The Rev. Gerald Haug, author of Ortho-Millennialism: Bringing Order to End-Time Chaos, discussed in a recent interview with The Christian Post the eternal fate of believers, as well as unbelievers who have passed away, elaborating on why he thinks the Resurrection of the Dead mentioned numerous times in the Bible has already happened. In addition, Haug claims a desire to defend Scripture has led Christians to wrongly interpret many biblical prophecies.
Chapters nine and 10 of Haug's Ortho-Millennialism are focused specifically on the Resurrection of the Dead and the fate of departed Christians – how, or when they are received, or brought together with Christ in heaven after their physical death.
Contrary to the evangelical Christian view that there will be a final judgment for all people, both believers and unbelievers, as theologians say is supported by Scripture, Haug does not believe that Christians are awaiting the coming of Christ to judge all of mankind. Instead, he argues, believers who pass away will be given a new body in heaven with Christ. Unbelievers, on the other hand, will be judged by Christ and all those who shared the Word of God with them after all of human history passes, and will be sent to the lake of fire, otherwise known as the "second death," where they will be eternally punished for their sins.
"The resurrection is often misunderstood because of preconceived notions. However, the Resurrection of the Dead is a one time-event for the Christians," Haug explains.
Haug defines the Resurrection of the Dead as the event in which believers were brought out of Abraham's Bosom (which the author identifies as Hades, a former resting place for the departed who waited for God's judgment) in the end of the Mosaic Age in 70 A.D., finally conquering death to be united with God in heaven. The Mosaic Age, named after Moses, refers to period when God gave codes for social, political, and religious life, with the Ten Commandments as its center, according to the author.
Haug offered the following example:
"Say I am a Christian in 55 A.D. I am in Tarsus, and I ask Paul: 'Paul, my mother died last year. Where is she?' As a Christian in 55 A.D., Paul would have to say 'Your mother is in the Bosom of Abraham, she is in Hades waiting for the resurrection.'"
He further explained, "The problem for me is that as a Christian, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but he is not making me very comfortable that I will rise from the dead. And what point is there in being a Christian if I will not rise from the dead?'
"That was one of the things that was a bit of a problem for Christians at the time. The resurrection had not yet occurred. However, it happened in 70 A.D., at the end of the Mosaic age.
"That is why today, at every church, at every service, they talk about how when 'Uncle Joe' died, they say 'Uncle Joe died, and now he is with Jesus in heaven.' But Uncle Joe can never go to heaven, unless Jesus already returned. If a pastor is saying that, he has to believe that the general resurrection has already happened, and Jesus has already returned."
Haug further explains that unbelievers will have to wait to be judged.
"Those who have told them (unbelievers) about the Gospel will sit on thrones where they will get to judge them. So for example, if I share the Gospel with Bill, and Bill dies before me, he will have to go to Hades, and wait until the end of human history when he will be judged. And when I go to heaven, I will sit on a throne and be able to judge him. I will judge him along with Christ for not receiving the testimony of Christ."
Prophecy and Why Some Christians Get It "Wrong"
The author also shared his perspective on why he believes Bible verses relating to Christ's resurrection and Second Coming have been so greatly misunderstood by many American pastors, and why dispensational Pre-millennial views have gained such prominence in America.
Haug defines dispensational Pre-millennialism as the most recent and popular Evangelical view of the Bible, which surfaced in the early 1800s through the teachings of John Nelson Darby. A key aspect of this view is Israel – that God has not given up on His chosen people despite unbelief in Jesus as Messiah, and that End Times events will provide one last chance for unbelievers to repent.
"The problem with that thinking is that it violates the teaching of orthodox Christianity. Christians are supposed to 'read the Bible in one hand and [have] the Holy Spirit in the other.' The Holy Spirit is our teacher and not the newspaper. So when you have the wrong foundation, it is easy to get deceived by all the Pre-millennial nonsense," Haug offered.
"The reason Pre-millennialism is so popular is that men, like (J.N.) Darby, (C.I.) Scofield and Lyman Stewart, were the first to rigorously defend the Bible against those who thought the Bible was only a collection of myths. Thus, by their defense of Scripture against those who would try to undermine Scripture, they gained a significant voice among Bible-believing Christians. Also, when Israel became a country in 1948, this gave a lot of credence to the Pre-millennialist position."
Haug concluded, "Yet these same Pre-millennialists have been quick to undermine their credibility by making a litany of false prophecies, such as claiming a host of people, from Hitler to Bush to Obama, were the Antichrist." In Chapter 11 of his book, Haug identifies the Antichrist as Nero, a Roman Emperor who reigned from 54-68 A.D. and was seen as a great tyrant and persecutor of Christians at the time.
"In summary, where these men went into error, I see it as my mission to correct them and get the Church back on track with correct eschatology," Haug concludes.
The Rev. Haug is currently a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God, the largest collection of Pentecostal denominations with some 62 million members worldwide, and is active in teaching and disciplining international students in the United States, China, and Russia.
In a previous interview on his book, Haug described why he feels many Christians are misled about Israel and the End Times.