You are hereSAVED? from what?
SAVED? from what?
by Marcus Booker
Many evangelicals, and futurists in particular, leave the concept of salvation quite open-ended (i.e. without a particular object). They speak of being "saved" without being able to answer "from what" we're all supposed to be saved. This article is a very brief investigation into the idea of salvation as proclaimed, not in the misinformed, traditional-thinking, modern evangelical mind, but in the gospels and epistles themselves. I will show that the salvation concept is distinctly preteristic. Many evangelicals, and futurists in particular, leave the concept of salvation quite open-ended (i.e. without a particular object). They speak of being "saved" without being able to answer "from what" we're all supposed to be saved. This article is a very brief investigation into the idea of salvation as proclaimed, not in the misinformed, traditional-thinking, modern evangelical mind, but in the gospels and epistles themselves. I will show that the salvation concept is distinctly preteristic. First and foremost, salvation in the prophets and psalms had more to do with physical deliverance and victory over enemies/danger than with sin. Applying salvation concepts to sin came later. The psalms speak of the salvation that God gives to kings, and to His servant David in particular, who God keeps from the sword [of his enemies]. The exodus from Egypt was a salvation, a deliverance. Noah's ark was a way of salvation. And Lot too experienced a salvation. These were physical deliverances from real-world danger/wrath.
Then, the gospels and epistles use the concept of salvation to proclaim the good news, the particular and time-specific deliverance from the first covenant to the second, from the Law to Christ. And even this salvation is ultimately subservient to the general, non-time-specific deliverance from sin. So...it's good that people understand and emphasize this generic salvation. Yet to do so at the expense of the meaning of parts of the Scriptures is irresponsible. It leads to futuristic fantasies and strange extra-Scriptural expectations.
Yet it's interesting to note how the words "saved" and "salvation" *actually* show up in the gospels and epistles. Oftentimes, the word is open-ended! Yet the difference between their open-ended use and that of today is that they actually understood what the word meant. They were well aware of the clear and present danger from which God was going to save them. They knew the context all too well; the "from what they were going to be saved" went without saying: the persecution.
Here's a passage from the Acts of the Apostles which is quite well known: "and the Lord was adding to the number of the church that should be saved (Acts 2:47)." But again the question arises, "saved from what?" What does the context of the passage indicate? Does the futurist know? Well...a short few verses earlier Peter exhorts the people to "be saved from this perverse generation (Acts 2:40)." Notice: the salvation is specifically from the perverse generation! [This is the same passage that quote's Joel's "and all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."]
This is the same generation that Christ called a "brood of vipers." It's the same about which he said, "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias...it shall all fall upon this generation." In both his clear words and in his parables, he consistently speaks of a wrath that was to come upon that generation (and a salvation that would come upon the righteous). Yet, as preterists know all too well, Christ says "this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." His language was very plain and straightforward.
Not many places explicitly answer the "saved from what" question. But Romans also answers the question, saying that those who have been declared righteous have been "saved through him from the wrath (Rom 5)." So...thus far there is saved from "wrath" and from the "perverse generation." But are these two different things?
Well...Paul elsewhere puts the perverse generation together with the wrath (as does Christ quite often). He says, "for ye became imitators, brethren, of the assemblies of God that are in Judea in Christ Jesus, because such things ye suffered, even ye, from your own countrymen, as also they from the Jews, who did both put to death the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and did persecute us, and God they are not pleasing, and to all men `are' contrary, forbidding us to speak to the nations that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always, but the anger did come upon them -- to the end! (1 Thess 2)"
Notice: The anger/wrath comes upon those who put to death Christ and the prophets, upon the pervese generation. It comes upon the persecutors--that brood of people against whom Christ spoke. Paul says that God would destroy those who destroy His temple. And what is this temple but Christ's body and his people? And who was laying this temple waste? I think you know.
Then Revelation caps it all off, saying, "And I heard another voice out of the heaven, saying, `Come forth out of her, My people, that ye may not partake with her sins, and that ye may not receive of her plagues, because her sins did follow -- unto the heaven, and God did remember her unrighteousness.' (Rev 18)"
Notice: it says "come forth out of her." He might just as well have said, "Be saved from this perverse generation." "Do not share its sins!" "Do not suffer its wrath!"
And such is salvation according to the Scriptures! Yet God upholds those who earnestly seek Him, in any time period and in any place. So the notion that preterism makes the Scriptures irrelevant is nonsense. In any time I can tell you, "Be saved from sin." This is a timeless message.