether silent on this issue. Dr. John MacArthur rather cavalierly rejected the idea that we go up to meet Christ only to come right down again with a comment about just why bother having us meet Him in the air if we merely accompany Him to the earth almost immediately?
There are many who utilize this ploy to dispose of a doctrinal position they choose to disagree with. That is the opposite of Real Bible Study.
I’ve heard some pastors on the radio over the years who gave forth an excellent Gospel message, and I am thankful for their ministry. Yet some of them have struck me as individuals who have made no progress in their independent study of the Bible since they left seminary. They never speak of learning anything new to them in their study of the Bible. They never speak of having to change their mind or otherwise adjust their thinking based on newly learned information from the Bible they had not encountered before. I think those dear pastors are missing much they could gain from their Bible by doing Real Bible Study.
Once in a while I wonder if Dr. John MacArthur continues to study the Bible in a manner that leads him to new truths in the Bible he had not seen before. I don’t recall him mentioning such experiences during the radio programs I have heard. Yet I’m quite sure he studies the Bible most faithfully. I do think he has over-committed himself to the position of holding to full five-point Calvinism. Dr. MacArthur is excellent when he is not promoting that doctrinal error (monergism is an error–the Bible clearly teaches synergism: Greek grammar itself employs the middle voice in the New Testament to show that the individual has a part in his salvation by obeying the command to believe in Christ). Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter wrote a book whose title says it all: His Part and Ours. When it comes to understanding Bible prophecy, I do believe Dr. John MacArthur would be helped further by making a careful study of George N. H. Peters’ work, The Theocratic Kingdom, as would anyone else interested in the study of Bible prophecy.
Well, who am I–an unknown author, and a retired English teacher–to criticize some of the best known Bible teachers in our day? It may be, that I have done a little bit of Real Bible Study myself from time to time. The evidence is posted everywhere on this website for all to see and learn from.
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1508 for Revelation 14:11.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1527 or in Logos 5 Bible software for Revelation 14:11.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:
Revelation 14:11. smoke. Re 9:2. 18:9, 18. 19:3. Ge 19:28. +*Is 33:14. >Is 34:10. Joel 2:30. Mt 13:50. *Lk 16:23. torment. Re *20:10. Mt 18:34. Lk 16:23-28. for ever. Gr. aion, +Re 1:6. Re 4:9, 10. 5:13, 14. 7:12. +*Re 11:15. 20:10. 22:5. Ex 15:18. Ps 10:16. 145:1. +*Mt 25:41, 46. +*He 1:8. *Jude 1:7. no rest. T#573-3. Re 4:8. Dt 28:65. Ps 95:11. *Is 57:20, 21. Mt 11:28. *Mk 9:43-49. Lk 16:24, 25. He 3:18. day nor night. +Lk 18:7. who worship. ver. Re 14:9. +*Re 13:14-16. the mark. Re 13:17. *Re 19:20.